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Amsterdam – City Guide


Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Every year, nearly 18 million passionate tourists travel around the city.

Located in the north-western part of Europe, Amsterdam is composed of almost 800,000 inhabitants and offers a unique atmosphere thanks to its historical and cultural heritage.

A surprising and dynamic city, where you can go shopping, have a good time in the many bars and restaurants, but also and above all, visit museums and other historical places.

> Why should you visit Amsterdam ?
> When should you go to Amsterdam?
> How to find a cheap plane ticket to Amsterdam?
> Where to sleep in Amsterdam?
> How to get around in Amsterdam?
> Prepare your stay in Amsterdam: what are the main activities?
> Where to eat in Amsterdam?
> Budget your trip to Amsterdam
> Practical information for your vacations in Holland
> Prepare your stay in Amsterdam with the best travel guides
> What else can you see in the Netherlands?

Why should you visit Amsterdam ?

visit amsterdam

Amsterdam is a very unique city, with a wide range of things to do, visit and discover. It has a varied gastronomy, many parks, but also many unusual activities that you may not be used to. 

For example, visiting the city in summer is an incredible experience! You can go hiking, biking or just walking along the canals. Of course, the other seasons are surprising. In winter, for example, there is the famous Christmas market, one of the most popular tourist attractions

Regarding the historical and cultural things to do and see (and we will come back to this in other parts of this text), you won’t be disappointed : Anne Frank’s house, the Central Square, classical and historical places and other museums… You can be sure that you will get bored, on the contrary.

When should you go to Amsterdam ?

why you should visit amsterdam

Amsterdam is an exceptional city that can be visited all year round. However, we notice that there are two schools:

  • Those who love Amsterdam in winter, because the city is dressed in its most beautiful lights. The snow and the cool evenings give the city a magical atmosphere. However, beware, the temperatures can be quite low, between 0 degrees celsius (or even less) and 5 degrees celsuis.
  • Lovers of Amsterdam in summer, because the city is full of life and interesting activities. There are many festivals, exhibitions and outdoor activities to do, which can appeal to groups of friends as well as families.

How to find a cheap plane ticket to Amsterdam?


There are several ways to find a plane ticket to Amsterdam. Firstly, if you fly from Europe, Schiphol airport is generally located an hour or two from the main capital cities. The trips are short, fast and therefore, less expensive.

The second thing to take into account is the fact that only a few airlines make the trip:

  • KLM ;
  • Air France ;
  • Delta Airlines;
  • A few others, of course, especially if you fly fron Canada, India or the US.

In order to get the best rates, there is only one solution: make arrangements in advance. Generally speaking, you can find a return ticket from New York to Amsterdam for about 250 dollars (provided you book about 6 weeks in advance). Use flight comparison websites to make sure you get the best possible deal.

Finally, don’t hesitate to track down good deals, directly on the official websites of KLM, Delta Airlines or Air France. Special discounts are available on the Schiphol airport website. This site is also known for its long term loyalty program, which can bring you up to 15% discount on the total amount of the bill!

Where should you stay in Amsterdam ?

hotels in amsterdam

In Amsterdam, the supply of accommodation is quite limited. In fact, the hotel will probably represent the biggest part of your budget in Amsterdam. Well, get ready, because we’re about to tell you everything about it !

Best hotels in the city

Amsterdam is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. To make your vacation unforgettable, it is important that you spend a few days in the best hotels in the city.

  • The NEMO Hotel Amsterdam is known to be on this list, especially because of its exceptional location: it is situated on the banks of the Amsterl and has 58 rooms and suites in a contemporary style. You can enjoy professional services and excellent cuisine. 
  • Le Meridien Hotel is another of the most famous hotels in Amsterdam. This luxury hotel has rooms and suites, a spa, a restaurant and a bar. 
  • The Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is a 5-star hotel with a breathtaking view of the city. This modern hotel has 126 rooms and suites, an upscale restaurant, a private bar and a fitness room.

Hostels in Amsterdam

Hostels are convenient and affordable accommodation options for students or travelers on a budget who want to visit a city. 

One of the best known hostels in the city? The WOW Hostel. Located in the outskirts of the city, it offers the possibility to stay in Amsterdam at the best price. 

Be careful though. The place is overcrowded. In fact, we strongly recommend you to book several weeks (or even months) in advance, to be sure to have a place reserved in your name.

Rent a AirBnB

There are many ways to stay in Amsterdam and booking an AirBnB is one of them. You can choose to look directly at the offers online or contact the owner directly for more information. 

The online booking system is simple, efficient and secure. You will have access to a high-quality apartment, fully furnished with a bedroom, kitchen and a bathroom. 

To conclude, no matter which district you choose, you will always find a quality hotel, close to the canals or small squares, which are always very pleasant. The ideal is to find a hotel room in a good location, not too far from the center or the main museums of the capital. A hotel that is easily accessible at night and at the best price.

How to get around the city ?

parkings in amsterdam

If you’re in Amsterdam and you’re looking for a way to get around, you’re going to have plenty of options:

  • Cab, Uber and other VTCs;
  • Car rental ;
  • Subway ;
  • Bus, streetcar ;
  • Bike rental.

The metro (as well as the bus or streetcar) is a good option in order not to waste time. If you are only staying for a few days, we recommend you to choose the public transport offer.

Duration and price of your ticket

  • 1 day 8 euros
  • 2 days 13,50 euros
  • 3 days 19 euros

These tickets are valid for all public transport in the city, bus, streetcar and the 5 lines of the Amsterdam metro. We recommend that you use this offer rather than paying per trip, as it will be much more expensive (a round trip can cost up to 6.50 euros!).

Amsterdam’s metro

Amsterdam has a high quality metro system. Very efficient, rarely congested or late, this metro has nothing to do with the metros of big cities, like Paris.

In total, there are 5 lines that intersect here and there. In other words, you can easily get to just about anywhere.

The only thing to keep in mind? To get to the center, there is only one stop: Centraal Station! 

If you have your own car, don’t hesitate to ask about the best parking lots in Amsterdam either!

Rent a bike in Amsterdam

bike rental in amsterdam

You are in Amsterdam and want to get around like a local? Then rent a bike! You can choose to follow a complete route from the city center to your place of residence or just rent one for the day to ride around.

There are many must-see sites to see during your ride through the city, such as the Amsterdam Museum, the Prinsengracht, the canals and many more. Renting a bike in Amsterdam and pedaling around the city is a truly unique experience that we recommend you try.

Prepare your stay in Amsterdam : what are the main activities ?

There are many sites to discover in Amsterdam. Some of them have a special flavor, since they are considered as must-sees. Here are some of them.

Anne Frank’s House

anne frank house amsterdam

The Anne Frank House is THE most important site in Amsterdam. This visit allows you to retrace the last months, the last days of the “free” life of the author of the famous diary, under the yoke of the Germans. Be careful, the queue is quite long, so think about booking your ticket online.


Amsterdam is a culture-oriented city. The Van Gogh museum, for example, is the most symbolic museum of the city. It is unthinkable to visit Amsterdam without taking the time to visit it… You would regret it. 

The city center

The city center of Amsterdam is really something. Indeed, the buildings are beautiful, the facades shiny and the atmosphere electric. The center is where almost everything happens. You’ll love walking around and getting lost in the many alleys.

The redlight district

A somewhat specific place, De Wallen (or the Red Light District) is a place where all the vices are gathered. Between the weed smokers, the consumerists and the prostitution, you will be surprised. It is a neighborhood where almost anything is possible. It would be a shame not to go there, even if the atmosphere is quite special.

Where to eat in Amsterdam ?

brunch in amsterdam

The food and traditional dishes of Amsterdam are full of flavor. Local dishes are based on typical ingredients such as beer, black pudding, smoked fish or lamb. Waffles are also very popular.

Would you like to eat in a restaurant with good typical food? We suggest you try some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam like The Pantry, Mankind or Moeders and De Blauwe Hollander.

But that’s not all. We have prepared a great selection of the 10 best brunches in Amsterdam, which you should definitely check out.

Budget your trip to Amsterdam

visit amsterdam

To plan a budget for your next trip to Amsterdam, you should take into account many costs, such as:

  • Plane tickets;
  • Transportation on site;
  • Accommodation;
  • Food;
  • Extra activities;
  • Souvenirs.

Generally speaking, we estimate that 150 euros per person per day (all inclusive, excluding airfare) is needed to fully enjoy the city’s setting, without really depriving yourself.

Practical information for your holidays in the Nederlands

In case of emergency, there is only one solution: call 112. This emergency number groups together all the services (police, firemen and ambulance).

For all other emergencies, especially those related to your papers, you should go to your own consulate :

  • American consulate : Museumplein 19, 1071 DJ Amsterdam
  • Canadia, British and Indian embassies are in De Haag  

From a language point of view, if you are fluent in English, you will have absolutely no trouble making yourself understood. Indeed, Amsterdam is an international city where many expatriates live. The locals, on the other hand, have an excellent knowledge of the language of Shakespeare.

Get ready for your trip to Amsterdam with the best city guides

Do you need a travel guide to help you prepare for your stay in Amsterdam? Don’t worry, there is no shortage of them. However, as is often the case, we recommend three books:

  • The Lonely Planet ;
  • Le Petit Futé ;
  • Le Guide du Routard.

These books are very complete and allow you to have a total overview of what you can do in Amsterdam, where to eat or have a drink. In short, these books will be your main allies during your stay.

What else can you see in the Nederlands ?

amsterdam city guide

Holland is not only Amsterdam. Indeed, this beautiful country has a lot to offer. Other major centers, such as Maastricht, Rotterdam, Utrecht or the island of Marken are worth visiting.

We also recommend you to check out Zeeland and its beaches as well as the Waden region. In short, a city in the north of Europe, full of history and which over the centuries has been able to impose itself and count as much on the economic as on the cultural level. 

Amsterdam 101 : quick conclusion

Are you planning to discover this beautiful country, Holland, the country of Van Gogh? First of all, take the time to find out about the best hotels, the museums to discover as well as the life on the spot, when the night falls. Determine which neighborhood would suit your needs and tastes.

Make sure you are close to a good parking lot, especially if you are coming by car. The Dutch capital is also well accessible by air, with flights being organized several times a day. The price of tickets is not excessive. If you are lucky, your hotel can even provide a van or a shuttle to pick you up.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is Amsterdam a dangerous city ?

    Amsterdam is not at all considered a dangerous city. In fact, figures show that the city has a crime index of 33.49, which is much lower than Paris, Marseille or even Montpellier in France!

  • When is the best time to go to Amsterdam ?

    Depending on your taste and preferences, you can visit Amsterdam all year round. Special mention (in our opinion only) for the winter period. The city can count on a magical world, with its Christmas market and its fantastic illuminations.

  • What language is spoken in Amsterdam ?

    In Amsterdam, the locals speak Dutch. However, you will have absolutely no trouble making yourself understood in English since the language is perfectly mastered by the shopkeepers, the youth and the professionals.