i-escape blog / Amsterdam

Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a seasoned Amsterdam fan, we’ve got tips from city insiders and our own well-travelled team to help you get the most out of your visit.

Getting around

“Hiring a bike really is the best way to see this fantastic city. Make sure you stick to the inside of the bike lane, unless you’re overtaking, and remember to indicate!”
Kate, Head of Bookings

“For a fun alternative, grab some picnic food, hire a boat and hit the canals. You can even park up and go for a drink – try Hannekes Boom which is fun to reach by boat and has a really great atmosphere.”
Liz, Editor

i-escape blog / Cycling in Amsterdam

i-escape blog / Amsterdam canals


“Largely off the tourist map, the islands which make up the residential neighbourhood of De Westelijke Eilanden are among the most beautiful spots in the city. There’s a relaxed, village-like feel to the cobbled streets, which are perfect for lazy strolls. You’ll find a striking mix of contemporary architecture and converted warehouses to admire, along with a few second-hand stores to browse and some excellent cafes for pit stops.”
Maybel, Hotel JL No76

“If you want to see an alternative side to the city, hire a bike and hop on the free ferry (from behind Centraal Station) to the old shipbuilding district of NDSM. It’s a really cool, arty area, with trams and cranes that have been turned into artist studios, bars housed in old shipping containers and, in the summer, lots of live music and faux beaches with firepits for sundowners.”
Ben, Bookings Consultant

“De Magere Brug (aka ‘the skinny bridge’) is a famous bridge across the Amstel. It’s said that if you kiss your loved one in the middle of it, you’ll stay together forever.”
Maybel, Hotel JL No76i-escape blog / city skylineMuseums

“For a fascinating insight into life on the water, head to the quirky little Houseboat Museum, set in a 1914 sailing barge that’s moored on Prinsengracht. You can poke around the sleeping, living and cooking quarters, watch a presentation on houseboat design through the ages, and then enjoy a coffee on the flower-filled deck up top.”
Abi, Deputy Editor

“The Grachtenhuis (Canal House Museum) is a must-see – the interactive exhibits and intricate models explain the history of the canal ring from the 17th-century through to its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.”
Kristel, Canal House

“I loved FOAM, the city’s renowned photography centre, which sits in an imposing old mansion on the Keizersgracht canal. It hosts rotating exhibitions from some of the leading names in photography, as well as shows by up-and-coming artists. The interior is almost as impressive as the work on display – a sleek mix of chrome and glass, with large windows looking out over the water.”
Abi, Deputy Editori-escape blog / Magere Brug

Amsterdam & Rome 126

Amsterdam & Rome 135

i-escape blog / NDSM

Green spaces

“De Begijnhof is a 14th-century courtyard in the centre of the city which was once home to a religious sisterhood. It’s now a beautifully peaceful lawned garden which is flanked by wonderful historic buildings, including the 15th-century Engelse Kerk (the English Church).”
Maybel, Hotel JL No76

“Rembrandtpark is a lovely green space that is much less busy than the more well-known Vondelpark. You can always find a sunny or shady spot, and it has ducks to feed and a petting zoo if you have kids with you.”
Kate, Head of Bookings

i-escape blog / Amsterdam


“The IJ-Hallen is Europe’s largest flea market and takes place on the last weekend of every month in Amsterdam Noord. Now when I say big, I mean B-I-G! Get ready to rummage and haggle, and enjoy poffertjes & friets in between warehouses to boost your energy levels.”
Kate, Head of Bookings

“Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk are packed full of interesting indie stores from vintage clothes boutiques to interior design shops, chocolatiers and knitting yarn stores. And of course plenty of cafes for refreshment breaks. The area is also home to Amsterdam’s oldest cinema.”
Liz, Editor

i-escape blog / Cafe de Jaren

Eating and drinking

“We’re hoping to build on the success of our first restaurant (in the lobby of Hotel V Nesplein) by opening a second in late June 2016. The Lobby Fizeaustraat is off the tourist trail near Amstel Station and will serve delicious food with fine but affordable wines and lots of gezelligheid (a Dutch word that means a ‘great atmosphere’).”
Amanda, Hotel V Nesplein

“You might have to fight for a seat, but the canalside terrace of bar-cum-restaurant Café de Jaren is a lovely place to linger in the sunshine as boats pootle past. The coffee is excellent, and the Italian-influenced food fresh and tasty.”
Abi, Deputy Editor

“You’ll spot branches of IJscuypje all over the city – they sell THE BEST ice cream. There are so many flavours to choose from, so we kept going back in a bid to try them all!”
Liz, Editor

“If you spot a ‘brown café’ (an old-fashioned Dutch bar), make sure you pop in for a drink – they’re full of character and charm. They often have sawdust on the floor, a dusty piano in the corner and board games available to all. Pick wisely and you’ll get a real insight into Dutch culture. You can spot them by their old-world charm and their brown wood furniture from circa 1940; if your table has a mini carpet on it instead of a tablecloth, you’ve found one!”
Kate, Head of Bookings

i-escape blog / The Lobby Fizeaustraat

i-escape blog / The Lobby Fizeaustraat


“Time your trip to coincide with New Year’s Eve. My husband and I had a blast – there’s loads of events (see this website as a starting point), and a really fun atmosphere with people partying and setting off fireworks in the street.”
Anna, Marketing Assistant

“There are loads of great music venues in Amsterdam and tickets are often available either on the venue websites or online at Ticketswap right up until the night. Some of the best I’ve heard about are: Paradiso (a converted church which, despite its 3 levels, is a wonderfully intimate space), Melkweg, People’s Place, and The Sugar Factory. Do note that most venues have a small additional charge of a membership fee (€2-3 per person). You can buy them with your ticket or at the door on the night, and once you have one it’s valid for a month.”
Liz, Editor

Take a look at our great selection of Amsterdam hotels >>