Other than riding a bicycle, taking the tram is probably the best way to get around Amsterdam. It’s especially nice on those cold, wet Amsterdam days when the idea of getting onto a bike in the open air is less than appealing. And you still get to look out the window into the beauty of Amsterdam.
The tram, however, can get expensive and perhaps a little confusing.
The public transportation system in Amsterdam breaks the city down into zones. A trip on the tram (or on the bus) will be priced based on the number of zones travelled. When you buy your ticket from the conductor, one zone will cost you 1.60, and each additional zone will be 0.80 more. A trip within central Amsterdam will generally be only one zone.
The easiest way to take the tram worry-free is to buy a Strippenkart (Line Card) or a 2, 3, or 5 day transport pass. A 15-strip Strippenkart will cost you about 6.80, and will be enough to take you seven and a half zones (each zone costs two strips). The fare is valid for an hour after stamping your ticket, and traveling without a ticket will result in a 60 fine. You’ll notice when you get on the tram that the system for stamping tickets is amusingly (and sometimes confusingly) old-fashioned. You have to fold your strippenkart in the right place and stick it in the yellow machine at the back of the tram to get it stamped.
If you don’t feel like counting zones or buying strippenkart after strippenkart, you may decide to buy a 2, 3, or 5 day transport pass. These make riding the tram easy and convenient. Simply show your pass to the conductor (if there is one) when you get on, or when you’re asked to present it. You’ll need to stamp it at first use.
Strippenkarts and tram passes can be purchased at grocery store and convenience stores, or at the tram office.