Country: Netherlands
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: April-August
Shoulder Season: September-November
Median Temperature: 9.60 C / 49.28 F
Main Languages: Dutch, German, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Tram, bus, rail, canal boat, bicycle
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $140.00/day
Tourist Passes: Amsterdam Card
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Amsterdam is well known for its laid-back and pleasant atmosphere. In fact, Amsterdam is usually a recurring destination for young, restless backpackers, who often have only good things to say about the city. Particularly noteworthy is the diverse art scene both in a number of well-curated museums and on the city streets. Amsterdam is built on more than 165 canals, which can be explored by land and paddle. Also, if you're a cycling fanatic, you'll appreciate the city's enthusiasm for the greener form of transport, with dedicated bike lanes for roads and alleys throughout the city.

Amsterdam is flocked to by many young adults the world over for its cozy atmosphere and sprawling canals, which all just seem to go with the flow. Amsterdam happens to be both the capital and largest city of the Netherlands in NW Europe. Its economy is reliant on international businesses, finance, legal services, and of course, tourism; the city receives roughly 5 million tourists annually. Cyclists, parkgoers and backpackers breathe life into this damp, rainy and frisky-weathered city. Many consider Amsterdam to be the hippest, most unusual place in all of Europe due to all the conveniences of a large-scale city slipstreamed into a 17th century hermitage, a sigh of relief from the overly industrialized world outside its borders.

Each district of the town has its apparent idiosyncrasy: Rembrandtplein is famous for its coffeehouses and nightlife; Leidseplein for its cosmopolitan food culture and morning coffee sessions; Oud-Zuid hosts Vondelpark, the city’s largest park, where you can jog, cycle, picnic and watch an exhibition inside the Filmmuseum; downtown is a concurrence of hotels, nightclubs and is also the location Amsterdam Centraal, a major transportation hub. Given that, you’ll find Amsterdam to be attuned to those who prefer either revelry or a laid-back retreat.

Packing List

  • Credit cards with an accompanying valid ID for verification; most establishments still insist on cash and these smaller establishments might levy extra charges (2-6%) if plastic is used
  • Essential medication and toiletries; the chilly weather demands skin moisturizer, while the summer calls for the canals to breed swarms of mosquitoes, so don’t forget to bring insect repellants
  • Walking shoes/uugs, sweaters, cardigans and backpacks for the day, while smart and stylish (but not too skimpy) attire for evenings; bring a compact umbrella for unprecedented drizzles
  • A decent camera, zoom lenses, lots of film/memory, batteries and a laptop, as there’s free WiFi access in most cafés; you may want to bring a separate backpack for all your electronics
  • A coffee flask, portable coffee maker and some coffee beans to forego expensive coffee shops; if you’re out to find the best cafes, bring a recently published pocket guide

Things to Do

  • A boat cruise along the beautiful canals of Amsterdam; touted as the “Venice of the North,” the city has 160 canals and 1000 bridges, most of which were constructed during the 17th century
  • Participating in the Heineiken Experience, an interactive tour inside the converted brewery of the famous Dutch pilsner; inside, you’ll see how the brew is concocted and sampling it for yourself
  • Peering into crafts, documents and paintings inside Rijksmuseum, exhibiting masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and Steen; permanent collections are mainly from the Dutch Golden Age
  • Remembering the eponymous heroine inside the Anne Frank House (which serves as a museum); in “The Diary of a Young Girl”— the rear extension of the building was the family’s hiding place
  • Visiting the upscale-yet-quaint neighborhood of the Jordaan, one the most pleasant places in Amsterdam; the 17th century architecture is apparent in its many homes, boutiques and cafes

DON'T

  • Walk on bike paths—the cyclists have half a mind to run over those obstructing their lanes; also, rent a bicycle instead of a car—it’s the most convenient way to get by the city
  • Be persuaded to partake in the “culture” Amsterdam is known for; for one, not tall tourists visit the city for its red light district and coffee shops—be more exploring of what other things the city has to offer
  • Explore the city without securing your belongings; remember that pickpockets still proliferate, and whether it’s a crowded area or secluded zone, always distance yourself from dubious folk
  • Expect Dutch cuisine to be that exquisite; there are plenty of cosmopolitan dishes throughout the city—sample the Indonesian, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mediterranean dishes too
  • Pee on public property, chug alcohol on sidewalks, board a tram without a ticket and obstruct bike lanes; it’s easier said than done, and believe us—the laid-back attitude is infectious