Amsterdam is considered one of the best destinations in Europe. It has so much to offer its visitors from a wonderful architecture to a unique system of canals, passing by great entertainment. It is the capital of the Netherlands, located within the province of North Holland and the country’s biggest city. It is the Financial centre of the Netherlands as well as one of the most important in Europe, with many multinational headquarters in the city as well as being home to the oldest stock exchange in the world, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Amsterdam is also considered the dominant cultural and creative centre of the country packed with various museums and art galleries. The city has a population of 750k inhabitants, with most of them speaking very good English, being very friendly and welcoming.
The history of Amsterdam goes back to the 12th century when fishermen settled next to the Amstel river. In fact its name is derived from Amstelredamme, which can be translated to a dam in the river Amstel. The city came to prominence during the 17th-century, known as the Dutch Golden Age, mainly due to its innovative developments in trade, which quickly made it one of the biggest international ports. It was also during those great commercial years that Amsterdam built its famous canals and became the leading center for finance and diamonds.
For a cultural and historic visit or a great a place to shop, party or chillout, Amsterdam is the perfect destination for an exciting holiday.
Top 10 Amsterdam attractions
Amsterdam is packed with some great attractions, from its central Dam square to amazing museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, passing by its charming Canal Ring. The Top 10 Amsterdam attractions include:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Anne Frank House
- Dam Square
- Canal Ring
- Stedelijk Museum
- Hermitage Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Museum
- De Wallen District
The Rijksmuseum is perhaps the best known museum in the city of Amsterdam. It is located at the Southern end of the central canal belt, next to the Museumplein square, where many of the city’s art museums are located. This Dutch national museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history, offering a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Some of its key artist include Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Rembrandt.
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is another cultural landmark of Amsterdam, offering the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings. The museum was built in 1962 by the state-initiated Vincent van Gogh Foundation. The permanent exhibition shows the various phases of Van Gogh’s artistic life including the famous painting of The Potato Eaters, Bedroom in Arles, The Yellow House, Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers and nine of the artist’s Self-Portraits.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is the famous museum dedicated to the Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The museum is set in the actual house where she and her family hid from the Nazi persecution in tiny rooms at the back of the building. The museum is located on the Western side of the city center on the Prinsengracht canal. The Achterhuis or the hiding place can be visited as well as an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank.
The Dam Square located in the heart of the Old City at the end of the Nieuwmarkt and Damrak street is considered the ultimate centre of Amsterdam. It is home to some remarkable buildings including the Koninklikj Paleis and the Nieuwe Kerk on the western side, the well known Hotel Krasnapolsky on the eastern side and the famous Madame Tussauds attraction on the Southern Side.
The Canal Ring is perhaps one of the most authentic Amsterdam attraction. Those famous canals or “Grachtengordel”, where built during the 17th century to attract wealthy home owners. It has became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 and still is considered one of the city’s richest neighbourhood with plenty of Dutch celebrities living there.
The Stedelijk is a Museum for classic modern and contemporary art. It is located along other great art buildings on the Museum Square Museumplein next to the Van Gogh Museum. It sits in a Neo-Renaissance style building with original red brick designed by architect Adriaan Willem Weissman. It is currently being renovated and expects the grand reopening in 2012, with some thought-provoking contemporary art collections.
The Hermitage Amsterdam is a lovely museum displaying two permanent collections including one about the Netherlands–Russia relations and the other about the history of the building Amstelhof. It is a dependency of the Russian Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg. It is located on the eastern side of Amsterdam central on the Amstel river.
The Amsterdam Museum is a museum about the history of Amsterdam located in the heart of the old city. It opened at its current location in 1975, taking over a in building built in 1580 and originally served as Amsterdam’s orphanage. The museum exhibits various items related to the history of Amsterdam, from the Middle Ages all up to the present time. It displays no less than 70,000 objects kept in various buildings and storage areas, with about a third of those photographed and made available online to the public.
De Wallen District
De Wallen also best known as the Amsterdam’s red-light district has become one of the city’s best known tourist destination. Located in the eastern side of the old city it is where most of the red lights illuminated windows are, where girls offer their services. The district also offers an abundance of other unique attractions including numerous sex theatres, a sex museum and a cannabis museum.
The Coffeeshops has became another well known institution in Amsterdam with hundreds of those establishments set across the city, especially around the Old town. Each of those cafes have their own vibe and is a perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing.
Districts of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is divided into various districts and neighbourhoods, with the most popular around the city center and the canal belts. Those include:
- Old Centre
- Joordan and Western Canals
- Southern Canal Belt
- Eastern Canals
The Old Centre is by far the most touristic area of Amsterdam. It was historically the mediaeval centre of the city and still offers plenty of beautiful architecture. The Old Center includes the Central Station to the North, the Wallen District to the East, the Amsterdam Museum to the South and the Dam Square at its heart. The streets of Nieuwmarkt and Damrak are also some of the busiest in the Old Centre packed with various boutiques, shops and restaurants.
Joordan and Western Canals
The Joordan and Western Canals is as its name suggest located to the West of the city center. What was once a more traditional working class area has became a trendy neighbourhood with various hip boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. It is where the Anna Frank museum and the lovely Westerkek church are located.
Southern Canal Belt
The end of the Southern Canal Belt is where the Museum Quarter is located, home to Amsterdam’s best known museums including the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk and the Rijksmuseum. The Museumplein and the Vondelpark nearby is a good place to relax or enjoy a pick nick during the summer time. As for the western side of the Southern Canal Belt, especially around the Leidseplein Square, it is an excellent place to go out, packed with exciting cafes, restaurants and bars.
The Eastern Canals refers to the area east of the city center, and combines the district of Nieuwmarkt and Plantage. The Nieuwmarkt area is known for its vibrant Nieuwmarkt square packed with terraced cafes towards the north, and the Rembrandthuis and the Museum of Jewish history towards the South. As for the Plantage distinct located further east it is considered an extension of the Canal Ring and is home to the Hortus Botanicus, the botanical gardens and the Artis Zoo.
Flights to Amsterdam
The best way to get to Amsterdam is through the Amsterdam Schiphol international airport (IATA: AMS). It is located some 15 km south-west of the city centre with a 20 minutes train transfer operating couple of times an hour to Amsterdam Central Station. Schiphol is considered one of the busiest airports in the world, with great connections within Europe as well as North America. It is served by various airlines including AirFrance, KLM, Delta Air Lines, British Airways as well as low-cost carriers such as Transavia and Easyjet. The airport is also home to the Rijksmuseum Schiphol branch, worth having a look while waiting for your flight.
Top 10 Amsterdam hotels
The following are some of the best 3, 4 and 5 stars hotels in Amsterdam as voted by the users. To view the full list of available hotels and apartments on specific dates, you may visit our partner site Agoda Amsterdam smarter Hotel Booking.
Herengracht 341, Amsterdam-Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 4 Stars
To make each guest’s stay comfortable, all rooms feature non smoking rooms, daily newspaper, desk. Also to be found at the hotel are room service, laundry service/dry cleaning, meeting facilities. Guests may take advantage of sporting or leisure activities such as spa at this hotel. The hotel blends expert service with state-of-the-art facilities to provide guests with a memorable stay.
Book a room at the Ambassade Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Keizersgracht 384, Amsterdam-Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016 GB – 5 Stars
This is a trendy and chic hotel suitable for business and pleasure and located in the famous Keizersgracht. The 41 guestrooms of the Dylan Hotel are individually decorated and conceptualized. Enjoy French cuisine from the onsite restaurant Vinkeles. Be sure to finish up a swanky dinner with a post-meal drink from Bar Barbou. The hotel’s location on the Keizersgracht provides guests with close proximity to other popular venues such as the many canals that flow through the city. Boat rental is available for cruising along the canal while the bike rental allows guests to join the masses in travelling around the city. An added bonus is that the hotel has a fully equipped fitness center available for the more health conscious guests.
Book a room at the Dylan Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Hampshire Beethoven Hotel
Beethovenstraat 43, Oud Zuid, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1077 HN – 3 Stars
Whether on business or holiday, each of the 52 rooms at this 3-star property are designed help guests relax in comfort and style. Some of the features you’ll enjoy are hair dryer, separate shower and tub, coffee/tea maker, air conditioning. Also to be found at the hotel are room service, safety deposit boxes, shops. The hotel blends expert service with state-of-the-art facilities to provide guests with a memorable stay.
Book a room at the Hampshire Beethoven Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Singel 303-309, Amsterdam-Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012WJ – 4 Stars
All rooms have non smoking rooms, mini bar, desk as well as other amenities. For the comfort and convenience of guests, you’ll also find bar/pub, elevator, meeting facilities on-site. Guests may take advantage of sporting or leisure activities such as gym at this hotel. Comfort and convenience are the hallmarks of Hotel Estherea.
Book a room at the Hotel Estherea now, best price guaranteed.
Best Western Blue Square Hotel
Slotermeerlaan 80, Geuzenveld / Slotermeer, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 3 Stars
Each room includes inhouse movies, air conditioning, hair dryer. Other features at the hotel include bar/pub, elevator, laundry service/dry cleaning. With its commitment to service and focus on hospitality, you’ll enjoy your stay at Best Western Blue Square Hotel.
Book a room at the Best Western Blue Square Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Hilton Amsterdam Hotel
Apollolaan 138, Oud Zuid, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 Stars
This hotel has a particular claim to fame as the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 bed-in for peace. Guests are within walking distance to the old city, Vondelpark, the famed Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks Museum. Also catering to the business traveller, the hotel is just 15 minutes from the airport and with 21 meeting rooms. It is easy to feel comfortable in the large, bright, and airy rooms with large opening windows to garden, city or river views. Enjoy top-notch Italian dining in the award-winning Roberto’s Restaurant or sit back and relax with a beer or cocktail in the Half Moon Lounge, complete with marina views. Near a great many restaurants and tourist attractions, Hilton Amsterdam maintains the level of luxury and elegance that is expected by the Hilton chain name.
Book a room at the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Best Western Delphi Hotel
Apollolaan 101-105, Oud Zuid, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1077 AN – 4 Stars
Situated in a residential area of the city, guests will enjoy the close proximity to many tourists hotspots and the distance away from the noise. Guests of the Delphi Hotel are treated to televisions, en-suite bathrooms and telephones. The breakfast room serves a continental breakfast daily for guests. The Museum Quarter and RAI exhibition center is located very close to the hotel so sightseeing should be an easy task. After a long day of venturing around the city, retire to the cocktail bar for a few evening drinks and relaxation. The parking facilities, lobby lounge and room services make for an enjoyable stay at the Delphi Hotel.
Book a room at the Best Western Delphi Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Novotel Amsterdam City Hotel
Europa Boulevard 10, Zuideramstel, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1083 AD – 4 Stars
A four-star hotel just out of the center, close to the Amsterdam RAI Events Centre. Close proximity to the international airport makes the Novotel Amsterdam Hotel a popular choice amongst both business visitors, and those enjoying a weekend away in Amsterdam. Like all the Novotel Hotels, rooms are modern and well-appointed, matched by prompt, friendly service. For those wishing to dine in, the hotel’s in-house restaurant serves up a wide choice of traditional and contemporary cuisine in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. Trips in to town are painless, with the tram and train passing close by, taking just 15 minutes to arrive in the center. Be sure to check with the reception staff regarding what’s on and where, as the city host any number of events, year-round, from outdoor concerts and exhibitions, to sporting events and festivals.
Book a room at the Novotel Amsterdam City Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Eden Leidse Square Amsterdam Hotel
Nassaukade 387-390, Oud-West, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 3 Stars
Balcony/terrace, hair dryer, in room safe, desk are among the amenities guests will find in every room. Also to be found at the hotel are shops, bar/pub, 24hr room service. Unwind after your day with a choice of garden – just a few of the hotel’s excellent sporting and leisure offerings. With a full range of popular amenities and a friendly, caring staff, it’s no wonder guests keep returning to Eden Leidse Square Amsterdam Hotel.
Book a room at the Eden Leidse Square Amsterdam Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre Hotel
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 5, Amsterdam-Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 4 Stars
Combining a spot-on location with modern comfort and first-rate service, Crowne Plaza City Centre Hotel is an ideal base from which to explore Amsterdam. The hotel is located near Dam Square and Central Station and is surrounded by the city’s most exciting cultural sights and museums, shops, bars and restaurants. There are 270 rooms and suites, warmly decorated and furnished with all that’s required for a comfortable stay. Guests can eat at Dorrius Brassiere, which serves traditional Dutch cuisine and the relaxed Amsterdammer bar and patio, both of which have excellent reputations for food and service. Facilities include a well-equipped business and conference center, indoor pool, kids’ suites, sauna and gym.
Book a room at the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre Hotel now, best price guaranteed.