AMSTERDAM — Overview

Amsterdam is the capital and the largest city of the Netherlands. Most people think of the charming canals when they think of Amsterdam and as well as these you will find historical monuments, prestigious museums and beautiful architecture. It is an easy city to get around in with an excellent bus, tram and metro system. There is a new ticketing system in place that allows you to travel on them all using one card called a OV chipcard which is a Smart Card that you load with credit before entering your means of transport. There are different kinds of cards and information about these can be found on the card website. Cards can be bought at the tourist information desk at the airport as well as lots of other places which you can find on the website. The city centre is quite small so it is easy to explore by foot. For a different kind of experience because of the canal systems you can explore a lot of the city by boat and there is a regular service on the Canal Bus which is provided by the Canal Company. Their services cover three routes around Amsterdam where you can hop on and off at any one of the 14 stops in the main tourist and shopping areas. There are all types of tickets on sale and further information can be found on their website. Many people living in Amsterdam find the easiest way to get around their city is by bike. If you would like to try this means of transport yourself then there are lots of rental places including those found at train stations and this is relatively cheap as most hires cost under €10 a day.
For more information about the OV chipcard visit the website at: http://www.gvb.nl/english/Pages/default.aspx
For more information about the Canal Buses visit the website at: http://www.canal.nl/en/theme.php?theme_id=3

Traveller's Tip

A good place to find information about bike rental companies as well as the canal buses and other public transport is from a tourist information centre and these can be found at the airport and the main train station — Centraal as well as the main entertainment centre — Leidseplein. You can also pick up a map from there and it should be the first place you visit after arriving.

For the purposes of this website Amsterdam has been divided into the following areas: Old Town Centre; The City Centre (Centrum); The Canal Ring; Jordaan; The Museum Quarter; The Area East of the Amstel River and the Pijp Area.

Getting There
There are several ways to get to Amsterdam and the easiest would have to be by air or by rail. The Amsterdam Schipol Airport is where you will land and it is the largest airport in The Netherlands. You can take a taxi, bus or train into the city from the airport which is around 15 kilometres from the city centre. Taxis are found just outside the airport.
The easiest and fastest way is by the direct rail link to Amsterdam Centraal station. The station is found directly below the airport and trains run every 10 minutes and cost around €3.70 one way.
For more information about the trains visit the website at: http://www.ns.nl/cs/Satellite/travellers

Traveller's Tip

The cheapest way to buy your train ticket is using the ticket machines as there is a small surcharge to use the ticket office. Be aware that the machines will only accept coins and the instructions are’t in English so they can be a little confusing. You must validate an undated ticket before entering the platform. You do this at the Stempelautomaat (Stamper) which is the yellow post found at the side of the entrance to the platform.
  • If you wish you can buy your tickets before arriving on the website. Just be aware that these are non refundable if you need to change your travel plans.

    You can also take an airport shuttle bus to over 100 hotels in the city which will cost around €15.50 one way or €25 return. Make sure you check beforehand that your hotel doesn’t operate its own shuttle.
    For more information about the shuttle buses visit the website at: http://www.schipholhotelshuttle.nl/site/home.asp

    You can also arrive in Amsterdam by train which is popular because of its Inter City connections to and from many European cities including London via the Eurostar to Brussels and a connection to Amsterdam via a high speed rail link. The main train station is Centraal.
    For information about travelling to and from Amsterdam by train visit the following websites:
    http://www.ns.nl/cs/Satellite/travellers
    http://www.eurostar.com/dynamic/index.jsp

    It is also possible to arrive in Amsterdam by bus from other European destinations. International Buses arrive and depart at Amstel Station which is around 10km south of the city. You can then take the metro from here to the city centre.
    For more information about buses visit the following website: http://www.eurolines.com

    It is also possible to arrive in Amsterdam by ferry though this is probably the slowest and not necessarily the cheapest option. For travellers coming from the UK the following companies offer ferry services — Scandinavian Seaways connect to Amsterdam via Newcastle, P&O North Sea Ferries via Hull and Stenaline via Harwich.
    For more information about ferries visit the following websites:
    http://www.dfdsseaways.co.uk
    http://www.poferries.com
    http://www.stenaline.co.uk

    Traveller's Tip

    There is a card available for travellers to Amsterdam called the ‘I amsterdam’ card which is a discount card which gives you free public transport within the city, a free canal cruise, free access to some museums as well as other discounts. You can buy the card at the tourist information centres found at the airport, train station or several places throughout the city. To find out more information about prices, benefits and where you can buy the card visit the website.
    http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/iamsterdamcard

    Traveller's Tip

    One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam are canal tours and there are many choices of canal tourboats. Most of the bigger tourboat companies can be found around Centraal Station and in the entertainment centre of Leidseplein. They offer similar cruises of 1 to 1½ hours. An electronic tourguide in several languages is standard equipment on these boats. For information about the different canal tours see the website below.
    http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/things-to-do/canalcruises