So you’re thinking of spending some time in Amsterdam. To make the best of your time we came up with a couple of pointers and answers to questions you might already have.
How to get there?
There are many ways to get to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is well connected to the Dutch train network and is easily reachable by car. The airport of Amsterdam is called Schiphol and is Europe’s third busiest with almost 72 million passengers in 2019. Located only 15 kilometres from the city centre it is connected to hundreds of destinations worldwide. More info on traveling to Amsterdam can be found here.
How long to stay?
Amsterdam might not be as big as London or Paris, but it still has much to offer. Recommended is to stay at least three days to experience most of the highlights. Browse our Itineraries to look for an itinerary for your stay taylored to your interests.
Where to stay?
Most tourists prefer to stay in the city center, which is simply known as Centrum. Basically it covers the whole area within the horseshoe shaped canal network. Centrum has around 90,000 people living there and is broken up into 10 different neighbourhoods. Here you’ll find most of the hotels, restaurants and attractions. But there are also other interesting neighbourhoods to stay outside of the Centrum area.
When to go?
When to go depends a little on what you like to see and do. If you want to experience King’s Day (formerly known as Queen’s Day) it would be advisable to be here on april 27th! We do feel that there are certain days that Amsterdam is even more enjoyable, because of some of the yearly events and festivals.
Weather-wise there are a couple of things to take note of. Since The Netherlands has a moderate oceanic climate, summers can be on the cool side, but winters are in general mild. Snow is seldom in winter and there are years we don’t get to see one single snowflake at all. Unfortunately rain, is common throughout the year, especially from October to December. In general the months between April and August see the least precipitation.
How to get around?
Just like any other Dutch city, Amsterdam is a very bicycle and pedestrian friendly city. Pretty much every street has a bike lane, so getting around on bike is a not only fun, but also safe and efficient. There are a couple of places where you can rent bikes.
If you’d like to move around a little faster then renting an electric scooter might be a good option. For scooters that are not considered motorcycles, wearing a helmet is not mandatory.
Amsterdam also has a well maintained public transport network, consisting of trains, trams, subways, busses and ferries and will get you pretty much anywhere. See the website of GVB for more information.
If you have more money to spend, you can consider getting a taxi. But taxis are rather pricey in The Netherlands. You can find taxis on designated Taxi-spots, often near train stations and busy commerical streets. Or you can order one by calling one of the taxi companies.
If you need to rent a car use our car rental comparison tool to find a cheap car rental.
Is Amsterdam a safe city?
Amsterdam is considered a rather unsafe city for Dutch standards, but internationally speaking, it’s very safe. Being a tourist here it’s unlikely that you’ll be affected by crime or violence.
You should take normal precautions against pickpockets and luggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, onboard trams and anywhere where tourists congregate.
The Red Light District can be a bit intimidating to some, but it’s often said that the main streets of the district are very safe because of the lager police presence. Sometimes you will be offered drugs, but after a friendly ‘No thanks’, they will leave you alone. Taking pictures of the sex workers, often result in verbal or sometimes even physical abuse. So just don’t.
In general most areas of the city are safe during daytime. At nightime there are a couple of places probably wise to avoid as a tourist. Neighbourhoods like Bijlmer, Nieuwendam, or a couple of areas west of the Center (Slotervaart or Osdorp) can be a little dodgy at night.
Probably the most dangerous things for tourists in Amsterdam are cyclists and trams. So always check twice before crossing a street and leave the red lanes to the cyclists. They’re not fancy footpaths made for tourists!