Amsterdam Tourism Information
The capital of the country, is known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses. Many streets resemble those of the 17th-century Golden Age. Amsterdam has a great architectural history and everything is dominated by water. It is a meeting point for all different cultures around the world and has a welcoming open attitude towards visitors. The city is well known for its museums, red light district, coffee shops but also the great variety of eating and drinking places and night life. It is also one of the most open and tolerant cities in Europe, with a large gay scene.
It is a beautiful and romantic city with antique houses, lovely bridges, famous canals and lot's of culture and art to see. It's a great destination for leisure, night life or culture to visit year round!
Amsterdam's climate is similar to that of Britain and Ireland, combining mildness and dampness, although there are some occasional temperature extremes when the currents from the west of Europe or Russia bring in freezing cold winds or when there the up currents from Africa reaching the city bringing the thermometers to 30-35°C.
Amsterdam's weather is variable and changes can occur quite quickly, so even in the heat of summer it is prudent to take something light to wear. Spring and autumn can be particularly changeable but the coldest weather is usually in the months from December to March and clear frosty days can be frequent but snow is unlikely. It is a good idea to carry with you un umbrella if you are visiting Amsterdam any time of the year.
As for temperatures, Summers see the highest reaching well into 25-30°C during July and August. But the average would stay around 23°C. Winters can hit close to freezing but on average stay around 5-7°C. The best time to visit is from April to June and from September to October, missing the high season, crowds and expenses of the Summer.
Once you arrive to Amsterdam, you will realise that transportation is very easy to follow and understand. The city is not big, and getting around is quick and efficient thanks to an advanced transport network of trains, trams and busses. A lot of the signs are in English which also makes a big difference, and helps to navigate easily around the city.
When arriving to Amsterdam by plane, take the train from the airport terminal to the city centre. It costs around €4.50 for a single ticket and within 15 minutes you will reach the central station of Amsterdam. (Centraal). Also depending where you are staying in the city there are other connections which are easy made by bus.
For more information on the routes and timetables please visit the official Amsterdam Transport page.
However when visiting the city, it's easy to walk around the centre without much need of taking public transport. Amsterdam lacks many hills or steep streets, which also makes it ideal for cycling. Consider renting a bike to see the scenes, the canals, the narrow streets and bridges which make for an ideal picture! Cycling is very safe and you will find numerous cycle paths. There are many shops around the city which rent the bikes for around €7-10 per day.
Below you will find the transport maps for Amsterdam:
Without a doubt, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s top short-break destinations. It’s a compact, instantly likeable city, that’s appealing to look at and pleasant to walk around. Also the city, embraces tourism openly with many events happening year round. The Dutch people are able to speak near-perfect English, on top of their own native Dutch and often French and German too. So no matter where you come from, Amsterdam will welcome you with open arms. The city has a very big culture, historical and artistic scene. Not to be missed are the Anne Frank Huis, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, with the wonderful collection of Rembrandt paintings. Below you will find the highlights to any visit.
- Anne Frank Huis: The foundation for Anne Frank was set up in 1957 to reflect on the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during World War II at the Prinsengracht house where diarist Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years after fleeing persecution in Germany. The front of the house is now a thought-provoking museum but the back annex has been preserved to give an idea of what life was like for Anne and the families she hid with. Note: Waiting times are often lengthy, so visit early in the morning or book online in advance to beat the queues.
- The Red Light District: The city is all about being free, open minded and tolerant. The best area to see it live is at the famous Red Light District. It might not be suited for all ages, specially during the weekend evenings, but as you walk the main street you will see, sex shops, live sex shows, erotic-women in windows, lap-dancing, and more. The district is loved by the stag (and hen) parties, coach loads of curious tourists, and those seeking night entertainment. However the area is one of the most historic parts of town, and not all is seediness. If you continue walking you will reach Chinatown for plenty of restaurants and cheap bars. To get there, the area is located between Warmoesstraat, Damstraat, Geldersekade and Prins Hendrikkade, trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 14, 16.
- Van Gogh Museum: is one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. You will find the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 of his letters. Having originally opened on Museumplein in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum has been expanded and modernised over the years.
- Rijksmuseum: is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums. Its vast collection showcases iconic art and a wide variety of artefacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history, including paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and others.
- The Grachtengordel (Canal Belt): Amsterdam wouldn't be the same without its canals. Taking a walk along them is one of the city’s greatest pleasures. The streets are bicycle-crazy, but relatively car-free. Most of the inner city dates from the 17th to 19th centuries. The grand canals of the Grachtengordel ('Canal Belt'), laid out in the 17th century, the most notorious are the Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht. It's very recommended to also walk around the canals at night when the city takes a cosy light from the street lights which reflect the water and make for a magic scene.
- Take a canal boat trip: Take to the water onboard one of the many companies which offer daily services across the popular canals in amsterdam and see the view from the bottom. Most tour boats leave from docks in front of Central Station. Lovers and Canal Bus, are the best companies which offer the services, they offer both tours and hop-on-hop-off options.
- Hire a cycle: as already mentioned above as a mean of transport in the city, in addition it is actually a typical thing to do as a tourist attraction and discover the city over two wheels. There are over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam, apparently more bikes than people! Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life, made easier by the city’s unbeatable network of cycle routes and flat landscape. There are various ways of hiring one. You can join a tour, hire a cycle per hour (from the various docking stations around the city) or hire per day, which is the best flexible option and cheapest actually.
- Jordaan neighbourhood, wandering into this area might feel like stepping back in time. Originally a working class area, the Jordaan’s narrow streets and quaint buildings now make up one of Amsterdam’s most desirable quarters, dotted with independent art galleries, antiques shops, courtyard gardens and atmospheric bars and restaurants.
- The Nine Streets, this is the area for shop-lovers! While many visitors head straight to the busy chain-store mecca of Kalverstraat. The combination of the nine streets, or locally known as De Negen Straatjes are some quaint cobbled streets that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat. You’ll find over 200 retailers, including a fine selection of independent boutiques, vintage shops and speciality stores selling everything from designer dresses to handmade cosmetics. If you’re looking for souvenirs visit the Local Goods Store in De Hallen or the I amsterdam Store in the Central Station.
- Visit the tulip fields, if you’re visiting Amsterdam in spring, then take the short 20-minute trip out to the world famous tulip fields, Bollenstreek, with colourful stripes across miles of lowland fields between Haarlem and Leiden. If you can't go to the fields but still want to see the tulips then head to the most famous place to buy tulips and bulbs in Amsterdam, the Bloemenmarkt. Located at Bloemenmarkt, Singel 1012.
If you’re in Amsterdam for more than a few days, then head out of the city to explore the surrounding area. Just a short hop from Amsterdam lies a rich landscape of gorgeous countryside, beaches, castles, windmills and historic towns, all easily reachable from the city centre. Just 20 minutes from Amsterdam Central by train, the picturesque city of Haarlem overflows with history and culture, plus a great selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.
In the surrounding countryside you’ll also find plenty of old castles, fortified towns and ruins, of which Muiden is one of the most spectacular examples.
A visit to Amsterdam can't go without hanging out one evening, known for its wild nightlife, Amsterdam offers visitors something quite unique when the sun goes down. Pubs, clubs, soft drugs and the sex trade feature among the options.
The Red Light District is a major drawcard, with many tourists choosing to simply wander through and see women posing in shop windows, and hear insistent touts push sex shows. Safety is not an issue, though visitors should be wary of pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travellers should also understand that De Wallen (as locals call the Red Light District) is a nightlife district, and is not only about the sex trade.
The city's mainstream nightlife centres around Leidseplein, where visitors will find the most popular bars, clubs and restaurants. Amsterdam also has a fondness for live music, particularly jazz, as many of the world's jazz legends have settled here. Music lovers can enjoy performances at fun jazz clubs, or catch world-class rock and pop acts at many venues. Bigger concerts take place at the Koninklijk Theater Carré, Heineken Music Hall, and the huge Amsterdam Arena.
For a more cultured night out, visitors can purchase tickets to a number of highly-regarded orchestras. Or, they can watch the National Ballet and Netherlands Opera. Many theatres produce shows in both Dutch and English, including De Balie, Felix Meritis, Theater Frascati, and the Vondelpark Open-Air Theater.
🌈Considered the gay capital of Europe and the birthplace of gay rights, Amsterdam is obviously one of the top destinations for gay tourism.
There is a strong LGBT community, and numerous gay-owned or gay-friendly hotels, nightclubs and cafés. Nowhere else in the world will you find so many gay attractions per square meter as in the city centre of Amsterdam.
Several areas form what can be dubbed Amsterdam’s Gay Village. All areas are within easy walking distance from one another. The prime area is the Reguliersdwarsstraat (Gay Main Street) and prime hunting ground for upmarket clubs and trendy restaurants. Other areas include the Kerkstraat (near Leidsestraat) with two gay hotels (The Golden Bear and Amistad) as well as a kinky cruise club, Warmoesstraat in the Red Light district (with cruise bars, a leather scene and a cinema) and the Zeedijk (home to some cosy local cafés).
And last but not least there's a vast concentration of party places around the Amstel, Halvemaansteeg and Rembrandt Square. Annual gay highlights in Amsterdam are New Year’s eve, the Queen’s Day on the 30th of April, the Amsterdam Gay Pride with the canal parade in August and the Leather Pride weekend in October. with the canal parade in August and the Leather Pride weekend in October. with the canal parade in August and the Leather Pride weekend in October.
Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city hosting all of the world's leading brands at shopping malls spread across the city. There is an especially impressive variety of fashion and jewellery stores at these centres. What is distinctive about shopping in Amsterdam is the opportunity for informal shopping on a large scale. The main shopping streets are between Central Station and the Leidseplein, including Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg, and Leidsestraat. Some of these areas can be rather seedy, however, so for a more upmarket experience shoppers can head to PC Hooftstraat Street. The Nine Streets area near the main canals hosts a plethora of market stalls selling curios, second-hand clothing, antiques and other miscellany. There are also a number of unique shops in the Jordaan where you can buy popular Amsterdam souvenirs such as wooden clogs or tulips, blue and white Delft china, and Dutch football paraphernalia.
There are a number of street markets in Amsterdam, and while most concentrate on food and fresh produce there are a few with interesting curios for tourists. The largest is Albert Cuyp, while the Dappermarkt behind the zoo has been voted the best in the Netherlands. Another highlight of shopping in Amsterdam is the floating Bloemenmarkt or 'flower market', in which permanently docked barges market exotic flowers from around the world in the Singel Canal.
Staying in Amsterdam is reasonable for all budgets thanks to a very diverse offering of Hotels and Hostels suited for all pockets. Hotels directly in the city centre, are more expensive (€75-90 per night) but as you walk a little further (or cycle) you will soon find cheaper accommodation options. You can find plenty of Hotels which offer good options depending on location, value for money and ambience. Hotels can be costly around the Summer and the weekends as Amsterdam is very popular for weekend trips, stag/hen-parties and friend getaways. Always try to book in advance. Prices are around €50-60 per double room per night for cheap Hotels. Hostels are widely popular and can be found all over the city from around €20 per bed. Other accommodation options like Airbnb is getting also very demanded for private accommodation if you are on a tighter budget.
Amsterdam is the perfect city to get away for a weekend to relax and escape bigger cities. Its ease of transportation, location of everything centralised, comfortable to walk and being a very open-calm-pretty city makes it an ideal stopover for any traveller in the area. If you are only coming to relax and enjoy the spare time then as mentioned a weekend would be ideal. However it can get very crowded during the Summer and the spring especially with the Tulip season. So it's advised to plan well in advance with flights, Hotels and any tours. If you want to absorb the culture, explore some of the outskirts and enjoy the city atmosphere a more comfortable stay of 3 to 5 nights would be better suggested, out of the weekend.
Amsterdam Photo Slide 📷