There’s a lot more to Amsterdam than just cheese and tulips. Whether you’re travelling by bike, on foot, or by boat along the many canals, you will discover a vibrant European city with a unique atmosphere. Known as the ‘Venice of the North', this picturesque, hip city has something for everyone, from beautiful canals and architecture to fascinating museums and galleries. If you’re after a short city break or even a longer stay, Amsterdam is the ideal city to combine cultural visits and wild nights out!
Whether you’re with friends, family or your other half, an Amsterdam city break is sure to seduce! Thanks to the efficient tram service, it’s very easy to get around different parts of the city.
One of the things you have to do in Amsterdam is take a stroll along the canals and stop by the Bloemenmarkt, the city’s famous floating flower market. Then stop by Vondelpark, a green oasis in the heart of the city, for a picnic or free outdoor concert.
Here are some other must-see sights for your city trip to Amsterdam:
Amsterdam has an abundance of museums. At the same time, we often pass by the Amstelkring, a beautiful building that conceals a church in its… attic. For an unforgettable moment during your weekend in Amsterdam.
With more than 1,400 bars and cafes, Amsterdam is without a doubt one of Europe’s party hotspots. Trends change quickly, but some places have retained their notoriety over the generations. Amsterdam has a vibrant and eclectic nightlife, from traditional bars serving beer and snacks, to popular nightclubs such as the Escape, Club Home, and Panama.
Trance music is really big here and attracts world-class DJs such as Armin van Buuren and Tiesto. The Leidseplein is one of the epicentres of Amsterdam’s nightlife, with two unmissable nightclubs, and the birthplace of its counter-culture:
Amsterdam offers a wide variety of restaurants from all over the world. If you want to live like a local, visit one of the many cosy eetcafés, which are a bit like bistros and serve a mixture of Dutch and Mediterranean cuisine.
You will find salted herring at every turn – it’s a local institution! Try the erwtensoep (split pea soup), stamppot (a sort of hotpot), or rijsttafel (an Indonesian dish with rice and various side dishes). And then, of course, there are the old favourites, such as the Dutch beers and cheeses (gouda, edam). Bon appétit!
There are also plenty of Asian eateries in Chinatown where you can dine fairly cheaply. For brasserie-style dining, check out the city’s Grand Cafés, which offer coffee, tea, cake and light dishes. For brunch/breakfast, check out the trendy district of De Pijp.
And of course, always leave some room for dessert. Dutch pancakes are delicious, and an essential part of an Amsterdam city break – try Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs for favourites such as bacon and maple syrup. Just as tasty are stroopwafels that can be eaten fresh or bought packaged as souvenirs. Head to the vendor at Albert Cuypmarkt for fresh stroopwafels made throughout the day.
Why not plan your city trip to Amsterdam alongside one of the city’s? Here are some of our favourite celebrations taking place throughout the year:
The city of Amsterdam offers a wide range of areas to stay – here’s a lowdown of where to stay according to your needs:
The climate in Amsterdam is influenced by the North Sea. This results in moderately warm summers and mild winters. The weather is often changeable and after short showers the sun quickly comes out again.
The best time to travel is the summer months, from the end of May to the beginning of September. During this period, the temperatures are very pleasant and numerous open-air events take place. This is also the best time to enjoy the city’s parks and street cafés. Nevertheless, it is much quieter in the winter months and thanks to the many museums, Amsterdam also offers a varied cultural program on cold/rainy days.
The centre of Amsterdam has many attractions that are close together, some of which are easily accessible on foot. You can also easily travel from one part of the city to another by tram, metro or bus, so it’s possible to fit a lot in a short amount of time. However, if you also want to spend a lot of time in the museums and get to know the surroundings of the Dutch capital, a week is ideal!
If you’re looking for a day trip from Amsterdam, head to Zaanse Schans, 20km north of the city. Here you admire the famous Dutch windmills and while away the hours in cosy cafés. Not far from the capital, the well-preserved Muiden Castle is also worth a visit. This romantic castle is surrounded by an idyllic castle garden and now also houses a museum.