Amsterdam is not just marijuana and museums. Explore the Dutch capital’s streets and waterways with this helpful guide and you’ll not only avoid the tourist traps but uncover great markets, lesser-known museums and charming bars, cafes and restaurants.
Whether you're looking for a budget, mid-range or luxury getaway to Amsterdam, Lonely Planet Magazine shows you how:
Where to sleep:
Each of the eight simply furnished rooms at Hotel Brouwer, in a house dating back to 1652, has a canal view and is named after a famous Dutch painter – with a print by that same painter inside. Prices start at €60.
Conveniently located close to the Concertgebouw, and with a tram stop outside, Museum Square Hotel is a family-run place with bright modern rooms with large windows. Prices from around €89.
Set in an 18th-century mansion, Hotel Roemer has all the extra touches you’d want from a boutique hotel – bedrooms with sitting areas, a bar and restaurant, pretty gardens, bikes for hire and a DVD library. Prices start at €155.
What to see:
Enter at the unmarked rear of Amsterdam's Historisch Museum for the Civic Guards Gallery, a street glazed over to house epic group portraits of the militia. Entrance is €10 for adults.
Noordermarkt hosts several lively markets a week, including Monday’s flea market and Saturday’s bird market and farmers’ market. Open 8am-1pm Monday, 10am-3pm Saturday.
The grand Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world due to its fantastic acoustics. Its 800-odd shows a year include classical, jazz and world music concerts. Prices vary.
Where to eat:
Walk through the kitchen to reach the dining room at Hein, a simple but stylish sky-lit cafe open for breakfast and lunch. Expect dishes such as croque monsieur. Mains start from €5.
Indonesian food has always been popular in Amsterdam with rijsttafel (rice with loads of sides) created as a Dutch colonial feast. Tujuh Maret does a good version, plus satay and other authentic dishes. Mains from €13.50.
Inside a 17th-century former herb warehouse in the Red Light District, Blauw aan de wal is a rose among thorns. Try the refined Mediterranean-inspired dishes in the garden. A three-course menu costs €55.
Where to drink:
The tasting room of Amsterdam’s leading microbrewery, Brouwerij ‘t IJ, has a down and dirty beer hall feel. Walls are lined with dry hops and bottles from around the world, and the house brew is on tap.
The pretty terrace of Café ‘t Smalle overlooks the canal while inside there’s a distillery, a tasting house dating back to 1786 and porcelain beer pumps.
Grab a coffee or glass of champagne and people watch from the balcony and waterside terraces of Café de Jaren, a soaring, grand cafe.
Discover more with our Amsterdam City Guide.