Known for its architecture and canals, Amsterdam is great place to spend a European weekend getaway. From its houses and small bridges to trendy cafes, the Amsterdam is packed with thousands of attractions. If you are visiting Amsterdam for the very first time, it is important to have a short list of tips to help you navigate through the city.
1. Purchase an: I Amsterdam Card
Amsterdam has an excellent public transport system which includes trains, metros, ferries, and buses. To save some cash on transportation, it is best to purchase an I Amsterdam City Card. This card offers unlimited use of the public transport system and is valid for 1 to 4 days. By getting an I Amsterdam City Card, you will also gain free access to several museums in the city.
2. Neighborhoods of Amsterdam
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without exploring some of the city’s best neighborhoods. You will find that the Centrum is home to many major attractions and offers an abundance of cool restaurants and bars worth visiting. If you wish to spend your time in a quieter neighborhood, then check out Oud Zuid which is kind of laid-back, but still close to all the major attractions. Travelers who wish to experience the local life here in Amsterdam should visit the lovely Oud Oost. De Pijp is well-known for its hipster vibe, while De Wallen is home to the famous Red-Light District.
3. Plan your Accommodation Well in Advance
Amsterdam attracts large crowds of tourists throughout the year, it is best to book your accommodation well in advance and make sure to get value for your money. First-time visitors who are looking for something more original can consider booking a houseboat.
(The Hoxton, Amsterdam)
4. Enjoy local cuisine
Whether you are looking for a Michelin-starred dining establishment or a cozy local restaurant that serves delicious breakfast in Amsterdam, you’ll find plenty of cool places to eat. If you wish to try local foods, try ordering bitterballen, stroopwafel, and raw herring. The city is also home to hundreds of International restaurants and casual eateries ranging from Italian joints to Indonesian restaurants and Mexican tapas eateries. Some top restaurants in Amsterdam include Restaurant C, Winkel 43, Floreyn, and Le Due Sicilie.
(Restaurant C, Amsterdam)
5. Many locals speak English, Dutch and German
Although the official language of the country is Dutch, the majority of people living in Amsterdam speak English. The truth is that you can easily communicate with the locals without knowing a word of Dutch. However, learning a couple of phrases like” Dank u wel” (thank you) and “Graag gedaan” (you’re welcome) might come in handy. It is also worth mentioning that many Dutch people also speak German, which is kind of like their own language, although some of them might not agree with you on this.
6. Find the best clubs and bars
Amsterdam boasts tons of unique clubs and many of them can be found in two areas: Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Here, you will find everything from casual clubs popular among students to dance venues that attract tourists. As for live music venues, the most popular and the biggest include Ziggo Dome, Johan Cruijff ArenA and AFAS Live. Of course, there is also the infamous Red Light District which houses many hip bars.
7. Exchanging your currency in Amsterdam
The official currency in Amsterdam is Euro. The most favorable rates in the city can be found at ATM machines which are located basically on every corner of Amsterdam, especially in the city center.
8. Pack an Umbrella
When travelling to Amsterdam you really need to be prepared for all-weather, as you never know when it’s going to rain. Therefore, it is important to have an umbrella and plenty of layers of clothes. Like many other major European citiesAmsterdam is a destination best explored on foot, so make sure to bring a pair of waterproof shoes.
9. Visit a museum
There are more than 70 museums and galleries in and around the city of Amsterdam? Therefore, it comes as no surprise that museums and other cultural spaces are visited by millions of tourists each year. From the famous Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum to the Science Center Nemo, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
10. Cyclists Rule Amsterdam
Well, they don’t actually rule the city, but walking on bike lines is a big no-no in Amsterdam. Everywhere you look, you’ll see numerous cyclists heading in all directions and it’s important to look before you cross the road, as people here tend to pedal at great speeds.