Amsterdam is a city with a unique atmosphere in the world that does not leave its visitors indifferent. The capital of the Netherlands is known by the evocative name of “Venice of the North”. It has a network of canals of more than 70 kilometers, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. Walking through its streets, on its canals, and on its bridges is already an extraordinary experience to Visit Amsterdam. Although this labyrinth of waterways symbolizes the Dutch capital in most minds, it has many other assets to share.
If you visit Amsterdam, you can discover incredible art museums there, like the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum. Others are of historical or social interest, such as the Anne Frank House or the Heineken Experience exhibition. It is impossible not to go through the famous Red Light District, known worldwide for its 17th-century windows. Let us also not forget the cafés and bike rides in charming neighborhoods, and the many parks and gardens where it is good to stroll.
What to do in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam has a large river system with a total length of 75 km, spanned by 1000 bridges and hundreds of houseboats. The network of canals is made up of different rings, the main ring of which is the old town, some are over 400 years old and were dug in the 17th century, considered the Dutch Golden Age. The most important belt is therefore the Grachtengordel, made up of the canals of Herengracht (the channel of the lords), Keizersgratch (the channel of the emperor), and Prinsengracht (the channel of the prince). You can be tempted by a mini-cruise on a riverboat, which remains an excellent way to discover the city from an atypical perspective.
Another attraction of the capital of the Netherlands is its culture. You can’t visit Amsterdam without setting foot in a museum. The city has more than fifty and thus ranks at the top of the European cultural offer. As you explore its streets, you will inevitably come across small art galleries that exhibit local and international artists. The State Museum of the Netherlands (Rijksmuseum), considered the best museum in the country, is a cultural hotspot not to be missed. Tip: Opt for the Amsterdam City Pass, which offers free or discounted entry to most of the capital’s museums.
How to go by train to Amsterdam:
If you are traveling by plane, you will land at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. There is a train station located within the airport grounds that allow you to catch a direct train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Central Station. Departures are from platforms 1 and 2 and you will reach the city center in less than a quarter of an hour. It is the cheapest and fastest way to get to the city.
Trains from Paris to Amsterdam Central Station are operated by Thalys and the journey takes approximately 3 hours 25 minutes from Gare du Nord. From Brussels to Amsterdam central station, count at least 1 hour 50 minutes with Eurostar or Thalys. In the city, many stations of varying sizes allow you to move from one point to another and easily reach other Dutch cities: Amsterdam Sloterdijk in the west quarter or Amsterdam Zuid in the business district.
Visit Amsterdam: Day 1
Want to make the most of your 3-day visit to Amsterdam? When you arrive, drop off your suitcase and set off to explore the city without delay. Start with a few must-sees: the famous port of Amsterdam and a canal walk to discover the sumptuous houses of the Golden Age. Then, head straight for the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum where more than 200 works by the famous Dutch artist await you.
Then go to Dam Square where you will see the first dam built on the Amstel River. It is also on this square that sits the national monument, an enormous 22-meter-high obelisk dedicated to the soldiers who died during the Second World War. On one side is the Royal Palace, a beautiful 17th-century neoclassical building that originally served as a city council.
To end the day, take a stroll through the famous Red Light District where these ladies have been exhibiting themselves in shop windows completely legally since 1911. But this district does not only have this spectacle to offer, on the contrary, and nothing can do for you. obliges to attend if it is not to your liking. On the other hand, don’t miss the Oude Kerk Church, the oldest building in Amsterdam. Dining in one of the neighborhood bars or restaurants is also a great idea.
Visit Amsterdam: Day 2
Are you wondering how to visit Amsterdam? Rent a bicycle and explore the corners of the city. First stop: the Anne Frank House. It was in this house that the Frank family lived during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Young Anne Frank secretly wrote there her diary recounting her experiences and her life during this dark period. The museum traces with great emotion the tragic destiny of this young girl. Tip: buy tickets online to avoid long lines.
After this immersion in the past, go to the church of Westerkerk, a few meters away. Access is free and it is possible to climb to the top of its 85-meter tower and enjoy the exceptional panorama it offers over the city of Amsterdam. Then pass by the original Amstelkring Museum, a small building that houses an amazing underground church.
After a lunch break, resume your walk on your way to Begijnhof. You will discover a district made up of elegant houses dating from the 14th century. At number 34 is the oldest house in the city. Finally in the evening, nothing like going to Leidseplein Square. It is one of the liveliest places, especially on weekends. Here you will find restaurants and bars to have a drink and enjoy the nightlife.
Visit Amsterdam: Day 3
The flower market, with its 140 years of existence, is worth a visit. Every day, boats arrive loaded with flowers and seeds. Upon entering this space, you will be overwhelmed by a cloud of delicate scents and a multitude of colors. Before leaving, don’t forget to buy some bulbs of the famous tulips from Holland, the essential souvenir to bring back to your friends or family.
Next to the flower market is one of Amsterdam’s most popular fish stands: the Frens Haringhandel. Here you can taste the most typical products of the region, such as the fresh herring that the Dutch love so much. The smoked herring, onion and pickle sandwich is a real treat and will allow you to regain your strength.
It is also impossible to visit Amsterdam without going to Vondelpark, the most popular park. It is a green space of over 450,000 square meters where it is good to relax. And a little historical parenthesis, it was recognized as a national monument in 1996 for its incredible historical and cultural value.
Where to eat in Amsterdam:
Two of the best dining areas are around the Spui and Dam Square. The Spui is known for its literary markets and charming cafes, while Dam Square is more lively and offers more options. Try the stamppot: a mixture of mashed potatoes and vegetables, accompanied by bacon and sausage, or the erwtensoep, the typical pea soup that the Dutch like to eat during the winter months.
At dinner time
For dinner, move closer to the central Leidseplein. In the surrounding area, there are many pubs, restaurants and even nightclubs for going out at night. You will certainly have the opportunity to attend street performances. Walk into one of the bars and taste the fried meatballs with mustard. Tasting one of Amsterdam’s most famous beers, Heineken, is a must!
Where to sleep in Amsterdam city center:
The city center
As is the case in most European capitals, the center is the area with the greatest concentration of accommodation. This area doesn’t really have particularly cheap options, but you will find everything from hostels to 5-star hotels. If you decide to stay in the center, you will enjoy easy access to the various tourist spots in Amsterdam
The region of Oud Zuid
In this area, you will find cheaper accommodation more easily than in the center and you will be close to most of the city’s museums, such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. It is a quiet residential area and perfectly connected to the center by the public transport network. Guests can also enjoy the proximity to the Vondelpark and shopping streets such as the PC Hoofstraat.
The Oud West region
Located around the historic center of Amsterdam, this district offers a wide variety of trendy bars and restaurants. The atmosphere is lively and festive. Its location, a little further from the old town, makes it a relatively inexpensive area. Here you can stroll through beautiful streets and admire magnificent houses built in the 19th century. The city center can be reached on foot in about 30 minutes.
Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter
Located near the Albert Cuyp Market, one of the largest open-air markets in Europe, the area is known for the Heineken Experience, an interactive space to learn all about this famous beer. You will discover a student atmosphere and restaurants offering varied cuisine.
The Dutch capital is above all a place of experiences and it is a safe bet that you will return there. Especially since it is an ideal destination for a city trip or a 3-day weekend. For travel in Europe, the train is probably the best option. Comfortable and fast at the same time, you’ll be in Amsterdam in hours, fresh and ready to go on an adventure.