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Welcome to the Amsterdam City Guide. We have compiled a collection of information regarding Amsterdam and are slowly adding it to this site. Ultimately we want this to be a complete guide with everything you need to know when you are visiting Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city, with fun for everyone... and we mean EVERYONE. Whether you want to experience walking into a store to pick up fine grass without being hassled by police or are looking to experience the "Old World Charm". Obviously by the nature of this site we will focus a little more on the more sinful things in life, but hope to have a little bit of information for things to do between smoking, or while smoking.




 


Flights

KLM is the national airline and flies direct to all major European, North American and Asia-Pacific cities. Most other international airlines also fly into the main airport hub, Schipol (code: AMS) www.schipol.nl which is about 18km from the city center. The airport runway is actually 15ft (4.5m) below sea level on the floor of what was once a lake and the airport handles most of Holland’s international flights.

Approximate flight times to Amsterdam: From London is 1 hour; from New York is 7 hours; from Los Angeles is 10 hours 30 mins; from Toronto is 7 hours; and from Sydney is 21 hours 30 mins.
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Getting from the airport to Amsterdam:


The Dutch Railways' Schiphollijn (Schiphol Line) trains for Amsterdam's Centraal Station (with stops at De Lelylaan and De Vlugtlaan stations in west Amsterdam) depart from Schiphol Station, downstairs from Schiphol Plaza. They run every 15 minutes during peak times and one an hour at night. The fare is €2.95 one-way and the trip takes about 20 minutes.
An alternative route serves both Amsterdam Zuid/World Trade Center station and RAI station (beside the big RAI Convention center). Be sure to check which one is best for your hotel (including any tram or bus interchange). If you're staying at a hotel near Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, in the Museum Quarter, or in Amsterdam South, this route may be a better bet for you than Centraal Station. The fare is still €2.95 one-way and the trip takes about 15 minutes. From Amsterdam Zuid/World Trade Center, take tram no. 5 for Leidseplein and the Museum Quarter; from RAI, take tram no. 4 for Rembrandtplein.
The KLM Hotel Bus shuttles between the airport and Amsterdam, serving 16 top hotels directly (including the Pulitzer, Krasnapolsky, Sofitel, Crowne Plaza, Renaissance, Golden Tulip Barbizon, Tulip Inn, Carlton, Okura, Holiday Inn, Novotel and Park Hotels) and many more that are close to these stops. The fare is €8 one-way, €14 round-trip. No reservations are needed and buses depart from in front of Schiphol Plaza every 20 minutes from 7am to 6pm and every 30 minutes from 6 to 9:30pm. Check at the KLM Hotel Desk for information. If you're not staying at one of the above hotels, the clerks can tell you which shuttle stop is closest to your chosen lodgings. In addition, many individual hotels near the airport and in town have their own shuttle service.
You can also take Bus no. 197 which departs every half hour from in front of Schiphol Plaza for Amsterdam's downtown Marnixstraat bus station. The fare is €3.40. This bus is a lot slower than both the train and the KLM Hotel Bus with more frequent stops.
Taxis are more expensive, but if you have a ton of luggage or are with another person whoe can split the cost, they're usually the way to go. You can find taxi stands at both ends of the sidewalk in front of Schiphol Plaza. Taxis from the airport are all metered. It should be about €38 fare to the Center. Remember, a service charge is already included in the fare.
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Trains

Traveling by train in the Netherlands is convenient and provides an easy way to get around the country. The trains are typically modern and clean and tend to run on time. Whether you arrive by Thalys high-speed train from Brussels or Paris, by ordinary international train, or by Netherlands Railways train from elsewhere in Holland, you'll likely find yourself deposited at Amsterdam's Centraal Station. It is over 100 years old and is built on an artificial island in the IJ channel. The building is quite spectacular and there is usually quite a bit going on there. It’s entirely likely that you will happen upon some construction while passing through as they are doing a rather major renovation of the inside. The Station is at the hub of the city's many rings of canals and connecting main streets, and is the originating point for most of the city's trams, Metro trains, and buses.
For information on trains (and other public transportation) in Holland, call tel. 0900/9292; for international trains, call tel. 0900/9296.
An office of VVV Amsterdam tourist information is inside the station on platform 2 and another office is right in front of the station on Stationsplein; both offices have hotel reservation desks. Other facilities include a GWK Bureau de Change (where you can exchange traveler's checks, U.S. dollars, and other currencies) ATMs, train info center, luggage lockers, restaurants and snack bars, newsstands, and other stores. The station is a departure point for the Metro, trams (streetcars), buses, taxis, passenger ferries across the IJ waterway and around the harbor, water taxis, canal-boat tours, and the Museum Boat. You are very likely to come across a street musician with a barrel organ near the Station.
Something to watch out for at the station are the pickpocketers who are always in abundance. Signs and messages broadcast in multiple languages warn people to be on their guard, but they must be doing well despite that. So be sure to keep your money and other valuables under close guard, especially among crowds. You’ll also probably run into a few junkies with various addictions, panhandlers, and more than a whiff of that intoxicating pot smoke.
An array of tram stops are on either side of the main station exit--virtually all of Amsterdam's hotels are within a 15-minute tram ride from Centraal Station. The Metro station is downstairs, just outside the main exit. City bus stops are to the left of the main exit, and the taxi stands are to the right. At the public transportation tickets and information office on Stationsplein, you can buy a strippenkaart or dagkaart for trams, Metros, and buses.
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Buses:


International bus lines, in particular Eurolines (tel: (020) 560 8788; www.eurolines.com, are another option. They arrive at the bus terminal opposite Amstel train station in the south of the city. From here you can go by train and Metro to Centraal Station (about 10 minutes), and by tram no. 12 to the Museumplein area and other connecting points for trams to the Center. Centraal Station is the start and finish point of all bus and tram routes and just a short distance walk from Dam Square.
Busabout http://www.busabout.com/ is another option to Eurolines coaches. They are a Hop On - Hop Off coach travel network throughout Europe for backpackers and independent travelers which allow you to travel Europe at your own pace, staying longer at destinations you find the best, and skipping others which don't appeal to you.
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Cars:


European expressways E19, E35, E231, and E22 converge on Amsterdam from France and Belgium to the south and from Germany to the north and east. As you approach the city, you'll also notice that these roads also have Dutch national numbers, respectively A4, A2, A1, and A7. Amsterdam's ring road is designated A10.
In many European cities, the best advice is to drive to the city, park your car, and never touch it again till you leave. In Amsterdam, even better advice is not to bring it into the city in the first place.

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