Discover Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague & Budapest
Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the "Venice of the North", attributed by the large number of canals which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, and became the leading centre for finance and trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Sloten, annexed in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam; is the oldest part of the city, dating to the 9th century.
SPEND AT LEAST 3 DAYS IN AMAZING AMSTERDAM:
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museums are very popular attractions in Amsterdam - pre-book your tickets to avoid lengthy queues.
The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in the Museum Square in Amsterdam South, close to the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw. The museum opened on 2 June 1973 and its buildings were designed by Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa. The museum contains the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, colloquially known as the Stedelijk, is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design.The 19th century building was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and the 21st century wing with the current entrance was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, where it is close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw. The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Karel Appel, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Marlene Dumas, Lucio Fontana, and Gilbert & George.
The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres). It is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid and situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named Nieuwe Park, but later renamed Vondelpark, after the 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. Within the park is an open-air theatre, a playground and several restaurants. Rent a bicycle and explore this stunning park in the middle of Amsterdam. If you have the energy after your first fantastic day, end day one with dinner on Leidseplein.
Everybody who knows Amsterdam, knows the Albert Cuyp Market! The Market is originated in 1905 and is one of the favorite locations for locals, but also for tourists, students, day trippers and entrepreneurs. The Albert Cuyp Market is located in one of the most popular areas of Amsterdam. You can experience authentic Amsterdam atmosphere, humor and “gezelligheid” in the streets. A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without visiting the Albert Cuyp Market. The market is open, six days per week, and is home to 260 market stalls. This makes the Albert Cuyp the biggest market of Europe! Come and enjoy the real Amsterdam atmosphere and surprise yourself with the rich supply of fresh vegetables, fruits, accessories, clothes, flowers and beautiful fabrics. Don’t forget to grab a real Dutch treat, like a fresh herring or a hot stroopwafel.
Experience the story of how a small, Dutch brewery became the world’s most premium brand of beer. The world of Heineken is one best experienced through all the senses; you will feel the hops, taste the wort and smell the authentic scents of the brewery. It’s all there.
The Royal Palace Amsterdam is King Willem-Alexander’s official reception palace. In addition, the Palace is open to visitors as much as possible. A living building where you can follow in the footsteps of royal guests through its imposing rooms and halls. The Palace is the largest and most prestigious building from the Golden Age, making it one of the Netherlands’ most important monuments. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk.
4. DE OUDE KERK
The Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building and youngest art institutes (since 2012). The building was founded circa 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578, it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.
The Anne Frank House is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex (Dutch: Achterhuis). She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Ten years later the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination.
6. RED LIGHT DISTRICT
De Wallen is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights and blacklight. Window prostitution is the most visible and typical kind of red-light district sex work in Amsterdam. De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade, form the Rosse Buurt (red-light areas) of Amsterdam. Of these De Wallen is the oldest and largest area. It is one of the city's major tourist attractions and the government of Amsterdam is examining ways to limit tourist numbers. The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell cannabis.
1. EXPLORE THE CITY ON A BICYCLE
There are approximately 900 000 bicycles in Amsterdam and there are more bicycles than residents. Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of their convenience, Amsterdam's small size, the 400 km of bike paths, the flat terrain, and the arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile: driving a car is discouraged, parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way for motor vehicle traffic (but not for cyclists). Rent a bicycle and explore the city on your own or join a tour of the city (see below).
2. EXPLORE THE CITY BY BOAT
Amsterdam has more than one hundred kilometers of grachten (canals), about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals (Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht), dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel. The 17th-century canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan, were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, contributing to Amsterdam's fame as the "Venice of the North”. Rent a boat and explore the canals on your own or join a tour for the experience of a lifetime (see below).
3. AN EVENING IN THE JORDAAN DISTRICT
End your stay in Amsterdam with dinner in the Jordaan district. The Jordaan is known for its beautiful houses, nice restaurants and original shops. When in Amsterdam, it is a must to stroll through the little streets and canals.
WHEN TO GO: The best time to visit the city is late spring or early fall. To avoid the crowds while still enjoying good weather, we recommend visiting Amsterdam in April, May, September or even as late in the year as early October.
VISA: The majority of foreign nationals wishing to stay in the Netherlands for up to three months require a short stay visa or Schengen visa. Foreign nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland as well as some other countries are exempt from the visa requirement.
HOW TO GET AROUND: Amsterdam boasts an impressive public transport network including metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains to help you get around the capital. Save money on travel with the I amsterdam City Card, which offers unlimited use of the GVB public transport system for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
SLEEP AT CONSCIOUS HOTEL MUSEUM SQUARE
For those who come to the Dutch capital to admire the masterpieces by the Dutch Masters, Conscious Hotel Museum Square is the best choice. Recently renewed (early 2019), this boutique hotel with 36 rooms is located right in the center of the museum district and at walking distance of the famous Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum.
SLEEP AT CONSCIOUS HOTEL THE TIRE STATION
The Tire Station is a 112-bedroom stylish eco hotel, really close to Amsterdam’s most famous park, the Vondelpark. The name of the hotel is The Tire Station because the building used to be a Michelin Tire Station. There is a pink café at the hotel, Sticky Fingers, and an organic Café Moer to supply you with good organic food, treats and drinks.
SLEEP AT CONSCIOUS HOTEL WESTERPARK
This original, monumental building has been transformed into a beautiful, 89-room eco-hotel. It is located in the middle of the green Westerpark. One side of the hotel overlooks the cultural area of Westergas – a hotspot for cultural events and bustling markets – while on the other side, there’s a tranquil, green park – perfect for morning walks.
SLEEP AT HOTEL THE CRAFTSMEN
After a year of extensive renovations, a landmark 17th Century building on one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals has reopened its doors as Hotel The Craftsmen. The 14-room boutique hotel celebrates historical Dutch crafts with cleverly designed themed rooms.
SLEEP AT HOTEL THE EXCHANGE
Hotel The Exchange is a fashion hotel in the centre of Amsterdam with unique rooms ranging from 1-to-5 stars. Rooms are dressed like models on the runway by young fashion designers from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI), allowing you to sleep in fashion and wake up in style, in the centre of Amsterdam.
SLEEP AT SWEETS HOTEL
SWEETS hotel is a radically different way to experience Amsterdam. 28 iconic bridge houses transformed into independent hotel suites on Amsterdam’s canals. Each bridge house has been designed into a tiny 1-bedroom hotel suite that accommodates 2 people.
EAT AT INSTOCK AMSTERDAM
What we especially love about this unique eatery, is their commitment to leading an anti-food-waste campaign. This principle is carried out in their business operation - a living and working example of how we can (and should be) contributing to a more conscious consumer lifestyle. Join their ‘Instock Challenge’ for 31 days and be part of this fantastic initiative. Their chefs create the most delicious dishes, composing a surprising menu based on the freshest harvest that comes in. You can find the exact dishes on their chalkboard in the restaurant.
PLAY AT AMSTERDAM BOAT ADVENTURES
Join Amsterdam Boat Adventures and escape the hectic Amsterdam street life while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere on the best canal cruise in town. They love to cruise through the small canals where the big boats can't go. Don't miss this opportunity to see and experience Amsterdam from this unique and magnificent view on their small open boat.
PLAY AT AMSTERDAM EXPERIENCES
How to make the most of your time in Amsterdam? – Have a memorable day with a tailor-made private tour. Explore Amsterdam or the Netherlands with the best local guides. Experienced, Flexible and living here for years. Discover hidden gems and feel the real vibe of their beautiful city.
PLAY AT JOY RIDE TOURS AMSTERDAM
Join Joy Ride Tours in exploring the famous country-side, the lowlands, windmills, and farms. You can also enjoy the hidden gems of Amsterdam and cycle along narrow canals, picturesque drawbridges, and old shipyard filled with amazing street art. They run entertaining and intimate Bike tours for cyclists, instagrammers, explorers, and more.
PLAY AT ROMANTIC TOUR AMSTERDAM
If you’re seeking an Amsterdam experience that lies above the standard tourist script, Romantic Tour Amsterdam is for you. Are you open to discovering different ways of seeing the city? Meeting a true local? Finding beauty in unexpected places? Visit the city with Romantic Tour Amsterdam and you will see it like you’ll have never seen it before.
PLAY AT THOSE DAM BOAT GUYS
Those Dam Boat Guys – What better way to see beautiful Amsterdam than from the water? They have a selection of beautiful all weather boats to glide you and your group around the canals. Not only that, all their boat captains give a hilarious commentary on what you are seeing. You will have a much more memorable experience of your special cruise in Amsterdam.
PLAY AT TULIP DAY TOURS
With a focus on sustainable and authentic tourism, Tulip Day Tours develop and operate corona-proof, small-scale half and full day tours in the Netherlands. Whereas their public tours with maximum four travelers depart from Amsterdam, their private tours for maximum six travelers depart from anywhere in the Randstad region.
PLAY AT WE BIKE AMSTERDAM
We Bike Amsterdam is a collective of enthusiastic local guides with a passion for Amsterdam and cycling. They all live in the city and love to share their knowledge about Amsterdam with you! Like all Amsterdammers they were pretty much born on a bike and they cycle every day. Discover Amsterdam like a local and hop on one of their bikes!
TRAIN TO BERLIN (click on the link for more details)
Amsterdam was a blast, but Berlin awaits! Amsterdam to Berlin in 6h22...Comfortable air-conditioned InterCity trains with bistro car link Amsterdam Centraal & Berlin Hbf every two hours, city centre to city centre in a leisurely 6h22 with fares from €39.90 - a soulless flight will take the best part of 5 hours, cost more and be far less relaxing. The train is the way to go, look what you'll see on the way. The Man in Seat 61 says "These InterCity trains are spacious, quiet and smooth-riding, and they reach 200 km/h (125 mph) on the new fast line between Hanover and Berlin. Lingering over a meal and a beer or two in the bistro car is a treat - I heartily recommend the Erdinger weissbier!"