There’s no such thing as a holiday to Amsterdam without a visit to the aptly named Musemplein, an area completely dedicated to a number of museums showcasing an abundance of art, history and culture. Here is where you’ll find the immensely popular Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, as well as a kaleidoscope of activities and attractions.
The key to the city’s character, bicycles are the most popular mode of transport in Amsterdam. While cycling in the city can be hectic for those not used to the Dutch traffic, following the rules of the road and sticking to the designated bike paths is essential. There are plenty of bike rental stores around Amsterdam, and large bike tours led by an experienced guide are an excellent way to see the area.
Amsterdam undoubtedly has one of the world’s most unique urban landscapes, and its majestic UNESCO-protected Canal Ring is what makes it so exceptional. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, were dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and connect the city’s 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. A canal tour is one of the best ways to see Amsterdam, especially at sunset.
Originating from South Holland, stroopwafels are made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. While fresh stroopwafels are best eaten when they’re warm and gooey, this can be easily replicated with the packaged shop-bought treats that tend to be more brittle, but melt slightly if you place them on top of a hot mug of tea or coffee, which is also the perfect beverage accompaniment. Lankroon is a must-visit bakery on your Amsterdam holiday, serving king-sized stroopwafels with a variety of flavoured fillings. However, for the most authentic version of the Dutch treat, head to Original Stroopwafels, a charming old-school food truck in the heart of Albert Cuyp Market.
As the name suggests, The Anne Frank House is a biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, founded in 1957. The building resides alongside the Prinsengracht canal in central Amsterdam and is the third most-visited museum in Amsterdam with over one million visitors a year. The Anne Frank House contains a harrowing exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during World War II, of which time Anne was hiding with her family for more than two years in the same building. Visitors can expect to see the original bookcase that concealed the doorway to the secret annexe as well as historical documents, photographs and extracts from Anne Frank’s famous diary. Tickets can only be pre-booked with a time slot, and these are available months in advance due to the popularity of the exhibit.
Otherwise known as De Wallen, the Red Light District is Amsterdam’s medieval city centre riddled with canals and narrow walkways, but is distinctly known for its illuminated red windows along the main street. This is the hub of Amsterdam’s liberal attitude, and the aim of this area is to enforce an open and honest approach in order to counteract the incorrect stereotype that De Wallen is dangerous. A wander round the Red Light District is a must on any Amsterdam holiday, but visitors will do well to remember that photography of any kind is strictly forbidden and can lead to legal disciplinary action if caught taking pictures.
Designed to save time, money and effort, the I Amsterdam Card is a must if you plan on visiting at least three museums on your trip to Amsterdam. This efficient card provides you with access to more than 70 museums and attractions, not to mention free use of the GVB public transport system and a number of additional discounts that can be used throughout the city including select restaurants and concerts. Available from 24 hours all the way up to five days depending on the length of your Amsterdam holiday, these cards can be purchased either online or at the I Amsterdam Visitor Centre which is located directly opposite Centraal Station.
Taking you on a whirlwind journey of one of the world’s most-loved beers, The Heineken Experience is housed within Heineken’s historic brewery on the outskirts of central Amsterdam. This interactive museum expedition features four floors of multimedia exhibits, a tasting bar, stables with real horses and plenty of historical artefacts including the transition of the Heineken beer bottles through time. Warm summer days in Amsterdam sees the opening of the brewery’s rooftop bar to admire the landscape with the native beer in hand. To avoid disappointment, tickets should be bought for the adventure in advance and these include two tokens for a half-pint of ice-cold Heineken.
Amsterdam is a year-round destination, and it experiences a typical European climate similar to the UK. April to May is the best time to see the spring tulips, while June to August will see a surge of visitors for the abundance of summer festivals and events, including Pride. September through to November is when temperatures become milder and while winters in Amsterdam can be harsh, the city’s festive scene is certainly worth a visit.
You will not need a visa to enter The Netherlands if you are a citizen of the European Union or European Economic Area. If you plan to stay for over 90 days, you must register with the regional Immigration Office. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands/entry-requirements.
The currency in Amsterdam is the Euro (EUR).
In Amsterdam, the languages spoken are Dutch and English.