Amsterdam Travel Guide
Iconic canals, centuries-old townhomes, cobblestone lanes and flower-adorned bridges. Amsterdam is as pretty as a postcard with charm in spades. It's also one of the rare places that attracts history buffs, luxury-minded travelers, couples seeking romance and backpackers alike.
Besides its cultural attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and The Concertgebouw, the Dutch capital has leafy parks, hip shops and an enduring sense of the past that thankfully never fades. With world-class museums, bicycle tours, and a thriving arts scene, it's really just a matter of culling it down to a select few activities. Though wandering around the quaint streets and sitting outside at the sidewalk cafes is so appealing, we wouldn't try to cram too much into your daytime itinerary.
On the F&B front, this burgeoning culinary mecca boasts world-class restaurants that make every meal a gourmet adventure. When the sun goes down, there's no shortage of things to do either. Think: cozy speakeasies, bustling bars, and plenty of nightclubs. Lastly, you can't talk about Amsterdam without mentioning "coffee shops" (and not the kind that strictly brew espresso).
Simply put: whatever your idealized version of a European getaway entails, Amsterdam won't disappoint.
Central European Time (CET)
Best Time to Go
Late spring is arguably the best season to visit Amsterdam. The forecast of mild temperatures couldn't be more perfect for biking around the city and exploring the surrounding countryside. Starting in early April, the legendary tulips begin to bloom, which lures travelers from around the world. The famous King's Day carnival, held on April 27, is another major draw.
Because the aptly nicknamed "Venice of the North" enjoys an oceanic climate, it never gets super hot. While the rest of Europe flocks to the beaches of Santorini and Saint-Tropez, we love the idea of a summer city break in Amsterdam. You might have to contend with a few more fellow travelers, but it's certainly not going to be an impediment to a fantastic trip.
Early fall is marked by pleasant temperatures and plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors. Don't write off wintertime. Sure, the days are short and there's a frosty chill in the air, however, the sparkling frozen canals, holiday spirit, and lack of crowds make it a really special time. You can also score great deals on airfare and hotels.
Things to Know
(Check the current exchange rate)
(The vast majority of residents also speak fluent English)
Calling Code: +31
How to Get Around
Trams: Amsterdam's iconic blue-and-white trams remain a reliable and economical way to get around the city center ($3.80/hour or $9.50/day). There are 14 lines convening at Amsterdam Central Station, the city's main transportation hub.
Buses: The bus system is quite extensive and efficient with a total of 35 lines. Catching a flight? Hop aboard the shuttle, which runs between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the city center every 15 minutes. Planning an evening out on the town? Whereas the trams and metros operate between 6 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., night buses come in clutch for after-dark transport needs.
Ferries: Like the trams, buses and metros, Amsterdam's ferries are also operated by GVB. Connections across the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal) cost $1.50/trip. While boats crossing the IJ river are free of charge for pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders.
Metros: The metro system comprises five routes and serves 39 stations, making it best for accessing the outlying suburbs.
Rideshare: If you're sticking to Centrum, driving isn't really necessary. However, it's easy to hail an Uber to take you to some of the outer boroughs.
Trains: The Netherlands has an impressive national railway network. For day trips to the countryside and neighboring cities, trains from Amsterdam Central Station are a convenient and easy-to-navigate option.
Bicycles: OK, cycling technically falls outside the definition of public transportation. But when in Amsterdam, do as the locals do. In terms of getting around that means hiring a bike (download Donkey Republic or pop into a local rental shop). It's a great mode of seeing the city and working off all those pannenkoek.
Address: Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 523 5235
Perched on the Prinsengracht canal, the Pulitzer Amsterdam proffers a picture-perfect location. The storybook charm continues inside. Guests are greeted by an eye-catching display of fresh-cut blooms in the entryway. Heritage-rich touches adorn the lobby, rooms and suites. There's also a delicious restaurant called Jansz and a lovely garden for enjoying tea or a glass of wine.
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
Address: Herengracht 255, 1016 BJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 888 5555
More than just a respite to rest your weary head, The Hoxton, Amsterdam is a place to see and be seen. A lobby bar that encourages mingling, quirky rooms, and interesting pop-ups give it a vibe that's simultaneously uber-hip and approachable. The welcoming atmosphere makes travelers from all walks of life feel like they're part of the 'in crowd'.
Address: Paulus Potterstraat 50, 1071 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 888 5555
A high-end option housed a former music conservatory that's right by the Van Gogh Museum, the Conservatorium Hotel comes up big in both the location and aesthetics department. You'd be hard pressed to find a more impressive architectural feat than the property's jaw-dropping glass atrium. For a bit of R&R, book a treatment at Akasha Holistic Wellbeing.
Address: Herengracht 341, 1016 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 555 0222
A traveler favorite, the Ambassador Hotel wins rave reviews for its central location and prize-winning views. A mix of contemporary and traditional design, rooms feature modern artwork, antique furnishings, and striking chandeliers. Past guests also tout the friendly staff and reasonable rates.
Address: Keizersgracht 384, 1016 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 530 2010
For travelers who prefer a boutique stay with sophisticated, modern ambiance and ample plush perks, The Dylan most certainly delivers. Rooms beckon well-heeled wanders with a palette of muted hues, Frette robes and James Heeley toiletries. While the tranquil courtyard is an ideal spot to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Address: Dam 27, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 218 2180
It's all about opulence at Hotel TwentySeven, which fittingly just so happens to be a stone's throw from the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Interiors are swathed in sumptuous velvet fabrics and ornate gilded chandeliers. Personalized, five-star service and a Michelin-starred restaurant seal the deal on luxury.
De Kas (Farm-to-Table)
Address: Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 462 4562
Housed in a bright and airy glass-domed space, De Kas wows with farm-to-fork multi-course tasting menus. Much of the produce comes from the one-site greenhouse—which patrons can tour before or after eating. Pro tip: It's easier to snag a reservation for lunch. Plus, the midday light is sublime for snapping food photos.
Restaurant Floreyn (Dutch)
Address: Albert Cuypstraat 31, 1072 NB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 670 7357
Dutch cuisine flies under the radar. Restaurant Floreyn gives travelers a taste of local flavors. We dare anyone not to fall in love with house specialities such as veal cheeks. For dessert, why not give horseradish ice cream a try? Oh, and in case you were still on the fence, the wine pairing is totally worth it.
De Laatste Kruimel (Bakery)
Address: Langebrugsteeg 4, 1012 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 423 0499
Bakeries are a dime a dozen in Amsterdam. But De Laatste Kruimel is something truly special. This neighborhood gem delights visitors and locals with its French toast and bread pudding. Don't sleep on the more savory offerings like quiche either.
Address: Singel 210, 1016 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 622 5233
Breda is a power player within Amsterdam's burgeoning Michelin-star food scene. The menu showcases seasonal ingredients and there's nearly always a delicious surprise in store for diners. We'd be remiss not to mention that reservations are essential.
Vleminckx de Sausmeester (Street Food)
Address: Voetboogstraat 33, 1012 XK Amsterdam, Netherlands
A delicious tradition dating back decades, Vleminckx de Sausmeester has perfected the art of fried potatoes. It's worth waiting in line for the chance to dig into perfectly crispy spuds. Don't forget the homemade sauces. Curry ketchup, anyone?
Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis (Dutch)
Address: Grimburgwal 2, 1012 GA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 626 5603
Dutch pancakes are a full-blown phenomenon. Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis serves sweet and savory varieties of this beloved dish in a quirky second-door space that's brimming with charm. Can't decide what to order? You can't go wrong with the best-selling brie and honey pannenkoek.
Things to Do
Van Gogh Museum
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 570 5200
The Netherlands has birthed many famous artists. None more so than Vincent Van Gogh. Works by the tortured artist are on display at his namesake museum. If you hope to see "Sunflowers" on your trip to Amsterdam, be sure to buy tickets ahead of time.
Anne Frank House
Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 556 7105
Widely regarded as Amsterdam's most significant attraction, the Anne Frank House invites visitors to learn about the life of the Jewish diarist who hid from the Nazis during WWII through a collection of her writing, photos, videos, and personal items. Keep in mind that tickets sell out months in advance.
Address: Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Located in Amsterdam-Zuid, Vondelpark is a sprawling 47-hectare urban green space featuring an open-air theatre, playground, shaded areas, ponds, and cycling paths. When the sun comes out, it instantly becomes a hotspot for afternoon picnics and sunbathing.
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 674 7000
By now you've likely gathered that Amsterdam abounds with incredible museums. Art and history enthusiasts should make a beeline to the Rijksmuseum chronicles 800 years of heritage through the works of masters like Rembrandt and period artifacts.
Address: Handboogstraat 29, 1012 XM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 638 0705
For many travelers, "coffee shops" are one of Amsterdam's primary attractions. If you fall into that category or simply want to experience a quality cannabis-centered outpost, Original Dampkring is a great introduction for first timers.
Address: Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
No trip to Amsterdam would be complete with a canal cruise. It's truly the best way to see "Venice of the North." You can purchase tickets on a bigger boat or opt for something a bit more intimate and romantic like a private vessel operated by the Pulitzer Amsterdam.
Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 74, 1017 BN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 6 34045122
Amsterdam used to be more a beer town, but over the past few years the cocktail scene has exploded. Door 74 is a speakeasy (reservations are required and secured by same-day text) that mixes up whimsical creations from an ever-changing menu as well as custom tipples.
Address: Leliegracht 6, 1015 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 320 0420
A quirky shop that advertises its wares as "modern curiosities and vintage finds," The Otherist has built a business on oddities. Peruse the shelves of framed butterflies, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and porcelain skulls. You're bound to stumble upon something totally unique.
Address: Prinsengracht 397, 1016 PM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 810 0101
We'll concede that most folks don't fly to Amsterdam with the intention of buying lights. With that said, you don't have to be in the market for new fixtures to derive enjoyment in browsing the funky assortment of chandeliers, industrial sconces, and vintage scissor lamps at 360volt.
Address: Van Baerlestraat 30, 1071 AX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 88 400 5403
Vanilia is the place to pick up Dutch-designed, sustainable basics—sweaters, denim, skirts, and wrap dresses—that are destined to become wardrobe staples. Bonus: everytime someone at home doles out a compliment, you can reply "oh, I bought this in Amsterdam."
Address: Elandsgracht 109, 1016 TT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 624 9038
Collectors of bygone-era treasures (and just generally anyone with interest in the past) should check out Antiekcentrum Amsterdam, the largest antique market in the Netherlands. A huge range of jewelry, art, ceramics, and homewares are up for grabs.
Address: Runstraat 7, 1016 GJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 623 3483
Fans of aged Appenzeller, raw milk gouda, and chèvre rejoice! Whether you're in the mood for Dutch or imported cheese, De Kaaskamer is sure to satisfy your cravings. This storied retailer also sells a selection of tasty meats, salads, tapenades, wine, and beer.
Address: Kerkstraat 161, 1017 GG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 6 40252483
Bloemenmarkt is fun for a minute until the crowds overshadow the colorful blooms. In-the-know travelers and locals skip the touristy stuff and just head straight to FlowerLovesMe, an enchanting shop that specializes in gorgeous, custom bouquets and arrangements.
Neighborhoods to Know
Grachtengordel (Canal Belt): Postcards of Amsterdam typically showcase Grachtengordel. Encircled by the city's main canals — Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht—this winsome zone is known for its colorful townhomes, waterfront eateries, upmarket hotels and attractions like the Anne Frank House.
Jordaan: Arguably the most in-demand neighborhood in Centrum — or, more accurately, all of Amsterdam — Jordaan is an irresistibly beautiful maze of narrow lanes, canals, high-end boutiques, and cozy cafes.
Museumkwartier: Located in the borough of Oud-Zuid, Museumkwartier offers a wide range of museums (the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum to name a few) as well as The Royal Concertgebouw. It's also home to many fine jewelry stores and designer outposts.
De Pijp: Just south of Amsterdam's city centre lies De Pijp. This former working class neighbourhood turned hipster haven has an urban industrial edge and bohemian flair. Go to savor the flavors of Albert Cuyp Markt, stay for the cool brunch spots, retro pubs, and contemporary ateliers.
De Wallen: If walls, err cobblestones, could talk… De Wallen would have tales to tell. Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District entices travelers with the promise of peep shows, sex shops, cannabis cafes, and nightclubs.
Spring brings with it rising temperatures and clear skies. Summer days are long and warm. You might experience a bit of humidity, but it never gets too hot. Fall starts out mild and ends with a brisk chill in the air. Winter is cold, dark and damp with the highest chance of precipitation.
The following are average highs and lows by month.
January: 33°F to 42°F
February: 33°F to 43°F
March: 36°F to 49°F
April: 40°F to 56°F
May: 47°F to 63°F
June: 52°F to 68°F
July: 55°F to 71°F
August: 55°F to 71°F
September: 51°F to 66°F
October: 45°F to 58°F
November: 40°F to 49°F
December: 35°F to 44°F