Amsterdam is one of the best weekend destinations in Europe. It is very easy to get to and plenty of layover opportunities make this a top destination. The city is full of culture and history while the nightlife brings a whole new world to life after dark. The city is not cheap but most backpackers don’t stay more than a few days. I make a stop there every year and have yet to be disappointed by Amsterdam. Below is a quick travel guide to Amsterdam.
Hostels-Expect to pay between €20-€30 for a typical dorm bed and expect to pay around €50-€80 per night for a private suite. Also, expect prices to raise Friday and Saturday nights.
Hotels- Expect to pay between €80-€120 budget hotels and the closer you get to the center of town the higher the prices will be.
Couchsurfing- There are plenty of opportunities in the city to couchsurf. Just make sure if you are visiting during peak season or on the weekends to book it early.
Train- The city is easily accessible by train from all over Europe and Amsterdam Central Station is located in the heart of downtown. If you are flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) expect to pay around €5 for the direct train from AMS to Central Station.
Tram- The city does have a tram system that goes all over the city. A single ticket (1 hour) is €2.80. If you are using it frequently and staying longer there are more options for you to use. You can purchase transit cards from 1 day at €7.50 and all the way up to 7 days at € 32.00.
Bike Rentals- There are plenty of bike rental shops around the city. Expect to pay between €3-€10 a day for one bike. This is by far my favorite way to explore the city!
Breakfast- is usually included at your hostel but expect to pay around €5 for a budget breakfast AKA a pastry or two with coffee. If you decide to go eat at a restaurant expect to pay around €10 per person. Not much savings in going fast food so try one of the many wonderful pastry shops or find one of the many Crêperies.
Lunch & Dinner- If you are on a budget look for one of the many Ethnic restaurants (kebabs and such) you can expect to pay between €7-€10. If you choose a fast food chain expect to pay around €7 for a combo meal. You can eat cheaper if you buy your food at a grocery store and make yourself lunch. Also, Amsterdam has vending machines named FEBO and you can get a cheap meal for €3-€5. Fries to go are also very popular in Amsterdam and you can get those for a few Euro as well. If you decide to go to a sit down restaurant expect to pay €15 and up for nice meal.
Alcohol & Weed- While you are drinking in the city expect to pay between €3-€7 for beer. However, if you go to a corner store you can pickup a pint of beer for around €1. If you are going to buy weed expect to pay €3-€7 per pre-rolled joint. In Amsterdam each person can buy up to 5 grams each and expect to pay €5-€30 per gram depending on the quality and strain. You can also buy splifs which are pre-rolled joints that are half weed and half tobacco. These typically cost less than €12 each.
Red Light District- This area is always flooded with tourists and one can always find a stag outting or party happening at one of the many bars in the area.
Leidseplein- This is one of the three main party areas of the city and it contains several of the famous music venues such as Paradiso and Melkweg. You can find pubs, cafés and smaller nightclubs spurring off this main area. Leidseplein square is located at the southern end of Amsterdam’s central canal ring and is almost facing the popular Vondelpark.
Rembrandtplein- As another of the three main party centers, this former agriculture hub is now one of the busiest night squares in the city and many of the most popular clubs in the city can be found here. You will find the popular Club Rain and Escape here as well as many other clubs radiating off the square.
Gay Clubs- Located near Rembrandtplein is Reguliersdwarsstraat and this is the area where you will want to look for gay friendly establishments but there are still plenty of other options such as Amstel on the other side of the square and also be sure to keep a lookout for the numerous pride flags around the city that show their establishments are gay friendly.
Things to see and do
Red Light District- This is a very popular attraction and at all hours you will see people and families exploring the area. There are plenty of things to see and do here. Make sure you don’t take pictures of the girls because they do not like it and you could have your camera smashed! FREE
The Rijksmuseum (National Museum)- This museum houses Rembrandt’s Nightwatch and is full of amazing Dutch history and culture. It is located directly behind the I Am Amsterdam sign and there is plenty of bicycle parking out front. €17.50 for Adults
Van Gogh Museum- Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists of all time and seeing his works on display is quite amazing! I like to view his works in two ways. First, sober so I can read and enjoy his work. Second, smoke a little weed but not too much and view his works. It is a night and day experience seeing them sober and stoned. Still worth seeing if you do not partake in weed. €17 adult, € 0 for museaumkaart and under 18.
Vandelpark- This is by far one of the must see highlights of the city. The best way to see the park is by bicycle. Rent a bike and explore the grounds of the beautiful park. FREE
Anne Frank House- This historic home was were Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazi’s during the occupation and is on every person must see list for history buffs. Be sure to get there early because the lines will push 4 hour wait times during peak season. Adult Admission €9.
Heineken Experience- This is a great break from the art museums and bike riding. Heineken immerses you into the brewing process of its beer and culminates in the freshest beer tasting you will ever experience! €16 Adult
Bloemenmarkt- This flower market dates back to 1862 and displays tulips to geraniums on floating barges. If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll while you enjoy iconic sights of Holland then this is for you! FREE
Rembrandt House Museum- This is the home where Rembrandt lived and worked for 20 years. This 17th century home was restored and hung with his etchings. It also houses collections from other artists inspired by his works. €16 Adults, FREE for I Am Amsterdam City Card and Museumkaart.
ARTIS- This Zoo park was founded in the 19th century and is home to elephants, monkeys, and Zebra’s among other species. It also houses an aquarium and a planetarium in this unique and wonderful park. €20.50 Adults, €17.00 3-9yrs and Free up to 2yrs.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam- This is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Located in the city center this is the perfect place for a romantic venue with your partner. €8.50 Adult, FREE with I am Amsterdam card.
Red Light Secrets- This is the only museum in the world dedicated to prostitution. Located in the heart of the red light district this museum offers a glimpse into the world’s oldest profession and even gives you the experience of sitting in a red light window! It is a top rated experience in the city. €10 Adult.
Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum- This is the oldest and most important museum in the world dedicated to Cannabis. If you are interested in the history of weed then this is the place for you. €9 Adult.
Canal Cruise- This is a great way to see the city and one of the most popular ways as well. Most tour operators are located directly in front of Central Station. If you go during the summer pick an operator that has an open air boat to take full advantage of the views! This will also help on gaining some amazing photo ops! If you are there during the winter months this makes a great heated escape from the cold. €15 per person.