Amsterdam B&B with a car?

Hello!
My husband and I will be doing a 16 day driving vacation that includes two nights in Amsterdam. I found some awfully cute AirBnB city central places, but when I asked about parking, one owner said, "Parking in Amsterdam is a nightmare! Best to park your car in a Park nRide and take the tram in."

Hmmmm. Normally, not a problem, but because we are spending 30 days in the UK (for work) before this trip, we have larger luggage than we normally would. Not sure about the logistics of parking the car and leaving the luggage? Would that be safe? I mean, we could scale down to a small bag for 2 nights. I think he said there is a ParknRide at the train station, but how awful would it be to drive to the train station? Are there safe places we could lock our larger luggage there?

Alternatively, suggestions on where to stay where we might park for free closer to the perimeter but with easy access to city transport? What will be easiest logistically?

Thanks,

Chris

Posted by Chris F
Basel, Switzerland
802 posts

Good advice. A car in most European cities, and especially in Amsterdam, is more than useless. How about foregoing the "Cute B+B", and staying in an out-of-town hotel with car parking. Then commute into Amsterdam every day.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

Fairly simple.

What we do is drive in, park for a bit to drop the junk, drive out to park, catch the tram back in.

To leave, catch the .........

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10740 posts

Your host was being both quite Dutch and being direct, and exercising quite a lot of understatement. He was looking out for your interests.

I have had to drive into Amsterdam several times over the years - no choice - and disliked it every time. There simply is virtually nowhere to park, and if you do find - by some miracle - a spot it is likely to be a diagonal space (or occasionally a parallel one) next to a canal with only a narrow bit of cobblestone or brick roadway between the space and the canal, you will have to drive over the kerb, onto the sand or broken bricks, usually with tree roots coming through. It is bad enough getting into the space, then you have to pay exorbitant hourly fees strictly enforced, but the worst bit is trying to get the car back out. You have to use so much power getting out of the space you run a real risk of being one of the many cars pulled out of the canals every year. Then there is the traffic, the fact that many lanes are one way, and the bicycles, not to speak of the unaware tourists. And the traffic. I know, but it is so bad it worth mentioning twice.

I find driving in Amsterdam much more difficult than in London or Paris.

Don't forget that trams and bicycles have the right of way.

I used to stay in Haarlem and I knew where to park. Given a choice I rode the train into Amsterdam.

Sloterdijk is pretty close to the and has a park and ride, so do many suburban stations, and so do some of the metro stations, particularly in the south east.

Good luck with resolving your issues. You're not driving from England are you?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10740 posts

I just read that you want to park for free. That is very rare in any European city, certainly not very often in Amsterdam.

Also, those large suitcases will be trouble on Dutch (and Belgian) staircases. As somebody else on the Helpline wrote recently staircases in Dutch houses are more like ladders. They tend to be spiral or nearly so, very narrow and extremely steep. It is usually good fun to look down through the middle.

That's why Dutch houses have beams sticking out with hooks just below the roof. They run a rope over, take out a window and hoist furniture in and out that way. It will never make the stairs.

Posted by ckroman555
22 posts

Thanks for the great responses :) Ed--I can't read the rest of your post but I'm intrigued. What was your advice about leaving?

Nigel-Yes! We ARE planning to drive our British rental on the continent. Insane, huh? My crazy husband loves driving our manual rental in the UK already (we've been here one week already) and is not flummoxed about taking it to the continent. (He's already reading up on all the different things you have to have in a car to avoid being fined when stopped. They vary by country. Evidently, in France you are required to carry a breathalizer!)

Anyway, point taken, everyone. We will leave the car outside of Amsterdam one way or another!

Posted by ckroman555
22 posts

Thanks also Nigel for the thoughts about large luggage on staircases. Headed to Belgium too. I will just pack an overnight bag and lock the rest in the car trunk

Posted by Chris F
Basel, Switzerland
802 posts

The French have abandoned the law that says you have to carry a Breathalyser. Turned out to be impracticle.
Otherwise - Taking a UK hire car across the channel - DON'T

Posted by ckroman555
22 posts

Chris—What is your concern about taking a UK car across to the continent? Colleagues here seem to do it?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

I was being stupid about going out. It's just the reverse of going in.

I don't find driving in Amsterdam hard. I think, short of parts of Tokyo, it has the most expensive parking in the world -- it's well more than twice what I consider steep anywhere else in Europe.

What's the false alarm about taking a car across the Channel.

Posted by ckroman555
22 posts

Thanks, Ed! I like how you simplify things :)

I asked my AirBnB host about doing what you suggested and he said not a problem! He'd even help carry the luggage. Now I get the cute B&B and have the car stashed! Brilliant! (As the Brits here say.)

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
10740 posts

Regarding driving a right hand drive car on the continent, it is both a great hassle and not so bad. My first few times I fitted extra mirrors but now I don't.

Remember that the copilot is needed to pass, especially large vehicles like tractors, farm equipment and large trucks. The driver has no overtaking visibility and must be directed by the copilot. It is then that you find how much you trust each other. Pulling out into traffic blind develops self confidence.

The copilot is also needed for tolls, car parks, and anything else which requires winding down the left window.

Unless you are Ed. He does it in his Speedos.

The copilot comes in handy for seeing around blind corners and sometimes the road signs are difficult to read from the wrong side.

I drive in Europe frequently with my British car, and Ed does it the other way around, so it can be done. It is a major mind shift though, and does develop relationships or stress them.

My wife hates providing passing data.

You can always hang back and drive behind the slow thing.

Just make sure you have the right papers.