While most visitors arrive in Amsterdam by plane via its award-winning airport, Schiphol Airport, by cruise or by long-haul bus, there are still many who enter the city by car. Tourists from neighboring European cities like London or Paris travel by land all the way to Amsterdam.
Visiting Amsterdam by car is both fun and cost-effective. What is more enjoyable than a European road trip that includes the city of Amsterdam? Likewise, with a car, tourists can save from train and plane tickets – take the case of families or groups. Most of all, compared to buses, car is way more convenient, especially if you have large luggage in tow.
Understanding Amsterdam’s Road Setup
Those who have experienced bringing a car to Amsterdam will tell you that it is not as easy as you think. Think about the narrow streets of the city – driving a car seems impossible specifically for non-residents.
Tracing the city’s history, its roadmap was designed not for cars. The roads were planned and built to be narrow, accommodating smaller vehicles. It explains the number of bicycles roaming around the city and the healthier lifestyles of walking.
The road called the A10 Ring circles around the city with minor roads named S-routes intersected within the A10 Ring road. These S-routes, totaling to 18 are numbered, corresponding to specific districts in Amsterdam. For example, entering the S101 exit will take you to the harbor while S110 will bring you to Amstel.
Still each street in Amsterdam is narrow and can be crowded with fellow vehicles from loading trucks to bicycles and pedestrians.
Driving in Amsterdam
The road leading to Amsterdam is effortless unless you come during rush hour. The real challenge begins as you approach the city. Coming to Amsterdam by car is feasible but the case can be different when driving within the city.
Traffic rules, parking guidelines, and the road loop may be rebellious for tourists, particularly those who are first-time visitors. A friendly advised it to get to know basic driving regulations and facts as well as avoiding driving within the city. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, they have the right of way all the time.
The city center is enclosed, and there is no free parking anywhere in the city. Check with your hotels if they offer any parking facilities, or look for garages or free space for street parking. Before your enter the city, there is an automated information on number of free parking spaces available in the city.
The most affordable and highly used parking space is Park + Ride. These are parking facilities located at the outskirts of the city. You can park for €1 or €8, from 24-96 hours.
Coming to Amsterdam by car is a good option but take into consideration the challenges if you plan to drive within the city. With safe parking spaces, it is not difficult to leave your vehicles and explore the city by bike or on foot.