tips for amsterdam


My friend Sara is planning a trip to Amsterdam. Even though I am green with envy, I promised her that I would ask you all for some hints. Here’s what she’s looking for:

1.  What to do.
2.  Where to eat.
3.  Where to stay.  I want
to stay in a reasonable place that is more modern design, close to or
on the canals, close to the activities so that I can either walk or
rent a bike and get around most places.
4.  Anything else anyone can think of that a single person on a trip to Amsterdam by themselves would want to do.

Chime in with any ideas. Thanks!!

Photo from Flickr.


  1. i love visiting amsterdam, i do recommend the style city book for amsterdam, it has some good neighbourhood guides in it for shopping, restaurants etc…have a great time!

  2. Soooooo jealous! I can’t help with much detail on Amsterdam, as I haven’t been there in 14 years (how is that possible?!?). But if you’re in the area long enough, I highly recommend a daytrip to Delft and/or the North Sea. Delft is the perfect, tiny epitome of all things Dutch. And the North Sea area has a rugged beauty all its own. Both are short, easy, inexpensive train trips from Amsterdam.

    It’s such a great place to visit that it’s hard to go wrong! If nothing else, you can just order a cup of great coffee and soak up local life. And I wouldn’t worry at all about traveling alone. I spent a year in Rotterdam as a 22-year-old who hadn’t seen much of the world (my first solo weekend trip was terrifying!), and never had *any* trouble roaming the country on my own.

  3. Check out the style files guide to Amsterdam (it’s priceless!)

    I just got back last weekend – we stayed at the brand new Citizen M hotel (near the airport but easy to access). It was wonderful! I also have a few entries about Amsterdam on my blog and photos of places we visited.

    She MUST go to Egg Mercantile. It’s a wonderful little shop.

    I wish we had time for the red light district tour because I left with so many unanswered questions.

  4. stay at ‘t Hotel….right on the canal near the 9 street and the jordaan, COMFY beds, biggest rooms in europe for cheap! great breakfasts too. we stayed there on our honeymoon and it was our favorite spot

  5. Canal Tour! And lots and lots of wondering.

    If you’re there long enough, a trip to Utrecht (30-40 mins away) would be rewarding, it’s just so quaint and cute. Also, there’s an awesome house built to look like a 3D Mondrian painting there, if you’re a mondrian fan, which is out near the university.

  6. Shop in the nines at Frozen Fountain – amazing store. If she’s a mom, she can venture out and go to Keet in Huis and Pol’s Potten and grab a bite at the cafe at Sissyboy Homeland. And check out the flea markets!!!

    Definitely get some frites at Vlaams off of Dam Square and some pancakes at the Pancake House.

    Touristy things – we enjoyed riding bicycles (Jordaan would be a great neighborhood) and loved the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank Huis. A canal cruise would be awesome as well.

    Have fun!

  7. You can actually rent house boats on the canal to stay in! I can’t remember pricing, but it could be well worth whatever the price.
    Definitely rent bicycles to get around. Very fun way to see the city and outlying areas.
    The Heineken museum is quite fun if you enjoy beer and there is a used vinyl record store not too far away.

    the Van Gogh museum is okay, very few (if any) major works and it’s quite sparse for the high price.
    Definitely go to Anne Frank house though! That is an amazing experience. I’d recommend getting there as early as possible as the line gets long and is out the door all day long.

    If you travel outside the city you can see the tulip fields, the dams and dykes (quite impressive to bicycle along), in Edam you can see very old windmills, go on wooden shoe and cheese factory tours.

    As you can probably tell, I love Amsterdam! And Holland in general. I have a friend who lives in Utrecht, about an hour by train from Amsterdam, and she loves it there. A good place to go to get a different feel of the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. It’s full of museums and small shops.

  8. I am loving all of the suggestions so far!!! I knew Chelsea’s readers would be able to help me out! Now to start planning…

  9. I love Amsterdam and highly recommend wandering through the canals and going to the flower market. There areso many great museums and try to eat some thai food there because it is fantastic. Also hit up Topshop because they have a few!!

  10. 1. rent a bike // go to egg mercantile (like Emily already said) // eat “Vlaamse Frites” at Vleminckx (at the Voetboogstraat, near shopping mall “Kalvertoren”) // visit the library (near the Central Station) // visit Haarlem, The Hague, Rotterdam or Delft by train // go to the Westergasfabriek ( ), where you can have lunch or high tea at De Bakkerswinkel ( ) or Proef ( ) //…

    2. Festina Lente ( ), located in the Jordaan area. My favourite hang-out! // Latei ( ) at the Zeedijk. Weird website, but the food is great (+ organic)! //

    3. Hotel van Onna ( ) is a simple place to stay (45 euros a night!) – not very ‘design worthy’ but it is located in the centre of the Jordaan area – close to the Anne Frank house.

    4. … // I actually live in Amsterdam, but it is quite hard to come up with ideas… Irene from Bloesem also has a great ‘Amsterdam Read’, be sure to read that one!

  11. Last year I stayed in the countryside and took the train into Amsterdam for a day, so unfortunately I have no hotel recommendation. I enjoyed just walking around the city and exploring. There is a free walking tour given by New Europe that does a great job of orientating you to the city. I also recommend a canal tour as a great way to get a unique perspective of the city. As for the countryside, I was there in April and the tulips were amazing. The windmills and villages are great to explore as well, especially by bike!

  12. I love Amsterdam. Hopefully your friend might find my two posts here useful. De Kas is an amazing restaurant and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    I’d also suggest a visit to this centrally located but off the beaten track bar cafe

    plus these

    Hope she has a fabulous time!

  13. I am completely smitten with this photo. It just took my breath away and now I simply must go to Amsterdam! I am saving this link so that I know exactly where to stay, sightsee, etc. What a great idea…you’re a nice friend 🙂

  14. Amsterdam is the greatest! I really recommend Joe Pauker’s “Get Lost! The Cool Guide to Amsterdam” for tips on inexpensive and fun things to do.

    Some quick thoughts from my latest trip there:

    1. Noordermarkt, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Public Library, shopping in the 9 Streets neighborhood, St. Nicholas Boat Co canal tour, lots of bike riding
    2. Bazar, Cafe Latei, Bolhoed, Bistro Bij Ons, Indonesian food & pancakes!
    3. Rembrandt Centrum Hotel, Hotel Paganini
    4. Haarlem is a quaint town and a quick trip by train. Also…eat lots of stroopwafels. 🙂

  15. Hi,
    I’m dutch, lived in Amsterdam for about 10 years and live now in Haarlem (near Amsterdam). I don’t know how long you are going, but I’would try not to get distracted by other great places in Holland. If you have only a few days, just stick to Amsterdam I would say, there’s enough to do and see. I do not know what you are into so here are a few tips:

    – markets:
    Vist the all famous Albert Cuyp Market. It’s a normal fruit&veggie&clothes market but’s it’s a Amsterdam and Dutch phenomenon. The people are so mixed. Just stroll along and eat a ‘haring’ (or 2 in my case 😉 )

    Visit on saturday the small but very cosy Noordermarkt biological Market, a few streets away is also the Lindengracht fruit&veggie&flowers&fish Market, a lovely street in de Jordaan. Sit at a little cafe’s terrass and sip your ‘koffie’.

    – musea:
    – Van Gogh Museum: speaks for itself
    – The Rijksmuseum and The Stedelijk Museum are both very heavy under construction so you can see only a small part of their collections.
    – Anne Frank House: speaks for itself
    – Hortus Botanicus: if you’re into plants and trees, it’s one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens.
    – ‘Onze lieve heer op zolder’ (Our lord in the attic): is a old and quirky and remarkable church museum. Also called ‘Amstelkring Museum’
    – also a MUST: visit Wynand Focking little bar/museum. Dutch jenever and liqeur distillery/bar/shop. Original Dutch founded in 1650. Drink a jenever in this beautifull little place!

    – do/visit:
    – take a canalboat tour
    – rent a bike, and put some extra eyes in the back of your head :-), and visit all the places you’d like to visit. Bikers can get anywhere.
    – stoll or bike alond the canals, the Jordaan area, the Zoo area, or the Old-South area near the Vondelpark.

    – Shopping
    Can’t think of any particular shops, but shop along the ‘9 streets’ area, the Utrechtsestraat or stroll along Amsterdam’s fancy PC Hooftstraat with Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The normal highstreet is called Kalverstraat with shops like Zara, H&M etc.

    That’s what i can think of right now. I’m sure when I click ‘submit’ another dozen pop in my head. You can ask me any time for more information..


  16. is the place to go. All the info for the novice travler . Great,great site!!!!!!

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