Besides bus, tram and metro services, Amsterdam's public transport company GVB also offers 5 free ferry services across the lake IJ.
Three of these ferry lines start from just behind the Central Railway Station and lead to the NDSM Wharf, the Buiksloterweg and the Ijplein in Amsterdam North.
Two more ferry lines start from near the street Tasmannstraat on the southern bank of the lake IJ and lead to either the NDSM Wharf or the Distelweg in Amsterdam North.
The ferry rides offer nice views of the banks of the lake and bring you to Amsterdam North, an area which is not as touristy as the busy city centre, but still well worth visiting.
Take the free ferry ride that leaves from behind Central Station, across the Het Ij and get off at IJPLEIN. You can look back and get a picturesque camera-worthy snapshot of central Amsterdam during the ferry ride. It is only about 5mins to cross the Het Ij to the other side.
Once on other side, you can leisurely walk and/or bicycle this relatively unexplored area of Amsterdam, which leads to the beautiful, quiet secluded countryside of Nieuwendam, Vliegenbos, and beyond...
You won't find THIS quiet little suburb mentioned in commercial guidebooks or tour guides! This relatively newer and built up suburb of Amsterdam provides a quiet respite from the hustle-bustle commercialism of downtown Amsterdam!
Behind the central train station you'll find several ferries which will bring you to the other side of the IJ. It's a nice way to see something of the ships on the water. Amsterdam is still one of the big ports in Europe. Or rent a bike and go to the rural area just above Amsterdam.
Leaving Centraal Station to the north brings you to a rank of GVB ferries that cross the river Ij. These run every few minutes and carry people and bikes, the traffic that can't use the road tunnel. These smart blue ferries cross the river and also run up and down stream for half a mile. These ferries don't really go anywhere interesting for tourists but they are free and worth a few minutes if you have free time waiting for a train. For tourists the most important ferry is probably the one to the NDSM wharf where the Amstel Botel and Pollox restaurant boat are moored. That one runs every 30 minutes and there are large digital countdown timers to tell you how long you have to wait till the next one arrives.
The ferry across het IJ, leaving behind the central station is bringing you to Amsterdam noord for free.
A fun trip with kids to see Amsterdam from the other side of the water and it will cost you absolutely nothing......
Connecting Amsterdam North with Amsterdam Centre there is a free ferry that runs almost all day with a high frequenty. This offers people to park on the Northern enighbourhoods of Amsterdam, something that is not frequently done by foreigners or non-Amsterdam-folk. Parking here however involves the use of a parking-meter-card (blue), so don't forget to take one if you're into this way of going to A'dam.
So I come full circle. The first time I came across VirualTourist on the web, I was looking for information regarding the ferry behind Amsterdam Central Train Station. I found it incredible that there were so many different tips describing the ferry. Who were all these people with so much time on their hands that they felt it important to describe a five minute ferry trip. And now I am one. While no one tip provided all of the information I needed, together, the tips provided the details I needed to be able to meet a friend north of Amsterdam.
So now for my own tip. Yes, there are several ferries leaving from north of the central train station. None of them take more than five or ten minutes to ride, so it’s easy to recover from any mistakes. In fact, if you wanted to get a quick feel for the canal tours without paying the price, this is a free trip you can take on the water.
If you arrive at the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal (PTA) with a cruise ship and want to have a great panorama-view of "your" ship, you can cross the river by free with "IJpleinveer" – the ferry starts near the central station/street de ruyterkade, ca. 10 walking minutes from the PTA. The ferry carry foot passengers, bicycles and mopeds and runs in the maintime for every 15minutes.
You can find the detailed timetable in the link below.
Fairy boats between the backside (northside) of the main station and the northern part of the city. It´s a free connection between thsoe parts of the city, because the other alternative are highways only for cars.
To get across 'Het IJ' to the Northern part of the city you can take 'De Pont' (ferry).
Webcam (select Veerpont GVB)
We saw this ferry from our canal boat,when we went from the smooth canals out into the wild waters that surround Amsterdam.