Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is unique in culture, history, cuisine and transportation. There are many ways to get around in Amsterdam. You will probably want to take advantage of all of them. In this article you will learn about the the ways that I like and think you should do in order of most preferred to least; what you shouldn’t do and what you can do instead.
Ont of the most obvious ways to get around in Amsterdam is to walk. Walking is a fantastic way to find little out of the way, hidden spots. Walk down a passageway, and you might find a small park with a band playing music on a beautiful afternoon. Enjoy the canals, architecture, sidewalk cafes, and coffee shops. Walking is my favorite way to explore a city and one of the best ways to get around Amsterdam.
I am not a fan of walking around a city with an open map. My favorite way to navigate is with my smartphone. It’s small, can be held in your hand or pocket, and it speaks to you. I usually defer to Google Maps, although there are other map apps you might like better. Google Maps has never failed me.
Using my smartphone is a safety and comfort issue for me. I turn it up loud enough to hear the directions,and since it’s in my hand or pocket, I can quickly glance at the display.
The safety and comfort issue is this: standing on a corner staring at a map, trying to figure out which way is next, while others pass around you, bicyclists whiz by, etc., is not safe. Not only that, it tags you as a tourist,which signals you as an easy ‘mark’ for pickpockets in any city in the world.
Using a smart phone requires having a data plan that will sufficiently cover your trip. Make this a part of your travel budget. Verizon has an international travel plan that costs $10 per day, uses the same data as at home, and it’s only charged if you use your phone for talk, text or data. It also removes an obstacle of how to communicate with others, eliminates the stress of looking for a phone. An international sim card isn’t necessary with a smartphone in this case.
Why not do as the locals do? Most people who live in Amsterdam get around on a bike; even in the cold weather, not that I suggest that. There are bike rental shops,and also many hotels will rent or loan you a bike if you’re staying there. You often see them sitting in a row outside hotels.
Public transportation in Amsterdam includes trams, buses, and the Metro all run by the same municipal transport operator GVB. Also available are the ferries and the canal bus, a 16 stop hop-on hop-off boat.
The I Amsterdam city card is a multi-purpose card. For the purchase price,you will have free public transportation on the trams, buses, and GVB (city transport company) Metro and ferries for the length of your stay. These cards can be purchased for 24, 48, 72, or 96 hours. The longer you visit, the better your saving opportunities.
A Multi-purpose card: The card gives you free admission to the best museums in Amsterdam. In fact, most of the museums and sites mentioned in part 2 of this article, plus much more. Note: The Rijksmuseum is not included in the free admission list, but there is a discount for card users. Also included is a canal cruise as well as admissions to some of the sights in the region, outside Amsterdam.
Taxis: They’re expensive and definitely not fast transport from one place to the next due to the conglomeration of one way streets and canals. Also, they are costly because they are charged by a meter, the longer the ride, the more you pay. Taxis in Amsterdam can spend a lot of time sitting in slow traffic, while you watch the meter run.
If you ignore this advice, essential things to know are 1) don’t try to hail them on the street, as you would in New York City, they won’t stop. Instead, you’ll find them sitting in busy locations around the city like a taxi rank. You aren’t required to take the first one in the line as you must in some other cities.
Another way to book a taxi is to have your concierge call and order one or call yourself with your smartphone.
It is easy and inexpensive, and you can know before you go how much your ride is going to cost. Using UBER requires an app on your smartphone and a pre-established account that includes a form of payment. Do this before you leave the United States.
When you request a ride,your UBER app will show you how close your driver is, how long it will take for him/her to arrive, the type and color of the car and the license plate, the name and picture of the driver and where to meet him. They will have your phone number, established in your account, so they can call you, or you call them.
When you arrive at your destination the credit card on your account is charged, and you can choose whether to give a tip or not. My recommendation is to tip with cash, not on the app. That’s your UBER tutorial.
This was the practical advice about getting around. It’s not that complicated. Walk, bike, public transport, taxi (don’t) or UBER.
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