Amsterdam Travel Tips

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To outsiders Amsterdam may be synonymous with its Red Light District and liberal hedonism, but this upbeat city’s not just for party animals. Brimming with world-class museums, thrifty flea markets, and flower-filled parks, as well as some seriously cool bars, pubs, and cafés, Amsterdam’s a place to have fun, no matter what your age.


Best Time to Travel


From warm summer evenings watching open-air theatre in the Vondelpark to winter-times snuggled up in a gezellig – or cosy – traditional brown café, there’s never a dull time to visit Amsterdam, especially when there’s a seemingly never-ending year-round whirl of multicoloured festivals. This includes everything from buzzing music-filled street carnivals to world-class fashion shows. If you visit on King’s Day at the end of April, a mass of orange-clad patriotic Netherlanders pour onto song-swathed streets and canals to celebrate the monarch’s birthday.


Not to Miss


Amsterdam’s well known for its watery views. From its grand wind-rustled harbour to its streets of serene canals, you’ll miss out if you don’t give in to the call of the sea, or waterways. Soak up the atmosphere on an open-top Dutch barge, or hop on a ferry to Amsterdam North from behind Centraal Station. If you’re around on the first Saturday in August, don’t miss the overflowing rally of boats pouring down Prinsengracht Canal during the buzzing Gay Pride festival – a lively upbeat weekend brimming with parties and parades.


Getting around


If you’re flying to Amsterdam, you’ll no doubt arrive at Schiphol International Airport, around 20 kilometres from Centraal Station. You can take a train from the airport right into the city centre, or hop in a cab if you prefer. Amsterdam has international train links with Brussels, Paris, and Berlin, among others. If you’re travelling by train, you’ll probably arrive at Centraal Station. From here you can take a tram around the city’s central districts, or taxis line up outside the station. You can purchase a discount re-usable tram ticket from the GVB Office opposite Centraal Station.




Amsterdam’s scattered with restaurants, cafés, and eateries serving every type of cultural cuisine. So whether you fancy Indonesian, Chinese or Italian, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for local food, there’s a selection of traditional Dutch places, serving specialties like ossenworst – a raw spicy beef sausage. Snack stands and street food are also big in Amsterdam. Head to a fish stall to try a broodje haring – herring sandwich – while kids will enjoy sweet oliebollens: Amsterdam’s take on doughnuts.


Customs and etiquette


Arguably one of Europe’s most liberal cities, Amsterdam welcomes all, with an array of gay-friendly accommodation, bars, and festivals. There's no denying that many come to partake in the cannabis culture, so bear that in mind in case you'd rather avoid the coffeeshops. Amsterdam’s well renowned as a bicycle city, and no matter where you go you’re bound to hear the ‘dring dring’ of a cyclist trying to get you out of the way. Make sure you don’t loiter in bike lanes, and double check left and right before crossing streets, as some cyclists are extremely fast.

Fast Facts


Population: 813500

Spoken languages: Dutch, English

Electrical: The Nethelands runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +31 20112