Photo by Scuba Mami via
Photo by Scuba Mami via

Amsterdam is an exciting city that is unique in what it offers, and there’s no doubt you will have a blast. But before you go, here are a few tips that you should know to make the trip a little smoother and more enjoyable.

There Isn’t a Language Barrier:

The national language of Holland is Dutch, but the majority of the people in Amsterdam actually speak English. It’s always a good idea, though, to carry around a small phrase book and to learn some basic phrases like “Please” and “Thank you” before you go in case you run into someone who speaks Dutch. Generally speaking, the Dutch commonly speak two to four languages.

The Local Currency:

Euro is the national dollar and the number one payment method up to 50 Euro bill, so change over your current currency before you go to get the best rate. Credit cards are also widely accepted, but they may not be taken in some smaller shops.

Rent a Bike:

Avoid the hassle of relying on public transportation, and save a lot of money in the process. It’s common for people to traverse the city on bikes, which allow you to slow down and take in the beauty of the bustling city around you. Plus, it’s good exercise.

The Red Light District:

Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, and this is the place to go for it. However, if you go during the day or early evening, it’s a relaxing and cool place to check out if you want to just see what it’s like. The later in the night you go, the stranger it gets.

Coffee Shops:

In Amsterdam, coffee shops are essentially the places where you can go to buy marijuana. However, the laws surrounding the purchase and use of marijuana are sketchy, as the mayor is trying to get it out of the city to change its image. So, be careful where you decide to smoke it. Also, this doesn’t mean that every coffee shop sells weed, either.

Be Respectful When Taking Photos:

You can take photos of thousands of amazing things in Amsterdam. But, make sure that when you’re snapping photos, you aren’t accidentally making a dead stop in the middle where everyone is walking (or riding their bikes). Also, make sure that random people aren’t making it into the photos if it can be avoided.

Take it Slow:

There are a lot of cool things to see in the city, but rushing to visit every coffee shop and museum is going to leave you exhausted and feeling a bit empty after your trip. Instead, enjoy the city by planning out one or two big activities each day and then spending the rest of your time relaxing in the park or something else that helps you take it all in.

Now, you should be ready to take on Amsterdam. While it’s a relaxed and cool city to travel in, you can never be too prepared.

This article is one of my contributions to the “Hipmunk City Love Project,” which is a project to build a large network of guides for cities around the world. To check out another piece of mine on the Hipmunk website about wedding hotels, you can view that article here.