Our Amsterdam Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to the capital city of the Netherlands. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. 

    It’s all compiled in this Amsterdam Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Amsterdam.


    When is the best time to travel to Amsterdam?

    Amsterdam has a humid continental climate, with average temperatures ranging from 3°C in winter to 18°C in summer. 

    • Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with an average of 10 rainy days per month. 
    • Snowfall can be expected between November and March.  
    • The warmest time of the year is between June and September
    • June–August is the most popular time to visit Amsterdam, but it’s peak season, so hotel and flight prices rise accordingly. 
    • April–May and September–November are the best times to visit Amsterdam. The weather and temperatures are pleasant, you’ll avoid the summer crowds, and hotel and flight prices are more affordable.

    Amsterdam basics

    • Languages: Primary: Dutch. English is widely spoken in Amsterdam 
    • Plug types: C, E and F 
    • Electricity: 230 V 
    • Currency: Euro (€) 
    • International dialing codes: +31 20 
    • Emergency telephone number: 112

    How to get to my hotel in Amsterdam?

    Amsterdam Airport Schiphol 

    Informally known just as Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport is one of the busiest and largest airports in the Netherlands. It sits 11 km southeast of the city center and has 1 passenger terminal housing 3 departure halls, served by 3 runways. The terminal is home to a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including free Wi-Fi, banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to help you to reach Downtown Amsterdam: 

    • A taxicab takes around 15–20 minutes. Taxi ranks can be found right outside the Arrivals hall.
    • You can also use Uber. The fare is usually slightly cheaper than that of a standard taxi.
    • A train ride takes around 15–20 minutes. You can buy your ticket at the desk and vending machines in the Arrivals hall. The train station is 1 floor below the terminal.
    • A public bus takes 30–35 minutes. Bus stops are outside the Arrivals hall, on the train station level.
    • Car rental agencies can be found within and right outside the terminal.

    If you come to Amsterdam by train 

    Aptly named Centraal, Amsterdam railway station sits right in the heart of the capital city of the Netherlands. Dating back to 1889, Amsterdam Centraal station is an iconic landmark of the city. It’s home to dining and shopping options, as well as to the main Amsterdam Tourist Office. It’s served by high-speed trains from France, Belgium and Germany. From here, you can get to your hotel by metro, tram, bus, ferry or taxi, including ridesharing.


    How to get around Amsterdam?

    Travel tips

    Covering less than 3 sq km, Amsterdam city center is compact enough to be explored on foot. You’ll find many landmarks and attractions within walking distance of each other, such as the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, just to name a few. The city center also hosts a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. For longer journeys, Amsterdam has a good choice of public and private transportation services.


    GVB – public transportation networks

    The GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf or “Municipal Transportation Company”) is in charge of public transportation in Amsterdam. It operates bus, metro, tram and ferry networks that efficiently cover the entire city. All of them use an integrated ticketing system. 

    • A single ticket is valid for 1 hour.
    • 24-hour tickets are also available.
    • Children up to the age of 4 travel for free
    • Cash is not accepted on buses and trams. Tickets can be purchased at vending machines in metro, tram and bus stations and in various designated stores across the city, such as Primera, AKO, Vivant, Techador, Cigo and Bruna.

    I amsterdam City Card

    Purchasing an I amsterdam City Card is a good move if you plan to visit the city’s main places of interest during a short stay in the Dutch capital. Valid for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours, it gives you unlimited use of public transportation, free entry in over 60 museums and attractions, free canal cruises and discounts in designated theatres, shops and restaurants. They can be purchased online.


    Taking a taxi

    Taxis can be hailed on the street in Amsterdam, but they cannot stop anywhere. For instance, it’s forbidden for them to halt near bus and tram stops. However, there are cab stands throughout the city center, generally outside hotels and near the main attractions. Licenced taxis have blue number plates and their roof light displays the name of the company they belong to. 

    • You can directly call popular companies such as Taxi Amsterdam (020 777 7777), Staxi (020 705 8888) or Taxistad (020 208 0000), just to name a few.
    • Licenced taxi fares are regulated. The driver should give you a receipt at the end of the ride.
    • Taxis usually accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • It’s not common to give a tip to the taxi driver, but you can round the bill up if you’re happy with the service.

    Cycle around Amsterdam

    The capital city of the Netherlands is a very bike-friendly city. You’ll find many bike rental shops and companies across the city center. The most popular of them are Yellow Bike on Nieuwezijds Kolk, AmsterBike on Piet Heinkade, and Bike City on Bloemgracht. 


    What are the main annual events in Amsterdam?


    • What: Awakenings is one of the largest techno music festivals in the Netherlands. It’s held in a renovated industrial complex 2 km northwest of the city center.
    • When: October
    • Where: Gashouder Westergasfabriek

    King’s Day 

    • What: Celebrating the King’s birthday, King’s Day is one of the largest street parties in the world. Expect thousands of people dressed in orange and partying throughout Amsterdam, dancing to live music, eating street food and drinking at outdoor bars.
    • When: 27th April
    • Where: Throughout Amsterdam

    Amsterdam Gay Pride 

    • What: Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the most famous LGBT celebrations in the world. Besides activities like sport, music, dance and street parties, the highlight of the festival is the Canal Parade, showcasing colorful boats.
    • When: Late July
    • Where: Throughout Amsterdam

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