Amsterdam city guide: Everything you need to know before your trip

Amsterdam city break guide

With its diversity, impressive art heritage and hedonistic lifestyle, Amsterdam is one of the most desired travel destinations in Europe. The vibrant street life and lifestyle that pushes all boundaries puts Amsterdam on everyone’s bucket list. Art lovers will be impressed by Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum while food lovers will enjoy the diverse offer of culinary delicacies from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for ways to arrange your Amsterdam airport transfer, learn how to get around the city, visit the main attractions, sample the best local food or explore the cobbled streets for unique stores, this guide will provide you all the information you need before your trip to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam airport transfer

Amsterdam Schipol airport

Amsterdam Schipol airport

Amsterdam Schipol airport is the major hub for national and international flights in the Netherlands, handling over 50 million passengers a year. It is located only 20 km from the city, so it’s fairly easy to reach the Amsterdam city centre. There are regular train and bus lines, as well as, airport taxis and private Amsterdam airport transfer.

Public transport is a cheap Amsterdam airport transfer option and convenient if you’re travelling alone with little or no luggage. The train station is located one level below the terminal and it will take 15-20 minutes to get to the Amsterdam Central station. The Amsterdam Airport Express (number 197) leaves every 15 minutes and will take you to the city centre in 35 minutes. All buses leave from Schipol Plaza and will take you to different parts of Amsterdam or the nearby cities. You can check the bus map and timetable while you can use the OV-chipcards to use public transport from the airport to Amsterdam.

Airport taxis are a fast and reliable way of getting from Amsterdam airport to your destination. You can easily get a taxi at the taxi ranks located just outside the Arrivals hall. There are different taxi companies offering airport transfer service and they charge by the meter, with surcharges for luggage. However, sometimes it might get crowded at the taxi ranks and you will need to wait in a queue. In order to avoid this, you can book a private airport transfer in advance. The private Amsterdam airport transfer includes door-to-door service from the designated meeting point at the airport directly to your destination. The taxi fare is fixed and charged by vehicle, with no additional costs for luggage.

Getting around Amsterdam

Metro station in Amsterdam

Metro station in Amsterdam

Although Amsterdam is a very compact city and great for exploring on foot, some of the attractions are a little bit further and you may need to take public transport or a taxi to get there.

The public transport consists of an integrated network of metro, buses and trams, so you can buy OV card and use it on any of these transport types. The metro system currently has four lines which can take you from Central Station to Amsterdam’s suburbs and it’s a fast way of transport. The blue and white trams are easily recognizable and you will hear the bell ringing when one is passing near you. You can get a map with the tram stops and check the official timetable. The bus network in Amsterdam is extensive and well organized with regular bus lines connecting the city centre with the neighbourhoods and Amsterdam area. It is an excellent transport type for one-day excursions to the historic towns and villages near Amsterdam and the beaches.

Amsterdam taxis are a fast and easy way of transport in Amsterdam. It’s hard to take a taxi on the street so it’s better to search for one on the taxi ranks. You can book an Amsterdam taxi online and arrange your taxi transfer around the city in advance. The Amsterdam taxi online providers offer taxi service at a flat rate per vehicle, so it’s really easy to plan your cost and split it with your travel mates. If you wish to explore the city like a real tourist, private Amsterdam tours are available as well.

Must-see attractions in Amsterdam

Canal houses in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s canals are an example or urban planning in the 17th century while the mansions built by the upper class are an example of real architectural art from that time. During that period, the trade with Asia was booming and the rich merchants built their houses by the canals. Today there are plenty of museums, as well as, cafes and restaurants where you can relax by the canals.

The Anne Frank Museum dedicated to the short life of the Jewish girl whose diary became one of the most famous books after World War II. Anne and her family ran away from Frankfurt and hid in a house in Amsterdam, located on the Prinsengracht. Today, the house is a monument of that heartbreaking period of history and most of the home is preserved from Anne’s time.

Vincent van Gogh is one of the few artists from the 19th century who managed to capture the imagination in unique ways in his paintings. His tragic life and exceptional talent draw over a million visitors per year to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The museum is considered to be one of the most important art galleries in the world with the largest collection of Van Gogh artworks. In total, there are more than 200 paintings, numerous drawings and related materials related to his work.

Places to eat

Ciel Bleu restaurant

Ciel Bleu restaurant

Amsterdam has an impressive offer of daring and unique places to eat while the word on the street is that you will find the best restaurants in the most eccentric locations. From Michelin starred restaurants to small family-owned places, Amsterdam is the home of all sorts of establishments. The traditional Dutch cuisine includes meat with mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables. If you’re visiting Amsterdam in winter, Stampott, a stew with meat, potatoes and vegetables, is the main dish on the menu. On the other hand, in May, the salted herring or known as Hollandse Nieuwe is the traditional delicacy you must try. Amsterdam is also well known for its cosmopolitan appeal, so here you will find restaurants serving food from all over the world.

If you’re looking for a fancy experience and upscale service, then you should visit Ciel Bleu, the only restaurant in Amsterdam with two Michelin stars. The food is prepared with local, fresh ingredients and combined with the elegant interior, creates an unforgettable experience. Another place you should visit is the restaurant Envy which will surprise you with the innovative approach to Dutch cuisine. The smoked pigeon and the gourmet sausages are the highlights of their menu and highly recommended.

Shopping

The Nine Streets shopping area

The Nine Streets shopping area

During your stay in Amsterdam, you won’t be able to resist the desire to hit the stores. Amsterdam offers endless possibilities for shopping starting from exclusive designer labels to local Dutch designers. But it’s not all about clothing, there are many antique stores and gift shops with a unique offer of souvenirs you can take back home with you.

The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) is the main shopping area located in the historic canal district. It consists of 9 narrow streets where you can find many boutiques, vintage shops and art galleries. When you get tired of all the shopping, the cafes and restaurants near the canals are a great place to have a cup of coffee and relax. If you’re prepared to spend a small fortune on luxury designer clothing, then you should head straight to Hooftstraat street where you will find designer stores like Dior, Prada, Chanel just to name a few. Art lovers should visit the Spiegelkwartier which is considered the centre for art and antiques. You will be amazed by the impressive collections of paintings, jewellery, furniture and ceramics.

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