Amsterdam is a favorite destination for international travelers, and its popularity is well-deserved. The capital city of The Netherlands is known for its scenic canals, vibrant tulips, and renowned museums. The city’s compact size makes it quick and easy to get from place to place. Visitors who plan to stay in Amsterdam’s city center will want to avoid car rentals due to expensive parking and limited road access. However, there are many cheaper and more rewarding ways to see the city.
Pedestrians find themselves dodging bikes more often than cars in Amsterdam. In fact, about 35% of daily trips around the city are made by bike, and bicycles outnumber city residents. Bikers have the right-of-way on the roads, so if you are traveling on foot, be prepared to stay vigilant. For visitors who wish to live like locals and stay fit while on vacation, bike rentals are a perfect option for exploring Amsterdam. There are numerous rental locations in the city centre, charging reasonable daily (sometimes hourly) fees. You will be charged a deposit at the time of your rental, which is refunded when the bike is safely returned. When leaving your bicycle, be sure to always lock it, as bike theft is a fairly common problem. The city regularly dredges the canals for the thousands of stolen bikes thrown into the water each year.
Despite the heavy two-wheeled traffic, walking around Amsterdam’s city center is a convenient option for tourists staying in the immediate area. Nearly every downtown street is picturesque, so exploring by foot means a chance to appreciate the city’s aesthetic charm. You can easily visit the city’s most popular areas – Dam Square, The Red Light District, Vondelpark – and get in your steps at the same time.
With 60 miles of canals weaving through the city, boats are a common mode of transportation for Amsterdam locals. For travelers looking to get a lay of the land, scenic canal tours are a great introduction to the sights of the city. Visitors who want to avoid street traffic altogether can cruise from place to place on a hop-on, hop-off canal tour. The canal waters also host many houseboats, offering a lodging alternative for city residents and a unique rental option for tourists who can afford to splurge on accommodations. Alas, these floating abodes are typically anchored to certain spots and do not serve as modes of transportation.
Amsterdam’s ferry system is convenient for residents who regularly travel from Amsterdam-Noord (a residential borough) to the city centre. Unless renting a house in the residential area, most tourists will probably not need the ferry service. However, should you find yourself needing a reprieve from the hustle and bustle in the heart of the city, the ferry service is free of charge.
For visitors to Amsterdam who prefer a driving option, Uber and other rideshare services are widely used and offer a convenient way to get around. Just be aware that if your street has restricted vehicle access, you might have to walk a few blocks to meet your driver.
Any travel lover’s bucket list should include a visit to Amsterdam. There are so many options for getting around the city, and so much to see and do. The city’s compact size and convenient transportation allow you to maximize your time and get the most out of your trip.