Amsterdam has all the benefits a traditional big city has like rich culture, dynamic nightlife, first-class restaurants, good public transportation, but, meanwhile, it’s also quite safer and more peaceful rather than usually. Check out what’s good to know before a tour in the Dutch city.
About the city
Amsterdam is the biggest city in Holland. Located in the western area of the country, it is also a part of the North Holland province. The name of the city means “a bent in Amstel”. On the other side, Amstel is the river that crosses Amsterdam. The city originated as a small fisherman’s town in the end of 12th century. Thanks to the progress of the trade during the Dutch golden century Amsterdam has turn into one of the biggest wharfs in the world.
- Area – 219.32 km²
- Population – 1 380 872 people
- Visits – 3.6 million of people per year
- Official language – Dutch
- Airport – Schiphol
When’s the best time to visit Amsterdam?
In Amsterdam summers are pleasant and not that hot at all. The winters are long, cold, windy and mainly, cloudy. The best time to visit the city is between the end of June and the beginning of September.
- Minimum temperatures – around 6°C
- Maximum temperatures – around 27°C
- The hottest months – June, July, August
- The coldest months – December, January and February
- Possibility for rains – September, October and November
Means of transportation – how to get around the city
- Subway – there are four lines which will fast and easily take you from the most distant districts to the downtown. You can travel with a preliminarily charged card or to get a ticket from the ticket machines places at the entrance of the subway. In Amsterdam’s transportation system everything is automated and you will not find any cash-desk with an employee, who can sell you either tickets, or cards.
Tip: Get a card I Amsterdam City Card that lets you to travel with the city’s public transport with no limits within 24, 48 or 72 hours. It offers discounts for the tickets in some of the local museums, too, by the way.
- Buses – the bus net is spread from the central side of the city to all the districts in Amsterdam. Once you get on the bus you can pay only with preliminarily charged card or with bank card. Cash is not accepted. There are also night busses from 00:30 to 07:00 o’clock.
- Trams – they are the fastest way to get around the downtown of the city. Besides, you can even enjoy sightseeing while traveling. The trams are available up to 00:15 o’clock.
- Ferries – some of them are available for free transport of pedestrians, bikers and moto bikers from and to the districts of Amsterdam Noord. They depart from Amsterdam’s Central railway station and are among the top preferred public transports. The most popular ferry route is up to Movie museum.
- Trains – they offer wonderful connection between the airport and the city’s central side. They also have direct connections with buses, trams, the subway and some ferries.
Rent a car
Please, have in mind that besides the rent a car service price, you will be additionally charged for many extra expenses like parking space, especially in the downtown. Like in most of the big European cities, here driving in the downtown isn’t an easy task at all. If you, though, still decide to rent a car, it’s good to book some parking space in a garage online. There are no free parking spaces in the central side of Amsterdam. The fee per hour is 5 EUR, while the daily ticket is between 30 and 45 EUR. The most affordable alternative for you is to use the parking spaces provided by Park + Ride in the suburbs and then, to reach the central side with the city’s public means of transportation, which eventually makes the rent-a-car service a bit pointless.
To get the easiest way to reach the top popular attractions, you should better opt for the tourist buses. They have more than 10 stations per route and allow you to get off as near as possible to everything you want to visit here. You can get on and off whenever you want to and within your ticket limits, as well as to take the benefits of the bus guide’s lectures.
Rent a bike
It’s on mandatory if not getting around the city constantly with a bike, at least to have one short with it in Amsterdam in order to feel the local atmosphere. The bicycle is put on a pedestal in Amsterdam. There are bike alleys almost everywhere. It costs around 12 EUR to have a bike for the whole day and you can easily pick it and return it in many stations for the purpose spread around the entire city.
Taxis are not that expensive here. The price per kilometer is around 2.50 EUR regardless the concrete time of the day. During the weekends and the holidays it’s better to call a taxi in advance, though, as these are quite rushing days. In Amsterdam you can even use a taxi-bike which transports two people at once. It definitely worth it to try the service basically because it’s challenging no doubts!
Brunches are very popular in Amsterdam – a type of a breakfast, which might be determined as a lunch, too. It’s a kind of a late breakfast or an early lunch. One of the best places you should visit during this specific part of the day is Bakers & Roasters. Van Rijn is a wonderful amenity of a lunch and it offers delicious sandwiches and comparatively peaceful atmosphere. For those of you who truly love meat, burgers and ribs, I strongly recommend Cannibale Royale. Vegans and vegetarians, on the other side, might go to Meatless District. If you look for a popular place for a dinner and with a rick menu, as well as great cocktails, on mandatory, visit De Foodhallen. As to the high quality beer lovers, who want the drink in a combo with excellent chicken for a dinner, they must go to De Biertuin. Last, but not least, if you wish an amazing culinary experience, visit any of the 16 local restaurants with one or two Michelin golden stars.
Things to do
Start your day in Amsterdam in an extraordinary way – get on the highest tower in the city, the 40-meter Westertorern. The entrance fee comes with a guide service included. It’s allowed only 6 people to get on the top at once, so it’s better to come to the attraction as early as possible. Then, you can go to the so popular local brunch. If you come to Amsterdam in spring, you can have a walk with a bike and enjoy the beautiful fields with tulips and windmills. In all cases, the bike is an excellent way to get around the city and sightseeing. However, don’t forget about the gondolas, which move around the Amsterdam’s channels as they bring incomparable romance. Right after dinner visit any karaoke or club and, of course, it would be a pity to come to the city and miss the Red Lights District.
Nightlife and entertainments
One of the main reasons many people come to visit Amsterdam is the nightlife, itself. You love techno parties and you don’t mind the smoke in the bar? Then, Radion would definitely suit your preferences. The other underground place for such entertainment is Claire. If you want to dance, come to Club NYX – 3-floor club where hip-hop, pop and techno music are streamed. One of the most visited places by the youths, on the other side, and mainly during the warm months, is Noordschip. The club is located on a boat right on the river. And if you seek for a fantastic DJ gig, go straight to OT301. For live music performances and concerts, visit AIR, Vondelbunker or De Marktkantine. For your personal final you can go to the Red Lights Districts as, indeed, there’s no other place in the world you can experience something like the atmosphere here. And don’t forget that watching is for free, but shooting photographs might be forbidden and you will be eventually fined.