Amsterdam travel guide – Essential tips

Amsterdam is a lovely and popular tourist destination but it’s a very special city too. Special with its flowers, bikes, windmills, cheese and romance.

What is the best time to visit Amsterdam, how to get around it and what are other essential tips to have a safe and amazing trip?

When to go?

There is no worst time to visit Amsterdam, but the best time is between late March and May or September and October.

If you want to go during summer, the peak season, you should book your hotel and flights in advance, the rates are too high. The temperatures are high too and the weather is really hot during some days.

In Autumn, the weather is starting to become cold, but the city is less crowded and more beautiful. The spring is a great time to visit Amsterdam, when tulips in bloom and the weather is good for cycling.  The weather in winter is very cold and some days will be dark and windy.

The cheapest time to visit Amsterdam is in November, January and February.

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It is safe?

Surprisingly, Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in the world. The crime and violence rate is low. But it’s always recommended to stay in the popular areas and don’t use ATMs, alone at night.

Be careful at crowded areas and stations and don’t keep your valuable items and bags out of your view in cafes and trams. The bikes are an essential mean of transport in Amsterdam. So, avoid walking in the bicycle lanes, be careful when crossing the street or when you ride a one.

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How to get around?

Nothing easier than getting around Amsterdam. It’s a small city, beautiful with canals and bridges. You will get the chance to discover its hidden beauties. Also, cycling is a part of the Dutch culture. It’s fun and practical and you can use it to get around.

Amsterdam has one of the best public transport systems including buses, trams, metros, ferries and trains working from 6 am to 12:30 am. At night, there are limited night buses service starting from 1am.

To reduce costs, you can buy an OV-chipkaart  for € 7.50 from GVB offices or tickets machines at stations and load it with cash or travel pass.

When you enter the tram, bus or train, put your card in front of the electronic machine (chipping in) and do the same thing before living ( shipping out). If you forget to do so, the system will charge you €4. GVB is the most known public transport company in Amsterdam. You can buy unlimited travel pass on their network for one day or more. One day pass is for € 7.50 and the one week pass is for € 32.00

Taxis are available if you want, but you should consider traffic peak times. The start price is €2.83, the price per kilometre is €2.08 and the price per minute is €0.34. Driving is not recommended. The parking spaces are few and very pricey.

For transportation from the airport, trains are the best way. Always available and cheap.  €4.10 for a single journey.

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Essential tips

– I amsterdam card gives a free access to Amsterdam attractions and museums, canal cruise, free transport tickets, 25% discount on partnered restaurants, shops and services and discounts in the cities of Haarlem, Zaanse Schans, Marken and Enkhuizen. You can buy it from the tourist information offices, the hotel reception, travel agencies or GVB ticket providers. There are one day passes for € 49,00, two days for € 59,00 and three days for € 69,00.

– For popular tourist attractions, try to buy tickets online to avoid long lines.

– Some restaurants and services accept only European credit card. ask first and always take cash with you.

– Beware that marijuana smoking and cannabis selling is legal in certain coffeeshops but smoking is not.  Also, expect to see a lot of drunk people at night.

– Taking photos in the Red Light District is forbidden and your camera can be confiscated.