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Backpacking in Amsterdam: Getting Around the City

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Beautiful Amsterdam is famed for many things; liberal attitudes, striking architecture, unrivalled partying, cobbled streets, those endless canals, great food and quaint back-alleys teeming with life. It is no surprise then, that the best way to experience this wonderful city is to truly submerse yourself at street level via public transport, on foot, and, of course, by bicycle.

summer Amsterdam

  1. By foot

The centre of Amsterdam is explored quite simply on foot, being that it is a relatively small area. A guided tour is an excellent way to start your wanderings, and many free ones (tip requested) can be enjoyed across the city.

Whether you like to have the history explained to you, or whether you simply like to walk alone, Amsterdam is a beguiling place to explore on foot. Wind your way among canals, wander through the Old Centre, meander past Het IJ and lose yourself in the Jordaan district. Perhaps even be a bit reckless by putting away your map and seeing where your feet lead you and regardless of where you end up, it is guaranteed to be interesting.

Amsterdam in the summer

  1. By bicycle

This is the ultimate quintessential Amsterdam experience, and it’s probably top of everyone’s list! Bicycles are a huge part of the city’s culture and vibrancy, and seeing these two-wheeled icons dominating the roads (and tied to just about every conceivable outdoor surface) is a beautiful sight. There are numerous routes across the city, accessing any number of destinations. The entire system is geared towards cyclists, so those of a nervous disposition can rest assured that cycling here is easy and safe.

For the more adventurous, a bicycle is a brilliant way to see more of the Amstel River and the surrounding countryside too with Ouderkerk Aan De Amstel (an old riverside village) being a notable highlight.

Regardless of where you fly across the cobbles to, it is certain that no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without saddle time so find a good cycle shop when you arrive and choose your weapon!

Amsterdam water way

  1. By public transport

The Netherlands boasts a superior integrated public transport network, and Amsterdam is no exception. Across more than 1,900 stops, the city has it all; ferries, buses, trains, trams and the metro and all are considered great value for money. As one might expect from the Dutch, the service is generally high quality, reliable, punctual and easy to navigate for the confused visitor.

Public transport smart cards be purchased and used across the entire system. Known as OV-chipkaart, the smart cards are readily available and incredibly easy to use. No need to fiddle with money or coins, just purchase your card, top it up, and away you go! Conveniently, the city also offers public transport passes specifically for visitors, some of which even come with free entry to attractions.

Whatever mode of transport you choose to explore, a mixture of all three, plus time on the water, is recommended as this is the only way you’ll be certain to be utterly transfixed by Amsterdam’s beauty and vibrant character. Just try to remember where you left your bicycle, as you busy yourself enjoying the best that Amsterdam has to offer.

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