Getting Around Amsterdam

Getting Around Amsterdam - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Getting around Amsterdam is an absolute snap. You'll find yourself a new best friend: the 0V-chipkaart. Better yet, make like Lance Armstrong and bike to your heart's content. We dare you.


Your first step is to purchase an "OV-chipkaart." The city is phasing out the use of "strippenkaarts" to make way for a new electronic system, and chipkaarts will soon be the main ticket option for metro users. Strippenkaarts can still be used on buses and trams (through 2011).

Most of Amsterdam's tourist attractions fall in the Centrum, or central, zone. This is the area we call the "Old Center." Chipkaarts can be purchased at all train stations, post offices, newsagents and Albert Hein supermarkets.

Chipkaarts can be purchased with either the "personal" or "anonymous" option. Anonymous chipkaarts cost €4; personal chipkaarts cost €7.50. Users add value to their card and the cost is calculated by distance traveled. See the OV-chipkaart site for more information.

While they are still available, two-strip strippenkaart costs €1.60, a three-strip strippenkaart costs €2.40, an 8-strip ticket (which doubles in function as a one-day ticket) costs €6.40, a 15-strip tickets costs €6.80, and a 45-strip ticket costs €20.40.

Seniors and children can buy a 15-strip strippenkaart for the reduced amount of €4.60. Day passes, good for unlimited travel in all zones, are available for €6.40 for adults and €4.50 for youth from 4 to 11 and seniors over 65 years of age. A 48-hour adult pass costs €10.50 and a 72-hour adult pass costs €13.50. Remember that strippenkaarts are only valid on buses and trams.

Trams and the Metro

All public transportation, including trams, buses and the metro, runs daily from 6 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Night buses run through the late night and early morning. A one-hour ticket for the tram or the bus costs €2.60.

For quick transportation around Amsterdam, we highly recommend taking a tram. It's an efficient, comprehensive way to zip around the winding streets and over the numerous waterways of the city. The trams glide along trafficked and pedestrian streets, clanging their bells and forcing walkers to step out of its way. It's an entertaining ride!

The Metro consists of four lines, three of which terminate at Centraal Station. The fourth line runs from Isolatorweg to Gein. The Amsterdam metro is more of a commuter train than a central city transportation line. It serves suburbs to the south and west of the city.


Buses in Amsterdam cover many of the same routes covered by trams, as well as destinations further afield. After the other public transportation systems shut down at 12:30 a.m., night buses get people through the night until 7 a.m. One night bus journey costs €3.50.


Taxis in Amsterdam charge a range of rates. In general, these rates are on the expensive side. Expect a base charge of €7.50 and a rate of €2.20 per kilometer.


Every Amsterdam local with functioning legs and a sense of balance rides a bike around town. With an extensive bike path system, Amsterdam is an extremely bike-friendly city. While cars may move at a snail's pace through the streets, bikes pedal on by. Bike traffic in Amsterdam is really part of the flow of the city. Traveling by bike permits exploration and getting a little exercise in the meantime.

We don't mean to be preachy about bikes, but it's truly refreshing to be in a major city that values transportation by bicycle. During our last trip to find hotels, we pedaled along canals, from restaurants to bars, and from neighborhood to neighborhood. We also took an extensive daytrip ride outside the city and visited a nearby village. Every portion of our ride proceeded along dedicated bike paths. The entire experience was a real pleasure.

MacBike, a major bike rental shop, has four locations throughout the city: Marnixstraat 220, Weteringsschans 2, Stationsplein 5 and Waterlooplein 199. The popular agency offers several options depending on what kind of bike you rent. Same-day town bicycles start at €9.50, 3-day rentals start at €19, and 6-day rentals start at €28. You can also rent saddlebags and trailers. For more information visit MacBike online.

Frederic Rent-A-Bike, Brouwersgracht 78, offers higher quality bikes from its rental office in the Shipping Quarter, northwest of Centraal Station. Frederic's bikes are a bit more expensive than the other places in town (daily rental €10). A credit card is required with each rental. Frederic and his bike-sperts can be reached locally at 624 55 09 and through the Frederic site.

Remember to lock up your bike, as theft is common. Dealing with a stolen rented bike can be a major hassle.

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