Do you like the feel of a traditional yet modern experience? Amsterdam is definitely one of my favorite places to visit – for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is because of how diverse and genuinely interesting the city is (plus, everyone speaks English too). Once you head to the central of Amsterdam, you’re hit with the city buzz that you really can’t ignore. It really is a memorable experience.
But, before you pack up for the city, here is a check-list to keep in mind to make your trip a smooth and exciting one.
How pricy is Amsterdam?
When it comes to traveling, it comes with no debate that planning ahead always helps give you the best deals on accommodation and flights. Amsterdam is quite pricy, especially considering their accommodation for a couple of days. But, if you’re traveling with friends or family, you can cut a lot of the cost when you split the bill. If you are going alone, the price can really add up.
Accommodation on hotels can range from 177 Euro per day to a little bit more (depending on where in Amsterdam you’d like to stay). The central is undoubtedly very expensive, but you don’t have to worry about traveling too far to experience the Dutch life.
When it comes to transportation, the Netherlands definitely has one of the most expensive transportation systems in Europe. Compared to Italy for example, you’d pay twice the amount for a train or bus ride. It’s also worth mentioning that taxi’s and ubers can be expensive in Amsterdam, so public transportation is better and more convenient.
Food on the other hand is a little more affordable. Per person, you can budget about 40 Euro a day for a good meal in the heart of Amsterdam. That’s a pretty good price compared to other more expensive cities like Paris or Zurich.
What can you do in Amsterdam?
There’s definitely not a dull moment in Amsterdam, and like you probably know, it’s considered “the city of sin”. That’s because everything (well, almost everything) is legalized in this country such as marijuana and sex.
Depending on what you’d like to do in the city, it would be important to experience the bike culture in the country and also the Red Light District. Those are the more popular things the Netherlands is known for. But, I should warn you – if you’re a little more conservative, the Red Light District will certainly make you feel a little uncomfortable.
Also, one thing that makes the Netherlands amazing is the nightlife. Plus, although transportation is pricy, it’s very efficient and helps you get from city to city in no more than 1 hour. For instance, you can travel to Rotterdam which is about 35-40 minutes from Amsterdam central.
The best spots to check out if you’d like to experience the Dutch nightlife is of course Amsterdam and Rotterdam. There’s also a lot of young people which makes it a lot more memorable.
When it comes to tourist attractions, then you certainly have to visit the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House, Dam Square as well as the Rijksmuseum. They make up the general Dutch history and art which gives you an inside look about what makes the country great.
Lastly, don’t forget to take pictures of the beautiful canals which look even more beautiful during sunset, and learn to say dankjewel or bedankt (thank you) in Dutch to locals. It makes their day!
When is the best time to visit?
The Netherlands is pretty cold throughout the year, but you do get some months that are perfect to come soak in some sun. June up to August is quite warm (if not hot) and you would have more of a pleasant weather experience. And, because the country receives a lot more tourists during these months, it might be super crowded (especially in Amsterdam).
I personally love the vibe Amsterdam has during July because that’s about the hottest time the city experiences. But, if you don’t mind the cold and actually enjoy it, then February all through May is the warmer months in the country.
Things to do and not to do
Like you probably know by now, Amsterdam is filled with bicycle riders and it can get a little overwhelming ensuring that you don’t get hit by one. So, here are some things to look out for;
- Always look out for bicycle riders, they do have their own lane and traffic stops. That’s why it’s safer to not walk on the bicycle lane marked in red. You can also rent a bike if you’d like (just find out some of the rules such as hand signals before heading on the road)
- Comfortable shoes is a must in Amsterdam, especially if you’ll do a lot of walking.
- Book your museum and other sight-seeing experiences in advance to avoid long lines (it’s the worst to stand in line when it’s super hot).
- Have identification with you everywhere you go because you can get a fine if you don’t have one.
- If you visit the Red Light District, it’s prohibited to take pictures of the women.
- Amsterdam is fairly safe (even in the evening) but in case of an emergency, you can call 112.
- Always be careful when it comes to the canals. You wouldn’t want yourself or something falling in the water.
- Try to have cash or a debit card. It can get tricky when a lot of local shops don’t take credit cards.
- It’s a good idea to pack some warm clothing because Dutch weather can be very unpredictable.
- If you’ll use public transportation, you always have to check in and check out using your train, bus or tram ticket. It’s crucial to remember this.
Amsterdam is definitely a city worth exploring either solo or with some friends and family. There’s so much to see and remember that a weekend is really not enough. Don’t forget, you can also see other parts of the Netherlands and enjoy their culture a lot more. Happy travels!