Amsterdam is a beautiful and ideal destination for family vacations, couples getaways, holidays with friends, or traveling alone. It boasts a number of cool attractions, is home to many scenic locations, and has an extremely inclusive and liberal culture. It’s a spot that’s near the top of many travel bucket lists and for very good reasons. If you’re traveling to Amsterdam, then you may as well make the most out of your trip and find out as much as you can about the city before you jet off. With that in mind, here’s a list of six important things you should know before you go to Amsterdam.
- You Can Speak English Everywhere
Before jetting off on vacation, most people worry about how they’re going to speak to the locals and attempt to learn an entire language before they go away. Thankfully, this isn’t necessary when visiting Amsterdam. These days, Dutch children start to learn English from an incredibly young age, so most people will be happy to talk to you in your native tongue. That being said, you may want to try learning a few basic Dutch phrases before you go. You could probably survive without them, but locals would appreciate your effort.
- Cycling Is Better Than Driving
One of the first things you’ll likely notice about Amsterdam is the sheer number of bicycles roaming around. Because of the narrow streets and trams, driving in the city is incredibly difficult, so most people opt to cycle instead. If you want to feel like a local and blend in with everybody else, you should consider doing the same, and leave your car at home. Parking in the city centre is expensive anyway, so it’s just not worth it. There are plenty of places to rent bicycles in Amsterdam, but you should be careful to only rent from reputable stores.
- There’s More Than The RLD
We can’t ignore the fact that a lot of people are drawn to this city because of its famous coffee shops and the Red Light District. However, it’s important to know that Amsterdam is so much more than that. There are hundreds of attractions, including Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum, Xtracold Icebar Amsterdam, Vondelpark, the Heineken Museum, and so much more. Of course, you can go and visit the places that the city is known for, but don’t think that they represent Amsterdam as a whole. It’s a unique, diverse, and beautiful place.
- It’s Easy To Get Lost
As I’ve already mentioned, the streets in Amsterdam are incredibly narrow, and this can cause a few issues as you try to navigate the place. A lot of the time, the streets are so small that you can just walk past them and completely miss the turning you were supposed to take. A lot of the canals also look incredibly similar, so you’ll walk past what you think is the same canal several times and think you’re going around in circles. This can be fun for some people, but if it sounds like the worst thing in the world to you, then you might want to catch a tram or bus.
- The Weather Is Pretty Unpredictable
If you’re looking for somewhere sunny to holiday, then Amsterdam probably isn’t the best choice. Of course, it does have days where the weather is lovely and warm, but that can change in an instant. Like in the UK, Amsterdam rains pretty much whenever it wants, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for a downpour. If you’re going out for the day, make sure you take some waterproof shoes to wear, so that you don’t end up with soggy feet. A rain poncho is also a good idea, but if you happen to forget yours, you can usually buy them cheaply around the city.
- Pickpockets And Scammers Are Everywhere
Like many touristy areas, Amsterdam is full of scam artists. There will be people prowling the streets attempting to sell you used public transport tickets or stolen bikes, so it’s crucial that you’re on your toes and only buy things from reputable stores. You should also watch out for pickpockets, especially around busy areas, like Dam Square. Some will try to distract you by asking you questions or for directions, so always pay attention when talking to strangers. When possible, you should leave valuables locked away at your accommodation.
Amsterdam is a wonderful place to visit, so make sure that you remember the advice above to really make the most out of your time there.