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Visiting Amsterdam

Fly to Amsterdam with an open mind and prepare to be dazzled by a brilliant combination of old-meets-new. We'll get you there, then it's all about bikes and canal boats for getting around like a local.

Read all you need to know about Icelandair flights to Amsterdam, including the latest entry requirements and practical information.

Things to do in Amsterdam: Culture, cobblestones and canals

At some point, you might start thinking you've got a handle on this chameleon city. Don't be fooled! Amsterdam has many faces.

It does stylish highbrow, giving you blockbuster art from homegrown icons like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. It does colorful lowbrow too, from brown cafés (the name for traditional pubs) to a renowned red light district. There's somber at Anne Frank House, cute and kitschy thanks to clogs and windmill mascots, and cutting-edge design courtesy of shiny new developments along the IJ waterfront.

Golden Age architecture and canals (more than Venice!) will make you wish you had time to follow every cobbled laneway.

Frites full of flavor

Vlaamse frites may just be the best thing about Amsterdam: hot, crunchy French fries smothered in mayonnaise. Enjoy them with a local beer at any of the countless outdoor cafes - with a side order of canal views and people-watching, every bite technically counts as a cultural experience.

Drop by the Foodhallen, in converted tram sheds, for some tasty touring and to sample a bitterballen, for the name alone (it's a tasty, meat-filled croquette). Markets are a draw: the Dutch know good cheese when they see it - there are towns in the Netherlands famed for creamy goodness (hello Gouda and Edam), and raw herring is a love-it-or-leave-it local flavor.

Perhaps the biggest 'homegrown' surprise on the food front: the rijsttafel (Indonesian banquet), courtesy of the Netherlands' colonial history.

Market mooching

Amsterdam spawned one of the world’s great trading empires, and today it's a shopper's heaven. Quirkiness is easily found - the 9 Streets (9 Straatjes) is a neighborhood overflowing with specialty boutiques.

Amsterdam is also paradise for anyone who likes mooching in outdoor markets. Waterlooplein Markt is the flea market to top all flea markets, and there are also markets devoted to antiques, art and old books.

Albert Cuypmarkt is a multicultural melting pot of spice and color. Prepare for sensory overload at Bloemenmarkt, the fragrant, fabulous flower market. You didn’t think we'd write about Amsterdam and not mention tulips, did you?

FAQs about travel to Amsterdam

Helpful information for travelers to Amsterdam

How far is Schiphol airport to Amsterdam city center?

Schipol airport is approximately 22km (14 miles) from the city center of Amsterdam. You can reach the city center from the airport by taxi, bus or train.

Do you tip in Amsterdam?

Tipping in Amsterdam is not obligatory and service charges are often included in the price of your meal. However, it is common to round up your bill and leave the change or, if you receive great service, leave a tip of around 10-15%.

How much does it cost to fly to Amsterdam from America?

The cost of flights from the US to Amsterdam with Icelandair vary depending on the time of year, but prices can start from as little as $300 for a round-trip.

Do they speak English in Amsterdam?

While Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, many locals are fluent in English and often other languages too. You won't find it difficult finding your way around the city only speaking English, but learning some key phrases in Dutch is always welcomed.