Wednesday 17 October 2012

Getting around Amsterdam

When we were planning this trip the big K and I were toying with the idea of renting bikes to see the city but after the slight misadventure I had on one in a recent trip we completely abandoned the idea. Good thing that we did after seeing all the bikes whizzing past us, weaving in and out of traffic trying to avoid people mostly gawking tourists unaware of bike lanes. 

Yup, we are definitely walking. Or taking the tram.

Upon arrival at Schiphol airport, the big K and I bought transport passes that would take care of our transport needs in Amsterdam. The GVB, Amsterdam's public transport company, sells multiple day cards with unlimited rides on their trams, buses and metros.

For visitors like us this is a good idea so you don't have to worry about looking for coins to pay the driver every time you board. A 24 hour card comes out cheaper if you plan to use it at least 3 times within the day. Cheaper still for longer period day cards.
The city trams.  They don't really go with the general old-Europe decor, but they are efficient, convenient and clean.
Tram stops are located in the middle of the road.  Look both ways before crossing, and be sure to stop at an actual island/bus/tram stop.  If you hesitate in the middle of the road, you become fair game for those kamikaze pilots on two wheels.  Exciting early in the morning before the first coffee.
The stops have map routes to guide you.
When you ride the tram or bus you have to check in by having your card scanned by the card reader located near the driver. Before getting off you also have to check out by the card reader located by the exit doors.

We wanted to get the 72 hour card but it wasn't available so we bought these instead.

For our museum and attraction hopping, we bought the 7 ticket Amsterdam Holland Pass which we also got at the airport. We chose this card instead of the I Amsterdam card since the former included the Rijksmuseum which was not included in the latter which saved us EUR28.00 in entrance fees.

The Van Gogh and Rijks museums are equivalent to one Tulip coupon each.
You exchange a Holland Pass coupon for tickets to your selected museum.

Helpful links:

GVB Amsterdam Transport website

Holland Pass website

I Amsterdam City Card website

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