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City Breaks Amsterdam

If you’re looking for a chilled-out city break, then look no further than Amsterdam. With sun-dappled canals and a lively bar and club scene, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Discover the city’s history at the Rijksmuseum, browse the canal-side shops and markets, and then round your day off in a cosy brown café.

28 °C

Best time to visit: Spring and summer.

1.5 hours

Schiphol Airport (AMS), around 25km southwest of central Amsterdam 
Alternative transport: You can also travel by Eurostar to Brussels with onward tickets to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, via Rotterda.

 

Whether you like to fill your holiday with lots of sightseeing, or prefer to discover a new city at a more relaxed pace, you’ll find an incredible array of activities in Amsterdam. We’ve highlighted our top recommendations to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time away.

Museum-hopping tops the list of cultured things to do in Amsterdam. Pop across Museumplein to the Stedelijk Museum to browse the collection of modern art and design. Then spend the rest of the day at the nearby Rijksmuseum. Its treasures include blue-and-white Delftware ceramics and Rembrandt’s celebrated Night Watch.

A thought-provoking reminder of the realities of World War II, Anne Frank’s House reveals photos and Anne’s diary and notebooks inside the tiny attic where her family lived for more than two years. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam, so it’s best to book in advance.

Navigating Amsterdam via its molens (windmills) is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. If you want to take a peek inside, the Molen van Sloten drainage mill is open to the public. Don’t miss De Otter in Amsterdam-West, which is one of the best kept windmills in the city. 

Wander around the labyrinth of 17th-century streets in the Jordaan district – it’s one of the best places to go in Amsterdam. Sip coffee in a modern café and check out the art galleries and boutique shops. Jordaan is also home to Noordmarkt square, which has a Monday morning flea market and Saturday farmers’ market.

Spend your morning sipping coffee and eating pannenkoeken (pancakes) in one of the city’s pavement cafes. Grab a cone of patat (chips) smothered in mayonnaise, and immerse yourself in the bustle of Dam Square, with its buskers, street performers and great views of the Royal Palace.

AMSTERDAM IS BEST FOR...

Couples: Cycle along the canal and enjoy a cosy evening in a traditional brown café.  

History lovers: Learn more about Amsterdam’s rich past at the Rijksmuseum. 

Bargain hunters: Pick up trinkets and vintage clothing at one of Amsterdam’s canal-side markets.


FAST FACTS

Language: The language spoken in Amsterdam is Dutch

Currency: The currency used in Amsterdam is the Euro (€)

Local time: Amsterdam is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: Schiphol Airport (AMS), around 25km southwest of central Amsterdam 

Alternative transport: You can also travel by Eurostar to Brussels with onward tickets to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, via Rotterdam

Flight time from UK: 1.5 hours

Tourist Information: Further Amsterdam tourist information can be found at www.iamsterdam.com

Visa & Health: Before your holiday to Amsterdam, visit http://gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands for recommendations and advice on visas and healt


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: Highs of 28 (°C) in summer and as cold as -5 (°C) in winter
Best time to visit: Spring and summer

You can make the most of Amsterdam’s café culture with long summer days, while spring and autumn are likely to be more comfortable for a spot of sightseeing.


GETTING AROUND

Cycling: Amsterdam is very cycle-friendly. There are plenty of bike rental shops as well as a great network of cycle paths. You can even join a bicycle sightseeing tour to help you get your bearings.

Boat/barge: Taking a trip along the Amstel River is a great way to see the sights, especially on the hop-on/hop-off Canal Bus.

Tram: The tram system is ideal for travelling around the centre. Conductors sell tickets on board, though you might find an OV-chipkaart or an I Amsterdam City Card more convenient if you’re using a lot of public transport.


EVENTS

High Fashion: Young and upcoming designers showcase their work every January at Amsterdam International Fashion Week. You can expect fashion-themed museum exhibits, art exhibitions and lots of parties. 

Celebration time: The Netherlands gets into party mode on Konigsdag, the day after King Willem Alexander’s birthday in April. It’s particularly popular in Amsterdam, when an estimated 750,000 people travel to the city for a big open-air celebration. 

Musical spectacular: August’s Grachtenfestival features 10 days of jazz, blues and classical music. Enjoy a grand performance at a concert hall, or alternatively, a cosy blues jam in a local resident’s garden.


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