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Netherlands

Welcome to Amsterdam

City description  

Known for its tolerance and diversity, Amsterdam gracefully and unostentatiously manages to maintain a harmonious atmosphere infused with romanticism. In this human sized capital, locals definitely live life to a different rhythm.

Whether you're travelling by boat, by bike or on foot, it is only by adopting a more relaxed, slower pace that you can feel yourself being enveloped by the beauty of the Netherlands, a country that reveals a true sense of simplicity, yet also a surprising complexity. The plethora of canals that criss-cross the city create a mysterious, lyrical backdrop to the most famous flower market in the world, prestigious diamond merchants and a daring creative scene. Amsterdam also epitomises the history of a constant battle against the sea, with extension after extension, and houses with their sometimes curved backbones using their stilts to fight back against the tides. Studded with thousands of majestic dwellings dating back to the Golden Age which are now listed historic monuments, the urban landscape is structured around the old town, with a network of winding canals which spread the libertarian, artistic and entrepreneurial spirit that have made the capital what it is today.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rectangular Dam Square is the historic heart of the city. It was here that a dam was built in around 1270, marking the very beginning of this prosperous future port. To the east, the neon-lined windows and marijuana smoke rings mark the contours of the Red Light District, De Wallen. With its old medieval port, its huge expanse of light and its Sunday flea market, Nieuwmarkt presents a whole other more festive side of the city. Packed with restaurants, bars and clubs, the Leidseplein, southwest of the historic centre, is similar. In the summer, the terraces here are overflowing, and street artists are the icing on the cake of this charming tableau.
On the avenue that crosses this bustling square, Leidsestraat, there are plenty of international brands to choose from, and slightly more prestigious labels can be found on P.C. Hooftstraat. Further west, the pretty neighborhoods of Negen Straatjes (the 9 Streets) and Jordaan are graced with charming independent stores and cool designer boutiques.
For a breath of fresh air, visit the Oosterpark and discover the wild parrots which live there. More centrally, the Vondelpark combines large expanses of water with rose gardens and lawns, making this the perfect setting for a picnic before you soak up some culture in the nearby museums. Choose between the amazing Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum, next to the famous Concertgebouw concert hall. Spread across the city, there are plenty of other amazing cultural venues to choose from, starting with Anne Frank’s House, a moving reminder of Nazi brutality. Then there’s the National Maritime Museum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Hermitage Amsterdam, the Eye Film Institute… no fewer than 50 cultural institutions fill this pocket-sized capital which have made a huge impact on the international arts scene.
In memory of its past as a major port, Amsterdam has held on to its thirst for foreign flavors and spices. From fermented herring (“maatje”), eaten standing up in the street, to the cheeses that decorate many a shop window, the city is fiercely proud of its cuisine. Its love of quality ingredients and subtle combinations have helped to establish a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Ciel Bleu, Aan de Poel and Bord'Eau, and nurtured unique foodie destinations such as De Kas. Set within a conservatory in which the food that adorns your plate is grown, the restaurant gives an explosive insight into an inventive new scene that reminds you that Amsterdam is first and foremost a land of audacity and liberty.

Top things to do in Amsterdam

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

  • All
  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

Where to Eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants

De Kas

Set within a stunning 1926 glasshouse, De Kas restaurant offers one of the city’s most unique foodie dining settings. Feast upon the freshest possible herbs, vegetables and flowers grown in the restaurant’s surrounding garden and nearby sustainable farms.

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Louis

The endlessly charming Louis is a cosy, local cafe situated on a canal in one of Amsterdam's oldest neighbourhoods, which serves drinks and light meals from 11am until late.

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Envy

Serving generous Mediterranean tapas plates, the award-winning Envy restaurant is set within a trendy, modern dining space featuring a state-of-the-art open kitchen, sultry, low hanging spotlights and dark wooden accents.

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Ciel Bleu

Prepare to be taken on a bold and highly memorable culinary journey at the 2 Michelin-starred Ciel Bleu restaurant, which is renowned for chef Onno Kokmeijer’s creative international cuisine and its panoramic views of Amsterdam from its 23rd floor dining setting in the Okura Tower.

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Jimmy Woo

Step within the sultry world of Amsterdam's legendary late-night party spot, Jimmy Woo, renowned for its cutting-edge DJ beats and its stylish, Old World Shanghai interiors featuring rich silk fabrics and 19th-century opium beds.

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Restaurant Red

With only two indulgent dishes on the menu - superb South American fillet steak or succulent roasted lobster - Restaurant Red boasts a gorgeous setting in an ancient canal house overlooking the pretty Keizersgracht canal.

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Cafe George

Fusing a traditional French brasserie concept with the designer interiors of a hip New York restaurant, Cafe George is a fantastic all-day dining spot which is perfect for either a light snack or an all-out indulgent classic French feast.

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Screaming Beans Hartenstraat

An all-day hangout in Amsterdam’s picturesque Nine Streets neighbourhood, Screaming Beans cafe offers excellent coffee and a warm welcome from morning through to late in the afternoon. Sink into a leather sofa with an expertly-crafted cappuccino, a single origin espresso or an Aeropress creation in one of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods. 

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Coffee Company Oosterdock

Amsterdam’s Coffee Company offers a sleek, modern setting at their Oosterdock cafe, a funky industrial-style space with sociable wooden benches inside and plenty of street-side tables outside. With an in-house roastery and a team of friendly expert baristas, Coffee Company also offers bi-weekly workshops where you can pick up some coffee brewing skills of your own.

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Bridges

Set within a former convent and steeped in the history of Amsterdam, restaurant Bridges in the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam offers Michelin Star cuisine in the heart of the city. Whether you choose a table in the chic contemporary dining room or dine alfresco amidst the magnolia trees on the garden terrace, Bridges delivers an unforgettable dining experience under the auspices of Executive Chef Andrès Delpeut, who is always looking for creative ways to make classic traditional dishes perfect with international influences and a unique twist. Bridges is a place to enjoy the spectacular pairings of seafood and wine; a dining experience to delight all senses. 

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Amsterdam • Netherlands

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Amsterdam • Netherlands

INK Hotel Amsterdam MGallery by Sofitel

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Amsterdam • Netherlands

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When to go

Amsterdam is a great city to visit all year around, since it offers a mild climate without extremes of temperatures. The coldest months are December to February with an average temperature of 3-5°C and the hottest months are June to September with temperatures between 15 and 20°C.

The best time to visit Amsterdam is from May to September when the temperatures are warm with an average of 18-20° Celsius. The average number of rainy days is high in Amsterdam compared for example with Paris. Rainfalls are generally at their highest from September to January.

Amsterdam annual calendar

  • Jan

    International Equestrian Event Jumping Amsterdam, late January

  • Fev

    Croos-linx Music Festival, classic and indie music, late February

  • Mar

    HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show, all of March

  • Apr

    King’s Day, 27th of April

  • May

    Vondelpark Open Air Theatre cultural festival, from May through to September

  • Jun

    Holland Festival, all of June

  • Jul

    Amsterdam Roots Festival, from late June to late July

  • Aug

    Uitmarkt Cultural Festival, late August

  • Sep

    Amsterdam Heritage Days, mid-September

  • Oct

    Amsterdam Marathon, mid-October

  • Nov

    Amsterdam Art Weekend, late November

  • Dec

    Christmas Markets, all December

Travel transportation

Transportation

Local methods of transportation mainly include: local cabs, private car services, rental car, trains, metro, trams, buses, bikes and boats.
Keep in mind that the historic city center is full of narrow streets and canals which are not very welcoming to cars. Renting a bike can be a great alternative if you feel comfortable riding in a city you don’t know or simply visit Amsterdam by foot.
Tram, bus and metro are operated by GVB, which offers unlimited-ride passes for one (7.50€) to seven days valid on trams, buses and metro.
Trams, which operate from 6am to midnight, are a convenient option to travel within Amsterdam city center. Buses and metro are more convenient for the outskirts of the city.
Keep in mind that when driving in Amsterdam, you must drive on the right side of the road.

Taxis

Taxis in Amsterdam are convenient for long distances (Airport to city center), or at night when there is no other option of transport. Taxis can be expensive and cannot always navigate easily in a city with so many canals and narrow streets.
Due to the geography of Amsterdam, taxis cannot be hailed everywhere. However, you can find them at taxi ranks or book them in advance through one of Amsterdam's several taxi companies.
The initial charge is 2.83€ and then a maximum price of 2.08€ for each kilometer. Some additional charges may apply. Credit cards can be accepted and an additional charge fee may apply.

getting to & from the airport

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is located 17 kilometers from the city center. Expect a 30 minutes journey and a fare of 45€ (depending upon traffic and the time of day).
The Intercity Direct train is the fastest travel option between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Centraal Station. Departing every 10 minutes, the journey will take you 16 minutes and the fare is only 7€ on 1st class.
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airports.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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