Enjoy some helpful tips from Sean and Allison at Joy Ride Tours on all things Amsterdam & beyond.
The easiest and cheapest way to get to the center of Amsterdam is on the red 397 bus from Schiphol Plaza to Leidseplein. It costs only 5 Euro and the bus has space to store your luggage. Heads up! No cash, only cards to purchase tickets. A cab will run you about 30-45 Euro, and taking the train to Central Station and then getting a tram is hard with baggage. There is a cab stand and tram stop on Leidseplein if you need to go further.
The trams in Amsterdam have changed in 2018 due to the opening of the North South line. Trams 2 and 12 go from Central Station to our meeting point at the Rijks Museum. Heads up! No cash on the trams for tickets these days...only cards. Consider getting a 24/48/72 hour card if you will be using the trams regularly.
If you would like to read up on Amsterdam before your arrival, here are some recommendations from Sean and Allison. In the City of Bikes is closest to our hearts, as it involves our two favorite things! Other books we suggest include: Amsterdam, A History of the World's Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto, Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma and Amsterdam by Geert Mak.
We think that nicest place to stay in Amsterdam is on the outer canal ring (but still in the center) by Leidseplein, Museumplein and Vondelpark. TripAdvisor has created a link just for Joy Ride with hotels in this area! Just click on "Accomodation in Amsterdam" above. If you are ready to party hardy, try a hotel in the area near the Central Station or the Red Light District.
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them." - Ernest Hemingway