Public Transportation in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has an efficient public transportation system that includes metro, tram and bus lines. It provides a cheap and easy access to all the tourist attractions and connects all parts of the city. GVB, the public transportation company of Amsterdam operates this network and serves a number of nearby towns as well.
Trams are the most important way of public transport in the city center. Most lines depart from the Central Station. Using trams you can reach most of the sights and tourist attractions quickly and easily.
Buses and night buses mostly depart from the Central Station like trams. They are useful if you travel farther from the city center and after trams stopped running. Night buses cover large part of the city and some suburbs at night time.
Metro (subway, tube) is a fast way to travel but it has just a few stations in the center of Amsterdam. So it is useful if you travel to certain suburbs.
The Strip Card (Strippenkaart) is the name of the tickets used on the vehicles of public transportation. These cards can be purchased in advance in GVB ticket shops, train stations, post offices, tourist offices, tobacco shops etc. You can also buy them from bus drivers or tram conductors, however you should avoid this because they are more expensive in this case. A ticket is divided to 2, 3, 8, 15 or 45 strips. When using the public transportation you always have to have a valid ticket with you. Sometimes you can be asked to show your ticket by a ticket controller. If you do not have a valid ticket, you have to pay a fine. Fines must be paid immediately on spot.
Zone system: The city of Amsterdam is divided into zones, and you are charged depending on how many zones you wish to travel. To find this out you have to check the zone maps found in tram or bus stops. If you are unsure ask the driver or conductor. You have to stamp one more strip than the number of zones affected. For example if you stay in the same zone you have to stamp 2 stripes while if you tavel to the next zone you need 3 stripes and so on. You have to stamp the ticket yourself using the yellow boxes on trams, buses and metro stations or have the bus or tram driver stamp it from you. On the metro you always have to stamp the ticket yourself on the station before boarding as there are no stamping machines on the trains. This might sound a little difficult, but you should not worry as most tourist attractions are located within the same zone in central Amsterdam. Your stamped ticket is valid for one hour so you can transfer to other trams, buses or metro lines provided that you stay inside the same zones your ticked was stamped for.
Passes: There are daily passes available that allow unlimited travel on buses, trams, metro lines and night buses for 24, 48 or 72 hours. They are avaiable at GVB ticket shops, train stations and main tourist offices. The 24 hours ticket is also available from bus drivers and tram conductors.
Transportation by water in Amsterdam
Canal Bus is the perfect way to get around in Amsterdam on the water. It offers ideal transportation along the main canals. The Canal Company operates three lines with 14 stops located in the city center close to museums and tourist sights. All three lines start from the Central Station. You can buy a daily pass and hop on and hop off as many times as you like. The company offers thematic tours as well like Jazz tour and Pizza tour. If you want to explore Amsterdam on water by yourself, you can rent a canal bike.
Museum Boat: Many of Amsterdam's museums are located near a canal so you can combine a canal tour with some culture using the Museum Boat (Museumboot) that stops at more than 20 museums. You can hop on and hop off with a daily ticket that also gives you a discount at some museums.
Water Taxi company offers luxurious boats to rent from 8 to 40 persons. All ships are high class and fully equipped with catering service offered as well.
Taxi: Special regulations apply for Amsterdam's taxi system and strict policies are defined on services and licensing. Taxis in Amsterdam have a taxi sign on the top of the car, a blue number plate and a price list both inside and outside. The taxi driver's pass must be on the dashboard. You can find a taxi at official taxi ranks at Central Station, Schiphol Airport and many other places. In Amsterdam you do not need to take the first car in the queue. You can also try to hail a taxi on the street though it might not be easy especially in busy weekends. And remember that in Amsterdam there are several no stopping zones. If you call a taxi on the phone it normally arrives in 5-10 minutes. There are no call charges. Taxis are quite expensive, though. The fare consists of a basic price and a price per kilometer.
Bicycle: Amsterdam is flat and compact city with narrow streets and few parking places that makes it an ideal place for biking. Bicycle seems to be the most easy and convenient way of getting around. An extensive network of safe and fast bycicle routes make it a paradise of bikers. Many people say that Amsterdam was designed for bikes. Almost half of all traffic movements in Amsterdam are by bicycle. So cycling is a fun way of exploring the city and its surroundings. There are guided bike tours and many bike rentals so you are welcome to join in.