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Things You Need To Know Before Planning A Trip To Amsterdam


Travelling is by far one of my most favourite things to do. Planning a trip to a brand new place is so exciting but it can also be a little stressful, especially if you're only going for a few days and don't want to waste any of that time. Today I'm sharing some of my tips for Amsterdam to make the most out of your visit and also to save some time and money, so if you're planning a trip to this beautiful city, hopefully this will be helpful!

Pick up an iAmsterdam City Card

When we were looking up transport in Amsterdam, and the different travel tickets available, the iAmsterdam City Card looked like the best option. Not only does it give you unlimited access to public transport, it also gives you free entry to loads of the attractions in Amsterdam, like the NEMO Science museum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Artis Zoo. Since we were there for five days, we picked the 48 hour card which cost €67, and in those two days, we managed to make it to loads of attractions that would have cost us a lot more than €67 if we'd payed for them all separately. 

Another really good thing about the iAmsterdam City Card is that the travel part of the card and the attractions part are separate chips, so say you activated the travel chip in the card four hours before you used the attractions chip, you can still use the attractions chip four hours after the time on your travel chip runs out. On our last day in Amsterdam, we visited the Van Gogh Museum and went and got our tickets before our cards ran out and then went for breakfast, so even though our 48 hours on the cards was up, we could still go into the museum. 

Do your research and make a plan

A few days before our trip, Dara and I sat down and had a good google of things to do and places to eat in Amsterdam.  Once we had a list of things we wanted to do, we used the cool feature on Google Maps that allows you to create your own map with pins on the places you want to visit, which we found really handy. 

I'm a little crazy when it comes to planning, so we even had a plan of what we were doing on each day. We didn't stick totally to this plan the entire time, but I think it definitely helped to make the trip much more relaxed and in the five days we were in Amsterdam, we got a lot done!

Pack comfy shoes

Although Amsterdam isn't a huge city, there are so many beautiful streets to walk down and packing a pair of comfy shoes is a must. We did so much walking during our trip, and our feet and legs were sore enough even with comfy shoes! If you've read my post on how to pack light then you'll know I wore my Old Skool Vans which are super comfy whilst travelling, so I didn't even have to pack an extra pair of shoes!

Make use of every little discount

I'm a sucker for any kind of bargain, or discount so when I realised that not only is the iAmsterdam City Card brilliant value for money, it also offers discounts to quite a few restaurants in the city, like 25% off Wagamama and 25% off Pancakes Amsterdam's breakfast menu. A 25% discount might not sound like much, but when you're eating out for every meal it can easily add up and those saving you made with the cheap Ryanair flights you managed to get is pretty worthless!

The supermarkets are brilliant

Speaking of food, if you're planning a trip to Amsterdam that's longer than just a few days, I'd definitely make use of the supermarkets, even if it's just for snacks because it'll save you a lot of money! One of the supermarkets chains called Marqt has freshly squeezed orange juice machines that I became totally obsessed with and it was really handy to be able to pop in and pick up a juice and a few snacks to keep the hunger at bay whilst exploring the city, because otherwise I definitely could have eaten five meals a day!

When we were staying in the Yays Oostenburgergracht apartment there was an Albert Heijn supermarket just around the corner so on one of the days in Amsterdam, we actually picked up what we needed for ham and cheese rolls to bring with us as a packed lunch.

More food recommendations

I have a whole post about the best places to eat in Amsterdam 
that you can read right here, Dam Good Food - Where To Eat In Amsterdam

Don't just stick to the centre

Amsterdam's city centre, like most other cities, is the most touristy part. Dam Square is usually packed with people and the streets leading up to it are mostly just gift shops and fast food restaurants. On our trip we explored a lot of the outskirts of the city centre, and one area we really loved was Haarlemmerdijk, a long street full of little independent shops and boutiques. Another area we loved was Waterlooplein, there's such a pretty bridge there that's lit up at night and it's not too far away from Rembrandtplein a square which is like a smaller version of Dam Square so there's lots of places to eat and people watching to do!

A little unofficial tip I'd also give you is make sure your phone, or camera if you're brining one, has lots of memory freed up on it, because Amsterdam is the kind of place where you will want to take a picture every two minutes! I've shared a few of my favourite snaps in this post, but I have well over 200 other sitting on my memory card, I'm not even over-exaggerating!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that these tips will be helpful if you are planning on visiting Amsterdam soon. Thanks so much for reading!

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