The European capital that’s best known for its relaxed laws and progressive attitude is so much more than tulips, coffee shops and Van Gogh. All it takes is one long, leisurely bike ride or stroll along Amsterdam’s quaint streets and canals to see it for what it really is: a culturally thriving, palpably exciting city that rewards travelers who are willing to slow down and sink into the peaceful rhythm of life here.

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June–Aug.: This is peak tourist season in Amsterdam. The days are long, the weather is sunny and pleasant, and there are lots of open-air festivals and other activities taking place.
Sept.–Oct.: This is the shoulder season, which means fewer crowds and cheaper prices. The weather is still relatively warm in September, with crisp temperatures taking over in October and November.
Nov.–Feb.: If you’re traveling on a budget, winter is a good time to go to Amsterdam, provided that you don’t mind a little cold, rain or possibly snow.
March–May: The weather is mild, and the tulips are in bloom — particularly if you’re there in mid-April — although hotel and airfare rates do tend to go up during this time.


Visas: U.S. citizens visiting for less than 90 days do not need to obtain a visa. Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure.
Money: Local currency is the euro. ATMs are widely available throughout the city. Credit cards are not quite as commonly accepted in Amsterdam as they are in the U.S., so it’s usually best to carry some cash with you.
Travel Health: As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), travelers should be fully vaccinated before going to Amsterdam. Be sure to check airline requirements — as well as requirements at your destination, including (but not limited to) proof of vaccination, testing or quarantine — before you go. The Government of the Netherlands and the CDC are the best resources for up-to-date information and guidance. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away.


Getting Here: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is located just 30 minutes from the city center. The train is the fastest and cheapest way to get from the airport to central Amsterdam, although you can opt to take a bus or taxi (the latter is the most expensive option). Trains arrive at Central Station.
Getting Around: Famously, Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world for biking and walking. There’s virtually no need for a car if you’re staying in the city center. As you might expect, public transit is also excellent — hop on a GVB tram, metro train or bus, depending on where you’re going.


Local Lingo: Dutch is the official language. Most people speak and understand English, but it never hurts to learn a few phrases before you go. Hallo: Hello. Goedemorgen: Good morning. Goedenavond: Good evening. Dag: Bye. Dank je wel: Thank you.
Must-Have Apps: GVB9292Rijksmuseum AppFlickBike
Insider Tip: Follow locals to Boerenmarkt, a lovely organic farmer’s market on Noordermarkt square, where you’ll find vendors selling everything from delicious Dutch cheeses to freshly baked bread to just-shucked oysters. It’s a delight.