Schiphol Airport (AMS) is the main location for flights to Amsterdam from all over the world. It is the fifth-largest airport in Europe, located about 12 miles outside the city. Schiphol Plaza is located within the airport where passengers can eat, shop, or relax. Just beyond customs is where you will find the shops and bars. There are over 100 specialty shops along with restaurants, coffee bars, and a sweet chocolate café. You can also get a massage, visit the first airport library while waiting for Amsterdam flights—you might even visit the museum, the casino, or even take a shower. Some hotel accommodations are within the airport and the transportation options to get you into the city are well-setup, with taxis and hotel shuttles circling at all hours.
Spring is the perfect time to plan flights to Amsterdam, beautiful flowers cover the famous Dutch countryside, spread out among the windmills. Autumn is another popular time for Amsterdam flights; the temperature is comfortable for spending time outdoors and enjoying the changing colors. You’ll find that any time of year is sufficient for planning a trip with temperatures neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. It does snow in the winter, even though it usually only lasts a few days and hardly accumulates. You might want to pack a light sweater in the summer since there will be some chilly, cloudy days.
Getting Around Amsterdam
The public transport system consists of metros, buses, trains, ferries, and trams to get you to the different parts of the city, with trains connecting directly to passengers just off Amsterdam flights at Schiphol Station. A day ticket will work for all trams, buses, and trains to save time getting a new ticket for each ride. The best way to see the sites of the historical city is by walking or bicycling since Amsterdam is so compact—you might miss something if you’re traveling fast. You can also hire a car if you prefer the convenience of driving on your own schedule. With so many people, automobiles, bicycles, and scooters whizzing all around, parking is coveted, so don’t get towed during your stay.
Whether you are visiting Amsterdam for the culture or if you want to spend time outdoors, you will find plenty of activities and attractions to fill your days.
- Anne Frank Huis: the revered residence where Anne Frank lived and wrote
- Keukenhoff Gardens: themed pavilions, beautiful mosaics, and beds of gorgeous tulips
- Madame Tussauds: creepily life-like likenesses of celebrities, athletes, and royalty
- The Amsterdam Dungeon: combination museum and theatre that tells the story of 500 years of history with 11 daily shows
- Van Gogh Museum: one of the finest collections of this artist’s work, plus some of his con-temporizes, rotating exhibits, and interactive children’s shows
Amsterdam When to Go
Most of the city’s 3three million to 4 four million annual visitors come in the summer months between June and September. June sees the longest days, with the sun rising just after 5 a.m. and setting after 10 p.m. Evenings on the canals are particularly beautiful, with the bridges decorated with fairy lights and the sky a peacock blue. And while the streets are busy, they don’t throng with visitors as they do in peak months. The summer festival season kicks off in June with the Holland Festival of classical and contemporary music and a string of cultural events in Vondelpark, the city’s largest green space.
July and August are Amsterdam’s busiest months, with the longest queues at museums and galleries. These are the sunniest months as well, though temperatures rarely climb out of the seventies and drop into the low fifties in the evenings. During the Grachtenfestival canal festival in mid-August, waterside concerts pop up at some 100 makeshift venues throughout the city.
Autumns are cool and damp, with overcast skies and frequent rain showers. Winters run from November through March and, though generally quite mild, bring sporadic flurries of snow. The mercury rarely drops below 30. During these months, Amsterdam is almost empty of visitors, except for the annual High Times Cannabis Cup in November and for Oudejaarsavond (New Year's Eve), when the city holds one of northern Europe’s bawdiest parties.
Spring is a great time to visit Amsterdam. Between late March and May, Holland’s famous tulips are in bloom, most spectacularly in the vast Keukenhof gardensGardens, where beds are a riot of brilliant reds, blues, and pinks. And in April, the city hosts its biggest annual festival, Koninginnedag (Queen's Day).
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