This is the Quick Travel Guide to Amsterdam with all the practical information you need when visiting. These guides have been designed to use as a point of reference for your trip. Bookmark it, it will certainly come in handy when you’re there!
History, Art & Culture
Anne Frank House offers a harrowing but rich and intriguing experience. Book online to avoid the inevitably long queue.
Rijksmuseum or the State Museum. This is up there with the crème de la crème of art and history museums. Get a discount with the Iamsterdam City Card.
Woonbootmuseum/Houseboat Museum. Go back in time through to present day and learn how fascinating life can be on the water. Read more here.
Hire a bike and explore independently or take a guided bike tour. There are plenty to choose from!
Hire a private boat or take a tour. Choices include romantic dinner cruise, sightseeing tour or rent your own pedalo! For sightseeing tours, pick one up from Damrak or one of the many hop on/off stops around the city. If you want something more special you can grab a champagne cruise from here.
Get lost in the Jordaan or Pijp areas. The former is part of the UNESCO Word Heritage Site. There is something to feast your eyes on at every turn, and don’t forget to look up!
Weird & Wonderful
Electric Ladyland Fluorescent Art Museum. Even if you think this is of no interest whatsoever, please go! Everyone needs to meet Nick and you’ll leave enlightened. Learn more
Kattenkabinet/Cat Cabinet Museum. Need I say anymore? This quirky little museum houses a serious selection of eccentric pieces incorporating all things cat. Learn more or why not stay here – they have three apartments to rent – book now!
Red light Secrets Museum of Prostitution will play havoc with your emotions as you swap between hysterical belly laughter to deeper contemplation as the dark truths are revealed. The first installation is so creepy it made my skin crawl! Get a 20% discount if you book online.
Chill in one of the city’s thirty parks. If you’ve spent time in the museums on Museumplein, Vondelpark is just round the corner.
Visit de Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Learn more
If the purr of a cat makes you go weak at the knees, head to de Poezenboot – the only floating cat sanctuary in the world. The opening hours are limited so check their website first
The Toren is one of my favourite hotels in the world. Every small detail is covered here with luxurious décor, excellent service and some rooms have Jacuzzis and steam rooms. We stayed for our Mini-Moon and loved it so much, we stayed 3 days longer than expected – you won’t regret a stay here! Book now
Canal House is also up there on the list with tasteful furnishings and a beautiful garden when the weather’s good. Book here
Kamer01 serves a five course champagne breakfast as well as having unique and stylish rooms. It also has an in-house Beagle named Tommie 🙂 Book here
Pulitzer is a gorgeous hotel, with each room having a unique design including the Antique Collector’s Suite, Art Collector’s Suite and Book Collector’s suite. Book here
Amsterdam Boutique Apartments are a great choice if you prefer a bit more independence. They have kitchenettes and various home comforts. Live like an ‘Amsterdammer’ in style book here
All of the above are located centrally close to many fine restaurants, museums and areas of cultural interest.
Times Hotel is a reasonably priced choice of accommodation, centrally located in Jordaan with clean rooms, classy décor and great service. Book here
Intel Hotels – Zaandam This isn’t strictly Amsterdam itself, but it’s bloody good value. Trains run until quite late, taking only 15 mins. This place is immaculate and very quirky from the outside with each room having its own story. Some rooms come with a Jacuzzi and steam room and a fraction of the price you’d pay in the center! Book here
Airbnb – there are tons of great choices on here giving you more independence than a hotel. If you haven’t joined yet, sign up now AND get £14 free credit for your first booking!
Lloyd Hotel has a fantastic range of unique 1-5* rooms, all priced accordingly. Each room is individually designed with a range of amenities. One even has a playground swing and a bath in the middle of the room! (see photo above). Book here
For a special experience
Daalder is a refreshing and intriguing experience centrally located in Jordaan. You pick the amount of courses you’d like and the rest is up to the chef. The wine and service is great too. They are striving for a Michelin rating without the arrogance. Book here
De Kas isn’t so central, but worth the journey. They have a daily set menu based on the harvest from their nursery, topped up with ingredients from local suppliers. It’s set in a conservatory and offers a memorable experience. Book here
For brunch, head to G’s. With a tongue in cheek but delicious menu, you can choose from three locations in the city including their brunch boat on weekends. Be sure to try the bloody mary! Book at G’s now or you can just rock up, they keep a few tables for drop ins.
A sociable affair
If you like fondue, head to Café Bern. Feel like a local as you relax in this cosy and charming pub. It doesn’t have an English menu but the waiting staff are very helpful and will tell you all you need to know. I would book ahead as it gets busy.
Bazar is located in a converted church in the trendy Pijp area serving African and Middle Eastern dishes. It has a buzzing vibe with vibrant décor and a vast menu with good food at a reasonable price. Find them here, although their website is in Dutch.
De Peper (v) is not a restaurant as such, it’s a volunteer run, not-for-profit project housed in a former squat They serve delicious vegan food, line the walls with ever changing art and you may even catch some live music. It’s a great place to check out if you can, although food is only served 7.00pm-8.30pm on certain days and you must book on the day. If you’re not hungry, you can have a few drinks in the evening too.
Tales & Spirits is the place to go for a tasty, pungent cocktail or two. This place has an intriguing 1940’s speakeasy vibe with simple but bold décor with unique and carefully constructed concoctions served in vintage glassware. Find out more
The Supperclub will give you an evening you won’t forget. You never know what the entertainment of the night will be, but be sure to be a) in hysterics b) confused and c) highly entertained. You’re seated on beds with mood lighting and a DJ later in the evening. They also serve a ‘surprise tasting menu’ if you go earlier and fancy supper. Find out more
Brouwerji t’ IJ is a microbrewery and tasting rooms located next to a windmill by the IJ river. There are plenty of freshly brewed beers to try and if you get peckish they do tasting boards too. The atmosphere is friendly and if you time it right, you can join in on one of their brewery tours.
I would recommend getting an Iamsterdam City Card if you plan on seeing a few attractions around the city. It includes a detailed city map, along with unlimited use of buses, trams and metro operated by the GVB in Amsterdam. The card also includes free entrance to many of Amsterdam’s best museums and attractions and some tasty discounts and special offers around the town. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours (€49/€59/€69) Buy online
Getting around: Trams are the easiest and quickest mode of transport around the city. Depending on where you want to go, trains and buses are also reliable and good value. Taxis and tuk tuks are expensive but for entertainment value, the latter is worth a short ride. Taxis are very expensive and is difficult to get around many parts of the city with a car. From the airport you can get a quick and cheap train directly to Centraal station. If you don’t get an Iamsterdam card but still want to use trams, grab an OV Chipkaart (travel card) from the station.
What to bring: Comfortable shoes are a must, it’s a very walk-able city and you’ll be doing a lot of it. A lightweight rain mac or poncho is good to have in case of unexpected rain. The Netherlands is pretty flat and gets windy, bear that in mind especially in winter – you definitely need to layer up and have a hat etc. Sunglasses are handy, a lot of places are darkly lit so coming out into bright daylight can be quite a shock on the eyes.
When to go: If possible, always go during the week. The city can get very busy with tourists on the weekend, especially in the summer months and it can be quite harassing in the narrow streets. Spring and Summer are great months with outdoor ‘café culture’, canal life and of you’re lucky take a day trip and catch the tulips in bloom. Winter also has its pros – it’s a very cosy, or ‘gezellig’ place in winter with warm dimly lit bars and cafés and some have open fires. Try a hot chocolate, they’re to die for here!
If this quick travel guide to Amsterdam isn’t enough and you want to learn more, why not check out my Choose a Way Interactive Guide to Amsterdam? It’s helped many people like you enjoy the city to the max!
Have you been to Amsterdam – what tips would you add here? Would love to hear them, leave your comments below!
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