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.
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!
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!!!
Since Amsterdam is a small place I would advice you to explore it by foot. you'll have a chance to see every interesting spot. don't afraid to get lost, it's almost impossible anyways - streets are curved or laid out in circles. following canals is a good idea too. remember, walking is healthy!
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.
I found Amsterdam to be an extremely walkable city. I walked just about everywhere. It was a great way to get to know the city and get to learn where everything is. I did take the tram a couple of times, however, and found it to be safe, prompt and maybe a little overpriced. Taxis are also overpriced so pack your comfy walking shoes and hit the road.
Amsterdam is flat and compact, and most of the sites are within easy walking distance from the center of the city. There's a lot of old irregular brick, so gals, avoid high heals!
Watch out for bicyclists. Avoid the reddish colored paving as it is reserved for cyclists, who WILL get mad and yell obscenities (I would too!) at you.
Amsterdam is the type of city that you need to simply explore on foot. While you can rent a bike to get around, its not needed. The city is set up for walking. Most attractions you'll want to see are with in a 10-15 mins walk, in addition the city is so beautiful that the walk around town are fantastic.
we feel as travelers that the only true way to see a city is by foot, otherwise you just fly by and miss little things..sure the trams in amsterdam are great ( so im told ) and the cabs are a ripp off, if your brave and sober you can ride a bike but that's not for me..we walked a little over 100 miles in the 10 days we were there, maybe more?
There will be much, much walking to do, so make sure to wear your walking shoes.
Make certain they are comfortable with good support and grip cause it gets wet alot on those cobblestone streets and sidewalks. I found my Timberlands to be the best for walking around Amsterdam.
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!
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.
The canalboats get you around the canals, but to have a complete view of the centre of Amsterdam, one has to get out and start walking. Therefor the canalbus / museumboat are excellent means of transport for a visitor to Amsterdam. One chooses the most popular things to do and see and simple connects them by boat and short walks. The walk from the Central Station-area over the Damrak to the Dam (square) is a must. Added are walks through the red light district (Walletjes), the shoppingstreets (Kalverstraat etc.) and the Vondelpark.
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!
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.