Amsterdam tips: getting around


prinseneiland_cecile_obertopAmsterdam is tiny compared to other capital cities. From one end of the center to the other is about 45 minutes on foot.

If you are able-bodied you can walk between most of the sights.

For example the walk from Anne Frank House to Rijksmuseum is around 25 minutes walk alongside pretty canals:

You can use Google Maps > Directions to calculate walking distances and times.

Public transport

Taking a free ferry from Central Station to NDSM wharf will give you nice views

But if you get tired you may want to take a tram, bus, metro or ferry. is a perfect door-to-door public transport planner to help you find which tram, bus, metro, train or ferry you need to get around Amsterdam or the whole country for that matter. It shows you how long it takes and how much it costs, allows you to enter museum names, or street addresses as well as stations and public transport stops, and shows you the bits you need to walk to and from stops (on a map if you want to).

Or just use Google Maps > Directions and click the public transport symbol.

Kids (and adults) love to ride trams just for fun, the same goes for the free ferries that go from Central Station. For example the ferry to NDSM wharf takes 15 minutes and gives you nice views of lesser-visited parts of the city. NDSM wharf itself offers various cafes, lots of street art and a city beach.

Cycling? Better not

The minute you set foot in Amsterdam you will notice that thousands upon thousands of people use bikes to get around. However, this is not a good method for sightseeing and enjoying the city as a visitor. Riding a bike, you would be way too busy finding the way and minding the many obstacles such as dangerous tram tracks which can cause you to fall hard; straying tourists, speeding locals, cars on the narrow canal streets…


Another example of why you should not try it as a tourist. Also note how there is sometimes just an inch of space between cars and bikes, that is also the case when both have speed. 

Apart from that the city is not a playground. Locals need to get to work, school, appointments. They have no patience for swaying, staggering tourists on bikes.

toeristen_klJust walk around, this makes it much easier to look up at all the beautiful gables, stop and take photos, spot hidden courtyards and cute shops and cafes.

Quieter bike ride outside city center or in countryside: yes!

Only if you plan to do a longer bike ride outside the center, for example alongside the Amstel river or out into nature, in that case renting a bike is nice. Lots more info on how to go about this on my page with tips for scenic bike rides.

Car? Better not

The many narrow one-way streets and the thousands upon thousands of kamikaze cyclists make Amsterdam very unsuitable for driving a car, especially for foreigners who are not used to all the cyclists and Dutch traffic rules. Not only is it dangerous for yourself and everyone around you, it is also much slower than using trams or metros for example. Plus parking can cost up to € 7.50 per hour. If you can find a spot…
Leave your car in a P+R at the edge of the city and travel into town by public transport.

Amsterdam is best explored on foot

>> Back to Amsterdam tips main page…

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