Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the world. Thanks to the historic architecture and its unique canals, there are countless sights and sounds to explore. It’s incredibly easy to get around too, thanks to all of the locals being able to speak English and most of the transportation opens being simple and inexpensive.
But in the event you’re only given a week or less to explore Amsterdam, how do you go about it? In this article, we’re going to give you a run-down of tips and tricks on how you can enjoy this beautiful city with just a few short days, so you can feel fulfilled at the end of your trip with lots of unique memories.
Plan what museums you want to visit
Amsterdam has a surprising number of museums to visit. From getting Rijksmuseum tickets to planning a trip to the Anne Frank House, there are going to lots of locations dotted around Amsterdam that are well worth a visit. However, travelling to each one can take some time because there are so many, so you’ll want to book both transport and tickets in advance so that you can have a quick and easy route throughout the city. Check opening and closing times and plan out where you’ll eat as well.
Planning ahead can also help you if you’re on a budget. While transport costs are reasonable in Amsterdam, there are some restaurants and museums and tours that can cost you a pretty penny. Always check prices in addition to times and locations so you know exactly where you’re going and how much you can spend.
Get an OV-chipkaart
The OV-chipkaart is essentially a public transport ticket that can be topped up with money at different stations. You simply scan it when you jump on a tram, bus, metro or train, and the cost will automatically be deducted from the card. You can purchase a non-personalized tourist card that can be reused and topped up at any time. These can be picked up from any major station or even supermarkets and newsstands. You can also buy a personalized card on the internet, but this is mainly for residents of Amsterdam.
An OV-chipkaart will allow you to travel pretty much everywhere in Amsterdam and even beyond, meaning you can easily hop on a train and head to Eindhoven or Rotterdam as well. It’s a simple way to get around and makes your visit less stressful and transport easier to cope with.
Don’t be afraid to interact with locals
Since everyone in Amsterdam speaks English, you shouldn’t be afraid of interacting with the locals, asking for help or even seeking recommendations. Even if you’re with a group, chatting with others at a bar or mingling with other groups of people can get you far in Amsterdam. The locals are all fantastic people and they love to chat and meet tourists.
However, if you’re in a really busy and packed area, then you may want to keep on the lookout for pickpockets. While it’s fine to get comfortable with locals, do keep in mind that you’ll paint a target on your back and people will realize that you’re a tourist and aim for your pockets.
Get used to biking
Biking is an important part of life in Amsterdam. There are so many bikes all over the place and you’ll find plenty of places for bike hires. It’s a quick and simple way to get around the picturesque city and you’ll be surprised at how relaxing it can be to travel this way.
However, you also need to watch out for bikers. If you’re walking in the middle of the street looking at a map, then don’t be surprised if a biker comes screeching next to you or in front of you. Make sure you look both ways when crossing the street and the bike lanes!
Make sure to bring cash
Unlike some other European cities, Amsterdam isn’t very friendly when it comes to non-European cards. If you have an American card, for instance, it will be rejected at many different places. In addition, if you plan to do shopping at the floating Flower Market or other stalls, then they might not take cards and will only accept cash.
Thankfully, there are plenty of banks and ATMs where you can withdraw Euros, but we’d definitely recommend that you get yourself a stockpile of Euro coins and notes to make paying for things easier.