Your Ultimate Amsterdam Travel and Transport Guide

Amsterdam travel

One of the most daunting parts of travelling to a new city for the first time is working out how to get around. In this new series we take a look at getting from A to B in some of the best destinations around the world. Starting off with some handy Amsterdam travel tips that we picked up from our recent short break.

Amsterdam travel and transport guide

Flying from the UK to Amsterdam couldn’t be easier. We chose to fly from Bristol airport and booked cheap flights with easyjet. Bristol Airport is easy to get to and a breeze to navigate. Everything runs smoothly and we found that travelling from an airport that had such friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere really made our trip that much enjoyable from the get-go.

bristol airport sign

Once inside the airport there are plenty of staff around to offer assistance but with simple bag drop options and super speedy security lines, we found it all an absolute doddle. Once you’ve been through security, you can choose to do a spot of shopping and bag some duty free buys or head straight through and grab a bite to eat at one of the many food outlets or the airport lounge.

bristol airport

Most likely you will be arriving into Amsterdam from Schiphol airport. Around 8 miles outside Amsterdam. Many tour sites suggest grabbing an Uber, or paying upfront for a minibus ride. These range from around £30-£60. You do not need to do this – Amsterdam has some of the finest public transport in Europe. When you have collected your bags and gone through security follow the signs for the train. There are quite a few machines around that allow you to buy a ticket to Amsterdam Centraal. They allow the use of euro coins or your bank or credit card. The machines are easy to use and work in English. Within seconds you have your ticket and are underway.

amsterdam station

If you are not particularly technical you can speak to one of the great ticket staff. They have all the answers, speak fantastic English and are super helpful. A ticket for Amsterdam Centraal is €4.30 with a €1 euro charge for the card.

Once you have your card head downstairs to platform 1 or 2 to catch one of the double decker trains into the city. Remember to tap the little devices to activate the card. The trains are very frequent and a journey into the city is approximately 20 minutes. There is usually tons of space, and you can store your luggage overhead. Check your ticket for the class (Klasse). On the €4.20 ticket you are entitled to class 2 only. Do not worry though as the vast majority of the train is class 2. Upon arrival at the station head for the nearest exit and remember to tap out using your card.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a very walkable city. Most destinations are around 20-25 minutes from the city centre. Our hotel was around this distance and after being inside a plane it was a welcome diversion to take a wander. Lots of the signs are dual language, but to get the most from the city use Google Maps to get around. It gives accurate routes and timings. It also shows public transport routes, arrival times and duration.

Please be aware that crossing the street can be quite taxing. Bicycles are everywhere and run the streets at great pace. Within these lanes many of the locals use small cars and also mopeds to navigate the city. We managed 3 days and only got beeped at once. As a visitor from the UK it was tough to get your head around the traffic being on the other side of the road. The bike and tram lanes added to the complexity. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of street markings to explain who has right of way. We were only given right of way once at a zebra crossing and this was by a police vehicle.

amsterdam

Exploring Amsterdam and its beautiful surrounding areas

The city has a great tram system run by GVB, again like the airport trains they have a tap in, tap out system on board. Forgetting to do so will get you shouted at from the conductor – you have been warned. The best way to experience what the city has to offer is to grab an Amsterdam city card.

These range in price from €60 to €98 for 24hr to 96hr access respectively. The cards allow free and unlimited use of all the GVB transit in the city (Bus, tram and metro) which is amazingly handy and cost effective. They also allow access to the city’s top attractions including the Rijksmuseum. A 1 hour canal tour with audio commentary is also included. Well worth it if you are going to visit any of these attractions during your visit.

The city is best explored on foot. When you think you have run out of stores, cafes etc to visit in a specific area, you look down a side street and discover more to do.

The Dutch people are fantastic and offer everything from a laugh and a joke to travel advice. On our travels we only met one person who struggled with English. Even then we still muddled through our conversation with very little difficulty.

Haarlem

Our top recommendation – escape the city for the day!

Holland isnt a massive country and many destinations are only a short train ride away. They have a different atmosphere to Amsterdam. We travelled to Haarlem for a day trip. Here we visited a beautiful windmill and a vast shopping centre featuring over 600 shops.

haarlem windmill

This set us back less than €20 euros for 2 people on a return ticket and our time here was one of the best parts of our trip. The coast is also very reachable with towns like enkhuizen approximately 1 hour away by train.

Amsterdam is a fantastic destination to head to for seasoned travellers and new starters alike. The lack of hills allow people of all ages to conquer the city and explore its depths and the Dutch people are welcoming and helpful. Cafe’s, Bars and street food are plentiful and the city’s Vondelpark is a great place to take a picnic.

Has our Amsterdam travel guide inspired you? You can book your Amsterdam trip here!

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