Famous for its "Red Light District" and winding canals, Amsterdam is home to less than 1 million inhabitants which gives it a "village like" atmosphere. In this "Venice of the North" where hundreds of miles of canals provide transportation to just about any area of the city, road traffic (and noise) is limited and many people prefer to navigate the streets on a bicycle. A lively city exuding diversity and tolerance, Amsterdam is home to more nationalities than any other country (180 at last census).
When to visit
If you are looking to enjoy the biggest street party of the year, then head to Amsterdam on "King's Day" (formerly known as "Queensday"). April 27th (26 if the 27th falls on a Sunday) is the national celebration of the King's birthday. During Koningsdag, the city bursts with orange on the streets, canals, parks and kids show off their various talents in the Vondelpark. In June, artists from all over the world flock to the Holland Festival to showcase their music, operatic, dance and theatrical talents. Another exciting time to visit the Dutch capital is through mid-November until mid-January. The entire city becomes then the stage of the Amsterdam light festival, an international art festival focusing on the use of light as artistic expression.
Amsterdam's climate is typically mild throughout all seasons due to its proximity to the North Sea coast. Spring and summer are the warmest seasons, with daily temperature averages of 70F/2C. Humidity is low although the city experiences measurable rain in the summer and many cloudy days. Daylight lasts until 10 pm in mid-summer, which makes it an ideal time for long walks in the evening. Winter temperatures range from highs in the 40s F/10s C to lows around 30 F/0 C.
The city offers plenty to do besides visiting coffee shops or the Red Light District, from canal cruises to bicycle tours and bbq in the leafy oasis of the Vondelpark. Amsterdam also offers many shopping options from vintage items at the Waterlooplein flea market to luxurious brands on the PC Hooftstraat. The Kalverstraat is the main shopping street with renown international brands but if you are looking for more local flavors then head to the small boutiques at De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets). You can also shop for beautiful tulips and other flower bulbs at the Bloemenmarkt (flower market), a complex series of stalls and shops floating atop a canal in the heart of the city.
Amsterdam overflows with some of the finest art museums in the world. At Museumplein (Museum Square) you will find the Stedelijk Museum exhibiting modern art, the Van Gogh Museum and you will be able to observe Rembrandt's famous De Nachtwacht at the Rijksmuseum. Temporary art exhibitions are also commonly found in churches, such as the World Press Exhibition held every year in either the Nieuwe Kerk or in the Oude Kerk (a 700 year old church). Other very popular attractions in the city include the Royal Palace on Dam Square as well as the Anne Frank’s house, where Anne and her family remained hidden from the Nazis during World War II for two long years.
Tips & Recommendations
• Try one of the many typical Dutch delights: poffertjes, stroopwafels, bitterballen or Hollands nieuwe haring.
• Avoid walking on bike paths--they are expressly meant for bikes.
• If you drive while in Amsterdam, take care not to let the meter expire. Tickets are very expensive.
• Rent an “omafiets” (Dutch bike) and discover the city by bike, as it is the typical Dutch way to get around the city.
Tulip of Amsterdam B&B has 3 stars. You won't get lost in a crowd here, as there are fewer than 20 rooms. Amsterdam Dungeon, Canal boat tours and Tuschinski Cinema can all be reached on foot from this location. One of the many attractions in this popular area is Oude Kerk. For a memorable Amsterdam visit, be sure you see Waag. Don't miss Rembrandt House and Museum Our Lord in the Attic, both are near this property.
Stay at the 3-star Las Vegas for an enjoyable Amsterdam experience. The rooms here are small in number and the hospitality is highly regarded. Vondelpark, located nearby, is an interesting landmark. The location of nearby Artis Zoo is one good reason to stay at this accommodation. The major local venue, WTC Amsterdam is close by. Nearby is picturesque Olympic Stadium .
The Posthoorn boasts a rating of 4 stars. Experience the personalized attention offered by this intimate lodge with fewer than 20 rooms. From this area you can easily visit Amsterdam City Centre, Jordaan area and even Damrak. Inspiring Zuiderkerk is located nearby. Beurs van Berlage can be found in the area nearby. Artis Zoo is recommended for family fun.
With fewer than 20 rooms, Old City Amsterdam is more intimate than many Amsterdam lodgings. The comfortable rooms are 3-star rated. You'll easily access all the city has to offer: Amsterdam Central Station provides public transit connections throughout Amsterdam. The location of nearby Artis Zoo is one good reason to stay at this accommodation. Nearby, National Monument on the Dam is well worth a visit. Nearby Stopera is a big draw for business travelers.
For a budget property, the 2-star Hostel Cosmos Amsterdam is good value. Sometimes the best things come in small packages, and this is one of those. The famous landmark Museumplein Amsterdam is conveniently close, as are Vondelpark and Pijp area. For a memorable Amsterdam visit, be sure you see Spui. Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum are in the neighborhood of this accommodation. Be assured that Concertgebouw Amsterdam is easily accessible.
The affordable 1-star Amsterdam Hostel Annemarie offers value for your budget. With fewer than 20 rooms here, you'll avoid big hotel crowds. For convenient connections, WTC Station Zuid is easy to reach from here. Popular landmarks near this property are Museumplein Amsterdam, Vondelpark and Leidseplein. Not to be missed in Amsterdam are the museums Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. You can easily get to Spui from here.