• Natasha Villaroman

Travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands: A Quick City Guide

Updated: Sep 3

Amsterdam, perchance?


So you’re considering travelling to Amsterdam. Awesome! This city is a great stopover and you’ll have loads to do in just 48 hours. If it’s your first time, you might get stuck deciding when and where to go first.


Just remember that there’s more to visiting the Red Light and coffee shops in this city. Amsterdam is an eclectic mix of culture, fun, and diversity. If you’d like to see endless canals, bizarre museums, and gingerbread-like houses, then you’re coming to the right place 🙂

When Should You Go?


⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ Spring (Mid-April – Mid-May)

Tulips are in full bloom at this time of the year, which makes it a great time to visit. The Keukenhof Gardens come alive and festivals are abundant during Spring. Aside from the special Tulips Festival, the Dutch also celebrate King’s Day on April 27, which is one of the biggest and colorful (mostly orange) festivities in the Netherlands that you shouldn’t miss!


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Summer (June – August)

Who doesn’t love summer!? In Amsterdam, the city becomes livelier and everyone is out and about in the parks, terraces, canals, and even at the beach. There’s an endless list of things to do during this time, especially that there are festivals happening almost every weekend (no joke!). The month of August is also Gay Pride, which lights up the city in all the colors of the rainbow with a full schedule of events, parties, and celebrations. F-U-N!


⭐⭐⭐ Autumn (September – November)

The city is quite magical during this time of the year. With about 400,000 trees surrounding the canal banks in Amsterdam, the city’s parks and canals are transformed into a golden carpet of fallen leaves that levels up the coziness vibe. Cultural season is also in full swing, with the famous Amsterdam Dance Festival happening in October, and hundreds of cultural Museum activities all throughout autumn.


⭐⭐ ⭐ Winter (December – March)

Amsterdam could be a perfect winter destination as the colder months provide a cozier and more romantic feel. See the Amsterdam canals transform into a huge outdoor art gallery during the annual Lights Festival. Stroll through the Christmas markets and enjoy a night of fireworks by the rooftop as the Dutch welcome the New Year.


Where Should You Stay?


Amsterdam is a relatively small city with efficient transportation systems. All these attractions are just a short train ride from the Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Whether you want to stay at a cosy hotel on a canal, a modern apartment in a quiet part of the city, or a room in the centre of everything, here’s a good guide to decide which area is best for you.

Note: Rates per night will range from 50EUR – 250EUR. It will be difficult to find accommodation during peak season and certain festivals, so book earlier!


De Plantage

This is a peaceful suburb situated close to Waterlooplein. The area includes the house of the Dutch painter, Rembrandt, the Hermitage Museum and the Tropenmuseum. You can also enjoy nature in the Botanical Gardens (Hortus Botanicus) and at Artis, the city zoo. View hotels.


Dam Square

Right in the heart of the action and just a five-minute walk from the notorious Red Light District, Dam Square lies at the centre of Amsterdam’s main shopping hub. Make sure to visit the Nieuwe Kerk, which regularly features cultural exhibitions. View hotels.


De Pijp

De Pijp, Amsterdam’s “Latin Quarter” is a trendy residential area with an abundance of cafés, bistros, shops, and restaurants. This bustling neighborhood lies between Museumplein and the River Amstel and plays daily host to the city’s oldest street market, the Albert Cuypmarkt. My personal favorite! View hotels.


Leidseplein

Close to Museumplein and the Vondel Park, this lively square offers plenty of nightlife, with everything from Irish bars to the comedy venue, Boom Chicago. There are also some great music venues in the vicinity, including the Melkweg, Paradiso and de Balie. View hotels.


Tips Before You Go:


💡 Cash is not widely used in the Netherlands. Shops mostly accept PIN cards which are only issued by a local Dutch bank. So make sure you have a mix of euros and international credit cards (other than an AMEX).


💡Consider purchasing a Holland Pass or an IAMSterdam card. They cost relatively cheaper than having to pay entrance fees every single time. Plus, they include a handy city map so you can plan your museum trips better.


💡 If you’re one of those who would love to visit Anne Frank Museum, you can only purchase them online and not with any Amsterdam card. Check for the major museum schedules such as Van Gogh because sometimes they have special events and you’ll end up disappointed if it’s closed!


💡 Careful with the bike lanes! Dutch roads are chaotic because of the bikes, trams, and cars, that pass by everywhere you go. Don’t bust yourself as a tourist and stay away from the red lanes (as they’re intended only for bikes).


💡 Buy a disposable metro ticket depending on your stay. It’s more cost-efficient to take metro than Uber everywhere. You can buy these cards at every metro station, plus you can use them for train, tram, and buses!


Are you travelling to Amsterdam city soon? Drop me a note and let me know – would love to take you around, if possible 🙂

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