You’ve probably heard all the stories about cycling in Amsterdam. They’re all true: cycling is the quintessential transport method for people living in the city. You can’t walk for two minutes outside Central Station without witnessing a flurry of people of all ages on bikes – from mothers juggling three shopping bags and two kids while casually cruising, to elderly cyclists weaving in and out of traffic nonchalantly. Amsterdam cyclists are known to cycle a little too riskily, so it’s advised to cycle carefully and not follow their lead.
You can get yourself a second-hand bike for around 50 to 175 euros from a variety of locations around the city. Prices of new bikes typically start at around 200 euros. You can also rent bikes from many locations. Beware of people selling stolen bikes on the streets though – buying one is a criminal offence!
Travelling by tram in Amsterdam is one of the city’s staples – they’re reliable, frequent and easy. You can hear their distinctive bell echoing throughout the city’s most popular streets, ushering cyclists and pedestrians to get out of the way. There are two main ‘tram stations’ on the east and west side on Central Station; trams stop outside some of the city’s biggest attractions and draws, but many lines venture outside the city to different districts and neighbourhoods – including student areas. Amsterdam’s trams have manned ticket booths with assistants who can help you out with buying your ticket, but they also offer travelling advice.
Most locals use their public transport chip cards – or OV-Chipkaart – to travel on Amsterdam’s trams. Rechargeable non-personal and personal cards are available, and you can top them up with cash to check in and out of trams when you hop on and hop off. You can also buy one-hour, 24-hour and 48-hour tickets for GVB tram services, but it’s recommended that you pick up the chip card if you’re a student – you’ll be travelling quite a bit, and you can use the card on Amsterdam’s buses, trains and metro too.
Amsterdam’s metro system is ideal for travelling to the city’s outskirts, which is perfect for students as they tend to live on the edge of the city. Just like the trams, you can use your OV-Chipkaart or purchase tickets to travel on the metro – you can pick up either at GVB service desks. All of the metro stations in Amsterdam are gated by check-in and check-out ports, but they have ticket machines outside – pretty handy!
The bus network in Amsterdam is wide-ranging and efficient, linking Amsterdam together with its surrounding neighbourhoods, metropolitan area and even other cities, such as Haarlem. Again, the public transport card is the way to go, but you can grab a ticket from the bus driver if you need to.
If you need to get home late – let’s face it, you’re probably going to be having some big nights – GVB offers a selection of after-midnight buses in Amsterdam. These routes stop at popular stations, such as Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein, but they also go to Amsterdam’s outskirts, which is perfect for getting home after a long night of partying.