Getting Around Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s central area is relatively small and all the top attractions have easy access, so use your legs and walk around the city, get lost in it and its canals and discover the charming Amsterdam. Another option, that  will make you feel like a local is the bycicle, that will also make you use the legs and live the city in another way.

Speaking of bikes, if you choose this form of transportation there are some tips I must give to you: many hotels have bikes for their clients, if it is not your case, rent a bicycle, there are many stores to choose from, for example  MacBike or Star Bikes, but do some research on the prices and services. To rent you just need an identification card and a passport, also a deposit in cash or credit card, there are some places where you pay up front and others in the delivery act.

You must also have some precautions; respect the traffic signs and the areas where you must drive your bike by hand, marked with a forbidden sign. Cyclists have priority except when the vehicles present themselves on the right side ( at least in theory, in reality…). Some streets have a Bike Lane, off the sidewalk, others a lane on the road to cyclists, on the right of the car lanes. You should not stop in the middle of the Bike Lane, and every time you want to turn  you need to make a signal with  the respective hand. There are also streets without bike lanes. When this happens, you must also ride on the right, in the same direction of the cars. There are also semaphores just for bikes. To park it, lock it with two padlocks or chains if you want to find it in the same place.

Basically, the watchword is informality, and this is one of the things I loved the most in the trip, people are practical, simple, not pretentious and relaxed.

In matters of public transportation and to those who prefer it, you can choose two ways to travel and save, buying the I Amsterdam Card (tourist card that includes unlimited transport, parking, 25% discounts in restaurants, boat ride in the canals and entrance in almost every museum (with exception to Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum – 2,5€ discount), there is the 24 hour option (47 euros), 48 hours (57 euros) or 72 hours (67 euros), I recommend this card to those who intend to use the transports a lot and go to lots of museums, because you can save in everything. The second way to save is using the daily GVB tickets – Amsterdam’s public transports company. These tickets give from 24 to 168 hours of unlimited transport in the trams, the subway or the bus. You can also choose the individual ticket for one hour travels, but if you’re going to use it several times in a day, the best is to buy the daily tickets, because it costs 7,5 euros a day, and the individual one costs around 2,5€. Do not forget that the validity counts from the first use and you must also validate at the exit, not just when entering the transport. These tickets can be bought directly on the tram, bus or on the subway station ticket machines. Important: only the GVB transports are contemplated in these tickets. However you will hardly need a different transport in Amsterdam that does not belong to the company.

Something funny that happened with us was when the station we wanted to get out at was near, we pushed the green button next to the door to request it to stop, the tram stopped but the door did not open, just when a Mr. touched the green button again for it to open, we thought it was enough to do it one time! So, one press to request the stop and another for the door to open, and do not forget to pass the ticket through the reader before getting out. Trams work until midnight.

There are also people that rent a car, but personally i think that it’s only a good option if you want to visit the countryside of Amsterdam and other small cities around it. Mostly because driving and parking in Amsterdam can be a little bit chaotic and that’s not what we want for our holidays.

Text: Cíntia Oliveira.

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