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30 Top Travel Tips for Amsterdam (+ Top Do’s & Dont’s)

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If you’re looking for a city break that offers something a little different, look no further than Amsterdam. This lively and eclectic city is home to stunning architecture, world-class museums, and lovely canals – not to mention plenty of excellent restaurants and bars. Here are our favorite travel tips for Amsterdam to make your visit enjoyable.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city with so much to offer. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler, a history buff, or just looking for a fun weekend getaway, you will find awesome things to do in Amsterdam.

But don’t let the romanticism of Amsterdam’s canals and tulips – or even the Dutch people’s quintessential good nature fool you; traveling there can be challenging if you’re unprepared.

This list will help ensure your trip goes smoothly and you get the most out of your time in this beautiful city. Additionally, we’ll look at some things that make Amsterdam unique, such as its architecture, diversity, and culture.

According to TripAdvisor, 78% of travelers who visit Amsterdam say they would recommend the city to others. So it’s worth putting some effort into making the most of your time there.

What We Cover

Top Travel Tips for Visiting Amsterdam

1. Do your research before you go

Google Search

There’s a lot to see and do in Amsterdam, so it’s a good idea to research before you visit. This way, you can ensure you don’t miss any of the city’s highlights.

Additionally, knowing what to expect will help you avoid any unwelcome surprises. For instance, while Amsterdam is generally safe, some areas are best avoided – particularly at night.

2. Get a travel insurance policy

No matter where you travel, purchasing a travel insurance policy is always a good idea. This will protect you from unforeseen problems, such as lost luggage or medical emergencies. When purchasing a policy, read the fine print to know what is covered.

If you are traveling outside of North America, travel insurance is critical as your health coverage likely only applies to emergencies in Canada or the United States.

Travel insurance usually covers lost luggage, stolen possessions, and trip cancellations. By purchasing a policy before your trip, you can relax and enjoy your time abroad, knowing you are protected from unforeseen problems. We’ve used and reviewed many travel insurers, and here are a few you should consider.

See Related: Best Cancel Anytime Travel Insurance

3. Get an I Amsterdam City Card if you plan to visit 3+ attractions

I Amsterdam City Card
image by GetYourGuide

If you plan on visiting more than three Amsterdam attractions, get an I Amsterdam City Card. It’s a pass that allows you to see many of the city’s top attractions at discounted rates. It also includes free public transportation and can be an alternative to purchasing individual tickets.

For instance, if you plan on visiting The Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum (the world’s largest museum), Anne Frank House, and Scheepvaartmuseum (a maritime museum with a fantastic collection of works by Dutch masters).

The I Amsterdam City Pass will save you money compared with buying individual tickets for each attraction. The pass costs €55 for adults and €45 for children ages 4-18—and can be purchased at any of the city’s attractions or from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport when you arrive in Amsterdam.

The card is valid for 48 hours, depending on your purchase card, or 72 hours after the first use. If you want another option, consider GoCity’s Amsterdam City Card, which offers a similar approach but is more geared towards maximizing the Amsterdam museum experience.

See Related: GoCity Amsterdam Review: Is it Worth it?

4. Pack light

Travel Packing

Amsterdam is a relatively compact city, so you won’t need to pack too much for your trip. Bringing less luggage will make it easier to get around. If you’re traveling in the summer, remember to pack light, airy clothing that can be used flexibly.

If you plan to arrive via Amsterdam Centraal Station (Amsterdam Central Train Station), the walk to your hotel (depending on your location) can be very crowded, especially on weekends. The city center is filled with cobblestone streets, so lugging pounds and pounds of luggage can be dreadful.

We know a thing or two about efficient packing and quality luggage.

See Related: Amsterdam Packing List

5. Make Use of Public Transit Apps for City-Wide Info and Digital Tickets

Amsterdam Centraal Station façade against clear blue sky.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Several apps can help you make your trip easier, whether using public transit or biking. For example, if you’re planning your route and want to take advantage of public transit in Amsterdam, download the app for GVB (Amsterdam’s transport company) or, even better, purchase a GVB all-inclusive pass before you arrive.

The app has features like real-time updates on departures and arrivals, an interactive map with directions to the most significant stops in Amsterdam, a journey planner, and more. It’s also straightforward: type in where you want to go, and the app will give you all the options available on your route.

When purchasing tickets for public transportation or bike share programs such as OV-fiets (Amsterdam’s bike share program), use the GVB app again. It’s much faster than standing in line at one of their ticket machines, which tend to be slow.

  • Just open up the GVB app on your phone or tablet when you board a tram or ferry;
  • Tap “buy ticket”;
  • Select which type of ticket (e.g., single fare) based on how long/far away from home/work);
  • Scan the QR code displayed by the conductor/driver into the device (this automatically deducts the amount owed);
  • Show the receipt on camera so the conductor can confirm payment has been made successfully before letting passengers disembark at the stop where they wish to get off at the next destination point within city limits.

See Related: Best Spas in Amsterdam, Netherlands

6. Learn some Dutch phrases

Dutch-English dining vocabulary for language learners and travelers.
Me Trying to Learn Dutch (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Amsterdam is an international city, so you can get there without speaking Dutch. However, learning a few basic phrases will help you connect with locals and make your trip more enjoyable.

Plus, people will appreciate the effort as the Dutch language is not as commonly used worldwide as it once was during the Dutch Golden Age of trade. And even more importantly, Amsterdam is full of great people who want to meet others!

So, if you’ve got a couple of extra hours on your hands while waiting for that boat tour across town, try out some new type of beer at one of those excellent bars and see if your Dutch language skills help spur a conversation with a local.

7. Don’t Arrive by Car or Rent a Car

Cars

The most expensive thing about visiting Amsterdam is the car. You’d only want to rent one if you plan on driving through the countryside, and even then, it’s unnecessary. You can quickly get around on foot or by bike (much cheaper than renting a car), so don’t waste your money on one – you do not need one.

You can easily use superb public transport like bikes and trains, which you’ll probably appreciate more anyway because they’re less stressful than driving in busy urban areas like Amsterdam.

Plus, there are plenty of other options: Uber or Lyft will let you order rides from your phone with little hassle—and they’re both cheaper than taxis. If you absolutely must rent a car (no judgment), you can generally find affordable car rental options through RentalCars.com.

See Related: Rental Cars That You Can Take Out of State

8. Book Your Train Tickets in Advance

NS train departing Schiphol for Amsterdam Centraal
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The best way to ensure you get the best rates is to book your train tickets in advance. In addition to saving money, booking your train tickets early also helps avoid long lines and rush hour crowds.

When traveling internationally, knowing what currency you’ll need and how that currency will be accepted in Amsterdam is essential.

If you plan on using a credit card during your trip, check with your bank about foreign transaction fees before leaving home so you can plan accordingly for any additional costs associated with international travel.

See Related: Top Sites for Booking Tours: Maximize Your Experience

9. Bring Cash and a Backup Bank Card

Wallet with Cash and Cards

When traveling to Amsterdam, having plenty of cash and a backup bank card is best. If you lose your primary bank card, getting a new one at the airport ATM is possible, but don’t count on this as an option.

In that case, you may need to wait until you get home before accessing more funds from your account. If you lose all of your money but still have a backup card and enough cash for some basic needs (food and transportation), there are many ATMs throughout the city. You should be able to withdraw up to €90 per transaction at most Dutch ATMs.

It’s also worth noting that the Euro and the good ol’ USD are valued at roughly the same right now, so if you’re wondering how much everything costs you in dollars, it’s about the same (minus any exchange fees).

See Related: Best Credit Cards For Travel Perks of February

10. Visit During the Low Season

Street in Amsterdam During an Autumn Day in October
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The low season is November through March, which means visiting Amsterdam without summer crowds. This will also give you much more time to explore this gorgeous city at your own pace, and flights and hotels will likely also cost less.

As a bonus, the weather is milder during these months—it may still rain occasionally, but it won’t be nearly as snowy or cold as in wintertime.

11. Visit Museums Before 2 pm

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The museums in Amsterdam are a great way to learn more about the area, but they can be crowded. If you’re visiting during peak tourist season (like me right now – ugh), you’ll find yourself fighting for elbow room with rowdy crowds eager to take selfies with Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”

Luckily, most museums are free after 2 p.m., so if you arrive early enough, you can enjoy your time without fearing that someone will take your favorite spot next to Rembrandt’s self-portrait or Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring.” That five minutes before 2 p.m. (or 4:30 p.m. sometimes) can make all the difference!

See Related: Best Museums in Europe to Visit

12. Explore the Canal Belt Before Nightfall

Amsterdam Canal

The Canal Belt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is incredibly enchanting at sunset and nighttime. It’s quiet, romantic, and serene. You can walk along the canals and take in all the sights and sounds that make Amsterdam memorable.

The canal area is generally very busy with tourists, locals, and street performers, so it gets loud during the day. The canals aren’t lit up entirely at night, except for the bridges—so they’re also dark.

While the lack of light adds romance to the experience, it also makes it difficult to see where you’re going if you need to cross the canals (or even look at them). It’s best to see the canals after peak tourist hours and before sunset.

13. Book your accommodation in advance

Booking.com Homepage

If you plan on visiting Amsterdam during peak season, booking your accommodation in advance is essential. That way, you’ll be guaranteed a room and might even get a discount. Hotels in Amsterdam can fill up quickly, so it’s best to book as soon as you know your travel dates.

Several websites offer hotel discounts, including our favorites Booking.com, Expedia, and Hotels.com. Be sure to read the reviews before booking, as not every budget hotel is as lovely as it seems in the images online. It’s also a good idea to check out the location on a map to ensure it’s in a safe area and close to the attractions you want to see.

See Related: Booking Sites for Cheap Flights and Hotels

14. Watch Out for Bikes at All Times. And Ditch Any Umbrella!

Cautionary bike path crossing sign in Amsterdam, with directional arrows and bustling city backdrop.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You must be vigilant when traveling in Amsterdam. Cyclists are everywhere, and they don’t mess around. They’re fast, can come from anywhere at any time, and won’t hesitate to swerve right into your path to avoid a pothole or a pedestrian stepping off the curb and into the bike lane.

This can lead to collisions between cyclists and pedestrians, resulting in severe injury or death yearly. In Amsterdam, bike lanes are generally clearly marked as red. I like to call the red bike lanes LAVA. If you are walking, STAY OFF THE LAVA, aka the bike lanes.

Also, for this reason, we recommend leaving your umbrella at home (or better yet — never buying one) and not using headphones while crossing the street (though some people might say that if you have music on too loud, it can make it harder for you to hear bikes coming up behind you). Also, be sure not to cross without looking both ways first!

15. Ride a bike

Cyclists and pedestrians enjoying a sunny day in Amsterdam's Vondelpark.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Whether it’s a guided bike tour or a trip to the shops, consider renting a bike if you’re looking for an easy way to get around Amsterdam. This is a great way to explore the city, exercise, and see as much of Amsterdam as possible in one day.

It’s also straightforward to find bike rentals; there are many different companies from which you can rent bikes in Amsterdam, and prices range from €10-40 per day depending on the length of rental and type of bike (e.g., electric versus regular).

While most people do not need reservations for these types of services, it’s always good practice to call ahead to confirm availability. Amsterdam canals are in layers in the canal belt. Hence, the name. However, outside of the canal belt, there are a ton of other outstanding Amsterdam canals to explore, and the best way to see the hidden gems is by riding a bike.

See Related: Brussels vs. Amsterdam

16. Do not take photos in the red light district!

Red Light District in Amsterdam

The famous Amsterdam Red Light District is a significant tourist attraction in Amsterdam; you can book an Amsterdam Red Light District Walking Tour, but it’s essential to be respectful when visiting this area.

Do not take photos of the women working in the windows—this is prohibited and can result in a hefty fine or even result in your phone ending up in one of the canals.

Be respectful of these sex workers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The local community respects them, and their worker’s union in the Netherlands supports them.

If you want to take photos in the area, focus on the architecture or canals. This is a historic area of Amsterdam, and there are plenty of beautiful things to photograph without taking pictures of sex workers.

17. Be Careful About Where You Buy Your Weed!

Amsterdam coffeeshop Amnesia: iconic venue in traditional Dutch architecture
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When looking for weed, buy from reputable coffee shops, aka “coffeeshops,” with good reviews and respect for their product. Like any business or restaurant, you want a good product and experience if you use your hard-earned money to purchase something.

Several coffeeshops have opened in Amsterdam to chase money, but they are not selling a good product or experience. Focus on household coffeeshops with excellent reputations, such as Boerenjongens, Abraxas, Barney’s Coffeeshop, Grey Area, and The Bulldog.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

18. Don’t buy drugs from street dealers

Avoid Street Drugs Sign in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

While drug use is tolerated in Amsterdam (to an extent – Dutch law is complicated), it’s important to remember that drugs are illegal. Do not purchase drugs from street dealers. This is illegal, highly discouraged, and can result in severe consequences.

If you want to purchase drugs, we recommend doing so from a coffeeshop—a legal establishment where you can buy and consume cannabis products. Just be sure to bring your ID, as you must be 18 to enter a coffeeshop in Amsterdam.

19. Bring an Outlet Adapter with Two USB Ports

Tow Adapters

If traveling to Amsterdam, you need an adapter to charge your phone. Why? Well, most Dutch hotels don’t have enough outlets for everyone in the room (a common problem). Since the Netherlands uses a different voltage from other countries, you’ll need a converter to charge your gadgets properly.

See Related: Best Travel Accessories

20. Can I use Airbnb or VRBO to Snag a Fantastic Apartment in…Amsterdam?!? Yes!

Charming Amsterdam canal houses and daily life scene
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Vacation rental companies like VRBO and Airbnb are a great way to save money and allow you to stay in a place that’s more like a “home.” That means the accommodation you rent might have a bit extra space and fewer rules than the standard hotel room.

You can book your apartment on Airbnb or find a space owned by someone who lives in Amsterdam and rent it out when they are away (this is called renting an “entire home/apartment”).

Not all these options will be available for your trip (or even exist yet), but if they do, I highly recommend checking them out!

See Related: Best Apps & Websites to Book Hotels in Europe

21. Go on a canal cruise

Amsterdam Canal Cruise with Dutch buildings and lifeboat ring
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of the best ways to see the Amsterdam canals is by water. There’s something unique about riding a boat in Amsterdam.

Canal cruises are a great way to get an overview of the city and learn about its history. Many companies offer canal cruises, and prices vary depending on the tour length and whether or not you want to include a guide.

Amsterdam Canal cruises typically last about an hour, most departing from the Amsterdam Centraal Station (Central Station) area. If you’re short on time, this is an excellent activity in Amsterdam. It’s also worth noting that if you opt for an Amsterdam card, you’re eligible for a free canal cruise!

See Related: Things to Do in Amsterdam, Netherlands

22. Enjoy Some Dutch Cuisine

Stacks of authentic Dutch stroopwafels with Hans Egstorf branding, packaged with a royal blue ribbon, on display in Amsterdam.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In addition to Amsterdam’s cultural aspects, you can enjoy some Dutch cuisine. While Dutch food doesn’t get the attention of Italian and French cuisine, it’s still excellent and dynamic.

The Dutch are proud of their cheese, so try some Gouda, Edam, or Leidse. They also make excellent street food such as the legendary herring: try kibbeling (fried), schol (raw), and boterzure (soused in vinegar).

You can’t visit Amsterdam without eating a pancake. Try poffertjes—small pancakes served with butter and syrup—or other Dutch pancakes like slaaien and pannenkoeken.

Finally, you have to try an entire meal based around meatballs. In Holland, these are called kroketten and bitterballen and come in different sauces, such as curry or mustard.

See Related: Best Amsterdam Food You Need to Have

23. While you’re at it, try some amazing international cuisine! (Indonesian, Surinamese, African, and more!)

Lalapan Indonesian Food

Due to its colonial history and a desirable standard of living, Amsterdam is home to people worldwide. As a result, you can find cuisine from just about anywhere in the world in one city! Amsterdam is the second most diverse city in the world, after New York City.

One of the most popular cuisines in Amsterdam is Indonesian food. There are dozens of great Indonesian restaurants throughout the city, each with its take on classic dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice), gado gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), and satay (grilled meat skewers).

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, there are also plenty of great options for Italian, French, British, German, Spanish, and other types of global cuisine.

Of course, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without trying some of the city’s famous Dutch specialties, such as stroopwafels (syrup waffles) and the ubiquitous herring.

24. Pause in Amsterdam’s parks and Hofje (hidden courtyards)

Scenic Pathway in Oosterpark, Amsterdam, Surrounded by Lush Greenery and Flowering Plants
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most-visited park, with millions of visitors annually. It’s also one of the city’s most important green spaces and home to various events throughout the year. The park is an ideal spot for guided bike tours.

If you’re looking for something more offbeat, try one of Amsterdam’s hidden courtyards—often called Hofjes (“courtyard houses”). Hofjes are small enclaves within more prominent neighborhoods historically built as affordable housing for Dutch citizens who couldn’t afford to live in Amsterdam proper.

These days, they’re usually privately owned but still open to the public as destinations for recreation and relaxation. Several dozen hofjes are scattered across the city center; some are free, while others charge entry fees, require reservations, or are private for residents.

See Related: Beautiful Gardens in Europe to Visit

25. Make a list to visit some of the most historic brown bars and cafes

Inside In 't Aepjen, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Plan to see some of Amsterdam’s most historic brown bars and cafes. The Dutch love their beer, and there’s no better place to sample a wide variety than in Amsterdam.

The city has some of the best pubs in the world; prepare a list of Amsterdam’s most historic brown bars and cafes. We recommend starting with De Zwarte Zwaan, established in 1790 but closed during World War II after German forces bombed it.

It re-opened shortly after the war and is still going strong today. Try their traditional Heineken on draft and some tasty snacks like bitterballen (fried dumplings).

26. Spend an afternoon in trendy Amsterdam North

Amsterdam North Botas

If you want to explore Amsterdam like a local or escape the touristy things to do, one of my favorite travel tips is to head to Amsterdam Noord (Amsterdam North). Amsterdam Noord is across the IJ from Amsterdam’s city center and can be reached by a free ferry. Its unique character, architecture, and major attractions are great places to explore.

Some of the highlights of Amsterdam Noord include the EYE Film Institute, A’DAM Lookout, NDSM Werf (an excellent creative hub), and the EYE Museum. Amsterdam Noord is also home to great restaurants, cafes, and bars, so it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening exploring.

27. Take a day trip from Amsterdam

Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Zaanse Schans, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There are plenty of great places to visit outside of Amsterdam, and if you have the time, we recommend doing a day trip or two. Amsterdam is centrally located in the Netherlands, so getting to other parts of the country is easy.

Some of Amsterdam’s most popular day trips include visits to Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam, Volendam, Kinderdijk, Leiden, and Haarlem. Each of these cities has unique attractions and things to see and do.

If you want a day trip, visit Keukenhof Gardens or Zaanse Schans and Volendam. An I Amsterdam Card will include transportation to Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken, and Muiderslot Castle.

See Related: Ouderkerk aan de Amstel: A Hidden Day Trip from Amsterdam

28. Consider taking a walking tour

Amsterdam Streets

If you want to learn more about Amsterdam and its history, consider taking a walking tour. This is one of the most obvious Amsterdam travel tips, as it’s common for nearly every city. But in the Dutch capital, many different kinds of tours are available, so you can choose one that interests you.

For instance, there are walking and boat tours combined with skip-the-line tickets to the museum that sponsor the tour. There are also food tours, which are a great way to try some local cuisines. No matter what kind of tour you choose, it’s a great way to learn more about Amsterdam and its history.

See Related: Best Amsterdam Tours

29. Visit Amsterdam’s markets

Stalls at Waterlooplein Flea Market, a famous outdoor shopping destination in Amsterdam
Exploring Waterlooplein Flea Market (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Amsterdam has many different kinds of markets, from the large Flower Market to the smaller neighborhood markets. The city’s markets are a great place to find fresh produce, flowers, and other local goods.

Some of the best markets in Amsterdam include the Albert Cuyp Market, the Noordermarkt, and the Dappermarkt. The Albert Cuyp Market is the city’s largest and most well-known market, while the Noordermarkt is a great place to find organic produce and local specialties.

30. Tipping is optional, so keep the calculators in hand

Amsterdam provides a good living wage even to restaurants, and unlike in the United States, tipping isn’t socially required – but always appreciated. When you eat at the finest dining establishment, the tipping can exceed 10 percent.

However, remember that customer service is no longer just about a quick wait for you to respond. They are more relaxed and arranged to aid you rather than pamper you. You do not have to give tips in bars or cafés. It’s generally not expected.

My Favorite Do’s and Don’ts of Amsterdam

DO’s

Do Rent a Bike

Amsterdam is a very bike-friendly city and a great way to get around. Just be sure to watch out for the tram tracks.

Do Try the Local Food!

There are many different kinds of Dutch food, from bitterballen to stroopwafels. A market or local cafe is a great place to try these Dutch snacks. To try other cuisines, check out the Foodhallen in Amsterdam Oud-West for a fun food and drink environment.

Do take a canal cruise

A canal cruise is an important activity in Amsterdam. It’s a great way to see the city from a different perspective and learn more about its history. There is so much to learn about the Dutch capital; each canal house feels like it has its piece of history behind it.

Do get an Amsterdam City Card

Amsterdam’s museums are unlike anywhere in the world. If you’re a fan of art, history, or culture, Amsterdam is the place for you. The city has world-renowned museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum. You can get free entry to museums and public transportation with an I Amsterdam City Card.

Do visit the markets

Amsterdam’s markets are a great place to find fresh produce, flowers, and other local goods. If you are in town on the third weekend of the month, visit IJ-Hallen in Amsterdam North, Europe’s largest flea market.

Don’t come by car

Traveling to Amsterdam via automobile is not the best plan of action. It may be hard for you to get around. There isn’t much need for a car in town, and you can’t get much done with it. For longer journeys into town, use public transportation. Parking is also very costly in Amsterdam, and many hotels lack parking.

Don’ts

Don’t walk on the bike lanes & don’t bike on the sidewalks

It’s a good thing to learn a few facts about Amsterdam before walking around. Bicycles are king in cities, and most people bike. The bike lane is typically a separate bike lane with no specific purpose except for bicycles. Do not go through the bike lane or stand on the road. If a biker needs a crossing route, make the crossing as quickly as possible.

Don’t miss Van Gogh!

Amsterdam has many fascinating museums; choosing where to get them isn’t always easy. However, if you have visited one museum in Amsterdam, you must visit Van Gogh Museum. It houses the world’s most extensive collection of Van Gogh’s paintings (and some of his most essential artworks).

You will also see works by artists in similar periods. However, there are also major focus points on his life and masterpieces. It is the most visited museum in the Netherlands and worth visiting Amsterdam.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Amsterdam is a very safe city, but it’s always better to be cautious. If you need help or directions, don’t be afraid to ask. The locals are generally amiable and happy to help.

This is just a start, but hopefully, it will give you some good ideas for your trip.

See Related: Warm Winter Destinations in Europe

Traveling in Amsterdam: Types of Transportation and Getting Around the City

Bicycles in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a relatively small city, and walking on foot is easy. However, if you want to see more of it, there are a few other transportation options.

Biking

Biking is a great way to get around Amsterdam. The city has plenty of bike paths, and it’s a fun way to see the sights.

Trams

Amsterdam has an extensive tram system that can take you to most parts of the city. Trams are a great option to avoid traffic and getting lost.

Buses

Buses are also available but are not as convenient as trams or bikes and are generally located outside the canal ring.

Taxi

Taxis are available, but they can be expensive. If you take a taxi, make sure the meter is running correctly.

Water Taxis or Boats

Water taxis are a fun way to get around Amsterdam. They are typically more expensive than other forms of transportation, but they offer a great view of the city.

Metro

Amsterdam has a clean, efficient, and very fast underground metro that only runs north to south. If you are looking for accommodation outside the city center, consider booking a place in De Pijp near the metro transit stop.

Walking around Amsterdam is the best way to see the city center. However, if you want to explore more of it, there are a few other transportation options. Biking, trams, buses, and taxis are all available, but the best way to get around is by foot. Water taxis are also an option, but they are typically more expensive.

See Related: Cities in the Netherlands to Visit

Best Time to Visit Amsterdam

A bed of brightly colored yellow and pink tulips in the foreground with Amsterdam's historic architecture and a tram in motion in the background — springtime in Amsterdam.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The best time to visit Amsterdam is from April to May or September to October. The weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists. However, plan your trip for April if you want to experience the city’s famous tulip festival. Remember that hotels and flights are typically more expensive during these months.

When to Avoid Amsterdam

Any time in Amsterdam is fine with me. The city is lovely, but if you like avoiding crowds, the busiest time to visit is June to August.

The city is crowded with tourists, and the weather is warm (there can be cooler days during this period, though). If you want to avoid the crowds, plan your trip for another time during the year, such as spring or early fall.

Whether visiting museums and parks, learning about the many famous artists the Netherlands has produced, or enjoying a cheeky pre-roll, Amsterdam is a city that should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The Dutch capital is a beautiful, energetic city with plenty to see and do, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a good reason.

However, Amsterdam features an incredibly well-planned city center, where you can see most of the city’s history in various ways, such as via tram, boat, bike, walking, moped, kayak, and even car.

Relax, take it easy, and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful city. If you feel we missed the mark on any of these Amsterdam travel tips, please let us know. Subscribe to our free travel newsletter for more information on destinations worldwide!

FAQs

What is the best time of year to visit Amsterdam?

The best time to visit Amsterdam is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. However, remember that peak season (May-September) is also a great time to visit, as many events and festivals occur.

How long should I stay in Amsterdam?

Most travelers suggest spending at least 3-4 days in Amsterdam. That way, you’ll have enough time to explore the main sights. Of course, if you have more time, you can always stay longer.

What is the best way to get around Amsterdam?

There are many ways to get around Amsterdam, including walking, biking, and public transportation. Your preference will generally determine your choice; if you’re looking for a more active vacation, you might want to walk or bike. Alternatively, you might want to take public transportation if you prefer a relaxing vacation.

What are some must-see sights in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam’s must-see sights include the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, Artis Royal Zoo, the Van Gogh Museum, and Dam Square. Of course, there are many other tourist attractions worth visiting, like simply enjoying all the canals offer—it all depends on your interests.

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