Known for the beautiful canals that run through the city, Amsterdam is a very popular city break with a flight from the UK only taking 1 hour! Amsterdam really does have it all, filled with museums, beautiful parks and a fantastic transport system, it’s the perfect short break!
- Definitely purchase an Amsterdam Travel ticket from Schiphol airport, depending on how long you are visiting you can purchase them for 24, 48 or 72 hours and this gives you unlimited access to tap on and off the trams, buses and metro routes around the centre of the city and also gives you access to second class journeys on the trains. Alternatively, you can also purchase an ‘I Amsterdam city card’ which gives you access to top attractions as well as the public transport system!
- When choosing a place to stay, I would always suggest choosing a hotel close to the parks (eg VondelPark, Rembrant Park or Westerpark). These areas tend to be much quieter of an evening and only a few minutes tram ride from the busy centre! You’ll also find great places to eat in these areas.
- Visit the museum quarter, this could be a whole day in Amsterdam but this is where you will find the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, the Heineken experience along with one of the famous I Amsterdam signs. Here you will also find a lovely green area outside the Rijksmuseum where you can find some local food stools which are perfect for a spot of lunch!
- Another day out or afternoon in Amsterdam worth doing is catching the ferry over to Amsterdam North! Over in the north exit of Centraal station, you can take a free ferry which runs about every 15 minutes to the other side of the river. Over in the north of Amsterdam you have a place called Plek which has a lovely rustic restaurant with a small man-made beach. You also have the A’DAM look out which has a hotel, revolving café, a rooftop bar where you can see the whole of Amsterdam city and it has the iconic swing on the top of the building where you can swing over the side of the hotel.
- There are lots of things to do in Amsterdam and there are a few things focused around Dam Square (approximately a 10-minute walk from the station); to the south you have the shopping area, to the east you have the red-light district and to the north you have De’Begijnhof which is a like a Dutch version of Harrods. Using Dam square as your base is a great way to get to know the city!
- Albert Heijn – the most common supermarket in the city, there’s one on almost every street corner. It’s great for fresh pastries in the morning, picking up a picnic to have in the park or if you just need a snack while walking around the city!
- Eat where the locals eat! There are a few chains in the city that you’ll recognise from home but there are so many fantastic independent restaurants on every street! Here are a few to check out:
- Foodhallen- this is a fairly large hall, built in an old railway station with lots of different cuisines and food options, really great for lunch or even dinner! In the old railway station, there is also a cinema and small boutique shops!
- De’Begijnhof- this is in Dam square and is lovely to have tea & cake in the afternoon!
- Bar Kantoor- this lovely bar/restaurant is located in Westerpark (another large park) and is a lovely spot for lunch or dinner! Their menu is very broad but mainly lovely salads & good food!
- Van ‘t Spit – the best chicken I have ever had!
- I would definitely recommend hiring a bike for a day, to explore the parks and the outer city! It can be a bit tricky with all of the bike lanes/lights, the locals are pros so be warned it can be a little intimidating!
- Other attractions worth visiting; the floating flower markets, the Nemo Science museum which is particularly great if you are travelling with kids, The Anne Frank House, the Tony’s Chocoloney Factory, the Johan Cruyff arena home to Ajax and even better if you can catch a game too!
- Lastly, a few tips if it is your first time in the capital; Be cautious when walking/biking by the canals! The canals are beautiful and a must visit, you will find them all over the city but be careful if you are renting bikes or if you have had a few drinks! Spot the difference between the coffeeshops and the cafes, don’t take photos in the red light district. Don’t walk in the bike lanes and equally don’t bike on the foot paths. Wear comfortable shoes, you will do lots of walking!
Good to Know
Read the basic information and also some fun facts about Amsterdam! Here you will find everything you should know…