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Getting Around in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is best navigated by bike. There are cycle lanes everywhere, cars give way, and even in a city as compact as this, you’ll save hours compared to walking and using public transport. Amsterdam bike rentals vary from €8 to €25 per day, and from slightly rickety, Dutch-style ‘pedal-brakes’, to fancy mountain bikes with lots of superfluous gears (this is the flattest country on earth, after all).
One thing to avoid, is heavily branded rental bikes from firms like Mac Bike, Yellow Bike, etc. Their machines are usually in fine condition, but the prominent logos will mark you out as a tourist, and will severely diminish the respect you get from other road users. Whatever you ride, use your bell with gay abandon. It is particularly amusing to use it loudly and urgently when directly behind a fellow tourist that has strayed into a cycle lane.
Try: Bike City (020 626 3721). Damstraat Rent-A-Bike (020 625 5029). Mike’s bike rental (020 622 7970). StarBikes Rentals (020 620 3215).
The Amsterdam tram network is probably the second best option after cycling. It covers most of the city, stops are rarely more than a couple of minutes apart and always have a tram map. You can buy tickets as you enter, for one hour, 24, 48 or 72. Bleep on and you can change trams for up to the next hour. Just remember to bleep off at the end. These also work on the metro. www.gvb.nl/english
Amsterdam’s metro is small, and doesn’t cover much of the centre. As such, it’s best used only for longer trips. Vending machines sell the OV chipkart, which can be loaded with cash and used on trams and buses too. www.gvb.nl/english
The Dutch rail network is generally efficient. Trains from Schiphol Airport to Centraal take about 20 minutes and go roughly every 20 minutes. Vending machines only take cards, but there are usually manned ticket booths should you have any questions, or want to pay cash. Trips to Haarlem or the coast are less than 30 minutes. High speed trains can get you to Antwerp in one hour, Brussels in two and a bit, and Paris in three.