Amsterdam, Netherlands Travel Guide Last Updated: Dec 2022
Easily one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Amsterdam also used to have a reputation for a famous red-light district and coffeeshops, but those are being phased out for tourists so it’s back to basics. No trip to this part of Europe is complete without a few days in Amsterdam, and you’ll probably find it hard to leave.
Why Visit Amsterdam
With a compact city center that almost all dates back to the 16th Century, Amsterdam feels like a storybook destination with the canals and gabled houses. This city is also very walkable, unlike almost any other city of its size and importance. It’s worth paying more to stay in the central canal ring area if you can afford it.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
Things To Do In Amsterdam
The Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum are the two most popular attractions in Amsterdam, but the list of other worthwhile attractions is very long.
The Rijksmuseum is similar to the Louvre in that the building itself is worth the price of admission, in addition to the famous art. The Heineken Experience is also fun for a few hours for those who enjoy beer.
Some of the attractions are expensive and if you are only in town for 2 or 3 days you might be interested in our review of the Amsterdam Pass, which gets you into most things and also provides boat and bus transport between all of them.
Our pick: The best cheap and central hostel in Amsterdam
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN Amsterdam
Amsterdam isn’t known as a food destination, but still the selection of restaurants and cuisines is amazing. Bargains can be found easily, and plenty of more upscale gourmet options are easy to find as well.
Almost all hotels include breakfast so very few restaurants serve in the morning. Some cheap options are available if you look around.
$4.79 - $9.57
Falafels or other fast food can be found for under €5, and sit-down options start at €5 and up.
$6.38 - $11.70
Personal pizzas start around €5 and plenty of other options for just a bit more.
$10.11 - $17.02
.5 liter beer
Locals always order in .25L size and those are half the price. Happy hour deals can be found for less if you look around.
$4.79 - $7.45
Coffee, espresso, cappucino in a "coffee shop" or a cafe
The one-hour canal-boat tours that leave from in front of the train station are still some of the best city tours in Europe.
The free (tips-based) walking tours of Amsterdam are also fantastic because there are so many historic and fascinating things in such a small pedestrian area.
Bus tours of Amsterdam are not recommended because almost all of the sights are on canals or other car-free zones.
WHEN TO VISIT Amsterdam
TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL
Amsterdam WEATHER ADVICE
Amsterdam’s weather can fairly be described as mild almost all of the year, as it rarely snows and never gets blazing hot. It can, however, be gray and drizzly much of the year, and winds can make winter days feel colder than they really are.
Pouring rain is also rare so you probably won’t need an umbrella. As with so many places, bringing layers is the key here.
Summers have the nicest weather in Amsterdam, but they are also insanely crowded so spring and fall are a great choice if you don’t want to feel like you are in an amusement park at all hours.
There are hundreds of hotels and hostels within this area, and they almost all come with a filling breakfast, with tax included in the price, so keep that in mind when comparing prices. Standards are fairly high, but be warned that 2-star and below hotels often have incredibly steep staircases that have been known to give some people a bit of trouble. Choose from our recommended Amsterdam hotels and hostels for great locations and value at highly-rated properties.
Check Amsterdam hotels
Amsterdam Hotel Seasons
Peak season is July, August, and winter holidays
High season is from March through November, excluding July and August
Off season is December through February, except for holiday period.
Hotel prices don’t change much through the year in Amsterdam, with the only bargain time during winter. Outside of winter it’s hard to find last-minute bargains, so the best advice is to book as early as possible, since prices will tend to keep rising as the date approaches.
Finding a room in person once you arrive is almost always possible, but all the better and cheaper places will be filled up so this is a city where reservations are strongly advised.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is famously one of the best airports in Europe, and it’s usually possible to get good fares from within Europe as well as from much farther away. The airport is connected to the main Centraal Train Station by frequent trains that take about 20 minutes.
Those traveling around Europe by train can get to Amsterdam easily from Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Paris by high-speed trains that are also very comfortable.
GETTING AROUND Amsterdam
Most locals get around Amsterdam by bike, and it might be tempted to rent one yourself, but walking is usually the best idea. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a good place to lock up a rented bike, and they get stolen often.
The canal boats are great for tours, but pretty slow as a way of getting around.
The tram system is excellent, once you figure out the ticketing system.