The Dutch LOVE their bicycles! This was just a very SMALL section of the railway station bike park in the city. In fact I heard that some locals who do a lot of travelling keep a bike locked up in a bike park like this in each city they visit frequently! A friend had to check hers while we were here as she hadn't seen it or used it for several months since her last visit here! It was of course perfectly ok. What a great system :)
Taxi - Good but not cheap!
Taxi's here in the Netherlands are extremely expensive and should be used only if you have no other alternative.
Cars are very modern and comfortable and drivers very professional (they all dress in suit and tie...).
I live less than 2 km away from the station and it takes about 3 minutes to get there by Taxi. The price? Never less than 7 Eur!
A ride to the Airport will cost about 50-60 Euros if you take a normal Taxi. If you consider taking one in any case (it is only a 15 minutes train ride and costs less than 5 Eur), some companies have a fixed price of 35-40 Eur.
For instance, Taxi de Groot (071 5123300) offers the "Schiphol Service", but I have never used it myself.
Leiden itself is quite compact and walking or cycling are definetly the best options
The trainstation (Leiden Centraal) is very conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the "center".
Since Leiden is located just between Amsterdam and Rotterdam (with The Hague in between), you can easily get here from anywhere in the Netherlands. Since it is a major station, all "sneltrein" (express) will stop here.
From Amsterdam or Rotterdam it takes about 30 min. to get here, The Hague is about 10-15 minutes away.
All this obviously comes at a price. Transportation is not cheap in the Netherlands and an Amsterdam-Leiden return ticket will set you back 13.70 Eur.
Check out http://www.ns.nl for schedules and pricing.
Just a quick tip: There are two exits from the trainstation. If you get out and see the "LUMC" hospital building on your left, you are going the wrong way, the center is the other way. There is very little to see on that side anyway.
Rent a bike
Leiden is quite compact if you stick to the center, but if you planning to go around the whole day, you might want to rent a Bicycle. It's the easiest way to move, but be careful as most bikers are quite expert and you might find the (bike) traffic a bit frightening at first.
You will be surprised that most of the times the cars will stop for you and there are even many crossings where the cars have to yield to bikes...
They can be rented at the back of the Central train station (facing the large LUMC building) for 6.50 EUR/day plus a (refundable) deposit of 45 EUR. You need some kind of ID to rent.
CONNEXXIONS BUS SERVICES
the buses like the trains are plentyful,quick and on time,they are easy to use,buying a ticket onboard or prior to you journey is straightforward and again the driver will almost always have wonderful english so asking a question is no problem,no pointing required.
Leidens main bus terminal joins on to the trainstation,most buses will go from there to all the major destinations all are clearly marked so getting the wrong one is not likely.
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GETTING YOUR TRAIN TICKET
the dutch train system is very good,getting about is very easy when your used to how it works.
getting your ticket to your chosen destination can be done by using self service ticket machines positioned throughout the dutch rail system,they are easy to use and quick if you don't want to wait in line
to find out how to use these machines visit the dutch railway site for full details
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LEIDENS EFFECTIVE TRANSPORT FACILITIES
leiden is blessed with an effective transport hub connecting it with amsterdam and den haag and beyond effectively,making using leiden as your base to explore the region very easy.
getting in to leiden is very very easy,just follow the signs at schiphol to the trains,get your ticket and find your platform,usually 5 or 6,grab your train and a journey time of approx 20 minutes is all it takes right to leiden centraal station,taxis are directly outside the main terminal to your left up a ramp and can whisk you quickly to your hotel or whatever.
Leiden can easily be reached by train from Amsterdam or the Hague. Around half an hour from Amsterdam. About 20 minutes from the Hague.
From the train station it is a 5 minute walk to the city centre. And along that way, you'll pass the tourist information office so that is very convenient as well.
Going to Leiden by train is very easy, because Leiden has it's own main train station. From there you can get virtually everywhere, with a possible changing of trains in Utrecht, Rotterdam or Amsterdam. You can also get to Schiphol from Leiden in no time. You can get to Amsterdam, Schiphol, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague within 45 minutes. But be sure to get off at Leiden Centraal, as there are more than 1 train station in Leiden.
The train station is also a very nice display of modern architecture.
Cycling around Leiden
A good idea is to rent a bike at Leiden Central Station. Stop first at the Tourist Office in Stationsstraat (about 100 m from the station towards the center).
When you come out of the main entrance of Leiden Central Station, turn left and you'll find this place where you can buy or rent a bike or have it repaired or stalled.
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For our family of four, it was easiest to purchase a bus card ("nationale strippen kaart") at the post office. This one card worked on the streetcar in Amsterdam and on the bus from the train station to our hotel in Leiden. Much simpler than fumbling with change for the bus.
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Leiden is a half an hour journey from Amsterdam. The area around the station is not as picturesque as the rest of Leiden. Walk down Stationsweg in the directon of the University quarter to see the nicest areas.
Leiden is easily reached by...
Leiden is easily reached by bus or by train. There are trains that go from Schiphol in Amsterdam, from the city center of Amsterdam, and also from The Hague. My only caution is to make sure that you check if you're getting on the sneltrein or the stoptrein. When I was taking the train from The Hague to Leiden, I got on the stoptrein by mistake and it took twice as long. Those types of trains make a whole bunch of little stops in between as opposed to the sneltrein which makes the major stops.
You can take the bus in Leiden but I find it's a very walkable city. All the major sights are easily reached on foot. You can also try getting around by bicycle but I would recommend that you practise a bit first. I tried getting around by bike during a busy section and it was a little bit unnerving because I'm not used to riding a bike. I'm surprised I made it through without falling.
By train or car
On foot or by bike. Don't go into town with your own car, but park outside the city and take one of the free buses into town.
You can hire a bike for only 7,-- euro at the railway station and get to know the city. The historical centre is quiet large, so it may be inconvenient to walk. And by bike you can go see the countryside too, for instance you can go to the beach, see the forest area of Voorschoten and Wassenaar or the lovely polders of Zoeterwoude.
From Amsterdam to Leiden
There are 6 trains an hour from Amsterdam Central to Leiden Central which take less than 40 minutes.
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