that must be by train! Parking space is a rare thing in Amsterdam!If you want to know more, go to Access to Amsterdam without aggro .
You can walk, go on a boat trip or jump on a tram. Either way you get from one point to another :-)!There's a museumboat that takes you to the most beautiful spots and off course to some musea, it does not cost much and it is great fun!Animated gif from this site: http://www.bmz.amsterdam.nl/.
The impressively designed red huge train station sits on a man made island right in front of the harbor was constructed with controversies - well that's the story or history - which you may not notice unless maybe if you're a city planner or ...uv read the story online.
Anyhoo, chances are you'll end up here if you're getting in or out of Amsterdam to/from your next destination. There are lots of tram that starts and end here - but I prefer to walk, Amsterdam is not that big. The train from Haarlem stops here - a 15 miuntes ride.
For me, it does not only serves as a transport hub, I used it for other handy things. for one, There is a "I amsterdam" tourist office inside the station where I bought a shirt and some other stuff, while most people buy their tours from there, transport cards, maps, and free tourist info.
Secondly, it's a good place to meet up with friends, almost everyone knows the place.
Third, there are some fastfood restaurants inside, stores, a toilet for EUR0.50 and lastly ---
....I took a shower there for EUR5 before boarding the overnight train to Munich - juz cuz checkout time in hotels is normally before noontime and I roam around the city the whole day until late afternoon and feeling dirty. Cost not including towel though which is an extra. Well worth it instead of paying a hefty extra extention rate from the hotel.
We found the train to be a very convenient way into the city. During both of my visits, we drove to Utrecht, parked the car and took the train the last 39 km. Back in 1999 it cost 19.75 Netherlands Guilder. Today this 30 minute ride costs 6.10 Euro for full-fare second class and only 3.70 Euro for reduced fare second class.
Due to its central location in the nation, Utrecht is the rail hub for the entire country.
In Rotterdam, none of the ticket machines would take a US credit card, so I had to walk from the back of the station to the front to get tickets. Eventually I left my granddaughter with the bags (when I weighed mine later it was 53 lbs.) and walked up to the money exchange area. It had gotten warm and was sunny, so I was drenched with sweat when I got there, and the lady in the booth gave me a packet of towelettes kind of thing - they were printed with $100 bills (Ben Franklin's face).
I got the train tickets which were 26 euros each but then they gave us the wrong directions to the train. There were steps to go up to get to the platform and I just can't carry my bag and neither can my granddaughter.
Every time someone helped me (and they did), they basically had trouble lifting my bag. It was very stressful and tiring. We ended up on the local train instead of the fast train because I was not going to go up steps and down steps to get to a different train.
But I didn't care - at least I got to Amsterdam. The train went through Utrecht.
We went the wrong direction at the station in Amsterdam and ended up at the back of the station instead of the front where we could have gotten a cab. One of the cabs that had come to pick up specific people called another cab for me, and he did take us to the hotel
Not knowing the language meant I had to be prepared to get off the train at Breda and find a bus to my destination in Axel. The trains went fast and did not stop for very long at stations, so an alarm clock was my lifeline. As I knew my expected time of arrival, or at least how long the journey should last , I sat it on the table in front of me, set for my ETA. This worked and I arrived in Breda and got off the train.
However, trouble almost struck me when I went to find the bus to take me to Axel. I tried asking directions to the bus and was pointed to one. As I got on and asked the driver, he started pointing to another bus that was about to depart. Eventually he managed to attract that driver's attention, manhandle my suitcase off his bus and onto the other. When I got to Axel my penfriend was waiting with her bicycle. We put the suitcase on the bike somehow and wheeled it to her house.
So you want to take some trips out of Amsterdam? The train is the best option but you do need a slight understanding of how to find your train. If you look at photo 1 - this shows a station finder board - simply look up the station you want and this tells you the times of the trains and which platform(spoor) they go from. Photo 2 shows a station departure electronic sign. This shows the train is the 11.05 to Amsterdam Centraal (from Amersfoort). It shows the stations where the train will stop but is confusing because it says the train will stop in Zaandam. It will but after it has stopped at Amsterdam Centraal. I wonder how many people think they are on the wrong train because of this? "Verder sprinter Uitgeest" means this Sprinter train will go on to Uitgeest. "Voor Schipol overstappen in Weesp" means For Schipol change at Weesp.
There are also station announcements in Dutch only and on train announcements again in Dutch only. The only exception are Schipol bound Inter City trains which have announcements in Dutch, English and German.
You must buy a ticket before travelling - since 2005, you can no longer simply buy a ticket from the conductor, as in some other countries. If you buy a ticket on board, you will have to pay the normal price plus a €35 fine. If you have a valid reason (e.g. the ticket machines were defective), the fine might be refunded, but only by written application to the NS offices. The conductor is not allowed any discretion on this policy, which was widely criticised but still in place. If you do not have either enough cash, or a passport, you could be arrested. (The more you argue with the conductor, the more likely he/she will call the railway police).
There are tickets machines at Centraal Station but I opted to pay 50 cents extra and buy them form the ticket office. Smaller stations do not have ticket offices and you have to use the machines - I only tried once and the machine would not accept my English bank debit card - I also noted some Dutch people having a problem and in the end I paid a friend cash for her to buy me a ticket with her card that did work.
The ticket offices or machines do not accept Visa credit cards - unbelievable in 2009!
The trains only have 80% - 85% punctuality rates too which is poor for such a small country - they are also slow in comparrison to similar InterCity lines in England.
However still a frequent service everywhere and still the best way to travel in Holland.
Thalys speed train links between Amsterdam and Paris (pass by Rotterdam - Antwerp - Brussels), it's about 4.30 hour and it costs about 1.15 euro one way, but it could me much cheaper if you buy in advance.
You can buy tickets just before departure in Amsterdam centran station.
Save yourself some money. The machines to sell tickets accept only coins (not notes) or card. If you go to the counter, you may be charged 50 cents for service. We got charged for a 6,70 ticket but the tickets above 7euro didnt have this surcharge of 50cents so it may only be a surcharge because ticket price was too small, or it could be because the stations that didnt charge extra only had ticket machines that took card and no cash ones. I dont know, but either way, is a lot easier and cheaper, and quicker (long long queues) to buy train ticket from the machine than a person. So, when leaving Schipol airport by train, make sure when you changed your money before entering Holland to have some coins with you. You can check up ticket prices and times before you leave at www.ns.nl which has an option for English.
You can use a train to get to/from Amsterdam.
The trains are on the central station (north part of Amsterdam).
I used the train to get to Zaansee Schans - a 2 way ticket cost me 6 Euros (while organized trip will cost 30 Euros).
There are a lot of places in the station to buy tickets and Information center.
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