Shortcut Travel Guide to Amsterdam

Note: Due to current circumstances, some information may be outdated. Please check official websites before you travel. Be advised this article may have links to products we make commission from.

There are many different sides and personalities to Amsterdam. You can make of it what you want and in many ways, Amsterdam can become anything you want it to be. As a tourist, you’ll likely find it to be a very welcoming and acceptable place. The food in Amsterdam is exciting and also expected, at the same time. But you’ll never run out of things to try.

Simply put, Amsterdam has something for everyone. The city is an incredibly beautiful collection of old world European architecture that is elegantly displayed along canals. The city is actually built on roughly 90 small islands, although you can hardly tell.

Amsterdam waterway and buildings

Of European cities, Amsterdam is most likely to surprise, excite and intrigue its visitors in a most unexpected fashion. Travel to Amsterdam to enjoy the perfect balance of open spaces, a lively urban pulse and a gracefully multi-ethnic ambiance.

If you’re thinking about a trip there, check out our one-stop travel guide to Amsterdam for the best hotels, neighborhoods, things to do, and places to eat and drink in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

When to Go to Amsterdam

Any time of the year is good to travel to Amsterdam, although it is advisable to bring rain gear because it can rain at anytime. July to August is considered peak seasons for travel. So you can find the best rates for hotels and flights outside of those times.


To avoid crazy crowds while still enjoying good weather, we recommend visiting Amsterdam in April, May, September or even as late in the year as early October.

As far as weather, it never really gets too hot or too cold in Amsterdam. Clouds and some rain are really the extent of the weather patterns.

What to Do in Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum houses the world’s largest collection of the work of Vincent van Gogh. From his early work, the museum contains 700 artistic works and 850 letters.

Who hasn’t read the intense diary of Anne Frank? Hiding from the Nazis, she and her family lived in an annexed section of an apartment in Amsterdam for two years. In 1957, the house was donated to the Anne Frank Foundation and turned into a museum.

One of my favorite things to do in the city is a canal cruise. The long boats chug through the canals day and night, offering a drinks cruise or even an evening pizza cruise.

It’s also fun to taste and try the food and drinks of Amsterdam. There are a lot of craft breweries and pubs around the city for beer sampling. We also indulged in a cheese and wine tasting that was super fun.

Want to build an itinerary with the activities listed in our shortcut guide (below)? Here are a few links to our favorite tours and activities in Amsterdam so you can purchase your tickets in advance. 

Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise with 4-Course Dinner and Drinks

Skip the Line: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam Private Guided Tour

⇒ Eat like a local in Amsterdam with Eating Europe Food Tours – there are 5 tours available:

» Here are 20 more fun things to do in Amsterdam to fill your itinerary.

Tours to Book:

How to Get to Amsterdam

The fastest way to get to the city center from the airport is by taking a taxi. It costs around 39€ and takes 15-20 minutes.

You can book a private transfer with Welcome Pickups for the same price as getting a taxi from the line. The price above for a taxi is the same as for Welcome Pickups, but the driver will meet you at arrivals and help with luggage. The drivers are skilled, English-speaking and will monitor your flight for delays. It’s the clear winner. Book your transfer in advance here.

You can also catch the train to the city center. Train tickets cost 5.40€ and it takes around 20 minutes to reach the center.

amsterdam city center

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Heading to Amsterdam soon? We like staying near Dam Square in central Amsterdam. It’s fun and lively, close to or within easy walking distance of many of the top attractions, and easily accessible for public transportation. Below are the hotels we recommend. You can read reviews or book directly through the links below (they are affiliate links from which we receive a small commission).

Banks Mansion

4-star hotel near the Flower Market, with free wifi, breakfast and coffee/tea.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

Radisson Blu

Nicely-decorated 4-star hotel located directly on a canal near Rembrandt Square.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

The Toren

Glitzy 4-star hotel with a bar/lounge and free wifi, near Anne Frank House.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

Shortcut Travel Guide to Amsterdam

Shortcut Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Shortcut Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Read More about Amsterdam

You may also like these articles about Amsterdam:


Like this post? Why not save it to Pinterest?

Shortcut Travel Guide to Amsterdam

30 thoughts on “Shortcut Travel Guide to Amsterdam

  1. Maaike - Travellous World says:

    I see bitterballen on the list, so this post is approved 😉 Fun infographic, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Michele TravelwithMrsT says:

    I currently live in Utrecht in the Netherlands and love your infographic. I highly recommend a canal cruise too! I’ve taken two different types when friends and family have visited, and since you can take one from various places including right outside the train station, and also just north of museumplein, they are very flexible in terms of fitting into your day!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Michele, you’re very right about the canal tours. They’re running all the time, so you can definitely find one to fit your schedule. We went on a candlelight cruise in the evening and really loved it.

  3. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

    The food in Amsterdam blew me away. I didn’t know anything about Dutch food prior to visiting Amsterdam but was so pleasantly surprised. I loved the whole city – the parks, the canals, the bikes, the tulips. I could seriously see myself living there on a little house boat. 🙂

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Bethaney, I totally agree with you about the food. I didn’t know what to expect either, but we found some really great food. We loved the little house boats too. I could definitely live there.

  4. Mags says:

    I love Amsterdam. Last time I was in the Netherlands, I only got to spend a few hours there. It was such a tease! I really need to go back.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      We were there for two days this time and really wanted to stay longer. There’s something really alluring about that city!

  5. Anda says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m planning to take a longer trip to Amsterdam, but I could use your information even if it’s for one day only. You can always spend more time in each of these places.

  6. Natasha Amar says:

    What a brilliant idea to have all this information in such an easy to use and handy format. I’m saving this for when I go to Amsterdam and also sending it to a friend who’s headed there in a few weeks.

  7. Natalie Deduck says:

    Great Guide!!
    Wish I had read it before, last month I visited Amsterdam with friends and we had a blast, but we had a hard time to find “the place” for meat and BBQ. Now I have a good and tasty reason to go back 😉
    Thanks for the info,

  8. kami says:

    what a neat idea! I haven’t been to Amsterdam for few years now but I guess it’s time to come back! I saved your guide just in case 🙂

  9. Meg Jerrard says:

    Thanks for this! Such a fab guide! Totally agree that taking a bike or canal tour is not to be missed – we loved both while we were in Amsterdam last year. Seems like everyone in the city rides their bikes! And OMG the fries! So glad there was info on this in the guide – you really can’t go past Danish fries!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      They double fry the fries there, which is why they’re so addictively good. I’m also a sucker for dipping sauce.

  10. Lindsay Nieminen says:

    mmmm fried Gravy Balls! will have to try those! this is such a great roundup! i will be checking out your other Shortcut guides for other cities as well!

  11. Brittany Bergman says:

    This is awesome!! You had me hooked at “fried gravy balls.” I’d love to visit Amsterdam someday, and this little guide will come in quite handy!

  12. Desiree says:

    Like N says, it’s Dutch, not Danish 🙂
    Danish is from Denmark, only 655 kilometers (to the border) from Amsterdam 🙂

    When you are in Amsterdam, don’t forget to stop at one of the many FEBO. There you can “eat from the wall”. There are all kinds of snacks which you can pull out of little boxes in the wall, like a huuuuge vending machine. You can choose from burgers, kroketten (fried gravy saucages) and frikadellen (sort of hotdog-saucages).


  13. Esther says:

    Hi Nick and Laura,

    I’m Esther and live in the Netherlands – (Zwolle). Thanks for following me on Pinterest. Nice to see that you went to the Amsterdam.

    Great website you have! Most of the time I read that visitors who come to the Netherlands are going to Amsterdam, which I totally understand. When you are going to the Netherlands and do have some spare time left, wanting some typically Dutch, visit for example the places: Hattem, Zwolle, Kampen, Giethoorn, Deventer. All these placese are in the same area and have a lovely a Charles Dickens/ Harry Potter atmosphere. One of the famous Dutch Painters ” Anton Pieck” has lived in Hattem. There is a Anton Pieck Museum. If you see his work, you think it is like a Fairytale – Christmas Carol Art.

  14. Ann Lynch says:

    Laura, my husband and I arrive this Sunday from Boston. I did r know you had to purchase Anne Frank Museum tickets 2 months ahead. Can we just go there Monday morning at 8 am to buy tickets or do we have to buy them that morning on the internet?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Ann. You do have to purchase tickets online in advance. They release 20% of tickets on the day of at 9am online. If you don’t get one you won’t be able to just show up and get in. Good luck!

  15. Pingback: How to Plan a Trip to Europe (2-Week Europe Itinerary) | Savored Journeys

  16. Pingback: 21 of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe | Savored Journeys

  17. Pingback: 21 of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe – fiverr demo 7

  18. Pingback: 21 of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe – My Blog

  19. Pingback: 21 of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe – Fiverr Demo3

  20. Pingback: 21 of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe – AutoTravelAffiliate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *