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Booking your ferry ticket to Amsterdam or any other ferry port in Holland from Newcastle, Harwich or Hull online is safe and secure.

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Amsterdam is a beautiful city in the Netherlands with impressive architecture, lovely canals that criss-cross the city, great shopping, and friendly people. There is something for every traveller's taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.

The 'Amsterdam' that most people know is the city centre, the semicircle with Central Station at its centre. It corresponds to the old city, as it was around 1850: its boundary is the Singelgracht canal, the old city moat. Three other major canals ring the old city; the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht, and the Prinsengracht, the latter of which runs alongside the roads Nassaukade, Stadhouderskade, and Mauritskade. These form the outer ring road around the old city canal system. Almost everything outside this line was built after 1870. The semicircle is on the south side of the IJ, which is called a river, but is more exactly an estuary. Going east from central station, the railway passes the artificial islands of the redeveloped Eastern Docklands. North of the IJ is mainly housing, although a major dockland redevelopment has started there too.

The river Amstel flows into the city from the south. Originally, it flowed along the line Rokin-Damrak. The dam in the Amstel, which gives the city its name, was located under the present Bijenkorf department store. The original settlement was on the right bank of the Amstel, on the present Warmoesstraat: it is therefore the oldest street in the city. The city has expanded in all directions, except to the north of the ring motorway. The region there, Waterland, is a heavily protected rural landscape.

The radius of the semicircle is 2 km. All major tourist destinations, and most hotels, are located inside it or just outside it. As a result, much of Amsterdam is never visited by tourists: at least 90% of the population lives outside this area. Most economic activity in Amsterdam -- the offices of the service sector, and the port -- is located on or outside the ring motorway, which is four to five kilometers from the centre.

Attitudes and Culture in Amsterdam

Quite a few travellers visit Amsterdam to enjoy its famously tolerant attitude. Prostitution is fully legalized and licensed, and the sale, possession, and consumption of small quantities of cannabis, while illegal, is ignored by authorities under a policy of gedogen (tolerance). Unfortunately, some travellers take this to mean that one can pretty much get away with anything in Amsterdam, much to the detriment of the locals and fellow tourists. The city has made great strides, especially in the last few years, in preventing such abuses while maintaining its easy-going atmosphere.

The important distinction between the expressions "Coffee Shop" and "Café". The former is a place where there is a pot menu, and sometimes drinks. The latter is a place to have a coffee or a glass of wine or beer. Coffee shops generally do not sell alcoholic beverages. Cafés do, but they do not allow the use of drugs, even marijuana and hashish.

When To Visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a large city and a major tourist destination, so you can visit it all year round. However, in winter the days are short (8 hours daylight around Christmas), and the weather may be too cold to walk around the city comfortably, let alone cycle. Some things are seasonal: the bulb fields flower only in the spring, and Queens Day (Koninginnedag) is always on 30 April, unless that is a Sunday. Queen Beatrix was in fact born on 31 january, but since January is too cold, the celebrations are held on the birthday of her mother Juliana. The color of Queensday is orange, symbolizing national and royal pride in the House of Orange-Nassau. (Neither Orange nor Nassau are in the Netherlands, and the royal family is largely German, but there is a national party anyway).

Getting Around In Amsterdam

  • On foot and bike - Amsterdam's center is fairly small and almost abnormally flat; you easily can get to most tourist destinations on foot from the train station within a half an hour.

A pleasant way to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. The city is very, very bike-friendly, and separate bike lanes line most major streets. Visitors still must be very careful, and if on bike, especially of other bicyclists. Bike rental shops abound near the train station and the Leidseplein, bikes cost about € 9 to € 20 per day. Make sure to get a good lock, and to use it; Amsterdam's high population of bike-lovers is preyed upon by a high population of bike-thieves. Note also that if buying a bike, prices that seem too good to be true may be stolen bikes.

  • Public Transport - Amsterdam's public transport system, operated by the GVB (Gemeentevervoerbedrijf), consists of sixteen tram lines, four metro lines, with a short underground stretch in the centre of the city and dozens of bus routes. Tram and bus stops in the centre all have detailed maps which make it very simple to navigate.

The standard ticket for use on all these modes of transport is the strippenkaart, which must be purchased prior to boarding a vehicle. They are available from machines in the metro and railway stations, from the GVB office opposite Centraal stations and from supermarkets, newsagents and tobacconists. This ticket consists of a number of strips, which must be stamped in a validator prior to entering the metro, or by the driver or conductor when boarding a tram or bus. Travel through a single zone costs two strips; two zones cost three strips and so forth. Typically tourists will only be travelling through the central zone, unless they plan on visiting outer areas. Alternatively, you can get a 24, 48 or 72 hour all zones bus/rail/tram pass for a reasonable price (€10 for 48 hr), and less hassle. Don't forget to stamp it before your first journey. If you stay longer in Amsterdam, you can buy weekly or monthly ticket at a cheaper rate from most of the post offices or other sale points.

A new national ticketing system is being introduced, based on a contactless card (swipe card). The Amsterdam metro might be converted to this system in 2006, but introduction dates are uncertain. Strippenkaarten are also valid for use on NS trains, but only within Amsterdam. They are not valid for trips to Schiphol airport.

Old trams can be boarded either via the front or rear doors, and passengers alight through the centre doors. With newer trams the situation is exactly reversed. Most trams these days have conductors at the rear (or in the center for new trams), although there are still two or three lines without them. Enter buses only via the front door.

There are several free ferry services across the IJ river, to Amsterdam North, the most frequent runs every six minutes. They all leave from a new jetty on the northern side of Centraal Station. (From the city centre this is the 'rear entrance', you can walk through Central Station, except for several hours at night, when the passage is closed).

For journeys outside the city, the train is usually the best option. All trains in the west of the Netherlands are operated by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS, "Dutch Railways"). On the Dutch railways website there are pages in English. The ticket machines are the standard way to buy a ticket, it costs 50 cents extra to buy a ticket at ticket counters (and most stations don't have them anyway). Older machines are not in English and as such can be difficult to interpret. New machines come with a language selection, and support English, Dutch, French and German. You can see how these new machines look online at

  • Using Your Own Car - Using a car in central Amsterdam is something of a pain. Many of the streets are narrow, the traffic signs are baroque and obscure, and bicyclists and pedestrians walk in the middle of the road. You can try parking at one of the secured parkinggarage's, for example the one under the Museumplein or near the Central Station and then walk around the city center or use a tram. Car parking is very expensive in Amsterdam and it's often hard to find a place to park. You can choose to pay by the hour or for the whole day.


There is something for everybody in Amsterdam. Visitors to Amsterdam are able to enjoy a relaxing canal cruise, visit a world famour diamond factory, take a leisurely stroll through many parks, museums and historical churches and spend the night enjoying the sights and sounds of the Amsterdam Red Light District.

A selection of the most popular activities and things to do in Amsterdam all of which are bookable online in advance are:-

Marken, Volendam and Windmills 4 1/2 hours Starting from GBP £16.40 per person
Click here for more information. Get to know traditional Holland. See the unique Dutch countryside of polders and little canals on the way to the 'Zaanse Schans', a well known windmill village. Visit a traditional wooden shoemaker and see the famous fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. Also stop at one of the very few cheese farms where cheese is still made in the traditional way. Children will especially enjoy this tour as they can help make wooden shoes! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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I amsterdam Card 48 or 72 hours Starting from GBP £29.44 per person
Click here for more information. The I amsterdam Card offers admission to 24 museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, unlimited use of the public transport network, and many special offers for shopping, restaurants, attractions and plenty more! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Unique Dinner Cruise 2 1/2 hours Starting from GBP £46.89 per person
Click here for more information. Tonight is a perfect introduction to the beautiful city of Amsterdam and its charming illuminated canals. You'll cruise on board a luxury glass-domed motor launch while savoring the delicious flavors conjured up with a five course dinner. A feast for the eyes and a delight for the palate, book your seat now! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Canal Bus Hop on Hop Off Day Pass 1 Day Starting from GBP £11.64 per person
Click here for more information. Use Amsterdam's famous canals to explore the city. Hop on this unique bus boat service at any of it's 14 stops. Your ticket is valid until noon the next day, and you can hop-on and hop-off the service as often as you like. Don't leave home without this essential ticket for easy sightseeing in Amsterdam! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Boom Chicago 2 hours Starting from GBP £17.97 per person
Click here for more information. A true Amsterdam institution. For twelve years, they've mixed good writing, quick thinking and high production values to create sharp, funny shows. Shows are in English, and are partly scripted and partly improvised based on audience suggestions. See them at the Leidseplein Theater, located in the heart of Amsterdam. Seating is on long tables, and dinner is served before the show. Book now for a unique night out! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Combination City Tour and Volendam 7 hours Starting from GBP £25.97 per person
Click here for more information. From the vibrant modern European city of Amsterdam to the traditional windmill villages of the countryside, this tour takes you deep into the fascinating world of the Netherlands. In Amsterdam you'll see picturesque canal houses and the Royal Palace. Then visit famous fishing and windmill villages and a traditional cheese factory. Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Grand Holland including Madurodam 8 hours Starting from GBP £25.97 per person
Click here for more information. This tour takes you to the beautiful province in the South of Holland. See some of most interesting and quintessential areas in this day-long tour, including the world's biggest flower auction, a miniature town, and the city of Rotterdam, with its experimental architecture. You'll also see the Parliamentary town of The Hague and the town of Delft, with its distinctive blue and white pottery. Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Old Amsterdam by Candlelight 2 hours Starting from GBP £16.43 per person
Click here for more information. A romantic evening cruise by candlelight. Float down the enchanting canals of Amsterdam with illuminated mansions, gables and churches to admire. Relax to soft music wafting throughout the candlelit launch as you watch this sparkling city. Enjoy samples of fine wine and local cheeses. A breathtakingly beautiful night! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
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Pizza Cruise 1 hour 30 minutes Starting from GBP £21.91 per person
Click here for more information. Enjoy a delicious meal while cruising along Amsterdam's stunning canals! After an appetizer you can choose from six different pizzas. Piping hot and straight from the oven of the world's number 1 Pizza delivery company, Domino's Pizza. And a great pizza deserves a tasty dessert: Ben and Jerry's ice cream! Amsterdam Red Light District Ferries
Click here for more information and Booking Details »


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