Posted on: Nov 21, 2013

Survival guide for the Amsterdam tourist

Harmonia Coaching
Johnnys Garage

If this is your first time that you are visiting Amsterdam, you have a lot of things to learn!

What is the weather like in Amsterdam?

The old joke about Amsterdam having four seasons a day is just not true. At times it seems like it could be true anyway. Overall Amsterdam has the same mild climate as the rest of the Netherlands, but the weather in Amsterdam remains somewhat unpredictable. Just to be sure, take a winter jacket with you, no matter the month you are visiting. It can be shinny, rainy, cloudy and snowy in one day! Be prepared for the worst and have in mind that is usually rains!

When to visit Amsterdam

The best time to visit Amsterdam is whenever you can, no matter what time of year! This is the magic of this city! No matter the weather there is always thinks to do and to see! But if you're flexible with your plans, here are some guidelines to follow.

In general, most travelers visit Amsterdam between April and September, when the days are longer and temperatures are milder than during other months.

You will find the cheapest prices for Amsterdam flights and accommodations from late October to early March with an exception at the holiday season in December. On March you can see the opening of the famous Keukenhof Gardens, on April, is the biggest dutch celebration, King's Day and in the summer there are countless cultural festivals, open-air concerts and an average of 16 hours between sunrise and sunset, Amsterdam in summer is well worth the crowds. Also on June you can experience two of Amsterdam's top summer festivals, Open Garden Days and Roots Festival and on August you can be a part of world's only gay pride parade on canals!

Useful passes for Museums & transportation

As admissions to museums and public transport tickets might represent an important cost during your visit to Amsterdam, three different discount cards aim at lowering these expenses.

Amsterdam Holland Pass, offers free transfer from and to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, free tickets to most important museums (including Rijksmuseum), discounts on many attractions and 24-hours public transport ticket.

iAmsterdam card, offers free entrance to several museums (but not Rijksmuseum) and city attractions, 25% discount on selected restaurants and a free public transport ticket in Amsterdam (but not transportation from and to the airport) for a limited period of 1 to 3 days.

Museumkaart opens the doors to 34 museums in Amsterdam (including Rijksmuseum) and 400 museums in the Netherlands for a period of one year.

If you are planning to use the transportation more than once, you should use the offers that GVB gives you. The GVB day or multiple day card, entitles you to unlimited travel around Amsterdam - day and night - on bus, tram and metro, for the number of hours that best suits your plans. For instance, the day card is valid for 24 hours from first check in. You can check the price range at the GVB website.

The Amsterdam & Region day card, provides you with unlimited travel with bus, tram, and metro in Amsterdam and region, day and night. This card is valid for GVB and regional carriers Connexxion and EBS. It the ideal card for visitors to the region of Amsterdam. Visit Amsterdam and surrounding areas, such as Volendam, the Zaanse Schans, Haarlem, and so on with one ticket. The card is valid in the train. See the price range here.

What about Parking

Do not bring a car to Amsterdam unless strictly necessary. Parking is very expensive and everybody pays for it, rates are pretty close to 3 euros an hour.

You can always use trams/trains that run from the early morning till midnight. If you're smart, you take your car to Diemen, Sloterdijk, Zaandam, which are outside the city and them take public transportation or places like Nieuw West or north of the city or near the Central Station, where parking is cheaper. Make sure that your car is parked correctly, and in a place that's for free, and looks safe.

Be careful because if you forget to feed the parking meter, they will clamp your car.

Public transportation

There are plenty of ways to move around Amsterdam. First, the trams are the best and most enjoyable way to cover any distance effortlessly, at speed and at little cost. With routes radiating out from the Centraal Station, the tram network will get you in strolling distance of pretty much anywhere you're likely to want to visit. There are also various bus services, including an extensive network of night buses from 12.30am-7am and the Metro if you want to travel south-east from Centraal Station through the city centre.


Many visitors rent a bike towards the end of their stay and wish they had done so sooner. We do not recommend it highly enough. You can find rental companies all over town and they require ID plus a cash deposit or credit-card imprint. Please be extra careful because Amsterdamers doesn’t cycle like back in your town.

You can hire a bike from almost anywhere in the city. Bike rental companies abound near main hubs such as Central Station, Leidseplein and Dam Square. Short-term rentals start from three hours and the average price for a full day is 8 euros. Many companies also hire different types of bicycles from touring bikes to tandems and children’s bikes to kick-scooters.

Here you can read some intresting tips for safe driving.

Make your life easier with internet

If it is your first time here, buy a map. Don’t try to explore Amsterdam without one, because you are going to get lost. Inside the ring, most of the canals look the same, so without a gps or a map, you are going to make circles all day long.

If you have a 4G device, use the gps. You will not have only map on your phone but also all the programs of the public transportation and all the places that you should go! Dutch are very connected to the internet, so you can find many free wifi spots to make your program, while drinking your coffee.

Download all the apps that can make your life easier and your trip more relaxed! Read more here

Places you should definitely visit & tips for newbies

Amsterdam has beautiful hidden corners all over the city. You are going to visit many beautiful places and meet so many people. Just be careful of some common tourist traps!

The one place that you should definitely visit is the Red Light district, one of the most popular attractions of Amsterdam, as if there aren't any places like this anywhere else in the world.

Summer, Friday and Saturday nights, the place is heaving with tourists and where there are lots of tourists there are lots of undesirables such as heroin junkies, aggressive beggars and pickpockets. Leave all valuables at the hotel keep an eye on your wallet, bags and cameras.

Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market, is another place you should go and is on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein. There are many shops selling flowers, souvenirs and of course bulbs with all kind of flowers. If you are planning to buy big quantities of bulbs - bags of 50 and 100 bulbs, count them because many times the number is lower than it says in the package.

The Concertgebouw lays on free classical concerts, Wednesday lunchtimes at 12.30pm from September to June. They are popular, so get there a little early to be sure of getting a seat.

Visit the Homomonument, a tribute to the Gay Right movement, on Keizersgracht Canal. Where Raadhuisstraat crosses the Keizersgracht Canal, right beside the 17th-century Westerkerk (West Church) and around the corner from Anne Frankhuis (Anne Frank House), you can visit one of the world's only tributes to the gay rights movement, the Homomonument. On it an inscription reads: "Commemorates all women and men ever oppressed and persecuted because of their homosexuality. supports the international lesbian and gay movement in their struggle against contempt, discrimination, and oppression. demonstrates that we are not alone. Calls for permanent vigilance. past, present, and future are represented by the three triangles on this square."

Also read the article about the don’t in Amsterdam and be careful!

Here there are 9 fun things you should definitely try in Amsterdam!

Have fun!


The photos were taken from my good friend & photo-ninja Thrasos Panou.

Born in Volos in 1980. As a kid was filled many concerns about life. Sports lover, naturalist and big fan of travelling. He has majored in multimedia development and the past few years he's grown passionate for photography and photo editing. His purpose is to offer the world the best images one can shoot and edit. Believes that everybody has an artist inside. It only takes for one to believe in himself. You can find about more at Thrasos website: Thrasivoulos Panou Photography


Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.