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You are here: Home / Conferences / Amsterdam 2013 / Amsterdam / Getting around

Getting around

Amsterdam is a wonderfully walkable city with most major sites located in or near the city center. Public transportation is excellent and driving is strongly discouraged within the canal ring. Of course biking is the preferred Dutch way to travel and some would say the only way to truly experience the city.

Public Transportation - GVB ( is the public transport company of Amsterdam providing integrated metro, tram and bus service throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding areas. In 2010 one comprehensive OV-chipcard ticketing system has been introduced allowing you to travel on trams, metro, busses and even trains using one card OV-chipcard. There is a whole complexity of these cards, which carry the credit you purchased earlier on special machines located on stations and at the entry of many supermarkets.

There are 24-, 48-, 72-, 96-, 120-, 144- and 168- hour OV-chipcards, which allow for unlimited travel on all trams, buses, metros and night buses for the duration of the card and provide economical way for visitors to explore the city.

A one hour OV card can be purchased onboard from GVB drivers and conductors, however this is not recommended due the premium charged for this ticket: it costs € 2,70 for one hour unlimited travel on different busses and trains in the city, counted since the begin of your first journey. This card is not valid on another day or longer than one hour, even if your actual first journey has been very short.

Trams provide the best way to get around Amsterdam  and run regularly until 12:15am.

City Buses are primarily used to reach outlying suburbs and after the trams have stopped running. Night buses run from midnight until 7am with routes connecting to Central Station, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein.

The Metro (tube) is fast but is only useful if you need to travel far outside the city center or to the Amsterdam Arena.

Tourist bus Amsterdam
City tours around Amsterdam in a traditional American school bus painted red and converted to serve the tourists called Touristbus. Almost 2 hrs long guided tour through the city centre.

Canal Boats

The Canal Bus ( runs every 40 minutes from 9:50 until 7:25 with 14 stops along three different routes throughout the city. Day passes cost €16 and are valid until 12:00 the next day. All of Amsterdam’s major attractions are on the route and historical commentary is provided along the way. The Museumboot (Museum Boat) is a similar concept for €14.25 per day with stops at Central Station, Prinsengracht, Leidseplein, Herengracht, Muziektheater and the East Dock. Tickets includes half-price entry to most city museums.


Bicycling in Amsterdam is a way of life for most Dutch and still the best way to get around. There are dedicated bike paths throughout the city and few hills to conquer. A number of companies offer bicycle rentals for around €8 per day with discounts for longer rentals.


Taxi stands are available at most tourist hubs including Leidseplein, Dam Square and Central Station. Hailing a taxi is quite difficult and virtually impossible on weekends, but cab service is generally prompt if you call ahead (city cab: 0900.677.7777). Rides cost €1.80 per km regardless of the time of day and a 5%-10% tip is expected.

For a truly Dutch taxi twist, catch one of the many bicycle taxis around the city. The pedal powered taxis can carry up to two people and are actually cheaper than conventional taxi.

Rent a car

Although driving in Amsterdam is not recommended, car rental services are readily available at Schiphol Airport and in the city center along Overtoom Straat near Vondelpark. All major agencies are represented including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Alamo. Driving and parking in the city can be a nightmare, but may be worth the hassle for those wishing to explore the countryside by car.