Getting around Amsterdam
The best way to get around Amsterdam is either by bike or by using the extensive tram, metro, bus and ferry networks, all run by GVB (tel: 0900 8011, in the Netherlands; www.gvb.nl), which has an information office at Amsterdam Centraal Station. You can find a useful point-to-point route planner at 9292.nl/. Trams are a great way of getting around Amsterdam, with routes heading out from the centre in all directions.
The best option is to purchase single or multi-day cards, allowing unlimited travel on public transport during a specified period. You can buy these at the GVB ticket outlets or vending machines. OV-chipkaarts are smartcards which you can use for travel throughout the Netherlands; you can load these up with any GVB travel products. It's also possible to purchase a one-hour paper ticket when you get on a bus or tram.
The Amsterdam tourism board also offers an Iamsterdam City Card, which gives you free travel on buses, trams and metros for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours. As well as this, it entitles you to a free cruise, gives you free entrance to museums including the Hermitage, NEMO Science Museum, Rembrandt House and ARTIS Royal Zoo, and provides excellent discounts to further attractions and restaurants. You can purchase an Iamsterdam City Card online ( https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card/order-your-card), or from a number of different locations throughout the city.
Rather than hailing a taxi in the street, it is more common to phone for one (TCA; tel: +31 20 777 7777) or pick one up at an official taxi rank, including ones at Centraal Station, Waterlooplein and Museumplein and Nieuwmarkt. Taxis are metered and have standard rates. It’s customary to tip your driver a euro or two. Bicycle taxis are also available at Pedicab Sander Amsterdam (tel: +31 6 2422 7753).
Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended: motorists need to watch out for cyclists and trams, while parking regulations are strict. It makes more sense to park at a P+R (park and ride) car park and use bus, tram and subway lines into the city centre from there. Locations of these are listed at www.parkeerlijn.nl/pr/amsterdam. For on-street parking, meters can be recognised by a blue sign with the letter ‘P' and charges are split into several zones. Fees are by zone, with the highest charges in the city centre. You need to enter your car registration number into the meter and pay with a Dutch bank card or international credit card; cash is not accepted.
Conditions vary but in most cases, the driver will have to be at least 21 and have held a valid national licence for one year to hire a car. Check that the rates include the minimum insurance cover required in Amsterdam. Car hire companies with branches in the city centre include Avis (tel: +31 88 284 7620;www.avis.nl) and Sixt (www.sixt.nl).
You can hire bicycles from Bike City (tel: +31 20 626 3721; bikecity.nl) on Bloemgracht 68-70 and Macbike (tel: +31 20 620 0985; www.macbike.nl) at Stationsplein 5. A deposit or a credit card imprint is usually required, along with an additional form of identification. Bicycles should always be securely locked.