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Amsterdam Travel Guide
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Amsterdam Airport Transfers
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Amsterdam Car Hire
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Amsterdam Attractions
Canal in Amsterdam

Top things to do in Amsterdam

  • Van Gogh self-portrait

    Van Gogh Museum ticket

    As well as early and lesser-known works, you'll see some of his most famous paintings such as Vincent's Bedroom in Arles, Gauguin's Chair and a painting from the Sunflower series.

  • Canal in Amsterdam

    One-hour canal cruise of Amsterdam

    No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a boat ride through the exquisite canals. Your one-hour canal cruise of Amsterdam lets you admire the beautiful city from the water.

  • Rijksmuseum exterior

    Rijksmuseum entrance ticket

    Dedicated to Dutch art and history, this amazing museum tells the story of 800 years of art in a sequence of 80 galleries.

  • Cow grazing in the Dutch countryside.

    Amsterdam countryside bike tour

    This countryside tour takes you along the Amstel River beyond the edge of town and through the polder landscape with its rectilinear ditches and dikes.

  • Keukenhof tulip fields

    Keukenhof and tulip fields half-day tour from Amsterdam

    Experience springtime in the Netherlands on a half-day tour to Keukenhof with transportation from Amsterdam.

You can find more great video content on our YouTube channel

Holiday Extras Travel Guides

What time zone is Amsterdam in?

GMT +1

What currency do they use in Amsterdam?

Euro EUR

What language do they speak in Amsterdam?


What power adaptors do you need for Amsterdam?

Type C

What is the average flight time to Amsterdam?

1hr 20

Facts about Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, located in the North Holland province, which is found in the North West of Europe.

It's one of the most popular destinations in Europe as millions of people are drawn to the laid-back culture, hundreds of museums, galleries and the famous coffee shops and Red Light District.

But before you head off on your Amsterdam city break, here's the lowdown on all the city's hidden gems, like where to get the best food and proper bicycle etiquette.

Practical info

Culture and etiquette


The majority people in the Netherlands are non-religious, although the country does have a large Christian and Muslim population.


Do you have to tip in Amsterdam? Tipping isn't expected in the way it is in other European countries, and there's no need to tip if you don't feel you've had a good service. For smaller orders like drinks and taxis, rounding up the bill is pretty common, and for a nice meal out a 10% tip will be appreciated.


Smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces like bars, restaurants and public transport.

Amsterdam is famously tolerant of cannabis use, but you're not allowed to buy or use it wherever you like. It's illegal to buy and smoke cannabis outside of designated premises and in public places – if it's something you want to try while you're there, head to one of the cafés where it's allowed.

But remember – while smoking cannabis indoors is allowed in some cafés, smoking tobacco isn't.

Language 101

While technically the Netherlands has no official language, Dutch is the one most predominantly used. Over 90% of the population also speak English, so you're unlikely to struggle with a language barrier when you get to Amsterdam.

Locals will definitely appreciate you speaking in Dutch where you can – here are a few handy phrases to get you started:

  • Hello – Hallo
  • Goodbye – Dag
  • How are you? – Hoe gaat het met jou?
  • Yes – Ja
  • No – Nee
  • What's your name? – Wat is je naam?
  • My name is – Mijn naam is
  • Please – Alstublieft
  • Thank you – Dank u wel
  • How much is it? – Hoeveel kost dit
  • Where is? – Waar is
  • Numbers:
    • One – Één
    • Two – Twee
    • Three – Drie
    • Four – Vier
    • Five – Vijf

Jabs, visas and other advice

For up-to-date advice on jabs, visas and other foreign advice, we recommend following the government's website.

Emergency number

In an emergency, call 112.

Getting to Amsterdam

You can catch a direct flight to Amsterdam Schiphol airport from all over the UK, with flight times taking around 1 hour 20 mins.

Or getting to Amsterdam from London by train is a breeze. You can hop on the Eurostar from London St Pancras International and be in the city in about 4 hours.

Getting from Schophol Airport to Amsterdam

Train – From Schiphol, we recommend getting the NS train from just outside the arrivals lounge. Single tickets cost around €5, taking roughly 18 minutes to reach Amsterdam Centraal. From there, you're right in the middle of the city, near most of the major hotels and the city's attractions.

Bus – To get to Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport by bus, take the Amsterdam Airport Express on Line 197 from just outside the airport to the city centre. The bus departs every 15 minutes and costs around €12 for a return, but in our experience it can get very busy, which isn't ideal if you're lugging around a heavy suitcase.

Taxi – If you're looking to get a taxi from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam it's worth remembering that they can be very expensive and can cost up to €50 for a single journey. Make sure to only use official taxis as anyone offering taxis inside the airport could be trying to scam you. Alternatively why not get about in style and book a hire car to explore the city's surrounding area.

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    Amsterdam Airport Transfers

    Book your Amsterdam Airport transfers, with prices starting from just £10.79pp with free cancellation.

  • Amsterdam Car Hire

    Amsterdam Car Hire

    Book your Amsterdam car hire, with free cancellations.

  • Amsterdam Ultimate Experiences

    Amsterdam Ultimate Experiences

    From the Rijksmuseum to a cruise on the canals! Make the most of your trip and pre-book the top Amsterdam experiences for you and your family before you fly.

  • Amsterdam Travel Insurance

    Travel Insurance for Amsterdam

    Whatever you're doing in this stunning city, you'll want a reliable travel insurance policy for your trip to Amsterdam.

Getting around Amsterdam

Now it's time to start exploring all the amazing things to do in Amsterdam. Here are some of our picks for the best ways to get about the city.

On foot

Like most city destinations, one of the best ways to truly experience Amsterdam is on foot. Almost everything is within comfortable walking distance, and we stumbled upon some of our favourite parts of the city by just getting lost while having a wander, so taking it slow is definitely worth it. For example, by walking away from Amsterdam's high street, we found The 9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes) district, which houses some of the best independent, boutique shopping opportunities in the city.

By bike

If you're feeling brave, the most authentically Dutch way to get around Amsterdam is to hire a bike. It'll cost you about €15 a day, and it's worth remembering that helmets aren't often worn by locals – so make sure to request one before renting the bike. Also bear in mind that the Dutch ride hard and fast, so our best advice is to treat riding a bike in Amsterdam like driving a car – stick to the designated cycle lanes, signal at junctions and remember that the Dutch drive on the right.

By public transport

If you're in a hurry, there's plenty of options for getting around the city quickly. You can get about via the metro or tram, but we'd recommend the latter as it stops more frequently, and you get to see the sights as you go.

There are two main tram stops at Amsterdam Centraal station, in the east and in the west. Most locals use the OV-Chipkaart (look out for the logo), which works just like an Oyster card in London. Load it up with credit, and don't forget to tap in and tap out every time.

However, for tourists, we recommend getting an iAmsterdam card. It gives you unlimited use of all public transport for as long as you need, as well as entry into many of the city's hundreds of museums and attractions. You can order the card online before you travel or pick one up once you arrive.

The Good Trip Index

The Netherlands ranks 9th on the Good Trip Index

This score is calculated based on Sustainability, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Press Freedom, Quality of Life, LGBTQI+ Rights and Animal Welfare

Find out more

Amsterdam weather

The Netherlands has weather similar to that of the United Kingdom. Generally speaking you can expect mild summers with occasional cooler periods and fairly cold winters with rain, wind and some snow.

Amsterdam weather in December, January, February (Winter). These are the coldest months in Amsterdam with temperatures on average sitting around 0°C and reaching highs of 6°C to 7°C. Rainy and windy conditions aren't uncommon and snow is quite frequent. During the prolonged cold periods, the city's canals can freeze over. Be sure to pack lots of warm layers.

Amsterdam weather in March, April, May (Spring). Early spring months remain cold, with snow still possible in March and sometimes even in April. Come May, temperatures are gradually getting warmer with highs of 17°C. April and May are the driest months in Amsterdam too, making this off-peak season a brilliant time of year to visit the city.

Amsterdam weather in June, July, August (Summer). Amsterdam enjoys warm weather and plenty of sunshine throughout summer, but cooler periods with rainfall are quite common too. July is the warmest month of the year with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C, making it a popular time to travel.

Amsterdam weather in September, October, November (Autumn). For most of September the weather remains quite pleasant with temperatures ranging from 11°C to 19°C. October and November bring colder and wetter weather with temperatures dropping to around 9°C to 4°C.

What to eat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Oost, or East, is a bit of a hidden gem, as you'll find it's less touristy than some other parts of the city. The district houses the Dappermarkt, where you can find some of the best street food in the city, much of which has an Asian or African twist due to many immigrants choosing to settle in this part of the city. For some exotic eating, there's nowhere better in the city.

While you're sampling the culinary delights of Amsterdam Oost, why not wet your whistle at the local brewery – Brouwerij 't IJ – which runs regular tours.

Located near the southern end of the city, De Pijp has the widest variety of restaurants and bars in Amsterdam. One of our favourite places to visit is the Albert Cuypmarkt for some stroopwafels, a traditional Dutch dessert of waffles and caramel syrup. You'll also find the Marie Heinekenplein is here, home to lots of bars and the Heineken brewery.


Best places to visit in Amsterdam

Let's take a look at all the awesome things to do in Amsterdam. There's too many to list them all here, but here are some of our favourite things to see and do in this incredible city.


If you're looking to add a dash of culture to your Amsterdam holiday, then we recommend heading to the world renowned Rijksmuseum. You'll find a huge assortment of displays and exhibitions, but the museum is most famous for its collection of Rembrandt paintings – including his most iconic masterpiece, The Night Watch.

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam and queues can get really long. To beat the lines, you can book an e-ticket before you arrive.

Best places to visit in Amsterdam – Rijksmuseum

Anne Frank Huis

Anne Frank Huis is on Prinsengracht, in central Amsterdam, and is where the teenager wrote her famous diary while hiding from the Nazis during World War Two. Many of the exhibits here are particularly emotional and poignant, but it's an important site of remembrance and well worth a visit.

It's also worth noting that from 9.30am to 3.30pm, entry is only available to those who have booked an online time slot. After this it's a queueing system, with people often queuing for hours before doors open. Our tip would be to book online as early as possible.

Best Places to visit in Amsterdam – Anne Frank Huis

Keukenhof Gardens

If you time your Dutch holiday just right, the Amsterdam tulips in Keukenhof are not to be missed.

Only open for 8 weeks a year, the tulip fields bloom between late March and early May and they're worth a visit just for the photo opportunities. It's also a great place to take smaller children if you're planning a family trip to the Netherlands, with plenty of parks and playgrounds to tire out even the most active kids.

Best Places to visit in Amsterdam – Keukenhof

The Red Light District

Finally, what visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the Red Light District – known locally as De Wallen. It's home to coffee shops, peep shows, sex shops and just about anything in between.

Millions of tourists flock here every year and, even if you're not into what De Wallen has to offer, we'd recommend checking it out on a walking tour.


Amsterdam for families

Sure, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Amsterdam may well be the Red Light District, cafés and nightlife. But there's so much more to the city than that – including loads of great activities to keep the kids happy.

Museums like the Anne Frank Huis and Rijksmuseum that we mentioned above can be just as fascinating for kids as they are for adults, plus there's plenty of green spaces where families can relax with a picnic or at a playground – Vondelpark comes to mind. You could also hop on a canal cruise for a family-friendly tour, or even head to Artis Royal Zoo and Amsterdam Aquarium to learn all about animals and marine life.

But maybe we should've started with Dutch pancakes. If all else fails, that first bite of a Dutch pancake is sure to make the trip for you and your kids.

Needless to say, areas like the Red Light District get quite rowdy as the evening goes on, so if you'd like to explore this area with the little ones it might be worth heading there earlier in the day.

Accessibility in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is generally considered an accessible country to visit. While the historic centre has narrow, uneven streets that can be difficult to navigate, much of its public transport system is accessible for wheelchair users, including trams, buses and trains. And lots of the main attractions have been adapted with accessibility in mind – including the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

It's worth checking directly with the attraction you want to see before you travel to make sure it suits your needs.

Amsterdam for LGBTQI+ travellers

Amsterdam's a great place for LGBTQI+ travellers to visit. The Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, and in 2023 they added protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation to their constitution. And the LGBTQI+ community are supported not just in law but by public opinion, with polls indicating that over 90% of the population support same-sex marriage.

Amsterdam itself hosts one of the largest pride events in the world, which features a canal parade and plenty of festivities. The place to be for a night out is Reguliersdwarsstraat in the old city centre, which is lined with bars, clubs, restaurants and other venues that cater specifically for the LGBTQI+ community. The Dutch capital is also home to the Homomonument, which commemorates members of the LGBTQI+ community who have been persecuted because of their sexual orientation.

Sustainable tourism in Amsterdam

Want to make you trip to Amsterdam more sustainable? The train's a good place to start – one flight from London to Amsterdam emits the same carbon emissions as seven Eurostar journeys. And when you get there, they have an excellent public transport system to get you from the airport and around the city that's a greener option than driving.

Or why not do as the locals do and hire a bike when you get there? Amsterdam's one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and its a great way to explore and get to know the city.


Amsterdam FAQs

How many days in Amsterdam is enough?

We'd recommend 3 to 4 days in Amsterdam to experience the main sights at a relaxed pace.

What is the best month to go to Amsterdam?

The best months to visit Amsterdam are April and May. You'll be able to enjoy relatively mild weather, lower chances of showers, cheaper rates and fewer tourists to contend with. Spring is also tulip season! Tulips begin to bloom from the end of March until mid May, but the best time to see them in all their colourful glory is in April. The best time to visit if you're looking to save money is winter, particularly November and February.

Is Amsterdam a safe place to visit?

Yes Amsterdam is a safe place to visit. While it may be famous for its Red Light District and coffee shops, it's one of the safest cities in Europe. Tourists are unlikely to experience any crime or violence, but it's important to be aware of petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching.

What is there to do in Amsterdam at Christmas?

December is full of Christmas celebrations in Amsterdam, from Christmas markets to skiing outside the Rijksmuseum, Winter Wonderland at RAI Amsterdam center to the Festival of Light along the streets and canals.

Is the Red Light District in Amsterdam safe?

While the Red Light District might have a bit of reputation for being a dodgy area, it's actually quite a safe and well controlled part of the city, especially in the daytime.