Amsterdam city tours could very well represent the ideal weekend break for the green traveller, having been nominated for the European Green Capital in 2010. There are plenty of ways that you can ensure your carbon footprint is kept to the minimum when exploring this wonderful city.
Eco-friendly Amsterdam city tours
Finding your way around Amsterdam and the surrounding areas is a simple affair due to the extensive and convenient public transport systems. These include train, tram, metro, bus and ferry and are extremely well inter-connected to make commuting and city tours as pain-free as possible.
From June, you will have to purchase a PT Smart Card to use trams, buses and metro as paper tickets are being phased out and will no longer be available on vehicles. You can either buy a disposable card and top it up with credit in euros, or you can purchase single and season tickets. There are also 1-7 day tickets available which start from just EUR7.00.
Behind Central Station you will also be able to find the passenger ferry which services the north of the city; a few also go to other parts of Amsterdam.
It would be rude really, to go to Amsterdam and not hire a bicycle as most people in the city use this as their primary mode of transport. Amsterdam bikes represent an ionic image that will forever be associated with the city and as such, cycling is an ideal way of finding your way around on an Amsterdam city tour.
These can take the form of a guided tour with a local, or you can go it alone, depending on how confident you are. There are plenty of bike hire shops dotted around the city and cycling really is the quickest way to explore Amsterdam, as well as one of the most pleasant.
If you don't fancy getting fit on a bike, then there are plenty of options for taking an Amsterdam city tour on foot. Guided tours are plentiful and frequent and can be chosen according to your taste. Some may want to explore the medieval aspects to the city, whilst others might want to see how the famous red light district comes alive at night; whatever you enjoy, there's an Amsterdam city tour to suit everyone.
Explore Amsterdam canals and windmills
There are more than 200 boats operating on Amsterdam canals now and all of these are powered by electric, making for a clean and silent, ecologically sound way for discovering some of Amsterdam's many sights.
You can go one step further too and hire a pedal boat so that you can explore at leisure; these can be found at the quays of Leidseplein, at the Prinsengracht close to the Anne Frank house, at the corner of Keizersgracht and Leidseplein, and opposite the Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam is built around the canals so it's an ideal way to indulge in an Amsterdam city tour, taking in all the sights whilst exerting little in the way of effort.
Food in the Dutch capital
Again, Amsterdam is the ideal location for those who enjoy nothing less than the best fresh, locally grown produce. Visit the Farmers Market on Saturdays at Noodermarkt Square and experience a wide variety of foodstuff from ecological farmers who come from all over the country to sell their wares.
There are also a plethora of restaurants, juice bars, vegetarian and organic restaurants and outlets to be found around the city, one of the best of which is Umoja (Dutch site) which as well as using produce that's kind to animals and the environment, is also involved in global Fair Trade projects.
Hotels and places to stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has plenty of choice when it comes to green accommodation; if you're a food lover, why not try the Organic Bed and Breakfast which is run by an active environmentalist and is situated in the multicultural Amsterdam West.
Or choose the Conscious Hotel, which is 100% sustainable and features such novelties as desks that are made from yoghurt pots and uses no chemicals for cleaning, but products that are ecologically approved.
If you really fancy finding your way around the city on a bike, then staying at the Bicycle Hotel Amsterdam is probably a good choice. Located in a quiet spot, the hotel offers guests a free, healthy breakfast and a bicycle to explore the city with on an Amsterdam city tour. As previously mentioned, there is a huge amount of choice in the city for the ecotourist, as there really is no shortage of eco-options to choose from.
Back in 2009, Amsterdam began an initiative to become the most energy-saving city in Europe; it would seem that the authorities and people of the city have certainly made a huge amount of headway in achieving that goal as this is now one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world.
In addition to this, it has an enormous amount of activities, shops, markets, restaurants and hotels which are suitable for ecotourism and should be considered one of the most sustainable cities around the globe. It's not finished yet either, there are lots of projects still under way to add to this and make Amsterdam a true Smart City.