Amsterdam Travel Guide

Iconic canals, centuries-old townhomes, cobblestone lanes and flower-adorned bridges. Amsterdam is as pretty as a postcard with charm in spades. It’s also one of the rare places that attracts history buffs, luxury-minded travelers, couples seeking romance and backpackers alike.

Besides its cultural attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and The Concertgebouw, the Dutch capital has leafy parks, hip shops and an enduring sense of the past that thankfully never fades. With world-class museums, bicycle tours, and a thriving arts scene, it’s really just a matter of culling it down to a select few activities. Though wandering around the quaint streets and sitting outside at the sidewalk cafes is so appealing, we wouldn’t try to cram too much into your daytime itinerary.

On the F&B front, this burgeoning culinary mecca boasts world-class restaurants that make every meal a gourmet adventure. When the sun goes down, there’s no shortage of things to do either. Think: cozy speakeasies, bustling bars, and plenty of nightclubs. Lastly, you can’t talk about Amsterdam without mentioning “coffee shops” (and not the kind that strictly brew espresso).

Simply put: whatever your idealized version of a European getaway entails, Amsterdam won’t disappoint.

Time Zone
Central European Time (CET)

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Best Time to Go
Late spring is arguably the best season to visit Amsterdam. The forecast of mild temperatures couldn’t be more perfect for biking around the city and exploring the surrounding countryside. Starting in early April, the legendary tulips begin to bloom, which lures travelers from around the world. The famous King’s Day carnival, held on April 27, is another major draw.

Because the aptly nicknamed “Venice of the North” enjoys an oceanic climate, it never gets super hot. While the rest of Europe flocks to the beaches of Santorini and Saint-Tropez, we love the idea of a summer city break in Amsterdam. You might have to contend with a few more fellow travelers, but it’s certainly not going to be an impediment to a fantastic trip.

Early fall is marked by pleasant temperatures and plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors. Don’t write off wintertime. Sure, the days are short and there’s a frosty chill in the air, however, the sparkling frozen canals, holiday spirit, and lack of crowds make it a really special time. You can also score great deals on airfare and hotels.

Things to Know
Currency: Euro
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Dutch
(The vast majority of residents also speak fluent English)

Calling Code: +31

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How to Get Around
Trams: Amsterdam’s iconic blue-and-white trams remain a reliable and economical way to get around the city center ($3.80/hour or $9.50/day). There are 14 lines convening at Amsterdam Central Station, the city’s main transportation hub.

Buses: The bus system is quite extensive and efficient with a total of 35 lines. Catching a flight? Hop aboard the shuttle, which runs between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the city center every 15 minutes. Planning an evening out on the town? Whereas the trams and metros operate between 6 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., night buses come in clutch for after-dark transport needs.

Ferries: Like the trams, buses and metros, Amsterdam’s ferries are also operated by GVB. Connections across the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal) cost $1.50/trip. While boats crossing the IJ river are free of charge for pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders.

Metros: The metro system comprises five routes and serves 39 stations, making it best for accessing the outlying suburbs.

Rideshare: If you’re sticking to Centrum, driving isn’t really necessary. However, it’s easy to hail an Uber to take you to some of the outer boroughs.

Trains: The Netherlands has an impressive national railway network. For day trips to the countryside and neighboring cities, trains from Amsterdam Central Station are a convenient and easy-to-navigate option.

Bicycles: OK, cycling technically falls outside the definition of public transportation. But when in Amsterdam, do as the locals do. In terms of getting around that means hiring a bike (download ‎Donkey Republic or pop into a local rental shop). It’s a great mode of seeing the city and working off all those pannenkoek.

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Best Hotels
Related Items
Anniversary Trip Ideas
CREDIT: COURTESY OF PULITZER AMSTERDAM
Pulitzer Amsterdam
Address: Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 523 5235
Book Now

Perched on the Prinsengracht canal, the Pulitzer Amsterdam proffers a picture-perfect location. The storybook charm continues inside. Guests are greeted by an eye-catching display of fresh-cut blooms in the entryway. Heritage-rich touches adorn the lobby, rooms and suites. There’s also a delicious restaurant called Jansz and a lovely garden for enjoying tea or a glass of wine.

The Hoxton Hotel in Amsterdam
CREDIT: COURTESY OF THE HOXTON, AMSTERDAM
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
Address: Herengracht 255, 1016 BJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 888 5555
Book Now

More than just a respite to rest your weary head, The Hoxton, Amsterdam is a place to see and be seen. A lobby bar that encourages mingling, quirky rooms, and interesting pop-ups give it a vibe that’s simultaneously uber-hip and approachable. The welcoming atmosphere makes travelers from all walks of life feel like they’re part of the ‘in crowd’.

Conservatorium Hotel
Address: Paulus Potterstraat 50, 1071 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 888 5555
Book Now

A high-end option housed a former music conservatory that’s right by the Van Gogh Museum, the Conservatorium Hotel comes up big in both the location and aesthetics department. You’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive architectural feat than the property’s jaw-dropping glass atrium. For a bit of R&R, book a treatment at Akasha Holistic Wellbeing.

Ambassade Hotel
Address: Herengracht 341, 1016 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 555 0222
Book Now

A traveler favorite, the Ambassador Hotel wins rave reviews for its central location and prize-winning views. A mix of contemporary and traditional design, rooms feature modern artwork, antique furnishings, and striking chandeliers. Past guests also tout the friendly staff and reasonable rates.

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