Amsterdam features on the bucket list of travelers from across the globe. More than 18 million tourists visit the city each year, ranging from weekend tourists to tulip chasers, and those who want to experience Dutch culture. The city has fantastic infrastructure and is extremely tourist-friendly but it is also grappling with an explosion of tourism. We have listed our top travel tips that have been vetted by the locals to help you navigate the city for the first time. Read these Amsterdam travel tips to travel, explore better, and enjoy your time in the city (away from the tourist traps).
Best Time To Visit Amsterdam
Spring, from April to May, is hands down the best time to visit Amsterdam. The weather is perfect and it is the Tulip season! September to November is also a great time to visit Amsterdam as the weather is idyllic, especially to explore the canals and countryside and you have fewer tourists to contend with. Summer from June to August is always a fun time in Amsterdam with music concerts and summer festivals. In winter, the city gets cold and dreary but airfares are cheap and you will have very few tourists, leaving ample time to explore the city’s museums and indoor attractions.
Tulips Bloom only in April and May
Almost every stock photograph of Amsterdam will feature tulips or a windmill, but you must know that tulips bloom for a short period in spring from mid-March to mid-May. This is undoubtedly the peak season as people flock in from different parts of the world to witness the tulips blooming in their colourful glory, so plan your trip in advance if you’re keen on viewing a tulip clad Amsterdam. The best place to view these flowers in all their glory is the Keukenhof Gardens, about 40KM away from Amsterdam. A group tour is a convenient and cheap way to get straight to the gardens and back. After a visit to the gardens, you can rent a bike and explore the nearby flower fields or take a boat ride through the canals.
Cruise the canals, but don’t caper along!
The canals of Amsterdam date back to the 17th century when the swampland was drained to create a new urban area inside the boundaries of the Singelgracht. The entire canal area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a picturesque urban landscape. An enjoyable way to explore is by taking a canal cruise and you can upgrade it with a meal experience. However, be careful even as you are on the boat, and keep your belongings handy it’s tough to find lost objects! Also, avoid walking along the canals at nights, especially if you’re slightly tipsy!
Cycle ONLY along the bike lane in Amsterdam
Renting a cycle or participating in a cycle tour is a great way to explore the city and you must try it atleast once on your trip. In fact, it’s one of the most symbolic and easiest ways to explore this canal city. Stick to the bicycle lane on the right side of the road that is marked by symbols and never drive on the footpaths or the main road. Also, do not stop in the middle of the bike lane for photographs, step aside and give way to other cyclists. Locals cycle in the city quite often, so you’re likely to be holding up the office-going crowd for your selfies.
Cross the ring and venture into the picturesque countryside
Amsterdam has a lot to offer but if you are there for more than 24 hours head out to the countryside where you can experience the simple rural living. Here you can view windmills, meandering canals and open fields that are characteristic of Netherlands. Choose to go on a day tour to destinations like Volendam, Edam, Zaanse Schans, Marken, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Giethoorn. Group tours from Headout are cheap, they help plan your travel, is always inclusive of coach transfers and ensure your day is packed with things to do.