Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.37 | 1.55 €

One-way ticket £2.55 | 2.90 €

Beer £4.13 | 4.70 €

Main Course £13.19 | 15.00 €

About Amsterdam

Liberal, creative Amsterdam is known for its famous museums, seventeenth-century townhouses, vintage bikes and cafe culture - welcome to Holland's most famous export.

You may return from Amsterdam a little partied out (okay, a lot) but alongside the famously crazy nightlife lies a city of beautiful cobbled streets, stunning museums, vintage bicycles and canals as far as the eye can see. It's not all go hard or go home either - there's also a quieter night time scene, with the cozy cafes and traditional pubs helping the city attract nearly six million tourists in 2014.

Of course the naughtier side - the coffee shops, the sex museums, the brewery tours and the shop windows of the red light district - all help make the city what it is today. Amsterdam, home to 800,000 residents, is also famous for its historically liberal, artistic and tolerant history; as such, it's full of some of the world's most visited art museums including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Plus, it's got its fair share of beautiful canal paths and green spaces, including picturesque Vondelpark - perfect for a hangover clearing stroll.

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When Should You Visit?

May is a great time to visit this city when you'll catch the last of the famous tulips, the weather is warm(ish) and the crowds are few.

Amsterdam has a cool oceanic climate, which is somewhat influenced by the North Sea. The coldest month is January (with an average of three degrees Celsius) while the warmest is August (with an average of 17 degrees Celsius); most rain falls in November. Spring and autumn tend to be mild to cool and often windy.

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Travioor top tips

City Card
Rijksmuseum
Walk The City

Insider Info

  • The I Amsterdam Card isn't super cheap but it includes 48 hours of public transport plus entrance to 30 museums (including the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh).

  • If you're departing from Amsterdam Schipol Airport, then check out the miniature Rijksmuseum after passport control, which features collections from the main museum.

  • One of the best ways to see the city is on foot; start at Amsterdam Central Station, then head to Dam Square, the Red Light District and on towards the National Opera and Ballet House by the River Amstel.

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Food and drink

Main Course £13.19 | 15.00 €

3-Course Meal £52.75 | 60.00 €

Cappuccino £2.44 | 2.78 €

Beer £4.13 | 4.70 €

The Scene

Amsterdam has plenty of local favourites to try - the hard part is tasting them all. Locals will tell you that top of the list are Bitterballen (fried, crispy meatballs, usually served with mustard) which are found in most pubs and bars. If you're looking for something after a night out, then patat (fries) are the way to go. Not just ordinary fries, these thick cut chips come with 'patatje oorlong' (peanut satay, mayonnaise and onions) or 'patat speciaal' (curry ketchup, mayonnaise and onions).

If you're looking for something a little more diet friendly then try one of the herring carts that serve (you guessed it), herring. Served raw with pickle, this is a national favourite. Sweet-toothed visitors are spoilt for choice; stroopwafel (sweet waffles stuck together with syrup) are the pick of the bunch and available from most bakeries. Finally, no trip to Amsterdam is complete without an Amstel (the national beer) or a jenever (Dutch gin) in a café or pub.

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History

Amsterdam’s Story

Amsterdam dates back to the 12th century when a fishing settlement sprang up on the banks of the River Amstel. In 1306 city rights were handed to the city by the Bishop of Utrecht, before it became part of the County of Holland a few years later. Soon after, it went on to be recorded as Aemsterdam in 1327. The city's tolerance for different religions and beliefs led to anti-Spanish and non-Catholic dissenters seeking refuge here during the 16th century, as papal Spain grew in dominance. By the 17th century, Amsterdam was a global port and financial hub with ships setting off to North America, Brazil, Indonesia and beyond.

The 18th and early 19th centuries saw the city decline in prosperity (largely due to wars with France and the United Kingdom), although it recovered somewhat during the industrial revolution. Amsterdam was occupied during World War II and over 100,000 Jews were deported (including Anne Frank and her family). The latter half of the 20th century brought a cultural revolution to the city; the city's relaxed attitude to drugs, sex and diversity led to it being described as the 'magical centre' of Europe.

Language

Hallo | Hello
Dank je | Thank you

Dutch

The official language of the city is Dutch, although most people speak English and at least one other European language too. The city is very visitor friendly, with signs, maps and guides usually translated into different languages. If you're keen to use the lingo, give the following a try:

  • Please: Alsjeblieft
  • Do you speak English: Spreek je Engels
  • Excuse me: Excuseer Me

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Need to know

+31 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Cannabis is legal in Amsterdam (in small quantities, for personal use only) but all other drugs, including magic mushrooms, are illegal.
  • Queues for the museums and Anne Frank's house can be avoided if you book online.
  • Avoid taxis which are overpriced and not necessary (walk, cycle or catch a tram instead).

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the Netherlands here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Rijksmuseum

Discover the Rijksmuseum: this grande dame of the art world features the like of Vermeer and Rembrandt.

2. Rent A Bike

The chance to rent a bike and explore the city on two wheels; it's Amsterdam's most popular form of transport.

3. Barney's Coffee

Barney's Coffee Shop - housed in a 500 year old building - is popular with both locals and visitors.

4. Vondelpark

Wander through Vondelpark, home to landscaped gardens, lakes and walkways.

5. Anne Frank's House

Visit Anne Frank's House which attracts over one million visitors each year.


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