Getting around on foot is probably the best and cheapest way to see Amsterdam. The city centre is compact and you can easily walk to most of the major sights. You will find many quiet streets in Amsterdam - particularly around the picturesque canals - that are away from heavy traffic and pollution. Here are a few tips for walking around Amsterdam plus a list of city walking tours available:
Bring some sturdy footwear with you.
Watch for cyclists - Cycling is a serious business in Amsterdam so always be aware of the presence of cyclists coming at you from all angles! Always double check both ways when crossing a road and don't walk in one of the many dedicated cycle lanes. Badly parked bikes can also cause an obstruction to pedestrians.
Watch for trams - Keep an eye for any trams coming up behind you, particularly along the pedestrianised Leidsestraat shopping street and on Dam Square.
Watch your step - Amsterdam's pavements are tiled or cobbled so be wary of any protruding tiles. Along the old canal streets watch for narrow pavements, bollards and falling into the basement steps of houses! There is much construction work ongoing around various parts of Amsterdam centre so some pavements can be temporarily closed and you may have to cross to the other side.
Amsterdam (and Netherlands) is very well signposted so getting completely lost is difficult. However the canals do look very much alike and this can cause a brief confusion of bearings. However, one of the pleasures of Amsterdam is just to follow your nose and wander slowly around the city.
Note that when walking Dutch people tend to keep to the right-hand side - you will notice this if you walk along the busy Kalverstraat shopping street.
Pedestrian crossings - Be patient at crossings - press the button and wait for the green man to show before crossing.
Sandeman's New Amsterdam Tours give free walking tours twice daily. The meeting point is at the National Monument on Dam Square at 1115 and 1315. Also available are 2 daily tours - red-light district and coffeeshops (€12/students €10) plus a selection of private tours.
360Amsterdam also offers free walking tours from outside its office at Dam Good Coffee near Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square - daily at 1100, 1300 and 1500.
Amsterdam City Tours offer a variety of paid walking tours with different thems (eg - street food, beer, red light, Jewish interest, architecture). Prices from €15 up to €200.
Viator offers a few Amsterdam walking tours priced from around €24 - including their Amsterdam walking tour, red-light district tour and cannabis tour. They also have a photography tour given by a professional photographer - this costs €75.
The Amsterdam Tourist Board has a number of self-guided walking tour booklets for sale at the tourist office (VVV). These include tours of Amsterdam city centre, the Jordaan, Jewish Amsterdam and De Pijp district.
ArchitectureTours.nl (T:+31(0)6 2884 7075) offers customised architectural guided tours in Amsterdam and also in other cities in Netherlands. The guides are professional architects and Amsterdam tours on offer include the New West area, Ijburg and the Eastern Docklands
Check out our own self-guided walks here: