The little city with a big heart
Amsterdam is most certainly a small city with a huge heart, and has long been popular with tourists from all over the world. The canals in Amsterdam are quite stunning and very tranquil and the brown cafes are interestingly quaint and cosy. It's also a cultural hub and home to a multitude of world-class museums. There are plenty of theatres, concert halls, nightclubs and bars to enjoy here too.
When to visit
There is never a wrong time to visit Amsterdam, although spring is especially lovely. Koningsdag, King Willem Alexander's Birthday, falls on the 27th April and the whole country takes time to celebrate it. A huge open air market is also held on the same day as the birthday celebrations. However, if the King's birthday falls on a Sunday the market opens on a Saturday.
Things to consider before travelling
Many people travel around the city of Amsterdam via bicycle, but you might feel more comfortable using taxi cabs. If you do, make sure you ask the driver for an estimate before accepting in order to avoid unanticipated high costs. There is a free ferry called the "het pontje" that leaves from behind Central Station, and travels across the river IJ to NDSM, a former wharf, which now serves as a cultural centre. Although Amsterdam can be expensive in tourist areas, you can find restaurants in specific parts of the city that are cheaper than those in London. Amsterdam is 1 hour ahead of London.
Local information and tips
At the airport catch a train straight to the centre of Amsterdam. The journey will only take a quarter hour. Single tickets cost about 4 euros. A 197 bus from the airport to Leidseplein in central Amsterdam takes around 35 minutes in duration. Taxi's cost approximately 50 euros. Cheap hostels are comfortable and cost around 20 euros a night while more upscale hotels cost anywhere from 45 euros upwards. Cabs are expensive and you can spend around 15 to 20 euros on a 10 minute journey. You'll save money using public transport, with a 24 hour day ticket costing approximately 8 euros for adults and 3 for children between the ages of 4 to 11. Trams sell single tickets.