Almere is a city in Flevoland, a western province of the Netherlands. Almere is a new town, it has a new city centre. Because it is so new, if you're looking for old buildings, just go elsewhere: the oldest building is only from 1976! Almere had 191,239 inhabitants as of April 1, 2011, which makes it the 7th city of the Netherlands.
The busy railway corridor called Flevolijn/Hanzelijn runs right through Almere from East to West. Along it, no less than six train stations are strung within Almere: Almere Poort, Almere Muziekwijk, Almere Centrum, Almere Parkwijk, Almere Buiten and Almere Oostvaarders. There are direct train connections from Almere to Schiphol, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht, Hilversum, Leiden, Delft, Dordrecht, Roosendaal, Vlissingen, Lelystad, Dronten, Zwolle, Leeuwarden and Groningen, among others. One can easily transfer to trains taking you to almost any other station within the Netherlands in one of those destinations.
Apart from its proprietary bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Almere is also served by transregional bus lines utilizing the same BRT infrastructure. They are distinguished by their three-digit numbers (city bus lines in Almere are only numbered using one or two digits):
- Line 150 - to Utrecht
- Line 151 - to Naarden and Bussum
- Line 156 - to Hilversum
- Lines 153, 155 and 328 - to Amsterdam-Zuidoost (does NOT reach the historic city centre, only the remote area around Bijlmer ArenA)
- Lines 322 and 327 - to the Amstel Station between the Amsterdam-Oost and Amsterdam-Zuid (also not within the historic city centre, yet closer)
Some of the lines stop at Almere Centrum, but some do not. They would usually, however, stop at some other railway station within Almere or at the bus transfer point Almere t'Oor on the outskirts of Almere.
The bus lines are meant to supplement the railway by offering direct connections between more remote areas without the need to use the congested trains during peak hours. Therefore, for most tourists, it will be much more convenient to stick to using trains. If, however, you indeed want to start or finish your journey in a point not close to a railway station, do consult 9292.nl for up-to-date information on connections and schedules.
Almere is at the intersection of two motorways - the A6 going through the entire Flevoland, connecting to the Amsterdam-bound A1, and the A27, which forks southwards, towards Hilversum and Utrecht, from the A6 in Almere.
Almere is close to the Schiphol Airport, one of the best-connected airports in the world. From the train station directly underneath the airport concourse, you can take a direct train to Almere.
Almere has six train stations. Almere Poort, Almere Muziekwijk, Almere Centrum, Almere Parkwijk, Almere Buiten, and Almere Oostvaarders. Almere also has an extensive network of freelaying bus routes. On most of these routes, busses will ride every seven minutes. Less during evenings and Sundays.
The city also features an extensive network of free laying bike paths covering the entire city. Bikes can be rented at the bike shops at the train stations Almere Centrum and Buiten.
Almere is rife with prominent examples of modern architecture from 1970s onwards, and prides itself in its collection thereof. If this is one of your interests, you will surely not be disappointed in Almere.
Your tour of the architectural marvels of Almere would head off to a good start with a visit to those two places, both housed in rather interesting buildings, close to each other and right in the centre of the city:
- CASLa. Centre for architecture, city construction and landscape of Almere, with exhibitions and various events. The staff will be happy to talk you through Almere's architectural richness, give you an overview of the town centre using a scale model, and will often be able to provide you with maps, guides and publications on architecture in Almere.
- VVV Almere. The local tourist information office will be happy to suggest walks or tours for you to take, and has maps and electronic guides with pre-programmed architecturally-themed routes to take. They also have state-of-the-art bicycles for rent if you want to explore Almere that way.
Some of the most prominent works of architecture are to be found in the town's new centre (Stadshart):
- De Citadel, Jewel and Smaragd and Angle form a multi-functional centre with shops on the ground level, residential quarters over them and parking and transit hidden undernath
- De Nieuwe Bibliotheek compliments them with a striking building with functions beyond that of a traditional library and more of a true community centre. It also houses the local VVV. Next to it is the sprawling city hall, Stadhuis Almere
- The waterfront of Stadshart is a collection of striking residential buildings: Lakeside, The Wave, Side by side and The City. Next to them, striking De Kunstlinie houses the local theatre (Shouwburg Almere)
Art and culture
- Utopolis - the local outlet of the multiplex cinema chain
- Tour Almere the traditional way. The local company Almere Veertje offers many of the traditional tourists treats, including trips by boat, an ultra-cheesy tourist train with a hop-on-hop-off option and guided tours to some of the city's attractions.
- Walk! - Almere is a very walkable municipality, offering both urban and natural landscapes to explore. There are plenty of organized and pre-planned walks available via VVV Almere . Or you can simply grab a map and explore yourself.
- Brasserie Bakboord, ☎ . On the water in Almere Haven, is an excellent place to eat, and has a relaxed atmosphere. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and the food is a joy! Tip: choose the 3- or 4-course menu with wine suggestions (as long as you're not driving home, that is!!)
- Kemphaan Restaurant (It's just outside town, so you'll need a car to get there), ☎ . For something special try the Kemphaan Restaurant, the ingredients are almost all home-grown. There's no fixed menu, they just create a menu with whatever is fresh on the day. High quality food and what you eat will be a surprise! The 5-course menu is very filling, so if you're not a big eater, remember to ask for a 3-course menu when you book. Excellent for vegetarians.
Most bars are on the Grote Markt. There are some bars in the Havenkom, this is harbor of Almere-Haven, here you can eat and drink while enjoying the view of the bay in a very calm setting.
There aren't many accommodation options in Almere, and all are geared towards business travellers - expect modern, non-nonsense design and the usual features.
- Apollo Hotel Almere City Centre. Right in the very centre of Almere, next to the impressive waterfront, and featuring unusual architecture itself. around €100.
- ANNO. This hotel is also in the city centre, but in an inassuming location over a bar €80.
- Hotel Finn. Close to the other two hotels in central Almere €60-75.
- Van der Valk Almere. This plush hotel, featuring a swimming pool, is in a business / industrial district quite a bit away from the centre. €75-100.
- Bastion Deluxe Hotel Almere. Like most other Bastion Hotels, it is geared towards business travellers arriving by car. It is in an industrial park just by the A6, but pretty much far away from everything else €56-67.
- Lelystad — has some interesting sights, such as the recreated VOC ship
- Oostvaardersplassen — this nature reserve is one of the prime birding areas in Europe
- Schokland — this island used to be similar to Urk, but had to be evacuated; a ghost village remains and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Urk — traditional old Dutch village community that once was an island
|Routes through Almere|
|Groningen ← Lelystad ←||N S||→ Muiden → Amsterdam|
|END ←||N S||→ Blaricum → Breda|