First of all, driving a car in the Amsterdam city centre can be a very stressful experience as cars, scooters and a lot of bicycles all drive on the same lane on the canals and other small streets. You can imagine that when the Old Centre was build, nobody knew there would ever be something as a ”car” and therefor the streets are not build for them. Most streets in the centre are accessible only from one side and because of this, driving short distances by car can even take you longer, as you can get stuck by an unloading truck for quite some time.
Parking spots in Amsterdam are very scarce and therefore also expensive. If you do find a parking spot, make sure you are not parking in a parking spot reserved for disabled drivers or permit holders. Also make sure you are not parked on a spot where there will be a market the next morning, as your car will be towed away and any expenses made are for your own account.
Always buy a parking ticket straight after parking your car in the city centre, even on Sunday. A machine for this will be on walking distance from where you parked your car, nowadays these meters only accept pin-cards, chip-cards or credit cards. They can be recognized by a blue lit up square on top with a white “P” on it. You will need to remember your license-plate as you will be asked to enter it into the meter. Rates for parking in the Amsterdam city centre range from 4,00 EUR - 5,00 EUR per hour. Not buying a parking ticket will result in a heavy fine. Parking in a handicap or other no-parking spot will cause your car to be towed. This often results in a lot of hassle, costs and stress about your car, so make sure you park your car in proper parking zones.
Have a look at the parking rates per zone.
There are also some parking garages throughout the Amsterdam city centre. Rates there are roughly the same as parking rates on the streets, however you will have the option of paying with paper money and often even with a credit, debit or ATM card. A green light will indicate available spots in a parking garage.
Getting around in Amsterdam is easiest on a bicycle or by public transport. If you do go to your Apartment by car, the best thing you can do is park your car somewhere outside the city. Parking on the streets there is usually free, but if you do not feel comfortable leaving your car out on the street, the “P+R” is a very good option.
P+R works like this: you park your car in one of the P+R parking garages (already indicated when you enter Amsterdam from the highway) and go into the Amsterdam city centre by public transport. An instruction video can be found here (Dutch). For an english explanation please have a look at the Iamsterdam site.
There are 5 P+R parking garages around Amsterdam:
Parking in a P+R parking garage will cost you only €8,- / €12,- per 24 hours and you will receive GVB P+R card per passenger (Maximum of 5).
In order to use this option, some rules and regulations do apply:
At the P+R Sloterdijk an Olymisch Stadion you can also choose to rent two bicycles at no extra charge instead of free public transport tickets. Of course you can park these right outside your apartment!
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