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Peter Hill

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Tips to Know Before Traveling to Amsterdam

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Traveling to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a wonderful city in the Netherlands and one of the cities which travelers exploring Europe visit first in their Europe exploration. It has great sights, quirky architecture, delicious food and a very liberal culture. Apart from the breathtaking beauty of the canals, canal side houses, ancient houses, the different districts in Amsterdam, there are many interesting things to do and great experiences to have in Amsterdam.

However, you should probably keep a lot of things in mind when visiting Amsterdam so you don’t get yourself in trouble, and to also ensure you enjoy your visit. This is why I have written these 17 tips to help you stay out of trouble and have a lovely and unforgettable experience in Amsterdam.

17 Tips to Know When Traveling to Amsterdam

Rent A Bike or Take Public Transportation

Amsterdam Bicycles
While you’re in Amsterdam, a common sight is the bicycles you’ll come across almost everywhere. Cyclist are all over the city and when you’re walking around, you should be careful to stay out of their way and look both ways before you cross any road or street no matter how narrow it is.

If you love cycling or you’re interested in cycling, you can also give cycling a try. Rent a bicycle at any of the cycle-hiring shops all over the city and embark on your own personal cycling adventure around Amsterdam on bicycle. This way, you can cover much distance, explore every nook and cranny in Amsterdam.

You can bicycle around the outskirts of Amsterdam, explore the parks, and even take day trips outside Amsterdam on your bicycle without the restrictions of public transport and hiking. However, if cycling is not your thing, you can resort to hiking around and taking public transport when necessary.

Be Prepared for Arbitrary Weather Changes Every Day

While visiting Amsterdam, the best advice you can get is: pack clothes for all weather! You should pack clothes and things you would need to live through the various weather changes in Amsterdam in every season. Because you can expect a lot of cold and snow during winter, heavy sunshine during the summer. But the worst are the “in between” seasons where you can expect anything from rain to sun at any time of the day.

You should also make sure you take rain-gear along with you when going out, especially during the shoulder seasons. While packing clothes for a trip in Amsterdam, you should pack light clothes, clothes for cold, rain coats, umbrellas, rain boots and other seasonal-specific clothing and travel gear whether you will be exploring the city by foot, bicycle or public transport.

Don’t Forget Your Camera

Beautiful Amsterdam Canals
Amsterdam is an amazing city with pretty canals, strange yet beautiful architectural structures and houses and a bunch of other interesting things. There are also ancient homes known as house museums, gardens, parks, pretty canal side houses and quirky houses in Amsterdam. You wouldn’t want to miss the pictures of these memorable sights. So, you should have your camera with you.

Don’t Take Pictures in the Red-light district

Even though prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and there are many sights to see in the Red-light district, you should be warned to NOT take photographs of the things you will see in the Red-light district. For one, it is illegal. There’s also the simple fact that it’s disrespectful. If you’re caught, your camera can be rightfully seized by police and you can be fined.

Cafes Are Not Coffee Shops

Cafes and coffee shops are not in any way similar in Amsterdam. So, you should probably know this before you end up embarrassing yourself. You can get your tea, coffee and lattes at Cafes but Coffee shops are where you can get drugs such as weed or hash!

Plan Your Room Accommodations in Advance

Amsterdam is a very popular tourist city. You need to plan your overnight room accommodations before going to Amsterdam. If you don’t book your room in advance, you may be forced to sleep on the streets or pay exorbitant prices for last minute accommodations. This is because the city is limited in size on a normal day and receives over 7 million international travelers yearly. That’s why you need to ensure you have secured the best accommodation you can, before you can before you get to Amsterdam, especially if you’re visiting at Peak seasons.

Visit During Mid-Week

After a series of interviews with various travelers and a writer who has visited Amsterdam more than eight times a common tip was that it’s better to visit Amsterdam during the mid-week. During the weekends, Europeans in neighboring cities and people from all over the world tend to visit the capital city. During the week, you can book a dorm style bed at $20 which might cost you $60-80 during the weekend nights.

Apart from sleeping accommodations, everywhere is also be easier to explore during the week. There are fewer long queues and you get to explore and see more of Amsterdam without having to struggle through excessively crowded streets.

Get an I-Amsterdam Card

There are many things that will cost you money in a visit to Amsterdam city such as food, boat rides, museum visit, local transports, etc. Sophia who loves to travel and offers writing services advises you to buy an I Amsterdam card. You can get the card based on the number of days you will be staying in Amsterdam between 1-4 days. A day-card costs 59 euros and 4-days cost 98 euros. You can save money with the I Amsterdam card because it allows you unlimited use of public transportation like trams, buses and metros, free entry into most museums, free canal cruise rides and discounts in many restaurants.

You Can Drink the Tap Water

Amsterdam has clean and well-regulated quality tap water which is safe to drink. If you take along a water bottle, you can save money taking water from taps instead of buying bottled water which may be in worse condition than freshly acquired tap water whenever you’re thirsty.

Don’t Buy Drugs on the Streets

You can legally purchase weed or hash in a coffee shop since Amsterdam has an open-minded drug use policy. However, it is illegal to buy drugs on the streets and you can get into trouble if you’re caught.

Car parking is Expensive in Amsterdam

You should probably park your car outside Amsterdam or at a P+R spot on the way to Amsterdam from where you can easily take a public transport to the center of the city.

Amsterdam for Travel Foodies

Amsterdam Fine Dining Restaurant
Amsterdam is for Travel Foodies! You can’t just go to Amsterdam without sampling the food. From local restaurant cuisines to street food. You can try any of the iconic cheese such as Edam, Leerdammer, Gouda, etc. You can also try eating food on the street like frites or Patat with mayonnaise sauce or Stroopwaffles.

If you’ll be staying a long while, you can get ingredients from local supermarkets and prepare your meals yourself. You can also try having a picnic at any of the parks.

Explore the Different Amsterdam Districts

There are various districts in the city, all offering unique vibes and experience. You should take time to explore a few of them like Jordaan.

Check out the flower markets and the tulips

If you’re in Amsterdam between April and June which is tulip season, you should visit a couple of flower markets to see the tulip flowers in bloom.

Check out the Art Galleries and Museums

With over seventy-five official museums and galleries and many other unofficial and upcoming museums all over Amsterdam city, there is so much you can explore.

Be careful with your belongings

There is no shortage of pickpockets and thieves in Amsterdam, just like any other city in the world and they wouldn’t hesitate to pick out your phone, money, gadgets or steal your belongings, so you need to be observant, wise and cautious.

Explore Other Places in The Netherlands

Netherlands Windmill
You don’t have to stick to the capital city like most people do, you can visit other places like Amsterdam-Noord, Jordaan or Oost.


There are lots of fun things to do and fascinating sights to see in Amsterdam, but you should remember to be respectful of the locals and take along your Passport ID to avoid problems. You should also keep all the things discussed in this article in mind in order to enjoy your stay and avoid getting into unnecessary trouble.

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Peter Hill

Travel Writer
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Peter Hill is a professional writer and journalist. He is a socially active person, engaged in the photo and video editing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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