Discover the ultimate Amsterdam travel guide to make your visit as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Full of culture, history, and plenty of things to do for travelers of all styles. With its thriving cafe culture, world-class museums, vibrant nightlife, and some of the most beautiful streets in the world – it truly is a place like no other. However, a visit to Amsterdam comes with many questions:
- What is the best time to visit Amsterdam?
- What should I pack for visiting Amsterdam?
- Where is the best place to stay in Amsterdam?
- How do you get around Amsterdam?
- What are the best restaurants in Amsterdam?
- What are the best cafes in Amsterdam?
- What are the best things to do in Amsterdam?
Planning your visit and understanding the city is the best way to optimize your time and not leave with regrets about things you wish you’d done and seen. Keep reading for the most complete Amsterdam travel guide where all your questions will be answered.
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In This Post
Complete Amsterdam Travel Guide
When to Visit Amsterdam
The best time to visit Amsterdam depends on a few things.
The cost to visit Amsterdam varies depending on the time at which you visit. If you are looking to visit Amsterdam on a budget it is best to visit Amsterdam in December or one of the winter months. Typically the summer months are the most expensive for flights and accommodation, but this is typical for most places. As for the spring months, you will likely find Amsterdam in April to be more pricey because of the tulip fields and Kingsday.
Here is a rundown of the best times to visit Amsterdam.
- Cheapest time to visit: November, December January
- Most Expensive: April, June, July, August.
- Best Weather: May, June, and September.
- To see the Tulip Fields: April
- Less touristy: October
Overall best times to visit Amsterdam May, June, and October for optimal weather, fewer tourists, and moderate prices.
What to Pack for Amsterdam
Packing for Amsterdam largely depends on the season you are visiting.
What to pack for Amsterdam in spring:
- Water-resistant shoes
- Light jacket
- Long sleeve tops for layering
- Comfortable walking shoes
What to pack for Amsterdam in summer:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Flowy pants: for comfortable biking without overheating
What to pack for Amsterdam in the fall:
- Water resitence shoes
- Warm sweater for under your raincoat
- Long sleeve shirts for layering
- Long pants
- Warm socks
What to pack for Amsterdam in winter:
- Water resistance boots
- Warm winter jacket
- Scarf, hat, and mittens
- Long sleeve tops for layering
Amsterdam Packing List Essentials
Amsterdam is a unique city for multiple reasons. Below are some things you need to bring for your visit to Amsterdam.
- Small backpack
- Hostel essentials: Lock, earplugs, sleep mask, shower shoes, towel.
- Power Adapter
- Unlocked phone: Be sure to unlock your phone in your home country so you can get a sim card in Amsterdam
- Refillable water bottle: Tap water is drinkable in Amsterdam so use that to your advantage
- Bucket Hat
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Centrum is the center of Amsterdam. This is where all the action usually is for tourists and within this area, almost all major attractions are within walking distance. Centrum is the most popular place to stay in the city, which also makes it the most expensive. If you value close proximity over price, then centrum is a good option for you. The best neighborhoods within the center of Amsterdam are:
- Jordaan – The Jordaan is the nicest and most expensive area within Centrum and all of Amsterdam (in my opinion). The whole area is full of nice restaurants, cozy cafes, trendy shops, and stunning streets. This is usually everyone’s favorite area in Amsterdam and is a dream location to find accommodation.
- Canal belt – The canal belt lies along the bottom edge of Centrum and is a less expensive but still beautiful area to stay in. This area is a nice central spot that can get you to centrum and Zuid very easily.
- De Pijp – This is a hip and amazing area of Amsterdam. There are no canals in this area but there are a ton of shops and some of the best restaurants in the city. Accommodation prices here are much lower and perfect for seeing a beautiful area of the city.
Some of the best hotels in Amsterdam are:
- Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
- Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht – a concept by Hyatt
- Conservatorium Hotel
- NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen
How to Get Around Amsterdam
Biking is the main form of transportation in Amsterdam. There are actually more bikes than people in the city! The quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around Amsterdam as a local and as a tourist is by bike. Be sure to read my guide on biking in Amsterdam to prepare yourself as it is pretty hectic and if you aren’t a confident biker I would highly suggest NOT renting a bike.
Alternatively, Amsterdam has an amazing and super easy public transportation system. The number one thing you need when traveling on Amsterdam’s public transportation is an IAmsterdam City Card.. This card gives you free access to all public transport, world-class museums, and more!
Amsterdam also has Uber, Bolt, and Taxis. This is the most expensive way to get around and can sometimes take longer than public transportation.
Best Restaurants in Amsterdam
Some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam:
- Bam Boa
- Impero Romano
- Happy Happy Joy Joy
- De Pizzabakers
- Bulls and Dogs
- Vegan Junk Food Bar
Best Cafes in Amsterdam
Check out this post: Best Cafes in Amsterdam for a more detailed description of all the cafes below:
- De Koffieschenkerij
- Coffee & Coconuts
- Bakkerij Wolf
- Kaldi Coffee
- Coffee District
- Luuk’s Coffee
- Fort Negen
- Pulitzer Garden
- The Dylan
- Scandinavian Embassy
Things to do in Amsterdam
There are so many amazing things to do in Amsterdam. Check out this post for more detailed descriptions of the top things to do in Amsterdam.
- Go for an Early Morning Walk
- Have a Drink at The Dylan
- Enjoy the Best Pastries at Fort Negen
- Have a Beer at Cafe Brandon
- Apple Pie at Winkel 43
- Go to a Festival / Event
- Evening Canal Boat Ride
- Go on a Day Trip
- Breakfast at Happy Pig Pancake Shop
- Have a Beer at Brouwerij ‘t IJ
- Enjoy Rooftop Drinks
- Join a Calming Yoga Class
- Dinner at Impero Romano
- Go to an Interactive Museum
- Coffee at De Koffieschenkerij
- Get a Croissant from one of the many bakeries
- Spend an Afternoon at a Classic Museum
- Explore NDSM
- Bike Down the Amstel
- Catch a Film at Pathé Tuschinski
- Evening at Ton Ton Club
- Go to a Street Market
- Try Poffertjes
- Stroll Around the Botanical Gardens
Getting travel insurance before you travel is a MUST. It’s the number one thing you should always pack before travelling that can save you a lot of money, time, and stress. With how crazy travel has gotten recently you need that peace of mind that no matter what happens there is something protecting you from losing out. I always travel with travel insurance and think everyone should.
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Use this Amsterdam travel guide for your visit to Amsterdam and prepare to fall in love with the city!
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Lots of great ideas for a trip to Amsterdam! I haven’t been yet but I’m definitely saving this for when I do. The map on where to stay is especially helpful!