From all the cities I go to, Amsterdam is always my favorite. With its beautiful architecture, canals and parks, it's indeed one of a kind.
From the times I’ve been there, I managed to compile a list of favorite places, activities and tips for first time visitors.
Where to stay
Ideally, staying in city center would definitely be the best option for renting an apartment or booking a hotel. Unfortunately, prices are very expensive in the center. Here are some great options just around the city center.
De Pijp is my favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam. The “cool” people neighborhood. Lots of shops, restaurants, pubs.
Oud-West is a dynamic and muticultural neighborhood, very close to Vondelpark.
Jordaan has lots of highlights like Anne Frank house. It can be a bit expensive since it’s closer to the city center.
Biking in Amsterdam is an essential experience as a visitor. A bike rental costs around 10€/day and gets cheaper when you rent for multiple days. Donkey Republic is a great option that lets you rent, lock and unlock your bike from their mobile app.
- Tram: Trams are spread inside the city and a bit around it. So it’s great for getting around the city center.
- Bus: Some areas in Amsterdam cannot be reached by tram, in that case buses can come in handy.
- Train: There are 7 train stations in Amsterdam, it’s best for transportation across the country.
- Metro: Metro runs mostly overground and is great for transportation from the suburbs to the center.
OV Chipcard: If you’re staying more than 5 days, you can buy a rechargeable OV chipcard for 8€ and recharge it with the amount you want. It works for tram, metro, bus, train.
- Disposable tickets: If you’re staying for less than 5 days, then disposable cards might work better for you (valid for 1 hour or one to seven days).
Food & drinks
Amsterdam's restaurants and cafes are known for their cozy warm atmosphere, beautiful interior, and wide varieties of food from different cultures.
Here are our favorites:
- Van Mechelen: Local pub/resto, great for lunch, dinner and drinks
- The lobby Nesplein: Great food, good for occasions
- Salsa shop: Awesome mexican place, authentic ingredients
- Pasta pasta: Make your own pasta
- Ellis gourmet burger: Yummy gourmet burgers with veggie options
- The breakfast club: Great for breakfast or brunch
- The lebanese sajeria: Authentic lebanese manoushe
- Burgermeester: Famous for its big burgers
- Long Pura: Traditional indonesian dishes
- Staring at Jacob: Big brunch meals
- Bagels and Beans: Awesome bagels
- The Avocado Show: New restaurant, they use avocado in everything
- Manneken Pis: Famous for Patatje Oorlog (fries with mayo, onion & curry)
- Foodhallen: Food court, great atmosphere, lots of varieties
- Skylounge: Rooftop lounge with an awesome view
- Sugar factory: Night club, they have different genres everyday
- Taproom pub: LOTS of belgian tap beers
- Bierfabriek: Pub with lots of beer and peanuts
Things to do
Try to avoid the touristic coffee shops like Bull Dog, these are always overcrowded and can easily rip you off.
- Superskunk: Comfortable couch seating, chill reggae music
- Easy times: Great location, good atmosphere
- The dolphin: Cool interior, they have a cute cat
There are lots of musuems and attractions to see in Amsterdam. Here are some.
- Van Gogh museum: A collection of Vincent van Gogh's artwork
- Rijksmuseum: National museum dedicated to arts and history
- Anne Frank house: A writer's house and biographical museum
- Amsterdam museum: A museum about the history of Amsterdam
- Madame tussauds: Touristic wax museum of celebrities
- Nemo Science Museum: Five floors of science exhibits
- Sex museum: Fun museum in the center
- Canal cruising: Take a canal tour from central station
- A’dam lookout: Rooftop terrace with a great view
- Over the edge: The highest swing in Europe, from A’dam lookout
- Red light district: A must!
- Heineken experience: If you like Heineken, you can see how it’s made here
When the sun’s out, the best way to cherish its warmth is spending your day in Amsterdam's amazing parks.
- Vondel Park: The best one in Amsterdam, huge park with lakes
- Westerpark: Less touristic
- Rembrandtpark: A smaller version of Vondelpark
Amsterdam is known for its car-free shopping streets in the city center.
- Kalverstraat: Fashion chains
- Leidestraat: Fashion chains
- De Begijnhof: Luxury department store
- De 9 Straatjes: Vintage and designer shopping
- Magna Plaza: Indoor shopping center
Day trips outside Amsterdam
Taking train trips from Amsterdam is a great way to see Holland, it's quick and efficient.
- Zaanse Schans: Breathtaking little town, 20 mins from central
- Keukenhof: Amazing flower garden, 30 mins by bus from central
- Zandvoort beach: Long sand beach, 30 mins from central
- Haarlem: As pretty as Amsterdam but less congested, 20 mins from central
Any suggestions? Let us know in the comments if you have any other places to add. We’ll make sure to keep this list updated.
Enjoy Amsterdam! 🇳🇱