Amsterdam Travel Guide

Introduction to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a picturesque port city that's easy to see on a weekend break, and it's just a few hours away from most airports in Ireland. If you stay in Centrum, you'll have plenty of museums, restaurants, shops and nightlife on your doorstep – including sex museums, underground coffee shops and diamond jewellers. The fun doesn't stop here though: Jordaan and De Pijp are two of Amsterdam's smaller, quirkier neighbourhoods, perfect for finding farmers markets, small boutique shops and design stores. The apartments here make perfect crashpads for a weekend spent gallery hunting, brunching, and, naturally, partying.

Amsterdam is also a great place to see the tulips, or to base yourself until you go to see the Keukenhof (the highly Instagrammable tulip fields in Lisse) in spring. This is also when King's Day takes place, a huge celebration of the King's birthday – which falls on April 27th.

Other things to do in Amsterdam

Whilst Amsterdam still has the Red Light District and a fantastically liberal attitude, the city is far more civilised and relaxed than stories would have you believe. Of course, if you're here for a weekend of debauchery there's many a gin joint (or in Holland's case, pub) to get stuck into, but the day time is perfect for exploring the lush greenery of the Vondelpark, or taking a boat tour around the canals too. It's definitely a good idea to get a true, cultural introduction to Amsterdam at The Heineken Experience too.

The other way to get around Amsterdam is by bike, so take advantage and rent out a set of wheels to see the Dam Square, the Nine Streets or the Wallen area the way the locals do. Refuelling is definitely part of the fun of a bike tour, so stop off in one of the cosy canal cafes for coffee and cake. The markets make great stops as well: check out Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market, or Waterlooplein – Amsterdam's largest flea market.

If the kids aren't quite up to riding bikes around the canals yet, take them to Amsterdam's Dungeons for a horrific history lesson. In summer, the city beach is a great way to spend a day too.

Stay in 10 of our favourite arty hotels in Amsterdam.

Eating and drinking in Amsterdam

Travellers flock here for the naughty nightlife in Amsterdam, and it doesn't disappoint: Leidseplein lives up to it's name, and there are clubs, bars and pubs hiding in the streets behind the square too. Check out Club Up or Trouw for the city's best DJ sets and summer parties.

If your drink of choice is a light IPA rather than a double vodka and coke, Amsterdam's pubs welcome you in with open arms. In fact, there's a microbrewery in a windmill in Jordaan (with certified organic beers too!).

If you happen to be recovering from last nights escapades, Amsterdam's restaurants are sure to have you right and well again. The Dutch dish of pannenkoeken (pancakes!) are stacked high in Pannenkoekenhuis, and served with sweet or savoury toppings. Whilst you can experience fine dining here, the real foodie gems are the cafes and restaurants you find whilst exploring the city on foot. The Albert Cyup Markets are a great way to see, smell and taste the local produce from the Netherlands. You'll be pleased to know this city has a modern approach to healthy eating as well, as it's easy to find gluten free, vegan and healthy choices in most of the cafes. This international capital caters to a variety of different cuisines, and you'll easily find something to suit your tastebuds here.

Find out more: the top 10 things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam climate

Amsterdam is on the North Sea, with the United Kingdom to it's left and Nordic countries up above it. The climate generally quite cool and wet, but they do experience a few heat waves in summer (upwards of 25°)!

When to go to Amsterdam

Spring is the best time to go if you are here for tulips and cultural celebrations, as King's Day takes place. The party atmosphere spreads throughout the city and everyone's in a good mood. It's usually carried over to summer, which is when you start to see backpackers and travellers from all over the world come to Amsterdam for festival season. Autumn and early spring are usually the Dam's 'quiet' seasons.

Flying to Amsterdam

You can fly directly to Amsterdam from Dublin and Cork. The airport is in the south of the city, and it's easy to reach the centre in 15 minutes via the train. You can also reach Rotterdam easily from this train station.

 Amsterdam Deals

Hotels in Amsterdam

Car hire in Amsterdam

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