Any experienced traveller will agree: when visiting a city or country for the first time, it is always the need to get around that is among the most pressing.
In short, you’re going to need reliable modes of transportation, more than anything else.
But don’t worry, here’s a very helpful guide as you get around Amsterdam (which is perhaps one of the cities in the world that won’t give you too much of a problem when it comes to transportation).
Tip #1: If possible, don’t use the car.
In other cities, such as where you come from perhaps, a car might be a welcome form of transportation. Given the heavy and unfriendly traffic, it might be a good idea for you to get in the car and save yourself from the prospect of having to suffer under the heat of the sun and everyone else’s temper.
Amsterdam, however, is a different story. A car isn’t the best way to experience the city; if anything, by keeping yourself cooped up inside your car (especially if you’re a tourist), you just might be depriving yourself of the opportunity to have a more complete feel of the city.
However, if driving a car is an option you can’t seem to avoid, then you can still use it. It would be a good idea if you leave it at Park and Ride facilities. This means that you won’t have to worry about parking space anymore, because all you have to do is to park your car at any one of the Park and Ride spaces located in the outskirts of the city. The parking fee (which is good for 24 hours) already includes public transportation that connects you to the city center for a maximum of five people.
Tip #2: Try riding a bike through Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is not a very big city, which means one thing: riding the bike is always a good idea if you want to get around. If you come from a city that isn’t too bike friendly, or if the prospect of even bringing a bike around the city is one that is foreign to you, then Amsterdam is a great gamechanger.
To say that ‘Amsterdam loves its bikes’ is an understatement. Given the fact that in Amsterdam there are more bikes than people, it would be safe to say that it is still the preferred mode of transportation. Because the city is not that big, you wouldn’t have a difficult time exploring its many sights and sounds if you get around on your bike.
Word of caution, though. Even if the bike is well-loved in the city, the government is pretty strict about designated parking spaces for bikes. You can’t just leave your bike anywhere. Otherwise, if you happen to park it irresponsibly, then you can be sure that your bike will be duly confiscated. (Not-so-fun fact: in Amsterdam, an average of 175 bikes a day are confiscated due to incorrect parking.) Avoid parking your bike in areas with a sign that says ‘geen fietsen’, and watch out for the sign that has a bicycle with a red line through it.
Tip #3: It wouldn’t hurt to walk around.
Think a vacation is a good way to cheat around your exercise routine? Think again.
You might want to consider getting good exercise while on vacation, especially if you’re in Amsterdam. The city is very walkable, given that it’s so pleasantly flat, thereby not causing the ‘walkers’ too much suffering with those difficult slopes and elevations.
The thing that makes walking in Amsterdam beautiful is the fact that touring on foot increases your chances of encountering a sight to behold along the way. The city is home to so many pretty corners and alleys; who knows what you’ll find as you walk along its roads?
No matter what way you choose to get around Amsterdam, you can be sure that the city will meet you where you are, in its endlessly surprising ways.