A Guide To Visiting Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a top travel destination for people from around the world. This great city in the Netherlands is jam-packed full of culture, coffee shops and great food. If you are thinking about visiting Amsterdam this year, don’t worry, because we have put together a guide to make sure that you are ready for your big trip.


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Travel Documents

If you are planning on traveling to Amsterdam, you’ll need to make sure that you have a passport. The most common way to travel to Amsterdam from the UK or the U.S. is by plane, so your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after the end of your trip, but you won’t need a visa as long as you’re not planning to stay for more than 90 days at a time.

Where To Stay

When you travel to a new country, it can be difficult to find the best places to stay. While a lot of the attractions might be in one area, some of the most popular ones might be based a little further out of the city. The good news is that there are many areas in Amsterdam that are great to stay in, and they are all linked by a useful tram system that will get you from A to B with no problems at all. You’ll find everything from luxury hotels to hostels and rooms that you can rent for the duration of your stay.

When planning your trip to Amsterdam, consider staying in the Old Centre where you’ll be really close to all of the main sightseeing attractions. Other great areas to stay in Amsterdam include Downtown for some hostels or at the Hotel de l’Europe for some luxury accommodation. Remember to choose somewhere with good transport links and you should be able to have a great trip in this city.

What To Pack

Packing for Amsterdam can be quite tricky as the weather is often unpredictable. While the summer might seem to be the best time to go, due to better weather, you might still come across a few rain showers. Think about bringing some warm layers as well as some t-shirts that you can throw on if the sun comes out.

One thing to consider about packing for this city is the fact that most people get around on bikes. If you think you might take a bike ride while you’re there, then you’ll need to have clothing that is suitable for that type of activity.

Booking Flights

Amsterdam’s main airport is Schiphol, which is very busy due to its convenient location. You can fly into it from all around the world, and many top airlines offer direct flights there. If you are traveling from the U.S., you might want to consider British Airways, Flybe, KLM and Norwegian Air. Make sure to book your flight well in advance of your trip to get the best possible deal, and always remember to compare fares.

If you are going to be flying from the UK, we also recommend that you bring your car along and park at the airport throughout your stay. Airports like Luton in London offer great deals and parking at Luton Airport is really easy. If you are travelling from this airport, then make sure to check out Luton airport parking at lutonparking.com for more details or the relevant site for your departure airport.

What To Do

One of the most popular things to do in Amsterdam is to visit the coffee shops and soak up the local culture. In this city, the coffee shops are where the locals can legally purchase cannabis and enjoy smoking with their friends. Due to this not being a legal activity in many other parts of the world, many tourists like to sit down and have a coffee and smoke during their stay in Amsterdam. If you are going to do this, make sure to be sensible. Follow the coffee shop etiquette, and ask questions if you need to.

People get around on bikes.
- - horses mouth

If you aren’t interested in smoking cannabis when you visit Amsterdam, don’t worry, because there are plenty of other activities for you to enjoy. When it comes to attractions, one of the most popular museums to visit is the Anne Frank House. This attraction is often very busy, so we recommend booking your tickets online in advance of going, to help you beat the queues.

Amsterdam is also known for its amazing canals that link the parts of the city together. We recommend taking a canal cruise. These are available all over the city, and all you need to do is book your tickets and get on board. Some cruises will offer dinner packages and much more.

Once you’ve visited all of the popular museums and attractions in Amsterdam, you might want to take a bite of the local cuisine. Think about visiting Oud-West, where you’ll find De Hallen, which is full of great food. The Foodhallen part of this attraction has lots of street food, including the famous chips that both locals and tourists love to eat with sauce dolloped on top. Make sure to try as much of the local food as you can!

Take A Trip


Amsterdam is a bustling city. You’ll love seeing some of the most famous museums in the world while learning the history. Just remember to book your flight well in advance!

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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