Amsterdam City Breaks 2024/2025
An Amsterdam City Break Guide
Capital of the Netherlands and just an hour flight from the UK, a city break in Amsterdam is easy, inspiring, educational and so much more. Nicknamed the Venice of the north because of its 60 miles of impressive canals and waterways, the city is made up of multiple areas.
From its trendy cafes and bars to its historic museums and beautiful parks, Amsterdam is an ideal city break destination. In the summer, the city's Vondelpark hosts a range of activities including an outdoor cinema and open air theatre. In winter, the streets light up and the cold air fills with the smell of Christmas markets.
Hotels In Amsterdam You Don't Want To Miss
Urban Lodge HotelWestpoort
Moxy HouthavensIJ Waterfront
Inntel Hotels ZaandamZaandam
Getting to, from and around Amsterdam
With low cost airlines like easyJet and Jet2 offering return flights to Amsterdam from various points across the UK starting at £39 per person, getting to Amsterdam is easy on a budget, plus you've got the national airlines like British Airways, and KLM flies from many of the UK's smaller regional airports. Amsterdam airport (Schiphol) is an easy 15 minute journey by train into the city centre.
In a few years, Deutsche Bahn will introduce direct rail services between London and Amsterdam, however, you can also get to Amsterdam on the Eurostar to Brussels and then change. This can be a much more sustainable way to travel, especially if you're departing from London, however the journey will take a little longer.
Mini Cruises To Amsterdam
Some of the big cruise lines offer mini cruises to Amsterdam, departing from the UK and stopping in either IJmuiden or Rotterdam which is much further away. Companies like P&O Cruises, MSC and Royal Caribbean are options, while DFDS also offers a ferry to Amsterdam (via IJmuiden) from Newcastle.
Geting Around Amsterdam
Getting around Amsterdam is perfect on foot or by bike, especially if you've got a few days to explore at a leisurely pace. Why not take a walking or cycling tour of the city to make the most of this? If you're strict on time, there's a comprehensive and reliable public transport system, with multi-day travel card options, allowing you to travel on the metro, bus and tram throughout the city and save money at the same time. If you're on a budget break, some of the cheaper hotels are located outside of the city centre (Centrum), so it's worth weighing up the option of staying cheaper but potentially paying more for travel.
Things to do in Amsterdam
There is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam so whatever your interests there will be something to keep you occupied and entertained.
If visiting the Dutch capital in the summer months, be sure to visit the city's Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam and home to plenty of wildlife, sculptures and an open air theatre. Take the tram or bus to Leidseplein and walk across the canal to the Flevoroute path near the Bjorg van den Berg store.
The Anne Frank House, located 20 mins walk from the Central Station, is the museum dedicated to the World War Two diarist. The museum showcases the various well known aspects of her life in hiding from the Nazi regime. Anne Frank's sombre and moving, yet inspiring story is certainly one to discover on a trip to Amsterdam.
At Amsterdam's 200 year old Rijksmuseum,, you can learn about the history of the city, with beautiful pieces of artwork from the likes of Rembrandt, Borch and Michelangelo.
Van Gogh Museum
Situated in the Museumkwartier amongst the museums and galleries, the Van Gogh Museum, one of the city's best art galleries, is a must for art fanatics. Even if you're not, it's still a must-see with over 200 paintings from the man himself. Open Tuesday to Sunday, the museum also features hundreds of his drawings and paintings, as well as research facilities and temporary exhibitions.
Dam Square could be considered the beating heart of Amsterdam. From here, canals and streets spread out, encompassing the city. It's here you'll find shops, attractions and the Koninklijk Palais, the impressive seventeenth century Royal Palace.
Located close to Vijzelgracht is the Heineken Experience, a popular attraction for couples, groups of friends and stag dos. Tickets should be bought in advance for best availability, with different ticket types available depending on your budget and your experience, from a basic Heineken Tour ticket to a VIP tour or access to the rooftop bar.
If you're in Amsterdam Oud-West at lunchtime or dinnertime, be sure to head to De Hallen, just off Kinkerstraat. This bustling food hall, once an old tram depot, has becoming a thriving hub for foodies, and also features boutique shops and a cinema.
Although it's popular for hen dos and stag parties, there's some great nightlife in Amsterdam city centre, with plenty of bars and clubs, especially around the Leidseplein, staying open late into the evening.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Whatever your budget, an Amsterdam holiday is fun and affordable, but it's important pick the area you stay wisely. From the Centrum to De Pijp, each area of Amsterdam has something unique to offer, so make sure you do your research on the area when you search for your accommodation.
On the budget end, well rated hostel dorm room beds can cost from £5, and hostel private rooms from £12 mean comfortable and affordable accommodation. Heading outside of the Centrum area into places like Westpoort, Nieuw-West or Oost can have cheaper hotels because they are further from many of the main tourist attractions.
If you are after a little more luxury, good three-star hotels cost from as little as £50 per night, while some of the more central 5-star hotels in Amsterdam can really drive up the price. Take a look at an ABTA or ATOL protected flight and hotel package, which may help create a low-cost city break holiday.
Try the Bulldog Hotel for budget stays or the Hotel Central Park for something a little nicer but still on a budget.
Nowadays, private accommodation and self catering apartments are a great opportunity to live like a local. Be mindful that when booking somewhere on the likes of Booking.com or Airbnb, your trip isn't necessarily insured, so make sure to take out comprehensive travel insurance too.
Amsterdam Tourist Tax
The Amsterdam Tourist Tax is a fee for visitors to Amsterdam to support the city in staying clean and safe for residents and visitors. The tourist tax increased from 7% to 12.5% in 2024 and is added to rooom rates, making it one of the highest tourist taxes in Europe.
Iconic Things To Do In Amsterdam
Located on Museumplein, the Stedelijk Museum is a seriously impressive contemporary museum. Similar to the Tate Modern in London, this gallery is home to works of modern art and design of a more contemporary nature.
Canal Boat Trip
A unique and relaxing way to see the city, a boat trip on the canals of Amsterdam is a wonderful tour, especially if you've got commentary you can follow along with so you know where you're going and what you're going past.
Van Gogh Museum
A must-visit for any trip to the Netherlands, be sure to check out the Van Gogh Museum in the city's museum quarter. Home to famous masterpieces, these priceless works of art are part of a permanent exhibition in the art gallery.
Red Light District
There's far more to this historic part of the city than you might think. It's Amsterdam's oldest neighbourhood, boasting plenty of daytime treasures to discover. Expect a VERY different vibe as evening comes around.
Amsterdam By Eurostar
You can now travel by Eurostar to Amsterdam from London in less than 4 hours. The benefits of travelling from city centre to city centre easily can mean limiting the amount of time travelling to and from airports. Arriving into Amsterdam Centraal Station, you've got easy access to the rest of the city via tram, metro and even walking. If you're conscious of your carbon footprint, Amsterdam holidays can be enjoyed in a more sustainable way via train.
Frequently Asked Questions
Amsterdam is arguably a year-round city, with Christmas markets in the Winter, cycle rides in the Summer, and mild weather during the Spring and Autumn.
Three full days or (two days / three nights at a push) is a good amount of time for first time visitors to spend in Amsterdam, allowing you to discover the city, visit attractions and try out various restaurants.
Amsterdam regularly ranks in the top 10 safest cities in Europe. Like most cities, it's important to stay safe and aware when visiting as petty theft can still occur.
There are some fantastic hotels dotted around the city like the Monet Garden Hotel (pictured) which is actually rated second best hotel in Amsterdam by TripAdvisor reviewers. Picking the right area is important in Amsterdam depending on your plans for the trip. While you might expect Centrum to be the place to be, which is true if you love to be central, love your nightlife and don't mind being close to the red light district.
How To Book An Escape
There are two ways you can book a break. The way we always recommend is an ATOL protected flight and hotel package. Brands like British Airways, Jet2CityBreaks, Expedia and Barrhead Travel, all offer financial protection through the ABTA and ATOL schemes when booking your train or flight with your accommodation. THe alternative is booking your travel arrangements separate to your hotel or apartment, like flights with Ryanair and then an Airbnb home. This can help save money and suit your travel requirements, but just bear in mind you should have travel insurance to help protect your arrangements should anything happen.