While I enjoy walking, sometimes it just takes too long to get where you are going, or the weather is less than desirable. This is when the local transit system can be a great help.
If you don’t normally use public transportation, don’t worry it’s very easy and cheap. Amsterdam offers a nice verity of systems to get you where you want to go. Trams and canal boats are the most commonly used. While there is a Metro (subway), buses and cabs these are not the most efficient way to travel the city.
If you don’t plan to do a lot of walking but want to see a lot of the city, using the ‘Amsterdam Transport Pass’ will save you money. For 21 euros a day, you will have unlimited use of the tram, bus, metro or canal bus.
If you like to walk, and are going to be in town for a couple of days the ‘Strippenkaart’ (strip of tickets) will save you a little money and a lot of frustration. You can walk, until the feet get tired than hop the system back. You can pay cash for a trip on the tram but, standing there pulling out the money and buying a ticket can be a pain in the rear.
The area is broken down into zones, each zone will require 1 ticket. The cool thing is that everyone can share the same ‘Strippenkaart’. These can be bought in strips of 2, 3, 8, 15 or 45 tickets. Finding a seller is also easy, train stations, tourist office, post office and even some tobacco shops.
A common fear is not knowing how to use the system. Don’t worry, that is also very easy. Maps of routes are easy to find, and trams are very well marked with both number and name of route. You will also notice that the next stop will be written on a digital board, and stops are also verbally announced. If you are unsure if the tram will take you where you need to go, you can always ask the driver. I have found them to be very friendly and helpful.
One last little tip, don’t worry about getting lost in the city. You can’t walk far with out running into a tram stop and all but will end up at Central station.
The tram goes in/out and around the city center. It usually comes every 5-10 minutes, and very convenient way to get to the major locations, i.e, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House.
You can buy one time ticket on a tram, but if you know that you'll use tram several times, buy a day-pass or 15 ticket strip at the convenience shops, which will save you money. If you use a strip, make sure to get a stamp on the ticket everytime you get on a tram. 1 trip usually uses 2 tickets on a strip.
I found the tram easy to use and very convenient. I bought a 72 hour pass (see my tip about the I Amsterdam card). You simply show the pass to the conductor who will stamp it on it's first use. For subsequent trips, you just need to show the pass to the conductor when you enter the tram.
I can't remember for sure what the cost was (I want to say about 12 Euro), but this was the quickest and easiest way around the city when in a hurry to get back to a particular destination. Amsterdam is a big city and depending on where you are and where you're going, walking may take a while. Bring comfortable shoes, but if you're in a hurry, I suggest the tram.
Trams are the way to travel if walking isn't an option or one is just plain worn out. Tickets are available from the conductor toward the back of most trams or at the large building across from the Central Station. Ticket strips must be punched for each ride... just one zone if traveling around Central Amsterdam.
When getting around Amsterdam, there are various options for you, all very convenient and cheap. We found the best way was to purchase ten trip passes which can be used on the train, trams and metro. As you get on the tram and trains you self stamp your pass until you use up all of your ticket. This is a very trusting set up, and as such it is up to the integrity of the traveller to ensure that they don't cheat the system.
Traveling by tram is a relatively cheap and efficient way of traversing Amsterdam's bustling and chaotic city center. Individual tickets cost only €1.50, and are good for one hour on any of the city's buses or trams (a €5.50 one day card is also available). Many tourists will take tram #2 or #5 from the Centraal station to the Museumplein, where the Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum are located. Beware that during peak hours (around 17:00) the trams can be VERY crowded with tourists returning to the train station.
Trams cost 1.60 EURO and this fare is paid to the driver. You could hop on and hop off without paying if it's crowded, but you can go to jail for doing it! Why take the chance! This is a quick and easy way to get around Amsterdam. There are tram maps everywhere and they run often!
Central Amsterdam is small enough to walk across if you are reasonably fit. However if you are pressed for time the best way to get around Amsterdam is by tram. These blue and grey vehicles run along 17 tram routes that snake there way around the city. Conveniently 11 of them start at the Centraal Station. These trams run very frequently. The trams tickets can be purchased at numerous locations around Amsterdam including from the tram drivers, conductors, the tourist office, newstand kiosks and from automats at the train station and on board some of the trams. Tickets can be purchased for all kinds of time periods or number of rides. As most tourist do not take the tram rides too often around the city, I recommend that you buy a single ticket for 1.40 Euros. This will allow you to ride not only the tram but the buses and metro for one if you need to transfer. Remember to validate your ticket with the yellow machines located on the trams.
The tram is a great way to get around. The conductors are very helpful, and you can get all day passes cheap. It's also easy to navigate (after some trial and error), so it makes for a good friend after visiting a coffe shop or four.
Amsterdam has a wonderful integrated transportation system and the visitor would do well to make the most of it.
Most places ~ small or large ~ can be reached by either bus,tram or train and in many cases there will be up to 4 services per hour.
Transport is reliable, clean and at a reasonable price.
Train tickets are available from stations either by using the simple to operate ticket machines or by queuing at the loket ; the ticket sales desk.
Trams and the Metro use the strippenkaart system ~ buy a strip of cards and punch the appropriate number in the machine on the train or tram.
Another super way to get around the city is to use the canals and if you purchase a museum canalboat ticket this also gives you a discount at many of the major museums such as the Rijksmuseum.
Trams are great for getting around the city in a fast and efficient manner. Buy a strippenkart from the train station. It contains a little more than a dozen strips. Each of the rides we took required two strips to be validated per person. yes, you can use strippenkart for more than one person. It is very convenient indeed. We took the tram between the stop at Westerkerk and Centraal Station for the most part. These trams run all over the city and are very easy to use.
If you go to Amsterdam you walk a lot, and sometimes you are just to tired to get back to the hotel on foot. We bought a 10stop ticket, I guess we paid 10€, but I'm not so sure. The schedules are displayed at the bus stop, very easy to use, if you are not sure just ask someone, they will be glad to help.
Amsterdam has a very efficient tram / metro system to get you wherever you want to go in the city. Knowing and using the trams will save you time, walking, and increase the quality of your experience there.
The specific 3 & 5-day passes
click here for Amsterdam Pass
are for some a better deal than strippenkaarts and less hassle (no stamping, just show it to the driver), plus you get free admission to almost all museums (not Anne Frank of course...), free canal boat tours, etc.
A tram card, like the 15-strippenkaart full fare in the picture (€ 6,40) will get you about 6 or 7 trips depending on the distance and "zones" you go through. A strippenkaart ends up saving you euros, a 3 or 5-day pass is more convenient.
If you go the strippenkaart route, make sure to stamp it correctly (the conductor can show you) or you could be fined.
You can buy Tram passes and strippenkaarts at TI office (VVV just outside ADam Centraal station), lots of other places, or from the tram conductor.
Watch out for trams when you're walking around the city, especially crossing Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, Damrak & some of the other busy streets.
And sadly there are sometimes pickpockets on the trams, so be careful.
But the trams are great and very efficient. Use them to save wear n tear on yer fiets.
Tram lines snake across Amsterdam, making it one of the more viable mode of transportation about (apart from walking and the bicycle).
Personally, I did not manage to hitch a ride on it but I managed to survive not getting run over by them :-p