Amsterdam is a culturally diverse city, packed with museums, restaurants and wondrous bars and eateries. There’s so much more to this spectacular city than you might think at first glance, so get to know the real Amsterdam with our top 10 travel tips.
- Love hot chips? Nibble on Amsterdam’s finest – perfect for enjoying the morning after the night before or a chilly day trekking around the city at Vleminckx, found at Voetboogsteeg 33. Don’t forget the mayonnaise – it’s divine!
- No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a boat trip around the canals. In 2010, the canals were named a UNESCO site. Although hundreds of the canals have now been filled in, 165 still remain open today – and they’re a great way to take in some of the stunning city sights. For the best views, hop on an open-top boat, or just take a stroll along the water’s edge.
- Don’t be afraid to explore the city. It’s one of the safest cities to visit, but just be on your guard in the red light district and watch out for pickpockets.
- There are some lovely hotels in the centre of town, but there are also some stunning places to stay a little further afield for a fraction of the price. Stay out of the centre of the city and you can easily get back to all the action by jumping on a tram or on the Metro – plus, you’ll get a taster of real Amsterdam.
- If you do want to visit a “coffee shop” ask the people working there for advice, particularly if you’ve never smoked before.
- For cheap eats, visit the Albert Heijn supermarket or any one of the city’s delis and bakeries. Amsterdam has some fantastic food, best enjoyed sitting on the lawns of the Museumplein or on the banks of the canals.
- If you’re a big flower fan or if you just fancy a romantic stroll amongst the tulip-scented stalls, the Keukenhof bulb flower park is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. Even better, take a trip to the Bloemenmarkt, flower stalls that float on top of a canal.
- If you’re waiting to catch a train at Centraal Station, don’t miss 1e Klas, found on platform 2B – an atmospheric grand cafe that used to be the station’s first class waiting lounge.
- Big tips aren’t expected, so don’t feel like you have to leave them – small change in cafes, rounding up to the nearest euro or two after an inexpensive meal and five euros maximum, even after a fancy dinner.
- Buy tickets online in advance for some of the major attractions, such as the Van Gogh Museum or the Ann Frank Huis – tickets are typically cheaper and you’ll also skip the queues.
Amsterdam is truly one of Europe’s cultural hotspots – so make sure that you make the most of the city on your visit.