AMSTERDAM.

Connected by a net of charming canals, Amsterdam is a city that leaves a lasting impression on any visitor. Narrow, atmospheric lanes will take you on an adventure into the unknown, and you’ll never know what awaits at the end. From quiet, beautiful gardens, through vintage shops and cosy eateries, to the hottest clubs of Europe, Amsterdam offers a mixture of emotional and aesthetic thrills. Fall in love with niche restaurants, impressive art galleries, museums and post-industrial architecture. Between visiting the world famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, and shopping in some of the most fashionable clothing shops in the world, Amsterdam offers plenty of charm for casual, lazy strolls. That seamless diversity is what discerns Amsterdam from among the other capitals of Europe. The feeling of being at home is further enhanced by the fact that Amsterdam is one of the most tolerant and open-minded cities out there. Whether you’re after the wild nightlife, looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other, or just looking for an interesting place to visit, Amsterdam will surely deliver.

Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips

Best Period to Visit Amsterdam

Best Period to Visit Amsterdam

Accomodation Tips for Amsterdam

Accomodation Tips

Getting Around Amsterdam

Getting Around Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Amsterdam

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Amsterdam

Other Things to See and Do

Other Things to See and Do

Money Saving Tips

Spend outside the city centre

While the city centre of Amsterdam is just lovely, the surrounding area is just as nice – and much cheaper! Exploring the area beyond the centre will not only allow you to get a better taste of the overall culture and customs of Amsterdam but is also a good way to save money. Westerpark in Amsterdam West, for example, is a place where the locals hang out, and their sight is enough to tell you that the prices aren’t touristy.

Lower prices between November and March

That’s when the hotel rates go down around 25%. Additionally, many attractions also come at a discount around this time. While the weather is not exactly top-notch during these months, that’s when the tourist crowds recede, which is a plus for those who are more interested in museums than parties.

Taxis in Amsterdam are a big no-no

Amsterdam is perfectly walkable, which is one of the reasons why backpackers love it so much. Even if you’d prefer to use something faster than your own two legs, the public transport covers all of the city. Given how expensive the taxis are in Amsterdam, you’ll be much better off just hopping on a tram than spending €20 to get to that museum or art display.

Take advantage of the markets

Most of these offer much lower prices than stores and shops of Amsterdam. Whatever it is that you need – be it food, clothes, souvenirs or trinkets, chances are you’ll find them cheaper at the markets. Check the most popular ones for starters - Waterlooplein’s flea market operates on a daily basis until 5 p.m., and weekend markets Nieuwmarkt and Noorderkerk offer a selection of organic and locally grown products and natural food. For more variety, try Dappermarkt and Albert Cuypmarkt. The flower market, however, is tourist priced.

Save money on multi-use tickets

One-ride tickets in Amsterdam cost €2.80, which is a rather steep price, especially for the visitors from outside the Eurozone. To save money, think ahead – make plans about how many times will you be using the trams. If it’s upwards of three times a day, then you’ll be better off with a 24-hour ticket, which is €2.50 for children and €7.50 for adults. There are also multi-day options – 48-hour is €12, 72-hours is €16.50 and a weekly ticket costs €32. They can all be purchased at the metro area under Amsterdam Central Station, and sometimes inside the trams.

Audio guides are not always worth it

In some museums, the audio guides are indeed useful to give you a better understanding of the display. However, that doesn’t mean all of them are worth it. In most museums, the free pamphlets offer a comparable amount of information (often exactly the same). If you can stand reading instead of listening, skipping the audio guide can help you save a bit of money.

In most touristy places, water is overpriced

Given the lack of free water taps and drinking fountains in Amsterdam, you’ll need to buy your water. Keep in mind that bottled water at snack stands or kiosks is way overpriced. You’ll have to pay around €2.50 per bottle, while a grocery store offers the same bottle for below one euro. This really makes a difference over the course of a couple of days.

Hop on a bike and save money!

Cycling is the way of life in Amsterdam, that’s a fact. If you want to really blend in like a local, while saving money at the same time, skip public transportation in favour of the bike. You can rent bikes all around the city – the longer the renting period, the lower the price. One-day rental is around €7.50, while three-day rental can be as low as €15.

Enjoy free concerts at the Concertgebouw

There is a free lunchtime concert being held every Wednesday at the Concertgebouw. While it’s mostly students and aspiring artists, sometimes it can even be an open rehearsal by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra! In any case, let’s not be too picky – after all, it’s free, right?

Book your accommodation outside the centre

Naturally, the most expensive hotels are the ones right in the centre of things – in this case, that means the centre of Amsterdam. However, if you don’t mind some distance to cover (we’re here to explore, after all, aren’t we?), book your accommodation outside the centre. The further out you book, the lower the prices!

Best Period to Visit Amsterdam

Tourism

The peak of tourist season for Amsterdam is between May and April, as that’s when tulips are peaking as well. Between September and February, tourism in Amsterdam recedes due to weather.

Weather

Amsterdam is the warmest between May and September, with August being the hottest and sunniest month of the year, peaking around 22°C. Between December and February, Amsterdam is the coldest, with around 0°C low.

Money

Amsterdam is the most expensive in April, May, and September. January is the cheapest month of the year when the prices drop around 30%.

Events

Between June and August, tourists in Amsterdam can enjoy Holland Festival, UNESCO World Heritage Weekend, Taste of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Gay Pride and Canal Festival. Between September and November, Jordaan Festival, Amsterdam Fringe Festival, and Amsterdam Light Festival are held. Food buffs should visit Amsterdam in March when Food Festival Amsterdam is held. In April, there is King’s Day and Tulip Festival, and May offers the Liberation Day entertainment.

Accomodation Tips

Budget (1-2 star) hotels

Amsterdam offers hundreds of hotels to choose from. As the city is a popular choice among backpackers and party-goers, this includes a wide choice of budget hotels. The average price per night for a 1-star hotel in Amsterdam is between €28 and €55, while a 2-star hotel is between €50 and €160.

Standard (3-4 star) hotels

Standard hotels in Amsterdam are a great choice for families and couples who value comfort and convenience. These hotels usually offer good location, close to popular points of interest in Amsterdam, such as Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. The average price per night for a 3-star hotel in Amsterdam ranges from €55 to €180, while a 4-star hotel costs between €75 and €220 per night.

Luxury hotels in Amsterdam

Hotels in Amsterdam include those from the top-quality bracket, such as Grand Hotel Amrath, Hotel De L’Europe, Amstel Intercontinental, and more. These luxury hotels offer state-of-the-art facilities, impeccable service, and excellent location, right next to the most popular attractions.

Getting Around Amsterdam

Bicycle

Cycling is the way of life in Amsterdam, not just a transportation choice. That’s why, for a true Amsterdam experience, you have to hop on a bike at least once, even if just for a few hours. Cycling around Amsterdam will allow you to explore the city, and blend in with the locals, both at the same time. There is also no shortage of bike rental offices all around the city, for those who do not bring their own bikes with them.

Public transport (buses/metro/trams)

Amsterdam offers an excellent public transportation system, which consists of metros, trams, ferries, trains, and buses. Even though the city is perfectly walkable, and even more bike-able, public transport in Amsterdam is efficient and useful. We recommend trying the ferries, as they are not only a mean of transportation but also an attraction in itself. Bus and metro stops are conveniently located close to the most important spots of the city, including tourist attractions. Trams are the most important element of public transportation in Amsterdam, and you’ll probably end up using them the most. For that reason, it’s good to memorise some information:
• Tickets can’t be bought on board. You’ll have to buy a disposable OV-chipkaart (1hr €2.90) or day passes from the GVB information office.
• Your pass has to be checked two times – once you enter the tram, and once you’re leaving.
• Centraal Station is the main train hub in Amsterdam, and most tram lines start there.
• Trams operate between 6 a.m. and 12:30 a.m..

Boat

Between late March and early November, visitors of Amsterdam can enjoy the Canal Bus hop-on-hop-off service. The boats cover 20 docks around Amsterdam, most of which can be found near the most popular museums. Ferries to Amsterdam Noord depart from behind Centraal Station and are free.

Car

Amsterdam isn’t the most car-friendly city, mainly due to the amount of unfenced canals and narrow streets, as well as the thousands of cyclists riding all over the place. Taking all that into consideration, we wouldn’t recommend using a car as the main mean of transportation. Additionally, when driving a car, it’s important to remember that:
• Seat belts are mandatory for everyone in a vehicle.
• Children under 18 and smaller than 1,35 meters have to ride in a child car seat.
• Bicycles are everywhere. Bikes going straight ahead have priority if you’re about to turn right.
• Trams always have priority.
• Cars on the roundabout have priority, unless traffic signs indicate otherwise.
• 0.05% is the blood-alcohol limit for drivers, 0.02% for drivers under the age of 23.
• Pay-parking in the central zone applies from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday and noon to midnight on Sunday. Dutch credit card is needed to use parking machines.
• Parking costs are around €5 per hour and €30 per day in the centre of Amsterdam and Canal Ring. It is around €4 per hour in Jordaan, Museumplein area, and surroundings. The further away from the centre, the lower the prices.
• To save money, try park-and-ride deals near the edge of town. Cars can be rented all around Amsterdam, with a lot of offices located on the street Overtoom, near Vondelpark.

Tickets and Passes

Travel passes and multi-use tickets come in handy in Amsterdam, not to mention they allow you to save substantial amounts of money, compared to per-ride tickets.
GVB – it offers between one and seven days of unlimited passes. It costs €7.50 for the one-pass option and goes up to €34 for the full, seven-day version. The GVB is valid on trams, metro, and some buses.
I Amsterdam Card – comes in four lengths at different prices (24/48/72/96 hours €57/67/77/87) and offers the GVB travel pass in the fee. It also offers free entrance to the most popular museums in Amsterdam, including Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Rembrandt House Museum, ARTIS Royal Zoo and many more.
Amsterdam Travel Ticket – comes in three options (per one/two/three-days for €16/21/26). It covers the same public transportation as the GVB, but with the addition of an airport train ticket. Can be purchased at the airport or the GVB office.
Amsterdam & Region Day Ticket – costs €18.50 and in addition to the tram/metro system, it covers night buses, airport buses, regional EBS buses and Connexxion buses. This means you can visit nearby towns of Haarlem, Zaanse Schans, and Muiden with this pass.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

One of the most popular museums in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum, offers over 200 paintings, 500 drawings and over 750 letters from Van Gogh. It includes a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions and covers various aspects of 19th-century art history.

Rijksmuseum

Explore the famous Rijksmuseum, which houses over 5000 paintings and an impressive collection of works covering the span of over 800 years. The main focus of this museum is on the Dutch Golden Age. In addition to the paintings, Rijksmuseum includes a vast collection of sculptures, clothes, weapons and ship models.

Heineken Experience

Learn about the history of Heineken, right from the place where the beer was brewed for the first time. The Brew U ride gives insight into brewing and bottling the Heineken beer. You will also learn the art of pouring Heineken. This attraction includes 2 drinks and tasting of Heineken.

Jewish Cultural Quarter

Explore the culture and customs of Dutch Jews in the Jewish Quarter. This educational tour will take you on a walk through the Jewish Historical Museum, Children’s Museum, the Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theatre) and the famous Portuguese Synagogue. The museum visit includes a renowned exhibition: Religion in the Great Synagogue (1671).

City Canal Cruise

Explore Amsterdam by boat with the City Canal Cruise attraction and admire the most picturesque sights of the city. This boat trip includes discovering the city’s historical centre, including the Golden Bend, the Skinny Bridge and more of the 17th-century architecture.

Bus Tour to the Zaanse Schans

Visit the picturesque village of Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam. This 3-hour tour will allow you to explore the contents of this open-air museum, which includes a collection of working windmills, wooden houses, and barns dating back to 18th and 19th century.

The National Maritime Museum

An interactive tour covering the span of 500 years of maritime history of the Netherlands. The museum’s exhibition includes the famous replica of the ship from the Golden Century of the East Indiaman “Amsterdam”. Throughout this tour, you will learn about the important figures in the history of Dutch Maritime, such as Michiel de Ruyter.

The Red Light Museum

Explore the museum of the Red Light District, the famous paid sex neighbourhood of Amsterdam, and discover all of its secrets. The museum is located in a former brothel in a monumental, 17th-century canal house. There, you will get the opportunity to experience how it feels to sit in the famous window, listen to the secrets of prostitutes, visit the room they work in, and read the secret confession of visitors.

The Rembrandt House Museum

Learn about the life of Rembrandt and admire his works at the Rembrandt House Museum. This is where Rembrandt lived and worked between 1639 and 1658. What’s even better, this attraction includes a continual workshop free of additional cost, which allows you to do your own etching in Rembrandt’s student studio.

Amsterdam Museum

Learn about the history and culture of Amsterdam – once, a small settlement along the Amstel, soon to become the centre of seventeenth-century world trade. A tour of the Amsterdam Museum is a fascinating journey through different stages of the city’s development. Discover how Amsterdam became what it is today – a colourful metropolis with an extraordinary appearance!

Other Things to See and Do

Hop on a bike

Did you know that there are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam? That’s right! With over 800,000 of bikes, Amsterdam is the true capital of cycling. That’s why, when in Amsterdam, you just have to hop on a bike, even if for a few hours only! The bike lanes are some of the best in the world and considering that Amsterdam is flat like a pancake, it’s a real pleasure to explore the city on two wheels!

Try the herring!

Haringkarren (herring carts) serve this Dutch speciality all over Amsterdam. Even if you’re not that big of a fan of herrings, when in Amsterdam, do as the Dutch do! Just ask for a “broodje haring”, and get the fish served in a sandwich with onions and pickles. Locals say that the best time to try raw herring is from May to July.

Anne Frank House

To enhance your visit to Amsterdam with a more serious note, visit the Anne Frank House. The front of the house is a museum, while the back annexe has been preserved to show the everyday life of Anne and other families she hid with. It’s best to book your visit beforehand, as the lines tend to be quite long.

Drinking beer under a windmill

Eight windmills remained in Amsterdam, and one of them is certainly worthy of a visit, especially if one fancies some quality beer. We’re talking about the de Gooyer in the Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Islands) neighbourhood, which houses the award-winning artisan microbrewery Brouwerij ’t IJ. Complete with a large outdoor drinking terrace, this place allows you to experience a 30-minute guided brew tasting tour.

Visit the mesmerising tulip fields

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the tulip fields. Granted, that attraction is only available in spring. However, if you happen to be in Amsterdam during this time, you just have to see the colourful tulip strip (Bollenstreek). Tulip fields stretch across miles between Harleem and Leiden, and are a truly one-of-a-kind sight!

Explore the markets

Markets are a part of the Dutch culture. There are many of them in the city, each unique and interesting. From clothes, vintage furniture, and food, to books and art, you can find anything on the markets of Amsterdam. The most popular include the Waterlooplein flea market and the Albert Cuypmarket in De Pijp.

See the EYE

One of the most iconic examples of modern architecture in Amsterdam, the EYE Film Institute, is as interesting on the outside as it is on the inside. It houses an exhibition space, which showcases both contemporary and retrospective exhibits, plus a vast film library. The marvellous restaurant bar with a terrace overlooking the water is an additional attraction. Did we mention you can get there for free, by catching a Buiksloterweg ferry from behind the Centraal Station?

Relax in the parks

Parks are another important element of the Amsterdam way of life. The city includes over 30 parks, which basically guarantees that you will never be far away from at least one. Vondelpark is the largest of them, covering some 47 acres, and housing an outdoor theatre with live concerts in the summer!

Get lost in Amsterdam’s Canal Belt

Amsterdam is encircled by 165 canals, which connect the city with bridges. This creates a truly one-of-a-kind net of small, nearly desolate strips of land, inhabited by all kinds of arty locals. Here, you will find an eclectic choice of interesting shops, cafes, and galleries. In our opinion, Prinsengracht is the most picturesque. Find your own favourite one!

Hit the Red Light District

Mysterious, intriguing and tempting – the Red Light District is a must-see when in Amsterdam. It is the oldest part of the city, which certainly adds to the atmosphere. Filled with sex shops, brothels, and coffeeshops (yes, the ones serving marijuana), it’s a place that every tourist has to visit, even if only for some window shopping!

Enjoy the cutting-edge street art

Amsterdam is famous for the street art – given the artsy nature of locals, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise. You can encounter some form of street art around every corner, and usually, it’s as impressive as the traditional art you’ll find in the museums all over the town. There are even some urban galleries, such as Go Gallery, which picked up on the street art scene!

Regain your peace of mind at the Begijnhof, the secret garden

Absolutely mesmerising and mysterious at the same time, the Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam’s secret gardens – it’s like a sanctuary, absolutely devoid of the everyday hustle and bustle of the city. It used to house the religious and liberated sisterhood of the Beguines but now serves as an oasis to escape the noisy city life.

Smoke some weed at one of the coffeeshops

But only if you’re 18, and in some establishments, 21 years old. There are about 250 coffeeshops in Amsterdam, with the majority located in the Red Light District. It’s important to remember that you’re allowed to buy the maximum of 5 grams per day, and the use of any hard drugs is strictly forbidden.

Skate through the canals

If you will be visiting Amsterdam in the winter, one of the most popular activities of the locals is skating on the frozen canals. They even hold a marathon-style event, called Elfstedentocht, which is a 200km skate race around Friesland. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, it hasn’t been held since 1997.

Catch a jazz concert

The Eastern Docklands are famous for the new music theatre, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. Designed by the Danish architects 3xNielsen, this amazing music complex is one of the most innovative and impressive in the whole of Europe. This is where the jazz buffs from all over the Netherlands come to get their fix!

Explore the churches of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is filled not only with museums, but also with historic churches. Don’t let the bohemian front deceive you – religion still plays an important part in Dutch life. The most famous church of Amsterdam is the Oude Kerk, which used to have 38 altars, back in the mid-1500s.

Have some fun at Madame Tussauds

For a bit of modern entertainment, visit the Madame Tussauds museum. Meet all the celebrities and the most important people of this world in one place, and in person! The mesmerising world of Madame Tussauds allows you to see your idols with your very own eyes. State-of-the-art wax figures at this museum are hard to tell apart from the originals!

Visit the ICE Bar Amsterdam

One of the coolest bars on Earth, the ICE Bar Amsterdam, is a must-see when in the city. It gives you the opportunity to experience the feeling of living on the famous Mercury ship, which belonged to Willem Barentsz, a famous Dutch explorer. You’ll be given a thermal coat and gloves to survive the cold. You’ll need them, as even the glasses are made from ice!

Try the Amsterdam Beerbike

The Beerbike is an experience that’s certainly hard to forget. 1.50m wide, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beer while cycling at the same time. It accommodates up to 17 people, while the minimum number of participants is 5. The ride starts and ends near the Centraal Station. We can’t think of a more pleasant way to explore Amsterdam!

Escape the Amsterdam Dungeon

The history of Holland isn’t only about the tulips and art. It also has a darker side to it, one that dates back to the times when danger lurked around every corner. Survive the Plague, meet the Angel of Death and step aboard a 17th century VOC ship. A visit to the Amsterdam Dungeon, located at Rokin 78, Amsterdam, is a truly thrilling experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best hotels for Amsterdam city break?

    Our list of the best hotels in Amsterdam are: InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam, Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, The Hoxton Amsterdam and NH Amsterdam Caransa. Discover the full list of best hotels in Amsterdam.

  • What are the luxury hotels in Amsterdam?

    The finest examples of luxury hotels in Amsterdam include Hotel Okura Amsterdam, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, De L'Europe Amsterdam The Leading Hotels of the World, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, The Dylan Amsterdam, Hotel TwentySeven - Small Luxury Hotels of the World Amsterdam and Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. Discover the full list of luxury hotels in Amsterdam.

  • What are the cheap hotels in Amsterdam?

    Those trying to visit Amsterdam on a tight budget will find everything they need in hotels such as Ibis Amsterdam Centre, Best Western Amsterdam, Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam Arena Towers, Hotel Casa Amsterdam, Motel One Amsterdam, WestCord Art Hotel Amsterdam and Hotel The Exchange. Discover the full list of Cheap hotels in Amsterdam.

  • What is the best period to visit Amsterdam for a city break?

    Taking factors such as weather, crowds and prices, the best months to visit Amsterdam for a city break are April, May, June and September.

  • What are top 5 things to see and do in Amsterdam?

    Amsterdam offers plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. Must-sees in Amsterdam include: Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Heineken Experience, City Canal Cruise and The Red Light Museum.

  • How much does an Amsterdam city pass cost?

    A city pass in Amsterdam costs around €59.

  • How much does public transport in Amsterdam cost?

    24-hour ticket for public transport in Amsterdam costs around €7.50.

  • What are the best night clubs in Amsterdam?

    The best night clubs in Amsterdam include: AIR Amsterdam, Chin Chin Club, Club NYX, Melkweg and Panama.

  • What are the best bars in Amsterdam?

    Judging on the reviews and customer opinions, the best bars in Amsterdam are: Hiding in Plain Sight, Hannekes Boom, Flying Dutchmen Cocktails, Bar Bukowski and SkyLounge Amsterdam.

  • What are the best places to eat in Amsterdam?

    Your choice of the best restaurants in Amsterdam may vary depending on your taste, however, De Kas, Stork, Wilde Zwijnen, Moeders and Eddy Spaghetti are some of the most popular choices.

  • What are the top 5 best restaurants in Amsterdam?

    Top 5 restaurants in Amsterdam include: Librije's Zusje, Yamazato, Foodhallen, Gastrobar and Daalder.