In March this year my husband and I went on a short P & O cruise on Azura which used IJmuiden as its gateway to Amsterdam. You may have seen my earlier post about the port. This was a last minute change of plan by P&O, so the organisation was a bit haphazard, and passengers were disappointed at not sailing into the centre of the city. To be fair the good people at P&O realised that the arrangements were not up their usual standard, and took steps to improve matters, even ringing me for further feedback on our return. So this post is not intended as a moan. I am simply providing a few details about what happens when you shuttle from IJmuiden to Amsterdam and your walking route into the town centre. This may help interested passengers to find their way around, and also to decide whether or not to book a ship's tour. Please bear in mind that my husband is partially sighted, so we were very aware of traffic and crowds.
Firstly, as IJmuiden is not especially interesting, most passengers will probably want to take a tour or shuttle into Amsterdam, so expect plenty of coaches and possibly queues at popular times.
Once the waterways appear at the roadside there is more to see.
The shuttle buses in Amsterdam park beside a waterway, just a few minutes walk from Amsterdam Central Station. This is also the place where passengers for many river cruises are dropped off, so you need to check the return signs on the buses.
This was the first time I had been close to so many river cruising boats. I was amazed at how large and luxurious many of them appeared. I was impressed and it did make me think I might like to investigate river cruising!
Anyway, once off the coach, Amsterdam Central Station is visible, and you need to head in that direction. Just walk straight ahead with the water on your right.
(Please note this photo was taken on our return walk, but, from the coach, the station is to the left of the footpath.) There are pedestrian crossings, but you do need to be alert as the bikes are often fast and ignore the crossings. If you choose to enter the station, there are loos, shops for drinks and snacks, and plenty of seating.
When you have walked past the station, or walked through it, there is a tunnel on the left hand side.
The footpath is wide, but yet again it pays to be wary of cyclists. It only takes a few minutes to walk through the tunnel and you emerge in the centre of Amsterdam. There are displays of maps and many signposts, though it can get very busy. You can catch one of the many boat trips from here, but you may have to queue.
On this occasion we chose not to do a boat trip, but we have done a boat trip in Amsterdam in the past, and absolutely loved it. My husband's eyes were not good that day, so he found the crowds and cycles difficult to negotiate, but this would not be a problem for someone with clearer vision and good mobility. Amsterdam is an amazing and vibrant city. We were very tempted to stop for a pancake.
With greater research we might even have boarded one of the many water buses which transported the locals and their bikes all over the area.
So to sum up.....my advice would be...do your research and allow plenty of time for the shuttle to the city. Be aware that at busy times it will be very crowded. Watch out for cycles, and, if crowds are not your thing or you have mobility or vision problems, this may be one of the places to book a tour.