Amsterdam is one of my favorite destinations, it really differs from most of the cities in Holland. It does, however represent the Dutch culture the best. That’s why I’ve decided to create an Amsterdam Mini Guide. I have been in Amsterdam several times, but only for 1 day out at a time. Even if you visit Amsterdam quite often (except if you actually live there), it is literally impossible to visit everything. There are so many different places that are worth seeing. If you are familiar of any of those, don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments. I hope that this Amsterdam Mini Guide will help you to enjoy Amsterdam!
Holland has very convenient transportation systems. You can travel to Amsterdam by car, train, or bus (if you are traveling from Schiphol airport). The city itself offers its visitors a lot of options: tram (often called metro), bus, ferry or a taxi. I’ve never been in a taxi in Amsterdam, only in Rotterdam and it was quite expensive. So it is better to to take a tram. There are also a lot of tram stops throughout entire city, so you won’t have to search for it. In order to travel by public transport, you will have to buy a ticket or use an OV-chipcard.
The OV-chipcard is a card which allows you to travel by any public transport (train, bus, subway) in the entire country. There are two types of OV-chipcards: anonymous and personalised. You can order the personalised card if you are living in Holland or spending a lot of time here. If you are just visiting Holland as a tourist you will need an anonymous card. The card costs around 10 eur. and you can buy it at airports, stations or even at supermarkets. Sales points are indicated by the pink OV-chipkaart logo. After purchasing your card, you will need to activate it and charge it in one of the machines. If you want more info about the cards you can visit the official site. If you are using a card you’ll have to remember to scan your card when you enter the transport and once again when you are getting out.
Amsterdam has a lot of different kinds of sightseeings – museums, galleries, zoos etc. The most famous places are: Dam Square, Madame Tussauds museum (worth visiting only if you haven’t visited the other Madame Tussauds museums; Dam 20, Amsterdam), Rijksmuseum (the museum of Dutch history; Museumstraat 1), Van Gogh Museum (Museumplein 6), Artis Zoo (the oldest zoo in Holland; Plantage Kerklaan 38-40).
If you love flowers as much as I do, do not forget to visit Bloemenmarkt – the only floating flower market in the world (Singel 630 to 600). It is very beautiful!
You can also take a canal boat tour. Most canal cruises take around an hour, in which you’ll explore Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring and discover plenty of interesting facts about the city along the way. As well as the excellent one-hour options, other types of canal cruises available include practical hop-on-hop-off services, romantic candle-lit tours and intimate guided boat tours for smaller groups. More info here.
RESTAURANTS & CAFES
Amsterdam has a lot of cafes, restaurants and food carts. You can notice it if you just keep walking from the Central Station straight. This street is full of cafes and street food like waffles, national dutch snacks and fast food. From all of them in that location I personally prefer Restaurant Los Toros (Damrak 9).
I can also recommend Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam (Max Euweplein 57), which is my favorite and Gauchos Grill Restaurant.
If you’re looking for more tips on good places to eat you should take a look at my list of the most instagramable places to eat in Holland!
If you’ve decided to buy some food at the supermarket, don’t forget to check out Marks&Spencer (Kalverstraat 226). Also you can go to Albert Heijn supermarkets.
When it comes to shopping, there are many places you can shop in Amsterdam. . Stores like Zara, H&M, River Island and Lush are located at Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat – two main shopping streets in Amsterdam. If you want to buy some luxury, you can visit big shopping malls like De Bijenkorf (Dam 1) or Magna Plaza (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182HS). Or you can go to the famous boutiques like Chanel, Burberry, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Longchamp, G-Star Raw, Ralph Lauren and Valentino (all at Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat), Tiffany&Co. (PC Hooftstraat 86-88).
- always take an umbrella with you
- there are always a lot of people everywhere, so watch your bags/pockets
- if you feel lost, just ask – everyone speaks english
- download some apps (museum guides, maps, 9292) to help you orient in Amsterdam