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Amsterdam Tourism And Travel Guide
11.3° C / 52.4° F
January to January
5 to 6 Days
Amsterdam is the capital city of Netherlands, a city of canals and tulips, museums and palaces, one that has been a very famous tourist spot of Europe for more reasons than you can think about. The foremost being its strategic location on the map of the continent, making it a layover for most Asian and American flights crossing Europe. This means, travellers get at least half a day in the city before they board their next flight to their destination.
This unique feature has promoted tourism in Amsterdam through decades, putting it right up in the top 10 cities of Europe. And no, you don’t always have to have a layover here. Instead, you can plant nice long holiday in Amsterdam. Here’s our travel guide to help you with it.
How to Reach
The easiest way to reach Amsterdam is to take a layover flight to another American or European destination, most of them stop in this city to refuel! But on a serious note, there are plenty Indian cities that connect to Amsterdam on a daily basis.
The Schiphol Airport of Amsterdam receives all of the major traffic coming into Netherlands, including regular flights from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. KLM, Aeroflot and Lufthansa are the main players on these routes.
You can also easily reach Amsterdam from anywhere in Europe by trains, especially the Eurail that connects it to major cities around like Brussels, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, London etc. This is also a very scenic way to travel and cheaper than flights.
Amsterdam is not a very big city, neither is it too small. So yes, there are plenty of public transport options like buses, metro trains and ferries/boats on canals to get around. Taxis and cars on rent are also available. But cycling and walking are better as most streets are narrow and don’t allow big vehicles.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Amsterdam sees all four seasons in an almost equal periodic frame, but spring and summer are the best to visit.
Spring (March to May):
With the temperature rising from 7°C to 17°C by the season’s end, Spring is a great time to be in Amsterdam for a holiday. The month of April is the most ideal, because the tulips come to full bloom and the Flower Parade festival is celebrated, among other things.
Summer (June to August):
Summers in Amsterdam are very crowded, with hoards of tourists milling and buzzing in and out of museums, restaurants and cafes. The temperature is at its maximum best, and July-August is the hottest at around 22°C. There might be some unpredictable rain but tourism still goes strong.
Autumn (September to November):
The season of autumn is very wet in Amsterdam, with the temperature going down to around 10°C. The leaves are all orange and gold, and there is a nip in the air. By November, the winds turn more chilly and this is the time for budget travellers.
Winter (December to February):
Amsterdam winters are not extremely cold but there is some mild snow and the temperature ranges between 0-6°C. Some ice skating, Christmas festivities and shopping/museums is all you can do at this time of the year. So not the best time to visit.
Things to Do
Explore the Jordan District:
The Jordon District of Amsterdam is an old area that is beautiful, with canals cutting through its narrow streets and houses that were made in the 17th Century. Most tourists come here to stroll and click pictures, shop in the farmers’ market and take boat rides in the canals.
Go for Cruises in Canals:
Well, you can’t visit Amsterdam and not boat in the canals. There are around 100-160 canals here and many cruises and boats ply up and down these streams, ferrying you on sightseeing trips around town. Canal Ring is a very coveted route.
Roll in Tulips:
Amsterdam is famous for its tulip gardens, and Keukenhof is the most famous of all - a landscape of millions and millions of tulips, lilies, daffodils, roses, hyacinths and every bulb you can think of. Visit here during spring, especially in April for the Flower Parade Fest.
See a Houseboat Museum:
There is a museum in a houseboat in Amsterdam and it is worth every minute you spend there. The Hendrika Marina boat was bought by a man who found that foreigners were really interested in checking out his own home, which was a houseboat. So now he have a boat that had been drowned in World War and that has seen destitute days, restored with its artefacts and adventurous history for visitors to see.
Marvel around Museum Quarter:
The Museum Quarter is exactly as the name suggests, a square that has museums and old heritage buildings surrounding it. Some of Amsterdam’s most famous museums are found here and you must circuit the area - exploring the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum etc.
What to Eat
Dutch food is delicious. With main ingredients like cheese, potatoes, fish, onions and meat, how could it not be? Dutch deserts are even more scrumptious, with chocolate occupying almost a reverent position. When in Amsterdam, there are many restaurants and cafes serving traditional delights but street food is sometimes the best bet - try the raw herring sandwiches, fried cod, Oorlog french fries (yummy served with onions, sauces and mayo and melted cheese) and Bitterballen (a lot like Spanish croquettes). Another delicacy that you must have at least twice everyday is Stroopwafel - the Dutch symbol of waffles with a generous lather of chocolate spreads. Poffertjes or mini pancakes are also quite delicious, best eaten with jams or syrups.
Where to Shop
The city is not the best there is to shop in Europe, but you do find some great streets to shop, like the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat streets. There are brands that define chic as well as high street, luxury as well as bargains; from Topshop to Bershka, Zara to H&M, here you will find it all. If you want to buy souvenirs from Amsterdam then pick up some local Dutch cheeses like Gouda, or some liquorice candy. Stroopwaffels are also great to take back home and don’t spoil easily. Another great expensive gift for loved ones back home is Delft pottery merchandise.