10 Best Travelling Tips to Amsterdam

These specific tips about Amsterdam will be very useful to make the most of your visit and avoid mishaps that can ruin your stay.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

10 Best Travelling Tips to Amsterdam

View of Amsterdam | ©Javier M

Amsterdam is a charming city that sometimes seems to be taken out of a fairy tale. However, knowing how to enjoy it is what will complete your trip.

The main idea of these tips is that you can save money, avoid making mistakes, eat well and increase the chances that everything goes as expected, or even better.

1. Get a tourist pass

Amsterdam Pass| ©HappyW
Amsterdam Pass| ©HappyW

Aside from accommodation costs, where do you think you will spend most of your money during your stay in Amsterdam? I'm sure you're thinking about local transportation, canal cruises, museum tickets, food, etc.

For this very reason, I recommend you to book the Amsterdam All Inclusive Pass, with which you will be able to save money on all those activities. And it includes:

  • Free admission to most of the best museums in Amsterdam.
  • Unlimited use of public transportation (streetcars, buses and subways).
  • Free bicycle rentals and tours
  • Free or discounted canalcruises.
  • Discounts at many restaurants

Details of interest

Depending on the length of your stay, you can get a card valid from 1 to 5 days. A 24-hour card costs 59 € and a 5-day card costs 124 €

If you want to know more about this and other Amsterdam sightseeing passes, I recommend you to read the article about The best Amsterdam sightseeing passes.

Book the Amsterdam All Inclusive Pass

2. Go to Amsterdam's coffeeshops

Coffeeshops sign| ©Hellotickets
Coffeeshops sign| ©Hellotickets

A coffeeshop in Amsterdam is not the equivalent of a coffee shop, it means something completely different. I feel it is my duty to inform you so you won't be surprised.

I'm sure you already know that Amsterdam is one of those few places on earth where you can legally buy and consume marijuana for personal use. This doesn't happen on the streets, but in the coffeeshops where you can see various types of weed, hash and edibles.

In case you want to experience this part, and are a bit hesitant or unsure, maybe booking a tour of Amsterdam can clear up several doubts for you.

Book a tour of Amsterdam

3. Don't take pictures in the Red Light District

Amsterdam Red Light District| ©Julian Pan
Amsterdam Red Light District| ©Julian Pan

Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and the Red Light District comes alive as soon as night falls. If you walk through the Red Light District at night, you will see prostitutes poking their heads out of almost every glass window in that area.

If you are visiting Amsterdam's Red Light District, do not photograph sex workers, as it is disrespectful to them.

Not only is it frowned upon, but you can also get in serious trouble with the authorities, and even pay a hefty fine. You can also book tickets to the Red Light Secrets museum in Amsterdam to learn more about this area.

Book tickets to the Red Light Secrets museum

4. Save money when eating out in Amsterdam

Food truck in Amsterdam| ©Tobias Niepel
Food truck in Amsterdam| ©Tobias Niepel

Street food is a lifesaver for those looking to save money on their trip. You'll find street vendors and food trucks with some Dutch favorites like stroop waffles, kippers, frites, bitterballen, leidse kaas and poffertjes.

'Dagschotel' is like Amsterdam' s dish of the day and appears on most restaurant menus. It is the cheapest dish on the menu and will help you save a few euros.

Eating where the locals do is one of the most useful travel tips. The Dutch in Amsterdam spend their time in what they call 'bruin café' or brown cafés. These resemble pubs and serve authentic food at an affordable price. De Wetering, In 't Aepjen, Papeneiland and Het Molenpad are some of the best.

Discover the buffets

Amsterdam' s buffets are also a great way to save money. They serve food for less than 20€, but mostly offer Chinese or Asian specialties. Some of the good restaurants of this type are:

And if you want to treat yourself on a particular day in Amsterdam at an affordable price, I recommend you to book a table at the Hard Rock Café. For 22 euros you can ensure several courses of American food with live music.

Book a menu at the Hard Rock Café in Amsterdam

5. Avoid Amsterdam's tourist traps

Visiting the Rijksmuseum| ©Becky Houtman
Visiting the Rijksmuseum| ©Becky Houtman

All famous cities tend to have "tourist trap" areas and spaces. By that I mean places to eat that are expensive and of regular quality, spaces that don't live up to the expectations they promise, and places that take advantage of tourists' illusion.

For example, Amsterdam has many fake museums. Some of them are stores claiming to be museums. To name a few there is the vodka museum, the cheese museum, the tulip museum, and so on. Instead of going to these places, I recommend you to visit a real museum like the Rijksmuseum or buy a ticket to the Van Gogh museum.

If you want to ensure good value for money food, go to De Pijp, FoodHallen or Noord. I also recommend avoiding the "Tours and ticket" stores, they are in all the tourist areas and are very expensive. Instead I recommend buying tourist passes if you are looking for savings and comfort.

Book tickets to the Van Gogh Museum

6. Beware of cyclists

Bicycles are the most commonly used means of transport in the Netherlands.| ©Anneke Vermeulen
Bicycles are the most commonly used means of transport in the Netherlands.| ©Anneke Vermeulen

One of the first things you'll notice in Amsterdam are the roads dominated by bicycles. The city is full of them and the locals love to travel by bike. In case you didn't know, Amsterdam has been declared the most bike-friendly city in the entire world.

Note that bike lanes in Amsterdam are usually red. They are all marked with a bicycle icon at each entry point so that the bike lane cannot be mistaken for a walking lane. However, many tourists don't realize this and walk on them.

If you don't want an accident, keep an eye out for these lanes. In some areas they are almost more dangerous than the roads. But if you dare to be a Dutchman, you can book a bike tour in Amsterdam and learn more about the customs.

Book a bike tour in Amsterdam

7. Always carry an umbrella with you

Person with Umbrella| ©Nayara Dinato
Person with Umbrella| ©Nayara Dinato

Amsterdam's weather is quite unpredictable and the city averages 200 rainy days a year, which means the chances of you getting caught in the rain are quite high.

So, regardless of what the weather app says, always have a raincoat or umbrella handy!

The oceanic climate, influenced by the North Sea, is the main reason for the heavy rainfall. However, thanks to the multitude of museums, galleries, stores and an efficient public transportation system, there will always be something to do regardless of the weather.

8. Bring a bottle and drink tap water

Tap Water| ©Steve Johnson
Tap Water| ©Steve Johnson

The Netherlands is one of those countries where the quality of tap water is regulated and it is completely safe to drink and tastes great.

Buying bottled water all the time is not environmentally friendly. If you think bottled water is cleaner, let me tell you that it depends on how it is stored and transported. These bottles are made with plastic and if they are kept in the sun for too long, they will no longer be as safe.

Also, bottled water is not cheap in Amsterdam and can cost you up to €2.50 in some tourist areas. You will rarely get free water in restaurants, so it is a good idea to bring a bottle from home and fill it up at some of the city's public drinking water points.

9. Park far from the center

Gasper Camping| ©Nadine S
Gasper Camping| ©Nadine S

Parking in Amsterdam is expensive and can cost up to 10 euros per hour. So if you are driving to Amsterdam, I recommend parking your car away from the city center to save money.

On the highway leading to Amsterdam, pay attention to the "P + R" signs because this is where you should park your vehicle. Parking here usually costs 1 euro per day and from these points you can easily take Amsterdam's public transport to wherever you want to go.

If you arrive in Amsterdam by motorhome, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of places to park, albeit a bit far from the city center. The best are Gasper Camping and Camping Zeeburg.

10. Bring your photo ID

Photo ID| ©Dom J
Photo ID| ©Dom J

Not only do you need a photo ID if you are visiting a museum or an important site, but the police may stop you on the street and ask you for an ID. This usually happens mostly when people seem intoxicated by drug use.

Sometimes it may just be because you are tired, because of your gait or because you don't sleep at night. But if you want to avoid mishaps keep your ID with you at all times. If you are worried about losing your passport, it wouldn't be a bad idea to carry your driver's license with you.