Ready for an adventure in the city of a thousand bridges? Let’s dive in and book your Amsterdam holiday!
Embrace the concept of ‘book smart, travel simple’ with this guide. Trazler will help you navigate everything from deciding when to visit and finding the perfect neighborhood to stay in, to getting around the city and planning your itinerary. Get ready to be swept off your feet by Amsterdam’s unique charm!
When to Visit Amsterdam?
Springtime in Amsterdam (March-May) offers the unique experience of seeing the blooming tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens. While there may be a shower or two, the pleasant weather and smaller crowds add to the city’s springtime appeal.
June through August offer the warmest weather (around 19-22°C) and the city is brimming with life thanks to outdoor events like the Canal Parade. Just keep in mind that summer is peak tourism season in Amsterdam, which tends to drive up the prices of accommodation and flights.
September to November is a more affordable time to visit. Not only will you encounter fewer crowds, but you’ll be able to attend cultural events like the Amsterdam Dance Event and Museum Night. The weather is cooler and rain showers are more frequent, but that’s part of Amsterdam’s fall charm.
From November through January, the city shines brightly thanks to the annual Amsterdam Light Festival. Despite the colder weather, the dozens of art installations in and along the water make winter a magical time of year to visit.
Accommodation in Amsterdam
Recent changes in city rules have led to a large decline in short-term rentals, so we recommend booking a hotel for your stay. Hotel availability can be limited, especially during the peak season, so we suggest booking hotels three to six months in advance if you can.
Amsterdam offers a wide array of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. Some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Amsterdam include:
For those who love being at the heart of the action, the Canal Ring is an excellent choice. This historic district offers a central location and is a great option for first-time visitors.
If you’re looking to stay in the Canal Ring, check out our guide on the best hotels in the city center.
This vibrant neighborhood is located to the west of the Canal Ring and is known for its cafes, art boutiques, and trendy restaurants. Home to the famous “9 straatjes” (nine little streets), this area is a great choice for those who want to experience Amsterdam like a local.
For the foodies and budget travellers out there, De Pijp is the place for you. Known for its food and drink scene, it’s home to the famous Albert Cuyp Market and hundreds of restaurants. If you’re seeking a laid-back and authentic Amsterdam experience, this neighborhood should be high on your list.
If art and culture are high on your agenda, staying in the Museum Quarter puts you close to major museums like the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum. The neighborhood is also close to P.C. Hooftstraat and Van Baerlestraat, Amsterdam’s premium shopping area.
Still not sure where to stay? Check out our in-depth guide on accommodation in Amsterdam.
Trazler Smart Tip: For a stress-free journey, book your flights and accommodations in one go. This approach guarantees hotel availability during your planned visit, allowing you to dedicate more time to crafting the ideal itinerary.
Getting to Amsterdam
Securing affordable flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) starts with booking at the right time. It’s generally best to book flights at least two to three months in advance.
Off-peak season (November – February) offers lower airfares and accommodation prices, and November and February usually offer the best flight and hotel deals.
Both Cork Airport (ORK) and Dublin Airport (DUB) offer direct flights to AMS, and flights from either city will get you to Amsterdam in about an hour and 45 minutes.
If you have flexible travel dates, consider flying into Amsterdam during the week or in the evening, as this is when you’ll likely find cheaper flights. Make sure to use a smart travel search engine so you can book your flights and accommodation simultaneously.
Getting to Your Hotel
Once you land in Amsterdam, you can take a train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station or Amsterdam Zuid Station.
The train to Amsterdam Centraal Station takes 15-20 minutes and costs 5.90 € for a 2nd class ticket or 9.33 € for a 1st class ticket. The train to Amsterdam Zuid station takes around 7 minutes and will cost you 3.80 €.
If you prefer to take a bus, you can also take the Airport Express Bus 397 from Schiphol Plaza to Amsterdam Elandsgracht. The bus ride takes around 30 minutes and one-way tickets cost 6.50 €.
Consider a taxi or scheduling an airport transfer for the most convenient option. Besides delivering you directly to the doorstep of your accommodation, these options offer the luxury of privacy and ease, without the worry of navigating public transportation in a new city.
Moving Around the City
The historic part of Amsterdam is easily walkable, but the city is also well connected via trams, ferries, buses, and metros.
You can use the I am Amsterdam card or public transport chip card (OV-chipkaart) to get around, and both of these cards can be used on all modes of public transport. Remember that you will need to hold your card against the reader when entering and exiting the transportation car
Planning Your Itinerary
Amsterdam boasts a wealth of attractions. To maximize your time and avoid long queues, consider planning your itinerary ahead of time and pre-purchasing tickets to popular activities and sites.
Amsterdam is home to many art museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh artworks, and the Rijksmuseum, renowned for its collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings.
Queues for museums can get quite long, so we suggest buying tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait for too long.
The city is also home to the Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank wrote her diary during WWII. The Anne Frank House is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions and tickets often sell out weeks in advance, so we suggest buying these tickets as soon as you can.
A canal tour is essential to appreciate Amsterdam’s famous architecture. You can pre-book a group canal tour, rent a pedal boat, or even enjoy a private dinner on your very own canal cruise.
Amsterdam is also great for food lovers. Take some time to visit Albert Cuyp Market, the Netherlands’ largest and most popular outdoor market, or the indoor Foodhallen, which offers amazing global cuisine from 20 different stalls.
For a taste of Amsterdam’s nightlife, head to Leidseplein, home to theatres, live music venues, and bars. Be sure to try some traditional Dutch food, like Stroopwafel or Bitterballen, and if you have time you might want to venture out for a day trip to see the famous tulip fields or windmills.
Hotspots in Amsterdam
Still, have room in your itinerary? Your Amsterdam adventure wouldn’t be complete without a visit to these hotspots:
- The Ice Bar: Kept at -10℃, it’s one of the city’s ‘coolest’ attractions.
- WONDR: An immersive art experience in Amsterdam Noord, featuring an interactive museum, roller skating, and the iconic Pink Beach.
- A’DAM Lookout: An observation deck with breathtaking city views, and home to Europe’s highest swing.
- Blijburg aan Zee: A popular beach on IJburg island, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and summer fun.
- Coffee shops: Relax with a coffee or tea while sampling Amsterdam’s legally sold cannabis.
- Red Light District: Known worldwide for its unique atmosphere, sex shops, and adult entertainment.
If you’re looking to visit a majority of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions, consider purchasing the I Amsterdam City Card. This card offers free or discounted entry to many of the city’s top attractions, as well as unlimited use of public transport, a canal cruise, and bike rental.
Making Dinner Reservations in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious, offering a myriad of dining experiences that shouldn’t be missed. If your heart is set on a popular restaurant, it’s a good idea to book ahead – some places are fully reserved weeks in advance.
Popular dining areas include Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein, and De Pijp, though there are great restaurants in every corner of Amsterdam. Websites like The Fork or OpenTable can help you find restaurants, read reviews, and make reservations.
Amsterdam is home to some one-of-a-kind culinary experiences. Imagine dining at Vuurtoreneiland, where you’re taken by boat to a secluded island for a 4-course meal in a picturesque greenhouse.
For those looking to pair a view with their meal, the revolving restaurant Moon offers a 360° view of Amsterdam. And for the bold and adventurous, Ctaste offers a dining experience in complete darkness. No matter what kind of dining adventure you’re after, Amsterdam has an option for everyone.
Amsterdam is a city that has a lot to offer, so plan your trip in advance to make the most out of your visit. By organizing your flights, accommodation, and activities in advance, you’ll save both time and money, leaving you free to enjoy all that this vibrant city has to offer.
With Trazler, you can build a seamless trip in a few clicks by searching for flights and accommodations simultaneously. So why wait? It’s time to embark on your Amsterdam holiday and create memories that will last a lifetime.