City breaks in Amsterdam
Book a short stay or weekend break in the Dutch capitalA true city of contrasts, you’ll find surprises at every turn in Amsterdam. Picturesque yet hip, peaceful yet lively, and traditional yet always on the cutting edge, the Dutch capital is hard not to fall in love with. Fascinating history and urban cool blend seamlessly here – making it the perfect destination for city breaks and weekend getaways.
Wander the cobbled streets along world-famous canals. You’ll find ethnic markets, kitsch breweries, cozy coffee shops, rainbows of tulips and hordes of bicycles along the way. Discover both modern art and famous masterpieces, as well as quaint houseboats and captivating museums. Slip into the slow, relaxing rhythm during the day, and step things up at night with the famously hedonistic nightlife.
The city is extremely walkable, so once you’re in the center, it’s easy to explore on foot. Opt for convenience during your city break and stay in the central Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam.
Our top 3 Amsterdam attractions
- Dam Square
- Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
- The brown cafés
Our top 3 Amsterdam museums
- Anne Frank House
- Van Gogh Museum
Our top 3 Dutch foods
- Patatje Oorlog
- Raw herring
Use our Amsterdam map to see our pick of the top attractions
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover Amsterdam’s different areas
Best for architecture: Noord
This area lies directly across the water behind Central Station. Explore green spaces and quaint villages in an area that was once known for heavy industry. Be sure to wander the stalls at the Pemarkt market space, where there’s a different theme every day.
Best for crossing cultures: Oost
Find everything from Turkish bakeries to Middle Eastern eateries. You can also sip cocktails on a beautiful roof terrace, explore the scenic Oosterpark or visit the bustling Dappermarkt. Studio/K is a multi-purpose venue that creative types will love.
Best for greenery: De Plantage
Not what you’d expect from Amsterdam. Discover leafy walkways and serene gardens to the east of the city center in this picturesque area. This corner of Amsterdam is also home to the former Jewish Quarter. You can learn more at the Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) and the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum).
Best for hip cuisine: Oud-West
Dine out in style in this popular neighborhood, which boasts modern restaurants, sophisticated bars and cool coffee houses. Oud-West is central, lively and diverse. A highlight is Ten Katemarket, a market boasting over 100 stands.
Best for Latin flair: De Pijp
Amsterdam’s Latin quarter offers a street market, landscaped gardens and an array of food and drink haunts. Often described as cosmopolitan, this part of the city also has a homely feel, so is a great spot for finding out how the locals live.
Best for urban elegance: Oostelijke Eilanden
Explore repurposed historic warehouses in this visually striking area, which translates as “Eastern Docklands”. Don’t miss the Python Bridge, and try to catch a concert at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ concert hall.
Best for art and chic shopping: Oud-Zuid
Enjoy some of the best art museums in the world in this upmarket area. Save some time to shop at the sophisticated boutiques, too. This neighborhood is largely quiet and residential, but has a good selection of wine bars.
Best for parkland: Westerpark
As its name suggests, this area is home to an expansive park, which often hosts events and cultural goings-on. You’ll also find a variety of stores, restaurants, markets and inviting brown cafés.
Best for creatives: Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes
Mingle with a truly diverse crowd in this cool spot in west Amsterdam, which is fast becoming one of the city’s most dynamic creative districts. Bos en Lommer – nicknamed BoLo – is bordered by De Baarsjes on the south.
Best for events and entertainment: Zuidoost
Home to the Amsterdam ArenA, the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome, this is the place to catch sporting events and live music. It contains four residential neighborhoods – Bijlmermeer, Venserpolder, Gaasperdam and Driemond.
Where to Stay
Book a Radisson Blu hotel in Amsterdam
City breaks can be full of surprises. Book your stay with Radisson Blu and look forward to exploring everything Amsterdam has to offer.
Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol
Mere minutes from one of Europe's largest international air hubs, the Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol is an ideal home base in the Dutch capital. Rest well in one of 279 well-appointed rooms and suites, and enjoy amenities such as on-site dining and complimentary 24-hour shuttle service. For impressive events at an optimal location, you can employ one of our 15 elegant conference rooms.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam
Tucked in the bustling downtown, this Amsterdam hotel welcomes guests with a blend of modern conveniences and Old World hospitality. Well-appointed guest rooms offer top-quality amenities, including Free high-speed wireless Internet. Enjoy an elegant dinner at the streetside brasserie De Palmboom, or settle in for a drink at the quaint former vicar's house, now Pastorie Bar. An on-site fitness center makes it easy to keep up with your workouts, and a well-equipped business center lets you take care of office tasks.
Things to do in Amsterdam
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
- Dam Square: This popular town square is a great starting point for a day exploring the city, and just over a 5-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel. It’s one of the most important locations in Amsterdam. You can discover carnival rides there several times throughout the year, as well as several demonstrations and events.
Directions: Just over a 5-minute stroll from the Radisson Blu, or a 10-minute walk from Central Station.
- Koninklijk Paleis: The Royal Palace is located in Dam Square, and is one of Amsterdam’s top attractions. It was initially built as a city hall in the 17th century, during the Dutch Golden Age. Enjoy magnificent interiors and fantastic artworks. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: A 5-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- National Monument: Also in Dam Square, this 1956 statue stands 22 meters high and is the Netherlands’ most significant World War II memorial. You can watch a Remembrance of the Dead ceremony every year on May 4th.
Directions: A 5-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market): Discover 15 florists and gardening shops at the world’s only floating flower market. Based on the barges along the southern side of the Singel, the market started back in 1862 and is still the most colorful spot in the city.
Directions: Take trams 4, 9, 13, 14, 24 or 25 from Dam Square and get off at Muntplein (2 stops).
- Heineken Experience: The perfect attraction for beer-lovers. Tour the old brewery (opened in 1864) and learn the history of the Heineken family. You’ll find old photographs and state decorations, as well as authentic interiors. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Take trams 16, 24 or 25 from Central Station and get off at Stadhouderskade.
- Vondelpark: Get a taste of local life at Amsterdam’s largest urban park – the most famous park in the Netherlands. You can often catch free concerts at the open-air theater or the bandstand in the summer.
Directions: Take tram 2 from Central Station and get off at the Valeriusplein.
- Brown cafés: Known for their smoke-stained walls and dark wood interiors, you can experience true “gezellig” (an untranslatable word that describes a feeling of coziness) in one of these cafés, which are much like British pubs.
- Stroopwafel: Two waffles stuck together with syrup. Pick up one of these sticky treats from a food market, street vendor or bakery.
- Patatje Oorlog: Thick-cut chips covered in peanut satay sauce (allergy sufferers beware), mayonnaise and onions. Delicious and moreish.
- Raw herring: This is a Dutch specialty, and can be found at one of many haringhandels (herring carts) around Amsterdam.
- Cheese: Lose yourself in a cheese paradise at the famous De Kaaskamer van Amsterdam.
- Bitterballen: Deep-fried crispy meatballs, usually served with mustard. The bar snack of choice in Amsterdam.
- De Negen Straatjes: Explore an array of boutiques, jewelers and vintage stores on the 17th-century “9 Streets”. Picturesque and charming, it’s a great area for quirky finds.
Directions: A 2-minute walk from Dam Square.
- The Museum District: Known for its stores almost as much as its museums, this area is best for luxury shopping. You’ll find several designer brands on the P.C. Hooftstraat, and the adjacent Van Baerlestraat is home to stylish local brands.
Directions: From Central Station, take the number 16 tram to Spiegelgracht.
- Dam Square: Shopping malls and department stores surround the famous city square. Be sure to visit Amsterdam’s biggest department store, De Bijenkorf (The Bee Hive).
- The Kalverstraat: Fashion fans can head here for well-loved brands such as H&M and Zara. Near the end of the street, you’ll find the Kalvertoren, a popular shopping mall.
Directions: Just off Dam Square.
- The Utrechtsestraat: Boutiques, concept stores, record shops and more await on this street. It’s also the perfect area to stop off for a coffee.
Directions: From Central Station, take the number 4 tram to Keizersgracht.
- Anne Frank House: A biographical museum dedicated to Anne Frank located in the building where she hid from Nazi persecution. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Just over a 10-minute walk from Dam Square.
- Rijksmuseum: Unravel 800 years of Dutch history, from the year 1200 to today. The museum’s vision is to “link individuals with art and history”. As well as having an impressive collection of Dutch cultural artifacts, it also touches on major elements of European and Asian art. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: From Dam Square, take the number 16 tram to Spiegelgracht.
- Van Gogh Museum: Open since 1973, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, drawings and letters. It is one of the most visited art museums in the world. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: From the Spui tram stop, take the number 16 tram to Van Baerlestraat.
Travel in Amsterdam
All you need to know about the city’s transport
Keep travel to a minimum during your Dutch city break by staying in the heart of the city, where the key attractions are all within walking distance. The beauty of the Radisson Blu Hotel is its central location. Remember, our concierge can give you tailored directions or book taxis for you.
Here’s everything you need to know for getting around Amsterdam:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
A direct railway line runs from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station. It’s fast and convenient, with trains running every 10 minutes from Platforms 1 and 2. You could also hop in a taxi. The journey should take just under half an hour.
Visit official site
Amsterdam Central Station
The train station is just a 15-minute stroll or 7-minute taxi ride from the Radisson Blu Hotel. You can also catch the metro here.
Visit official site
The most efficient option for exploring further afield is the metro subway system. Nieuwmarkt station is a 5-minute walk from the hotel. You could also hop on a tram. The Spui tram stop is just over a 5-minute walk away.
Find out more
Why not really make like a local and explore the city by bike? It’s safe and easy to cycle around the city, and there are plenty of places to rent a bike in Amsterdam.
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and more
Top 10 Dutch phrases:
|Do you speak English?||Spreekt u Engels?||Sprayk yu ehng-uhls|
|Where are the toilets?||Waar zijn de wcs?||Whar zan the vay-says|
|How much?||Wat kost het?||Vat kohst ut|
|Yes / no||Ja / Nee||Yah / nay|
|I’m sick||Ik ben ziek||Ik ben zeek|
Population: 851,000 (January 2017)
Average cost of travel: A day ticket for the tram or metro is € 7,50
Most defining feature: The bikes – they’re everywhere!
Average cost of a pint: € 6,50
Top 5 Amsterdam facts and tips:
- Check for listed holidays, as banks, stores and most museums tend to shut down.
- If you’d like to buy cigarettes from a vending machine, you’ll need a special coin to prove you’re over 16. Simply ask at the bar.
- Smoking weed is legal in coffee shops, but smoking tobacco in cafés and restaurants is banned.
- You’re not imagining it – Dutch people are the tallest in the world.
- The houses in Amsterdam are built on wooden poles, most of which were drilled in during the 17th century.
With 4 very distinct seasons, Amsterdam enjoys a stable climate. The city sees highs of around 27°C in summer, and lows of around -6°C in winter. Amsterdam is also known for being quite rainy – but what better excuse to cozy up in a brown café?