Amsterdam is known for being an open-minded and exciting city. Clubs and bars are plentiful and the Red Light District is popular with tourists. Amsterdam has a rich history. In fact, its beautiful canals and waterways once attracted great wealth, by way of traders and merchants.
Planning a trip
Springtime weather is always glorious in Amsterdam and on the 27th April (Koningsdag) King Willem Alexander's birthday is celebrated throughout the country and a huge open air market coincides. Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, is another major holiday falling on the 5th of May to commemorate the end of Nazi Germany's occupation.
Amsterdam is a relatively safe city that is easy to travel around. The free ferry or "het pontje" located behind the main station operates over the IJ to NDSM. The NDSM was formally a wharf, but now serves as a cultural centre. Taxis are convenient, but it's recommended that you get an estimate from taxi drivers before accepting a cab to avoid any surprises from unforeseen high costs. You'll be spoilt for choice with the many eateries in Amsterdam serving food from former colonies, like Surinam, Indonesia and the NL Antilles. Although restaurants are expensive in tourist areas, you'll find other establishments in the city, with prices even cheaper than restaurants in London. Amsterdam is an hour ahead of London.
Getting around the city
The airport railway station has trains that travel directly to the city centre. Single tickets cost about 4 euros and the journey takes around 15 minutes. The 197 bus travels from the airport to Leidseplein in the city centre, and takes around 35 minutes. Taxis are available to hire from the airport and cost around 50 euros. If you want to save some money, book into a cheap hotel for approximately 20 euros a night. Higher end hotels cost around 45 euros upwards. Cabs in Amsterdam are not cheap and a 10 minute journey can cost around 15 to 20 euros. Public transport is more budget friendly though and a 24 hour day ticket costs about 8 euros for adults, and 3 for children between the ages of 4 and 11. Trams are another useful mode of transportation, single tickets are available.