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The Local Stay | City guide - Amsterdam
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City guide - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam owes its village-like charm to its famed canals and bicycle routes, all surrounded by spectacular views. But add in world-class dining, shopping, historic sites and museums, and it’s clear this tiny city possesses all the vibrancy of a major European capital.

Tipping: The service charge is included on the bill in the Netherlands, so tipping is not necessary or expected in restaurants, hotels or taxis.

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Transportation from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Public Transportation: We recommend that short-term visitors purchase paper tickets for use for 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, 144 or 168 hours. Long-term visitors will want to purchase an OV chip card, which was introduced to the Amsterdam public transportation system in 2010. A 24-hour OV card, as it’s called, costs €7.50 for adults and €2.50 for children 4-11. You may also want to consider purchasing an amsterdam City Card, which gives travelers access to public transportation in addition to entry to many popular attractions.


Amsterdam’s railway system runs directly between the airport and Amsterdam Central Station downtown, making for a quick and easy trip from the airport to the city center. It’s also the least expensive option.

Cost €4.20 (or use an OV card)
Trip Duration 15-19 minutes
Hours departs every 10 minutes 24/7

The city’s GVB buses provide direct transport from the airport to the city center 24 hours a day. Catch the Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 197 at Schiphol Airport Plaza Platform B9 and debark at Museumplein, Rijksmuseum or Leidseplein, depending on your final destination within Amsterdam. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, but be sure to check in once you arrive at the bus platform. Between the hours of midnight and 5:00 am, you will need to take the N97 bus instead.

Cost €4.75 one way / €9 round trip
Trip Duration 28-34 minutes
Hours The Airport Express Bus 197 departs every 10 minutes from 5:00 am to 12:00 am. The N97 bus runs hourly from 12:00 am to 5:00 am.

For those who prefer traveling by taxi, look for cab stands as you exit the airport. You can also book a “Business Taxi” in advance here.

Cost €50-60
Trip Duration dependent on final destination
Hop on a Bike

There’s a rumor that more bikes exist in Amsterdam than people. The Dutch certainly do love their bicycles, and there’s no better way to explore the city like a local. Avoid car traffic as you check out Amsterdam’s hidden gems, cycling along canals, the famous Vondelpark and P.C. Hooftstraat (where Dutch celebrities congregate.) If you’re nervous about tackling the bike lanes on your own, look for a guide: There are plenty of bicycle tours available to tourists throughout Amsterdam, as well as bike rental shops. We recommend:

  • Get Events organizes 2-hour guided bike tours, with prices ranging from €19-25 per person.
  • Get Your Guide offers a 3-hour guided bike tour for €21.50 per person.
  • Reserve online with Yellow Bike for a 3-hour guided bike tour, offered daily, for €27.50 per person. (Yellow Bike also rents bicycles for a daily rate of €12.)
Bicycle Rentals:
  • Bike 4 U €7 for 3 hours / €9 for 24 hours
  • MacBike €7.50 for 1 hour / €11 for 3 hours / €14.75 for 24 hours
  • Black Bikes €9 for 3 hours / €13 for 24 hours (Pick up and drop off at any of 13 locations throughout the city.)
Take a Canal Cruise

As famous as Amsterdam’s bevy of bicycles are its canals. Explore the city by water with a boat tour departing from various locations throughout the city. Prices begin at just €15, and cruises are offered day and night, with various dinner and drinks packages available if you’d like to make an evening of it. Check out some of our favorite operators:

Shop the 9 Streets

Kalverstraat is, no doubt, the best known shopping street in Amsterdam, but if you’re looking to get off the beaten path, check out the 9 Streets, nine little streets surrounded by canals and full of independent boutiques. The buildings housing the shops were erected in the 7th century, so there’s plenty of history on display as you browse. Be sure to stop for lunch or dinner at one of the many charming restaurants you’ll find along your way.

Get Cultured at the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum

A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some iconic Dutch art. As one of the most famous museums in the Netherlands, The Rijksmuseum (Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX) houses Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century, with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and more. The Van Gogh Museum (Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ), in turn, celebrates the life and work of the Netherland’s most famous artist, Vincent van Gogh. Opt for the audio tour here to get the full experience.

Float Among the Flowers at “Bloemenmarkt”

The Dutch may be famous for their tulips, but Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market, has more floral varieties on display than you could ever imagine. Exhibiting their colorful wares on houseboats along the city’s canals, Bloemenmarkt’s vendors sell their flowers every day of the week.

Oud Zuid

Home to Dutch celebrities, historic architecture and some of the city’s most fabulous shopping, Oud Zuid is Amsterdam luxury at its finest. Check out the neighborhood’s main street, P.C. Hooftstraat, for designer labels like Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. Once you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve dropped, sit down for a meal at one of the area’s chic restaurants, including Joffers, Brasserie van Dam, and Anne & Max. Or relax in the Vondelpark, a green respite in the city and a perfect spot for cycling.

The Jordaan

Once home to blue-collar workers, The Jordaan has gentrified into a trendy area of galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Take some time to explore the neighborhood’s winding narrow streets, small canals, charming courtyards and historic monuments. Looking for some traditional Dutch food to sustain you? Try Moeders (Mothers) Dutch kitchen. We also recommend Restaurant Black and Blue for steak or Cinema Paradiso if you have a hankering for Italian.

De Pijp

Another former working class neighborhood, De Pijp is now a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Experience the famous Albert Cuijp Market, where 260 stalls let you choose from such Dutch delicacies as cheeses, herring and stroopwafels. Dine in terraced cafes, and visit neighborhood bars to sample some local brews. The burgers at The Butcher are a must, or visit Manamana for some delectable Israeli cuisine. Looking for gifts? Anna+Nina has got you covered with one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry and home decor.

The Westerpark

As its name suggests, The Westerpark is home to a lovely park that makes for relaxing walks among greenery and a charming spot for ice skating in the winter. In addition, you’ll find trendy galleries, restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood. Among our favorites are Ton Ton Club for Japanese-American cuisine in a historic setting, Mossels & Gin for (what else?) mussels and gin, Dophert for vegan cuisine and the local favorite Café Edel.

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