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!
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.
Don't get me wrong i would love to drive around Amsterdam and explore the city in an even faster pace but its so much more fun to walk and explore the city up close and personal. For example what if you driving and you see an amazing site and you just want to get out of the car and be apart of that site, well you can't cause you need to worry about your damn car and where your going to park it without getting a ticket and etc. one dosen't even need a car just a bike or a motorcycle to get around.
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.
Amsterdam has quite a big centre, but most of the places the average (and even not-so average) tourists will want to go to are within walking distance from each other. You can use public transport, but if you stay in the centre in many cases you might as well walk. I don't recommend renting a bike if you're not used to riding in a crowded city; Amsterdam is a mess! Only rent a bike when you want to see something of the surrounding area.
Amsterdam is very central, with alot of different activities packed into a small area. Walking is the best way to get around downtown Amsterdam. However, be sure to get a map or ask for detailed directions. Because after a while, with all the same little alleys, everything begins to look the same. Especially after you are 5 or 6 joints deep. :)
On foot. At several places in the city you find signs that lead you easily to the cities tourists highlights. It is a coincidence that I photographed the sign, which leads to the Homo monument (Gay-monument), honestly I noticed afterwards when I had downloaded the pictures on my hard disk.
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