Amsterdam is like a little magic box full of tall people, vibrant vibes, diverse cultures and a friendly atmosphere. You’ll never know what’s around the next corner in this open-minded metropolis, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Do you already have a plane ticket to Amsterdam or is this one of the destinations on your travel wish list? Then you’re in luck, as we’ve got the perfect guide with these 10 handy travel tips when you’re going to Amsterdam for the first time.
1. Mind the bicycle
As a kingdom of cycling, the Dutch cannot be separated from their bikes. Amsterdam is considered the cycling capital of the world. Everywhere you go there are bike lanes and many related facilities, such as various bike parking areas. Whether you want to explore the city by bike or on foot, you should always make sure you are on the right path, cycling on the cycle path (red lane clearly marked with a bicycle symbol) and walking on the pedestrian path. Don’t put yourself in danger and drive the locals crazy. Better safe than sorry, right?
2. Art pilgrimage but no photo
Amsterdam is definitely one of the best cities for art pilgrimage. There are more than 50 museums in the city, many of them world famous, such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. If you are an art lover, take the opportunity to explore as many museums as possible. One thing to keep in mind is that most museums in Amsterdam have certain restrictions when it comes to taking pictures, such as allowing photography only in the entrance hall or other designated areas, but not in the exhibition areas. Do not take pictures without permission. Nobody wants to cause unnecessary misunderstandings during their trip.
3. Coffeeshop sells no coffee ☕
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find your cappuccino, latte, or americano at the cafeteria. The coffeeshop is not actually what it literally means, and the fact is that it sells something totally different. But whenever you want to have a cup of coffee, Amsterdam won’t let you down. The Dutch are the coffee maniacs of Europe, averaging 4 cups per day. So don’t worry, you will always find it in a nearby cafeteria or in ‘Koffie Huis’.
4. No food and drinks on public transport 🚋
I know how annoying it is when you want to continue enjoying your chips or ice cream on the bus or tram, but the chauffeur/driver denies you public transport. In Amsterdam, with the exception of trains, eating and drinking are not allowed on the metro, trams and buses. Take your time to enjoy the delicacy before boarding.
5. Alcohol free in public 🍻
Going out with friends is fun, especially if you’re traveling to amazing Amsterdam. Walking through the streets surrounded by canals is very relaxed. I bet you might consider why not drink some alcohol when you wander around town, however, drinking in public is not allowed in the Netherlands. Therefore, do not grab bottles, cans or glasses filled with alcoholic beverages if you do not want to get into trouble. Otherwise, you will receive a fine of 95 euros.
6. Keep an eye on your valuables 👜
Public security in Amsterdam is relatively good. However, you should still watch out for pickpockets, especially in crowded places, and take good care of your documents, valuables, and belongings. After all, no one wants to spend their hard-earned vacation trying to block their bank cards, replace their passport, and find alternative means of accessing money. Keep your guard up and keep going!
7. Pay in different situations 💳
8. Be respectful in the Red Light District 🟥
9. Choose the ‘right’ train class seating 🚉
If you are taking a train, consider choosing the “right” seat class. There are usually two types of seats depending on the ticket you have purchased: first class and second class. If you want a quiet place on your train journey, you can take a ‘stilte’ (quiet) zone, which is marked with an ‘S’ or ‘Quiet’. If you are seated in these special seats, you will not be disturbed by your fellow travelers, especially since loud (phone) conversations and/or music are discouraged. So enjoy the trip in silence and relaxed.