The city of Amsterdam is so beautiful that it looks like something out of a picture book. This, together with its rich history, and intriguing architecture makes Amsterdam a world-class travel destination.
Amsterdam locals are very friendly and quite progressive. The neighborhoods are very compact and can be easily accessed on foot – making Amsterdam one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world.
US citizens do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands and can visit visa-free for up to 90-days. The majority of the people who wish to visit Netherlands must obtain a Schengen visa or a short stay visa. However, EU and Swiss nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. For a detailed information on the visa visit Schengen Visa Info.
Best Time to Visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, just like rest of Northern Europe, remains wet and cold for 7 – 8 months of the year.
The best time to visit Amsterdam is in the Spring. Tulip season, which extends from middle of March to the early part of May, provides a chance to experience an interesting part of Dutch culture.
This is the best time to visit Amsterdam as the weather remains good throughout the season and the flowers are in full bloom. However, one downside is that springtime generally comes with an uptick in tourism. Hotel prices rise considerably during this period; so be prepared to shell out more for a nice room.
One good thing about Amsterdam is the many festivals that they hold throughout the year. The city hosts more than 300 festivals each year which means you will have the chance to celebrate something, regardless of when you visit!
Amsterdam City Tips
Hotel rates in Amsterdam will be significantly lower if you choose to visit between the months of November and early March. This is something to consider if cost is an issue. If you are visiting during the high season then try to avoid the weekends as the B&Bs have better availability during the weekdays.
If you are entering Amsterdam via Schiphol Airport then try to avoid taking a taxi into the city. The cost of a taxi ride from the airport to the city center will typically cost around 40 Euros. To save money you should hop on the train at the Schiphol Airport which will take you to the city center in 15 min. The tickets are priced at an affordable EUR 3.90. Choosing public transportation in Amsterdam is a great idea as taxis are quite expensive. The start at a flat rate of EUR 7.50 for the first 2 km.
The city is also famous for being very cyclist-friendly. Dedicated bike lanes are available throughout the city making for easy travel around the city. Bikes are available for rent at various locations www.macbike.nl for only EUR 9.50 per day.
Amsterdam, like many other European cities, is full of museums. But entry to Amsterdam’s museums can be expensive. If you plan to visit many museums it can make a real dent in your travel budget. If you plan on going sightseeing in Amsterdam then it is a good idea to invest in an ‘I Amsterdam’ Card. This card offers admission to 30 museums and includes the use of public transport. It also includes a free ride along the canals and numerous other benefits. The card is valid for 1-4 days, and costs between 57-87 EUR. Longer duration cards obviously provide a better value. In my opinion, the single day card is only helpful when you plan to visit a minimum of 3 – 4 museums. The card can be ordered online ahead of your visit.
Getting a Hotel in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a small city compared to the other European destinations. Depending on your speed, it’s quite possible to walk across the city in just 45 – 50 minutes.
This basically means that every hotel in the city can claim that they are centrally located.
It’s true that these hotels are within striking distance of all the major attractions. However, the absolute center of the city is Dam Square. You can’t go wrong with a hotel in this area.
The infamous Red Light District is also centrally located, but as it has an abundance of bars and sex shops, it’s probably best to avoid this area when choosing a hotel in Amsterdam. The city has a number of budget hotels, especially around the Rembrandtplein square (Rembrandt Square in English). The aptly named Rembrandt Square Hotel, a one-star property, is one of the top accommodation options for price-conscious travelers. Jordaan is a great place for couples to stay as it is a quiet area with lots of small cafes and restaurants. The Museumplein neighborhood is also highly recommended as it is close to the Rijksmuseum.
Use the Booking.com search box to get great rates on hotels in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is a culturally rich city with lots to see and do. The city is stuffed with numerous historical sites, art centers, and museums.
And unfortunately, each one is worth visiting. If only there was time to see them all!
Here are the best things to see in Amsterdam.
- Museum Het Schip, located north of Westerpark, is a small museum located in a very interesting apartment building. The building is a product of expressionist architecture – an architectural movement that was very popular in the 1920s. It’s worth a stop just to marvel at its design, which is a great departure from the norm.
- The Van Gogh Museum provides a great opportunity to see the world through the Dutch painter’s eyes. Tickets are currently 17 Euros for adults and can be purchased in advance online. Also, admission is free to anyone under the age of 18 so you won’t need to pay if you’re traveling with children. Don’t miss it when you’re in Amsterdam!
- The Anne Frank House should be included in everyone’s travel list. There is a self-guided tour that takes the visitors to the Secret Annex where the Frank family hid for over two years. Be sure to pre-book your tickets as the Anne Frank house is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam.
- Vondelpark – Great if you want a break from museum hopping. Holland’s most famous park was built in 1850 and welcomes guests throughout the year. It’s quite large so it’s recommended to take a bike ride the park.
- Enjoy a Canal Ride – No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a ride through the cities famous canals. Treat yourself to a relaxing ride, and enjoy the sights along the way!
What to Eat in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has everything to offer when it comes to food – from traditional Dutch eating places to scrumptious fried snacks. But there are a few dishes which you must try before leaving Amsterdam.
The traditional Dutch Appeltaart is flavored with cinnamon and sugar and they neither too sweet nor too crispy. The best Appeltaart can be found at Winkel, which is a lively cafe that serves many delicious snacks.
Rookworst is yet another delicacy which you cannot afford to miss if you are a meat lover. It is actually a mixture of ground meat and smoke flavor is used to make them tasty. One can get these in any supermarket in the city.
What to Bring in to Amsterdam
Winters in Amsterdam can be really chilly. So if you are planning on visiting Amsterdam between October and March then do bring a waterproof jacket and rain boots. Walking the streets during the chilly, rainy winter is not particularly easy if you aren’t equipped with waterproof shoes. However, if you are coming in the tulip season a windbreaker will usually be enough.
Since a majority of streets in Amsterdam are cobbled, you should try to bring luggage that has big wheels. This will make it easier to travel around the city. Also, luggage with smaller wheels tends to break after prolonged exposure to the cobbled streets. Do note that some hotels in Amsterdam have no elevators. So keep that in mind when you choose your luggage.
Lastly, do bring a city guide as it’s easy to get lost around the city. Alternatively, a good city map could work. You can pick up a map of Amsterdam from the airport if needed. This is really important as you will need to do a bit of walking in Amsterdam and a map in hand will ensure that you are never lost.