Amsterdam city guide with information on sightseeings, transport, restaurants and more. Provides different tips and links for Amsterdam trip.

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Public Transport

Information on all public transport within Amsterdam is available, in English and Dutch, from the National Public Transport Information Service (tel: (0900) 9292 (calls cost € 0,50 per minute); website: There is a free map of all tram and bus routes in Amsterdam available from tourist offices or the GVB office by Centraal Station.

The best way to get around Amsterdam is on foot, or by using the extensive tram, metro, bus and ferry networks. Visitors spending a lot of time travelling around the city are advised to buy a dagkaarten (day or week ticket). For single rides, a strippenkaart can be used; it needs to be stamped every time a tram, bus or metro is boarded - each journey uses one strip plus a strip for every zone travelled. Once stamped, a ticket is valid for an hour, regardless of how often a change of tram or bus is made. It is cheaper to buy a strippenkaart (from tourist offices, tobacconists and large hotels) before boarding the public transport system than to pay a cash fare. The metro and trams run until midnight, after which there are night buses (numbered from 71 to 79).

Trams are the best way to travel around Amsterdam. They operate Monday to Friday 0600-0000, (Saturday from 0630 and Sunday from 0730). All trams leave from Centraal Station: 1 and 2 traverse the main canals, 17 provides a frequent, fast and dependable service, 16 takes a route to Museumplein and Concertgebouw, while 9 and 14 go to the Muziektheater and Waterlooplein market. Circle tram 20, has been designed with visitors in mind: it runs past almost all the main tourist attractions and many of the major hotels. It runs roughly every ten minutes from 0900 to 1900.

The outlying areas of the city (mostly the suburbs that the trams do not reach) are served by 37 bus lines. Night buses run long after the other services have stopped. Amsterdam's three metro lines all start at Centraal Station and serve the southeastern business district and the suburbs. The trains run Monday to Friday 0600-0015 (Saturday from 0630 and Sunday from 0730).


Rather than hailing a taxi in the street, it is more usual in Amsterdam to order one by phoning the Central Taxi Office (tel: (020) 677 7777) or pick one up at a taxi rank (Centraal Station, Dam Square, behind Royal Palace, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein). Taxis, which have an illuminated 'taxi' sign on the roof, usually come quickly, unless it is raining or Friday or Saturday night. Although they provide a good service, taxis are relatively expensive: the starting fare is € 2,36 with every kilometre costing € 1,63 (regardless of the time of day or night) for the first 25 kilometres and then € 1,27 thereafter. A meter indicates the fare, on top of which a small tip will be appreciated.


There are a number of limousine companies in Amsterdam offering airport transfers and hourly/daily rentals. Two possibilities are: CS Limousine Service (tel: (020) 673 7888; fax: (020) 673 9045) and Van Delden Limousine Service (tel: (020) 684 8408; fax: (020) 686 3638). Prices start at € 58,00 for an airport transfer and € 53,00 per hour, plus € 1,46 per kilometre travelled, excluding tax (vat). Many of the drivers provide an informal guide service.

Driving in the City

Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended. Even for excursions outside the city, it is preferable to take the train. The city's streets are not big enough to house the tens of thousands of cars owned by the city's residents, let alone the 550,000 tourists who arrive annually in their cars. As a result, parking spots are limited and expensive. Visitors are therefore advised, to park their car at a P+R (park and ride) lot, from where there are bus, tram and subway lines to the city centre.

In the city centre, cars must be parked only in a designated parking space or in a car park. Parking meters can be recognised by a yellow sign with the letter 'P'. Parking tickets may be purchased from a street meter; the cost is € 2,60 per hour Monday to Saturday 0900-1900; and € 1,60 per hour Monday to Saturday 1900-2300 and Sunday 1200-2300. Visitors can also buy a one-day & evening ticket costing € 19,50; also sometimes available from hotels - these tickets must be displayed in the rear windscreen. ANWB Amsterdam Centraal, Prins Hendrikkade 20A, is a 24-hour car park where parking is € 2,50 per hour to a maximum of € 25,00. Car parking reservations can be made on the 24 hour reservation line (tel: (0900) 202 2002).

Parking regulations are quite strict and there are tough measures for violating the city's car parking laws. If a car gets clamped in Amsterdam, the owner can expect to pay approx. € 65,00 to have it released, adding another € 185,00 if it is actually towed away. The car pound (tel: (020) 553 03.33) is located at Daniel Goedkoopstraat 8, Industrieterrein-Amstel. The main city car parks are at Centraal Station, on the Damrak (Bijenkorf), under the Waterlooplein (Muziektheater) and near the Leidseplein (Byzantium).

A few general driving tips: driving is on the right; motorists need to watch out for cyclists and the special cycle lanes; rush hours (0700-0900 and 1700-1900) are best avoided; car headlights should be dimmed in built-up areas and it is illegal to use sidelights only.

Car Hire

Conditions of hire vary, the driver will often have to be 25 years old and have held a valid national license for one year. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not needed as long as a valid national license in produced. Payment should usually me made with a credit card bearing the name of the driver.

The major European firms are represented in Amsterdam. Cars can also be hired through the airport and most hotels. The following companies all have branches in the city centre: Avis International Car Rental, Polderweg 98-100 (tel: (020) 465 1115; fax: (020) 665 9038,, Budget Car, Overtoom 121 (tel: (020) 612 6066; fax: (020) 689 0694), Hertz, Overtoom 333 (tel: (020) 612.2421; fax: (020) 626 2395, start at around € 45,00 per day and € 250,00 a week. Conditions vary and some companies have an additional mileage charge.

Bicycle Hire

There are bike lanes, which are marked out by white lines, but cyclists will still need to watch out for cars, trams and pedestrians. Cycling around Amsterdam two abreast is illegal, as is a bike without reflector bands on both front and back wheels. Bikes should always be securely locked as there is a thriving stolen bike market.

Bikes can be rented from the following companies: Bike City, Bloemgracht 68-70 in Westerkerk (tel: (020) 626 3721), Damstraat Rent-A-Bike, Damstraat 20-22 (tel: (020) 625 5029), Macbike Too, Marnixstraat 220 (tel: (020) 626 6964), and Koenders Take-A-Bike, Centraal Station, Stationsplein 12 (tel: (020) 624 8391). Bike rental costs around € 6,00 for the first day and € 5,00 for subsequent days; Koenders Take-A-Bike's daily rates are slightly lower. A deposit from € 25,00 to € 100,00 or a credit card imprint is usually required along with an additional form of identification. Optional insurance at around 50% of the hire charge cans be taken.

Water Travel

Not surprisingly, there are several modes of water travel in Amsterdam. There are canal buses that travel between Centraal Station and the Rijksmuseum every 25-45 minutes - children under five years travel free. The special Museum Boat leaves from Prins Hendrikkade every 30 minutes in summer and every 45 minutes in winter, stopping off at the city's main museums. Canal taxis, which can carry up to 25 passengers, are also available. They can either be hailed from the canal-side or ordered in advance (tel: (020) 622 2181); the smallest costs approx € 60,00 for the first half-hour and € 40,00 for each subsequent half-hour within the city limits.

Boat Hire

Visitors can hire pedalos (also known as canal bikes) and boats to explore the canals. Pedalos are available from Canal Bike, Weteringschans 24 (tel: (020) 626 5574; fax: (020) 624 1033; website:, open daily 0900-1800. A four-person pedalo costs € 7,00 per person per hour, if there are only one or two in the pedalo; and € 6,00 per person per hour, if there are three or four in the pedalo. A deposit of € 50,00 per pedalo is required.

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