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.
Amsterdam enjoys a stable climate with four distinct seasons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 health
Temperature: 5-21 °C
With the weather hovering in the mid-teens (°C) between March and May, spring is a great time to explore Amsterdam's cosy cafes. Summer is always a popular time to visit the city, thanks to warm highs of 21, and up to 11 hours of sunshine a day. Book your holiday for autumn or winter to take advantage of fewer crowds, or to enjoy the city’s legendary Christmas markets.
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.
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.
Van Gogh in bloom: See a spectacular annual display of millions of tulips and other pretty flowers at Keukenhof, the largest flower garden in the world. Open from March-May, the colourful 32-hectare gardens will share the inspiration of Vincent van Gogh’s life and works, 125 years after his death.
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