Should visitors rent a car in Amsterdam?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Cecily Layzell

With a population of around 750,000 and a compact center, Amsterdam often feels more like a cosmopolitan village than a capital city—which is a large part of its charm. The main attractions and best neighborhoods are all within walking distance of each other. Hop on a bike and traveling times become even shorter.

If the thought of peddling around Amsterdam on two wheels terrifies you, the city has an excellent, affordable public transport network of trams, metros, busses and ferries (the latter crossing the IJ behind Central Station to Amsterdam North). The website is a great resource for planning your journeys within Amsterdam and further afield. Integrating all forms of public transport, it lists departure and arrival times, any changes you need to make during the journey, and prices.

In comparison, car rental is expensive and gas prices high. Add to this limited and sometimes difficult parking on the edge of canals—the municipality pulls some 30 vehicles from the water each year—and renting a car in Amsterdam quickly becomes a headache rather than an asset.

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