The Best Amsterdam Travel Guide – All for your first time in the city

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Amsterdam Travel is a dream. The city is known for its canals, thousands of bridges, charming buildings, and the Red-light district. No wonder the mix of modern and historical makes the lively Dutch capital a perfect destination. Here’s what you need to know before leaving for your Amsterdam trip.

Amsterdam’s Most Famous Sights

Amsterdam, the “Venice of the North,” is home to several attractions, especially with its high density of museums. To help you know where to start, we have listed the top 5 Amsterdam attractions for you.

Abel Tasman

  • Anne Frank House: At the Anne Frank House, you’ll explore the former hiding place of the Frank family during World War II. It was here that Anne Frank wrote her diaries, which are known worldwide today. You can find more information about the Anne Frank House and guided tours here.
  • Van Gogh Museum: The Van Gogh Museum is located in Amsterdam’s museum district, “Museumsplein,” and is one of the most visited art museums in the world. Here, you will find the world’s largest Dutch painter Van Gogh collection.
  • Dam Square: Dam Square is the central square of Amsterdam, where Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, and Damstraat meet, and quite a few visitors bustle about. In the center of the square is the National Monument, which commemorates the victims of World War 2.
  • Vondelpark: Vondelpark is the most popular park in the city and has a lot to offer on its 45 hectares. Whether you’re an Amsterdammer or a visitor, this is the place to come when you need a break from the hustle and bustle. Just grab a blanket, a book, and a snack, and you’ll have quite a relaxing afternoon.
  • Rijksmuseum: The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the city also in “Museumsplein.” Directly in front of the museum, you will also find another Amsterdam sight: The white and red I AM-STERDAM-Skultpur. Tickets for the Rijksmuseum are available here.

More highlights in Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam Travel Tips

For your Amsterdam Travel to run smoothly, there are a few things to remember.

What is the best time to travel to Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is always worth a trip because a lot is happening here all year round – whether it’s summer or winter. Cycling is also an integral part of everyday life here in all weather.

TREES, TULIPS, AND EVERYTHING IS IN BLOOM: I LIKE IT BEST HERE IN SPRING

I like to admire the green trees and blooming flowers along the canals and come here in the warmer months. Those who want to combine the Amsterdam city trip with the tulip landscape in the botanical garden in Keukenhof should especially come in spring. The botanical garden is usually open from March to May.

How do I get to Amsterdam?

Due to the geographical proximity of England to the Netherlands, British travelers enjoy a good connection to Amsterdam, so several modes of travel come into question: flight, train, and long-distance bus.

Depending on the distance, traveling by train is one of the most convenient manners. From London, for example, you only need about 5 hours. A flight is an option for places of origin that are farther away. Most major international airports in the United States and Australia are connected to Amsterdam Schipol Airport, a major European hub.

Those arriving by plane should familiarize themselves with public transportation (GVB) or book a transfer in advance. From Schipol to Amsterdam, you can book an express transfer for 11+ euros per person or a private transfer for 17+ euros per person. Both transfers from Schipol to Amsterdam city center take only about 25 minutes.

You will probably arrive at Amsterdam Centraal or Zuid by train or long-distance bus and will be directly in the city upon arrival.

What means of transportation are there in Amsterdam?

When you think of Amsterdam, you immediately think of bicycles. In fact, the famous bicycle city counts more bicycles than cars. Therefore, cycling is one of the best activities in Amsterdam. But be forewarned, it can get a little crowded due to heavy traffic. Cycling here is not quite as relaxed as in Copenhagen, for example, but still a great experience and an absolute must-do on an Amsterdam trip.

The city continues to be a pedestrian paradise. The mix of bicycling and walking is often sufficient. From time to time, however, you can’t avoid using public transport. If you want to be prepared, you can buy your GVB tickets in advance without worrying about them on-site. On this map, you can also see where the different streetcar and bus lines run.

BICYCLE RENTAL IN AMSTERDAM GVB TICKETS

How long should an Amsterdam trip be?

An Amsterdam trip can never be too long, in my opinion! However, if you really want to get to know the city, you need at least 5 days. For many first-time visitors, a weekend in Amsterdam is popular. However, even though a longer trip will give you more time to explore, a trip for 2 or 3 days is also worth it. You can discover a lot in a short time, provided you know how. If you also have a weekend in Amsterdam planned, check out our itinerary to help you get the most out of your Amsterdam travel.

 
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What must you eat in Amsterdam?

Holland ist für vielerlei Delikatessen bekannt. Therefore, you should definitely try the following specialties on your trip:

  • Stroopwafel: The taste of this Dutch specialty is part of every visit. Stroopwafels are dough wafers with a filling of caramel. They were invented in the town of Gouda, which brings us to the next Dutch delicacy.
  • Cheese: If you are in the Netherlands, you should treat yourself to cheese! Popular cheeses such as Gouda, Leerdamer, Maasdamer, and Edam originate here. The difference can be tasted! A trip to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum might also be worthwhile for true cheese lovers.
  • Poffertjes: These small pancakes with powdered sugar are ideal for a sweet snack. You can roughly compare Poffertjes with what we know in Germany as Schmalzkuchen or Kräppelchen.

Poffertjes in Amsterdam
Dutch poffertjes

Gastro Highlights in Amsterdam

Which restaurants in Amsterdam are really worth it?

Despite the common belief that everything in the center is a tourist trap, I want to convince you otherwise. You will also find something in the city center and enjoy delicious meals and snacks.

  • De Hallen Amsterdam: This small food market has many regional delicacies, with bitterballen (Dutch meatballs) being a must!
  • Vlaams Friethuis Vleminickx: Here, the fries are super crispy. Our insider tip for your visit is “Patat Orloj” (“War Fries”): Fries served with sate sauce and mayonnaise and topped with onions. This may sound unusual, but we promise you won’t regret it!
  • Stubbe’s Haring: This traditional snack stand specializes exclusively in fish. Selbst für die, die keine großen Fischfans sind, kann sich ein Besuch lohnen. In that case, we recommend kibbeling, a fish fillet covered with batter, helping it taste less fishy.

Cafes in Amsterdam

Of course, visiting a cafe in Amsterdam should not be missed for good coffee and a really delicious breakfast. We recommend:

  • LOT61: Here, you can get delicious coffee. In fact, we like it so much that we take a few bags of beans home with us every time we visit! Due to the small size of the café, it is common here to order a coffee to go.
  • Coffee Room: The coffee here tastes good, yet the food is outstanding! Coffee Room, located just across LOT61, offers seating in comparison, so you can enjoy your breakfast here in peace.
  • Moak Pancakes: The best pancakes you can eat in Amsterdam can be found at Moak Pancakes! Our favorite are the pancakes with bacon, blueberries, and syrup—simply heavenly!

Amsterdam Bars

In Amsterdam, a lot revolves around beer. You should steer clear of familiar beers and try Dutch varieties instead!

  • Beer Temple: This centrally located bar offers a variety of beers, including many dark beers. With the beer, you should order the cheese platter that comes with mustard and crackers. Together, it’s a great combo for a relaxing evening at Beer Temple.
  • Proeflokaal Arendsnest: Here, you will find many specialty beers and regional varieties. So, if you want to learn more about the Netherlands by drinking beer, head for Proeflokaal Arendsnest!
  • Tonton Club: There are two locations for Tonton Club. What’s special about this spot is that it serves delicious beer and fun games! An entertaining evening is guaranteed here. Plan some time for your visit because here the hours fly by!

Where are the best places to shop in Amsterdam?

In the largest city in the Netherlands, the shopping seems endless. If you need a break from sightseeing in Amsterdam, you can choose between various shopping malls, luxury boutiques, and vintage stores.

  • The Magna Plaza: The former post office offers a shopping center spanning over three floors at the central Dam Square. There’s a little bit of everything here, from clothing to cosmetics to Dutch cheese.
  • The Shirt Shop: As you probably already recognized, you can buy t-shirts here. Some shirts here are cool; others are very strange! But that’s exactly what makes the store so peculiar. Be sure to stop by here if you want to buy something special that you can’t find in every shopping center.

Amsterdam Saving Tips

An Amsterdam trip can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Luckily, you can save with Amsterdam savings passes!

With the right Amsterdam Card, you can get up to 50% off your entrance fees without giving up anything. Once purchased, the passes give you unlimited access to a bunch of attractions, activities, tours, and experiences in Amsterdam for a chosen period or a number of attractions. A pass can be worthwhile from 1 day or 2 attractions.

Amsterdam has three main passes: the I Amsterdam Card, the Amsterdam All Inclusive, and the Amsterdam Explorer Pass. We have compared them for you so that you can quickly determine which of the passes is the best for you. In our passport comparison, you can quickly find how the passports work, how much they cost, what they contain, and what the differences are.

Book your pass in advance and online, as there are often additional discounts! In addition, you save money, time, and stress on-site!

Amsterdam Card comparison

 
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Amsterdam City Trip – Amsterdam Canal Cruises

A visit to Amsterdam without a canal cruise? This is not possible! A cruise through the idyllic canals is undoubtedly the most popular activity in Amsterdam.

The offer of canal trips is enormous, so we have created a list of the best. Here, you will find different options: in German or English, with food or without food, and by day or night.

Our Recommendation

1. Canal Cruise w/ live guide in English

Amsterdam-Cruise-Tiqets-English

Popular

 2. Evening canal cruise

amsterdam kanalfahrt abend

3. Classic Canal Cruise

amsterdam kanalfahrt

4.Classic Canal Cruise

amsterdam bootsfahrt

5. Cruise w/ dinner

amsterdam bootsfahrt mit essen

Review


68 Reviews


7595 Reviews


4062 Reviews


50 Reviews


552 Reviews

Duration (min)

90

90

75

90

90

Time of day

Day and Evening

Evening

Daytime

Daytime

Evening

Food/Drink


Drinks (available for purchase)


Barservice


Coffee & Tea


Burger, pizza, brownie, unlimited drinks.
*vegetarian options selectable

Guide


Live


Audio-Guide


Audio-Guide


Live


Live

Language

🇺🇸
English

🇺🇸

Multiple languages

🇺🇸

Multiple languages

🇬🇧
Englisch 

🇺🇸
English

Price (€)

21,50

18

13,65

25

42,50

CANAL CRUISES AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam Hotels

Your Amsterdam travel is set, but where should you stay? We have a huge special with the 33 best hotels in Amsterdam for you, including my interactive hotel finder that will suggest the best neighborhood to stay in and then the TOP hotels for every budget!

Best Hotels in Amsterdam by Location

 

Boutique-Hotels in Amsterdam oder Hotels mit Pool?

Should it be something quite extraordinary?  Then check out my best boutique hotels or hotels with pools from all over Amsterdam.


Best Hotels in Amsterdam by Stars


All hotels at a glance

You can find my best list with all accommodations in my article on hotels in Amsterdam.

The latest articles about Amsterdam

You haven’t had enough of Amsterdam yet? Hier findest du noch weitere interessante Artikel von uns über die niederländische Hauptstadt:

 

Frequently Asked Questions About an Amsterdam Trip

When is the best time to travel to Amsterdam?

Definitely the spring. In April and May, the cityscape of Amsterdam becomes even more beautiful than it already is. However, Amsterdam is a city that gladly welcomes tourists year-round. But with attractions for the colder days of the year and highlights for summer events, the city is simply a destination for all seasons.

How many days do you need for a city trip to Amsterdam?

Although Amsterdam is not a really big city, it offers numerous sights and activities. That’s why you need at least five days to say you’ve been to Amsterdam and experienced the best of the city. However, if you have more time, you can stay up to seven days without getting bored.

What is the high season in Amsterdam?

The high season in Amsterdam is in spring and summer. May to September are the most popular months with all visitors. However, the temperatures are perfect even in these months—between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius. During big holiday dates, Amsterdam is especially popular, so it may be best for you to avoid for a relaxed city trip.

When is the cheapest time to visit Amsterdam?

In winter, between November, December, and January, you can definitely save big in Amsterdam and avoid the tourist crowds that the city faces, especially during summer. If you like it extra romantic, don’t miss the Christmas season in Amsterdam with Christmas markets, canal cruises with a hot drink, and a lot of exciting (and warm) museums!

What should I see in Amsterdam?

We have a long list of the best attractions in Amsterdam. Still, the top five are undoubtedly:

  1. The Anne Frank House
  2. Van Gogh Museum
  3. Dam Square
  4. Vondelpark
  5. Rijksmuseum

If you’re only here for a few days, you should check them out, but you’ll discover so much more as you wander the alleyways!

Profilbild Larissa
About the author

Larissa

Das Reisen ist meine große Leidenschaft. Ich liebe es, die Wanderwege in Rio de Janeiro zu erkunden, die besten Strände in Miami zu entdecken, die ältesten Museen in Rom zu besuchen und noch die besten Gerichte in Paris zu verkosten.

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