11 Must-Know Travel Tips for Your Amsterdam Visit

Wondering what you really must-know before coming to Amsterdam according to locals? Here are 11 all you need to know travel tips for your Amsterdam visit.

As locals, who spent years in this vibrant city, we’ve curated this list with essential travel tips to help you make the most out of your visit. When gathering these tips, we considered various aspects of the city, from its unique neighborhoods and attractions to its local customs and practical advice. Ready to make your trip smooth and unforgettable? 

1. The best ways to go from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Center

Take the train

Since Schiphol Airport has a train station, it’s both the cheapest and easiest way to reach Amsterdam Central Station by direct train. However, please note that during the night, there is only one train per hour. We wouldn’t recommend choosing this option at night, as you’ll arrive at the station and still need to get to your hotel while everything is closed. 

You can either buy a single train ticket or the Amsterdam Travel Ticket. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket offers unlimited access to trains, trams, buses and metros, it offers a full day of exploration for just €18. Choose the duration that suits you, whether it’s for one, two, or three days. Buy the tickets here

Duration: 15-20 minutes
Schiphol – Amsterdam Central Station one way €4,90 or use the Amsterdam Travel Ticket of €18 (unlimited use for one day)

TIP >> As of 2023 the public transport system has gone cashless, you can streamline your payments for all your travel needs in Amsterdam with contactless methods. This includes credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and more. It’s a hassle-free way to hop on and off trains, metros, trams and buses.

Uber or Bolt

For a really comfortable ride, a taxi is a great choice. Uber and Bolt are two good options. These rideshares are usually cheaper than regular taxis and are known for being easy and reliable. It’s always a good idea to check both apps (Uber and Bolt) to see which option offers the best value at that moment. Sometimes there is a big difference in price. 

At Schiphol airport, there are specific pick-up areas for passengers who are using Uber or Bolt. These are located at the arrival level. Take exit door B, cross the road and you’ll find the pick-up point right in front of The Sheraton hotel.

Duration: 20-30 minutes, depends on where you are located in the city
Approximately between €25 and €35. Prices can vary depending on the time and demand. 

Hotel transfer

Always check with your hotel if they offer any transfers. As this can be a great option, they sometimes even offer free shuttle buses.  

2. There is so much more to Amsterdam than Dam Square, Damrak, The Red Light district and the Flower Market

Certainly, iconic tourist attractions like Dam Square, Damrak, the Red Light District and the Flower Market are popular for reasons. Nonetheless, your Amsterdam adventure has so much more to explore beyond these classic destinations. If you like to go a bit off-the-beaten-track we, as locals, know that the city has so much more to offer.

Canal Houses at the Damrak in Amsterdam

Take for example, a free ferry ride, offering spectacular views, to Amsterdam’s North side, known as the NDSM Wharf? As you explore this area you’ll be transported back to the 17th century, a time when the Dutch Golden Age and the Dutch East India Company (VOC) dominated the seas. Strolling through the shipyard structures and historic docks, you’ll also discover museums and many trendy industrial cafes. It’s really a cool alternative vibe. 

Or visit right in the heart of the city, a collection of what we like to call the West Islands, which often go unnoticed by many visitors. You will find rows and rows of charming old warehouses, each adorned with the iconic red and blue doors situated alongside every window.  It’s a place where you can wander around and taste the real Amsterdam. 

>> Want to see more? Check out our post about The Best and Most Beautiful Streets in Amsterdam You Need to Visit and 13 X Places to Escape the Crowds in Amsterdam.

3. How to get around

By foot 

Amsterdam’s city center is a pleasant surprise for many first-time visitors. While it may seem larger on the map, you’ll quickly realize that almost everything is within walking distance. From the historic canals to the cultural treasures, Amsterdam’s compact heart means that you can experience it all on foot. So lace up your comfortable shoes and get ready for an immersive exploration of this vibrant and compact urban gem.

Public transport

In case you want to use Public Transport, Amsterdam has an easy and extensive public transport network managed by GVB. Trams, buses and metros connect you to every corner of the city. You can purchase a single ticket that covers all three modes of transport like we mentioned before. Choose the duration that suits you, whether it’s for one, two, or three days. Buy the tickets here. You also have the option of purchasing single rides, where you simply use your contactless bank card to check in when boarding any mode of transportation.

Another option is the I amsterdam Card, which provides unlimited access to public transport and offers entry to over 70 museums and various activities across the city.

TIP >> As of 2023 the public transport system has gone cashless, you can streamline your payments for all your travel needs in Amsterdam with contactless methods. This includes credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and more. It’s a hassle-free way to hop on and off trains, metros, trams and buses.

>> Planning on using public transport through the city during your stay in Amsterdam? Here we explain all the things you need to know about public transport in Amsterdam.

By bike

Another super popular way of exploring the city is by bike. Amsterdam is known for its bike-friendly infrastructure and scenic routes along the canals. As true locals we will of course tell you: renting a bike is fun. You can rent a bike from numerous locations throughout the city and it’s an excellent way to experience Amsterdam like a local. Secure your bike here in advance to guarantee availability.

>> If you want to rent a bike yourself, make sure to read our full article about the rules, do’s and don’ts.

TIP >> Download our one-day itinerary, featuring an incredible route we’ve curated for a great biking experience. 

4. Where to stay

When it comes to choosing the best neighborhood to stay in Amsterdam, you have various neighborhoods to choose from, each offering something unique:

  • Canal Ring: great option if you want a central location close to the main attractions
  • Jordaan neighborhood: for a more lively and youthful atmosphere, known for its trendy boutiques and cozy cafes
  • Oud-West (old West) and Noord (Amsterdam North): If you’re a budget traveler these areas offer more affordable accommodations
  • De Plantage or Westerpark neighborhood: for a laid-back, residential atmosphere.
  • Museumplein area: Art lovers may prefer the Museumplein area, known for its world-class museums

>> Want to know more? Read our Amsterdam Neighborhood Guide – 10 X The Best Areas to Stay & Vist.

5. Secure Your Reservations Upfront for Amsterdam’s Top Restaurants and Museums

When it comes to visiting the best restaurants and museums in Amsterdam, one question we frequently get asked is: should I make a reservation in advance for a restaurant or museum? The answer is YES! Since Amsterdam remains a popular destination year-round, it’s advisable to do so without exception. 


The best spots and even the little gems are attracting both locals and tourists. As a result, dining without a reservation can be a gamble and you might find yourself turned away from a fully booked restaurant. Most of the time, you can easily visit the restaurant’s website and secure your spot in advance. In other cases, you may need to make a phone call.


Popular museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House are a must when it comes to making advance bookings. This not only secures your spot but also allows you to join a shorter queue. In particular, the Anne Frank House requires booking at least 4 to 8 weeks in advance.

So, don’t wait—book your reservations and get ready to explore all that Amsterdam has to offer! Secure your spot for Amsterdams must-visit museums here

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

TIP >> Plan to visit a museum as early in the morning as possible. This way, you can bypass the long lines and enjoy a tranquil museum experience. 

6. Eyes on the road – Street Safety 

In Amsterdam, cyclists don’t wait for the right of way; they simply take it. It’s important to be cautious when crossing bike lanes because of this. The sheer number of cyclists and their constant presence can surprise some visitors. It’s worth noting that Amsterdam boasts more bicycles than residents, making it a city where bikes truly dominate the streets. As you explore the city, always look both ways for oncoming bicycles.

TIP >> Remember to stay off bike lanes when walking; they’re marked with red and bike symbols on the ground or ‘Fietspad’ signs. 

7. Amsterdam’s New Cannabis Rules

As of May 2023, Amsterdam has implemented new regulations that prohibit the consumption of cannabis in public spaces, including the smoking of joints, in several prominent areas, including the Wallen district, Dam Square, Damrak and Nieuwmarkt. These regulations apply to both tourists and local residents. If anyone is found smoking a joint in these areas, they may face a fine of 100 euros. 

8. City Center Open on Sundays

Amsterdam stands out from many cities around the world by not closing its doors on Sundays! Instead, it bursts to life with a delightful mix of cultural offerings, open-air markets and lively events. From the iconic museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum to the bustling Albert Cuyp Market, Amsterdam keeps its doors wide open for all to enjoy. 

NOTE >> Many shops typically open a bit later on Sundays, usually around 11 AM. Check their opening times before your visit.

Interested in uncovering what’s happening over the weekend and discovering must-visit places? Look no further! Our Weekly Weekend Guide, delivered every Wednesday is your go-to source for exploring exciting things to do during your weekend. Join us on Instagram and TikTok to stay updated! 

9. I amsterdam City Card – Yes or No?

Many people wonder; is the I amsterdam City Card worth it? While the I amsterdam City Card can potentially save you a significant amount of money, it’s essential to consider your planned activities. If you’re spending just one day in the city and won’t be visiting many paid museums and sites, it won’t be worth your investment. 

However, for those planning a multi-day stay in the city, the I amsterdam City Card can be an excellent choice. This tourist card offers unlimited use of public transport within the city and provides access to over 70 museums and attractions (like Rijksmuseum and other popular places). It even includes a canal cruise, bike rental and day trips to other cities. Therefore, if your itinerary involves visiting multiple museums (three or more) and various attractions, this card becomes a real game-changer.

So, before deciding whether the I amsterdam City Card is a must for your trip, consider your itinerary and the number of attractions you want to visit. If you’ve decided that the card will save you big, get your card right here and start enjoying the benefits!

>> We’ve made a complete two-day itinerary to get the most out of your I Amsterdam City Card.

10. What to Pack?

As you prepare for your journey, remember to pack for the delightful unpredictability of Dutch weather. We always say; pack layers! Bring all-weather clothing and don’t forget that trusty umbrella—Amsterdam’s showers may be spontaneous. Sneakers are your best friends for cobblestone streets and endless explorations. 

11. Public Toilets in the City Center

Finding a public toilet in the city center can be quite challenging if you’re not familiar with the area. Almost every bar and restaurant only gives access to paying customers. This can be quite annoying, especially when nature calls urgently!

We’ve ensured you won’t even find yourself in this situation. Here, you can access a map created by the Dutch government that shows the locations of public toilets in the city. Additionally, you can always visit a ‘Hema’ shop or an Albert Heijn XL supermarket.

NOTE >> Remember, public urination in the city is subject to fines of €140 imposed by the local authorities.

We hope these insights will help you to make the most out of your trip in this vibrant city. Don’t forget to check out our other helpful posts including 10 x The Best Areas to Stay & Visit in Amsterdam and 19 x Free Things to Do. Whether you’re seeking accommodation, exploring neighborhoods or looking for budget-friendly activities we’ve got you covered!

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