if you are around the central area of Amsterdam, better walk around, its good for your health. Parking is so expensive in the city and thats the reason why most people who live there ride their bikes to work. Its the easiest and parking a bike is easy too. They have a huge parking lot for bikers. Whilst walking around the city you may take photos of scenery and sites, hop to different museums and learn about the famous Dutch artists like Van Gogh. Its an experience, worth all the time walking!
Especially Amsterdam's compact old town is best explore on foot. It has many pedestrianised cobbled streets or pathways which are not accessible to cars or public transportation anyway.
While we strolled through the old town we discovered many interesting buildings and details, like the 19th century former paint and varnish factory (Verf- en Vernisfabriek) at the Prins Hendrikkade 80.
More by chance than on purpose we spotted the eclectic style building of the life insurance company Noord Braband Waalwijk, which stands at the corner of the streets Singel and Haarlemmerstraat.
The wide space of the former shipyard NDSM in Amsterdam North also invites to be best explored on foot. Many interesting rusty art statues and graffitis can be seen here.
Amsterdam is definitely pedestrian friendly and a CITY MADE FOR WALKING. And that's just what we (Hans & I along with his sister Nel and husband Jean) did. Starting off at Centraal Station, we first took a Tram to the area of the Rijksmuseum at Stadhouderskade. We then headed to the nearby Vondelpark and walked a bit there. Our next stop was near the Holland Casino and the Leidseplein. As it was a beautiful sunny day, locals and tourists alike were taking advantage of the many lovely terraces and cafe's in the Leidseplein. We then headed on Rokin and passed the Hotel de L'Europe and the Amsterdam Diamond Center, which brought us to Dam Square and the Royal Palace. The square was busy with many people out and about and sitting everywhere in the Square. Next we took Damrak, the main street with tons of shops and restaurants. We had to stop here for some frites met mayonnaise - mmm lekker! Finally, headed back to Centraal Station and the train back to Schiphol. What a lovely lovely day!
Walking around the city is my preferred option.
Amsterdam is not a huge city , you can break your walking to parts and just walk.
Most of the attractions are in the middle of the city so it is not problematic to walk.
In 3 days you can walk in most of the touristic parts of the area to my opinion.
There are several guided tour operators in Amsterdam, like:
Genuine volunteer guides, also for handicapped people
Self guided audiotours
Amsterdam City Walks
Urban Home & Gardens
Double Dutch Tours
Citytour in the "Pijp" quarter
Rob van Hulst RLD tour
Randy Roy's RLD tour (tip by Geoff)
Mokum events walks
Amsterdam Insiders guided tours
Walther Schooneberg personal walks
New Amsterdam Tours
Wereldreis in Amsterdam, organised group walks along global influences at Amsterdam.
The Renaissance is an excellent start point, as Centraal and all the trams head out from there. Suggestion is to get a Streetwise Amsterdam map, which has tram lines, points of interest, etc clearly marked. Barnes & Noble carries them, but you can also go to www.streetwisemaps.com
Have a great trip!
If you want to travel around the center of Amsterdam, walking is the best option. You get to see everything, it nice and flat everywhere, and you realise the city center is not as big as imagined. All the shops are close together, so you can find anything you want in just a short while.
My friend and I rented a car while in the city. It is NOT worth it. You can get around just by taking the tram, train or even a bicycle. If you are staying in a hotel that is right in the middle of everything, scratch the car idea because it is easier to take public transportation or even to walk than it is to drive. Parking is pretty expensive and that is if you can find a place to park!
I've already described most of this on some of my other pages, but just to recap:
Car rentals -- no way.
Walking -- you betcha, and a lot of it.
Buses -- seemed to be going to outlying areas and places not covered by the trams. Not many of them and we had no need for them while there.
Bicycles -- everywhere, ridden by all ages, apparently hell-bent on getting to their destinations, and will run all over you unless you're very watchful when walking almost anywhere in crowded areas. Can be rented, but if you do be sure to lock that sucker to a solid structure anywhere you leave it. Theft is a very common thing.
Trains -- had no need for them either, and no direct knowledge to share.
Taxis -- no need for them either, but very expensive from what I've read. Be aware, though, that unlike in the U.S. if you're from there, they are prohibited from cruising around and looking for fares, and waving them down is not done. You will, however, find them parked near any popular area, with the front one in the line of cars being the first one to get passengers.
If doing over, we would have ventured to learn the tram routes and use them sooner than we did. Can't say it's a regret, since you can only really experience the sights and streets by walking (or via a canal boat tour), but in hindsight we tired ourselves out more than once the first couple of days there walking blocks and blocks to a destination that would have been a quick and effortless tram ride. The entire tram system was a very efficient thing from our experiences.
Walking is definitely the way to go when exploring Amsterdam. And even if you are not much of a walker, it is still doable, but just don't try to overdo it. I would suggest planning your daily itenerary to see sights in particular areas, and just remember that you can always take a "coffee break"! Be sure and pack comfortable shoes, and if you have ever been to NYC, then you know to watch out for cabs - well in Amsterdam it's that way with bikes!
In Amsterdam almost everything you are coming for to see and experience is in walking distance if your accommodation is not too far from the centre. The public transport network seems to be adequate but we used it only between the railway station and our hotel (which was also a walking distance btw.). For the public transport you buy best a "Strippenkaart", a ticket wioth 15 stripes (mostly 2 stripes for a normal ride, changes included). The special advantage is that this ticket is valid in all Netherlands, you can use it in other Dutch cities as well!
Amsterdam is absolutely a city that needs to be explored on foot. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing a lot of walking, in which case the trams are excellent, hitting the bricks is the way to go. The city center is relatively small, and there are no hills to climb. Do yourself a great service and take it all in as you cruise around town on the best transportation that was given to you, your feet! Just watch out for bicycles with bells-a-ringing flying by!!!
I have to say in my opinion the best way to get around Amsterdam is by bike you can explore the whole city and in a day or so other than that walkingis your next best bet, Ams. is small enough to walk to all the popular stops but you can take the tram if you are lazy or a taxi late at night , keep in mind the Tram stops running at certain time if you are close to Clubs or the Red Light district you can catch a cab, depending on where you are staying you may not even need it, don't bother with a car there is no need for ityou could rent a bike and really exlpore which is fun. The buses are OK too, by the way there are some late night buses that run after the tram but I did not take them and I am not sure when they stop runing.
One of the most common fears of the rookie international traveler is the ability to commutate and read signs. Verbal commutation is very easy, since most locals have English as a second language, and a fair amount will even the ability to speak a third language. So asking for directions is easy.
Reading street signs is also somewhat easy if you read English. Many words will appear very similar to the English counter parts.
However there are a few words that are different, you might want to know:
Noord = North
Zuid = South
Oost = East
and the easy one West = West
Zijde = side
Also you will notice the Dutch language uses many compound words like Oostzijde would translate into East side.
We ve mainly walked in Amsterdam but because i wasnt there for long i still bought an Amsterdam pass which enabled us go to go quicker to those further away destinations and you have access wihtout paying anymore to most of the transport in Amsterdam: tram , buses, metro, and some canal boats. It also gives you free entrance to some museums, reductions to others and reductions to other attractions.
Otherwise you can rent the typical bicycles.
You can buy the pass at the tourist office outside central station but i ll advice you to buy it at the tourist info office inside the train station as it was less of a queue.