Amsterdam is a top destination in the Netherlands. It’s a thriving commerce center; it’s one of the most densely populated areas in the country, and it offers a host of tourist attractions that receive millions of visitors each year. Unsurprisingly, space is scarce in Amsterdam. So, it pays to know your parking options if you want to visit.
Although the infrastructure in Amsterdam is very good, parking space is limited and very costly. In fact, Amsterdam has the highest parking rates in The Netherlands. Below are our practical information and helpful tips on where best to park when you visit this capital city.
Street Parking in Amsterdam
Parking on the street, or rather in allocated parking slots on the street, is certainly possible in Amsterdam. However, there are a few things to consider:
- Some areas are reserved for residents with a permit.
- Time of day can affect the eligibility for street parking.
- Rates will vary per area.
- Expect availability to be limited in the city center.
Amsterdam cheap parking tip: if you are visiting friends or family, there is an option for them to arrange an Amsterdam parking permit for visitors. This will allow you to park in areas where parking is restricted to residents (who have a parking permit). It also offers discounted parking rates. Unfortunately, this city arrangement is unavailable in Blue Zones, especially the ones located in the city center.
What are Blue Zones? In locations where paid parking is not in effect yet, Blue Zones are designated areas where you can park for free for a very short period of time, while a blue parking disc is prominently displayed on your dashboard (behind the front window). You must indicate your parking starting time on the blue disc. Make no mistake, Blue Zones are patrolled frequently, and you don’t want to get a fine as they are costly (+/-€100). Blue parking discs are available for purchase at large department stores and gas stations. Also, pls. double-check how long you’re allowed to stay in the Blue Zone. Some areas allow for only one hour max, while others allow up to two hours.
Parking Garages in Amsterdam
There are quite a lot of parking garages in Amsterdam. The rates are similar to the on-street parking rates. The main benefit of parking garages is availability, cars are indoors, and parking is more secure. Most of them are open 24 hours too, so you don’t need to rush whatever you’re doing during your visit.
There are both municipal parking garages and commercial parking garages. The number of municipal garages is limited though, and most are commercial garages.
Also, please note that although parking garages have cameras, that does not guarantee security. Never leave your car with valuables inside.
Amsterdam parking garage tip: parking slots in most parking garages in Amsterdam are rather small. If you have a big car, check some online reviews first about the parking garage if you have a larger car.
Where to Park in Amsterdam – Parking Zones and Prices
Amsterdam, like most Dutch cities, is divided into parking zones. Each zone has different rates, with the most expensive being €7.50 per hour. (This is parking in the heart of Amsterdam.)
Yes, the centrally located parts of the city are the most expensive, but parking in these spots is ideal if you want to explore the city center on foot. Here are some options for you.
- Q-Park Bijenkorf is a popular parking garage for people that want to visit the city center. Apart from accessing the department store ‘Bijenkorf’, you can easily walk to the Royal Palace, as well as several museums located in the center.
- Q-Park The Bank Rembrandtplein is centrally located and gives easy access to the Hermitage, Rembrandt Square, and the Tuschinski theater. However, this parking garage offers only a limited number of places (110).
- Parking Oosterdok is one of the cheapest places to park in the city center. There are only 250 places, so reserving a place is smart. Without a reservation, the daily rate is €37.50, while most other parking garages in the center are at least €55 per day.
Moving a little further away from the city center you will find more affordable parking options. You can either choose a parking garage near a location you want to visit or use public transportation to reach your final destination(s).
- The Q-Park Museumplein is ideal for visiting the van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. All are within walking distance of the parking. But due to the popularity of the tourist attractions nearby, rates here are still high (€55 per day).
- Parking garage ‘Mercatorplein’ is a municipal parking garage. It is conveniently located near the Rembrantpark. The daily rate is €38.
- Parking ‘Gelderlandplein’ is located to the south of the city center. It is a large parking garage (764 slots) with bus stops nearby.
So, truly, the cheapest parking in Amsterdam option is to park further from the city center and then just take public transportation to your final destination. For this purpose, Amsterdam offers something called Park and Ride (P+R).
You park at a location near the ring road around Amsterdam and then ‘ride’ via public transportation (bus, tram, metro, train) to move into the city. Details are available on the city site.
If you travel and park on a weekend or official holiday or arrive after 10 AM, the P+R option is available for only €1 per day. If you arrive after 10 AM on weekdays, the rate is €8 per day. Public transportation costs into the city center will still be incurred on top of that, of course.
How to Pay for Parking in Amsterdam
Apart from the Blue Zones, you need to pay for parking in Amsterdam. For both street parking and parking in a garage, you can pay with a debit card (‘pinpas’), or a credit card. You can still pay with cash in some places, but that is becoming the exception, so be prepared for digital means of payment.
A popular form of payment for parking in Amsterdam is an app on your phone. There are several apps for this. Parkmobile is one of the biggest in The Netherlands. Not only do these types of apps allow for easy payment for parking, but they can also help with finding, reserving, and navigating a parking slot.
Amsterdam Parking Tips
Reserving a Parking Slot
If you want to be sure and reserve a parking slot in Amsterdam, have a look at ParkBee. This company offers parking in many European cities. They make deals with third parties (offices, hotels, public parking garages) to utilize unused parking space. Rates are up to 30% lower than nearby public parking locations, and access is often restricted to those who have reservations, making it more secure.
Free Parking in Amsterdam?
Is there such a thing as free parking in Amsterdam? Apart from the Blue Zones mentioned above. Try the park around the Amsterdamse Bos, a large park with wooded areas to the southeast of Amsterdam. Apart from the main entrance parking, other parking places are free. Again, you would have to use public transportation to travel into Amsterdam city center.
Are you planning to stay more than one day in Amsterdam? If so, book a hotel with parking. Many hotels in Amsterdam include free parking with your room reservation. From your hotel, just make use of public transportation to get to your destination. Check the ParkBee option mentioned above too, as their offerings include hotel parking, which, together with an Airbnb or B&B might be cheaper than the hotel rates.
European Disability Parking Card
If you have disabilities or are traveling with a disabled person, make sure to get the European Disability Parking Card. It allows for parking at reserved slots in both on-street parking and in parking garages. A second benefit is that the disability parking card, when placed visibly behind the front window, allows for parking in a blue zone without any time restrictions (unless specifically indicated for the parking slot).
Parking for Electric Cars
Are you driving an electric car? If so, check the availability of charging with the parking slot. Although the charging infrastructure in the Netherlands is one of the most developed in Europe, public parking slots with charging are still limited. Amsterdam city also offers a parking map with available charging locations.