It isn’t a secret that I’m hopelessly in love with Amsterdam. It is a stunning city with an amazing vibe and I wish to live there at some point in my life.

I sometimes pretend I’m living there when I visit – which is pretty often. Thankfully I’m just a 4 hour train ride away.

If you are a regular reader of my website, then you would have noticed that I have a lot of posts about Amsterdam and in most of them I highly recommend the I Amsterdam city card.

After using the card pretty well on two of my visits, I think it is finally the time to share my review in an in-depth post about it. But hey, this isn’t really a sale-sy post, because this card isn’t for everyone. I’d let you decide if this card is for you or not.

Amsterdam's canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

I want to be honest with you before you start reading further – the first time I used the I Amsterdam card was in 2017 and the second was 2021 when I spent a long weekend in Amsterdam. Back in 2017, I wasn’t even aware of it’s existence and I thought it was some sort of press campaign called “I am Amsterdam” – see I even got the name wrong back then.

Anyway, on both the occasions the card was provided to me without costs by the Amsterdam tourism board so that I could fully experience the city. Honestly, after using it in 2017, I would have bought it anyways myself in 2021 because the purpose of my trip was to fully explore Amsterdam solo.

What is I Amsterdam City Card?

I Amsterdam City Card – Amsterdam Travel tips

In today’s age, most of the European cities offer a possibility to buy an all inclusive city card and I Amsterdam is one such card.

The I Amsterdam City Card covers internal transport + an entry to Amsterdam’s 70+ museums. (Yes, Amsterdam really has a lot of museums and some of them are world famous). More than that, it also includes a canal boat tour, bicycle rental and free entry to some other attractions.

It is possible to buy the I Amsterdam card for a duration of 1 day to 5 days.

Contents

I Amsterdam City Card Costs

The below are the I Amsterdam city card costs in 2021 based on the duration. The good thing is that the validity doesn’t end when the day ends, but it is a 24 hour card. The validity starts from the time you first use the card.

24 Hours

48 Hours

72 Hours

96 Hours

120 Hours

Yes, the card isn’t cheap. Like I said, the I Amsterdam card isn’t for everyone but in case you’d like to enjoy some of the things that Amsterdam is famous for, then it can be a very affordable option. Read on to see what’s included in it.

What is Included in the I Amsterdam City Card

Here’s what’s included in the I Amsterdam city card without an extra charge

  • Entry to Amsterdam’s 70+ museums – including the super famous Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Nemo science museum to name a few.
  • Entry to many other attractions. – A’dam Lookout, Zaanse Schans Windmills, Muiderslot Castle, Hortus Botanicus and many more.
  • Use of public transport – trams, buses, metro and ferry lines.
  • Canal Cruise – pick one you like from different options.
  • Bicycle rental

So if you see the list, that’s pretty much includes almost everything that a person would spend money on while visiting Amsterdam. Except – what about eating, drinking and sleeping?

Unfortunately the card doesn’t cover your hotel or hostel bill but it does offer discount on a lot of restaurants, bars, pancake bakeries, chocolate stores, cheese stores, and cool stuff that Amsterdam is famous for.

What’s more is that you get some free activities and attractions in the nearby Haarlem, Volendam and the Zaanse Schans too, so that you don’t have to restrict yourself to just Amsterdam.

Costs of Amsterdam’s Must Do Things and Attractions

Here’s what some of Amsterdam’s most popular activities will cost you. Of course you don’t have to do them all but this is a general idea:

  • Canal Cruise: EUR 15 per person
  • Rijksmuseum: EUR 20 per person
  • Van Gogh Museum: EUR 19 per person
  • A’dam Tower Lookout: EUR 15
  • Hermitage Museum: EUR 27,50
  • Moco Museum: EUR 15,50
  • Rembrandt House: EUR 15
  • NEMO Science Museum: EUR 17.50
  • Jewish Cultural Quarter – Jewish Historical Museum and Portuguese Synagogue
  • Bicycle rental per day: EUR 15
  • Public transport per day: EUR 8-10

The above list is just to give you a glimpse, of course the full list of free activities and museums is massive. The good thing is that almost most of the museums are together in just one square – Museumplein so you can do them together.

So, even if you pick 2 museums, do a boat trip, rent a cycle or travel by public transport, then you are saving quite a lot of money with the I Amsterdam card. I did mention this in my Amsterdam travel tips post earlier that if you’re doing 2 attractions and 1 boat trip then you are already saving money with the card.

How to Make the Most of your I Amsterdam City Card (& use the card properly)

1) Select the RIGHT Duration of the Card

The 72 Hour I Amsterdam City Card

If you’re visiting Amsterdam for 5 days, then you don’t need to get the I Amsterdam City card for the entire duration of your stay. But choose the duration wisely.

A one day card is definitely the cheapest and it makes total sense to buy it if you’re going to be in Amsterdam for 24-36 hours However, picking a 24 hour card for a 2-3 day trip may not be the best idea. I will explain this further below.

If you get a 24 day card for a 2-3 day long trip to Amsterdam, then you are pushing yourself to use all the freebies that you want out of the card in just one day (which isn’t possible because there are too many).

Even if you are thinking of activating your card around mid day of your first day to use it till the mid day of your second day as some blogs suggest, keep in mind that you will still most likely spend before and after your card a minimum 20 EUR on other things like public transport, bicycle or a boat trip anyway.

Guess what, a 2 day card is just 20 euros more. So if you’re trying to save money and using up the card for just museums in one day and are going to slow the pace on the second day, you will still most likely spend more than the difference of price in the two cards. You may think you are saving money but it is an illusion, moreover you will end up limiting yourself in terms of time.

Similarly, a 3 day card costs 20 euros more but after that it is just 15 euros more for 4 days and 10 more for 5 days. This is the extra money that you will spend anyway if you stay in Amsterdam on public transport, etc – but you will at least buy yourself the peace of mind that you don’t need to rush from one attraction to another before your card ends.

2) Plan your time well (if you’re picking a smaller duration card)

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

You only need to plan your day well if you’re getting a smaller duration card like the 24 hour one. In order to use your card well, take some time to see what all is included in the I Amsterdam card and plan your time in advance.

It is likely that you don’t know about at least a few activities that you can get out of the card. Most of the museums are together and you can pick 2-3 of your choice and do them together in half a day and then eat in a restaurant that’s discounted with the I Amsterdam city card (more details about that in the next point).

I highly recommend that you get on a boat because seeing Amsterdam from one as you explore the canals is an interesting way to see Amsterdam. If you want to rent a bicycle, then plan your day in a way that you reach the bicycle rental place in time before they close for the day. Most close at 6 pm. After the bike rental, you may want to cycle around and then hit a restaurant or a bar.

3) Use the I Amsterdam App + Google Maps

When I was picking up my I Amsterdam City Card, the reps in the store suggested that I should install the app, so I did and it made things much easier. Not only I could see a list of things that were offered but also could always filter them based on what was free and what was discounted.

I didn’t need to search on Google all the time for websites of different museums but I could book everything through the app, and the app would further take me to the museum’s website. You will need to do this too if you want to look for last minute slots. You can always delete the app when you leave Amsterdam.

Apart from the I Amsterdam App, I also depended a lot on Google Maps. I actually use Google Maps for everything when I travel, so Amsterdam was no exception. My point here is that use your smartphone and plan your trip well.

4) Set Aside Half a Day for the Museums

The minimum time you need for a museum is around 40 mins but you will most likely end up spending a full hour. If you want to visit 2-3 museums with a quick snack in between, then set aside half a day for this purpose.

5) Don’t Restrict Yourself to Just Museums

View of Amsterdam from A'Dam Tower - how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam

View of Amsterdam from A’Dam Tower – how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam

The I Amsterdam City Card offers so much more than just museums. I understand that not everyone would enjoy going down the history lane or seeing some sort of exhibit but there are other cool activities and places that one can enjoy for free with the card.

You can enjoy the A’dam lookout, the Holland flight, Klimbos Fun Forest climbing park, or my personal favorite Hortus Botanicus. I have a video about the A’Dam Tower on my youtube channel. I will also publish a separate post about Hortus Botanicus.

6) Prebook slots for Everything + Last Minute Slots

When I visited Amsterdam in July 2021, museums and attractions were open again but it was necessary to prebook a slot everywhere, even at famous restaurants. Make sure you do this. It is likely that you can’t preplan everything but when I say prebook, it doesn’t have to be all weeks in advance. It can just be a day before or an hour before in some cases.

Don’t lose hope if you don’t find open slots because it is possible to find last minute slots. Believe it or not, I had booked a slot for the Rijksmuseum at 9 pm for 10 am the next day.

7) Visiting During a Busy Month? Avoid Peak Time 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Believe it or not, people are super predictable. Most of them like to wake up at 8 am, shower, eat a breakfast at their hotel and then make their way to the attraction they’d like to visit. As a result most of them arrive from 10:30 am to 13:30 pm because right after that they eat lunch.

If you’re visiting during a peak month – perhaps a summer weekend in Amsterdam then you should try to avoid the peak time. Visit before or after these peak hours. This way you will move faster and can surely get more done.

8) Pick Restaurants closest to the museums with the I Amsterdam card discount

To save time (and money), I suggest you check out the restaurants very close to the Rijksmuseum (and the Museum Square) where you will get a 15% discount with your I Amsterdam Card. These are actually very popular and during the COVID time, you have to book a slot on their website.

  • De Hoop op d’Swarte Walvis – Dutch
  • Pasta E Basta – Italian
  • Wagamama Max – Japanese

PLEASE NOTE that the first two restaurants only offer lunch discount with the I Amsterdam card. It is always good to show your I Amsterdam card before you order.

I actually made the mistake of not properly seeing the restaurants and bar listed in the discount section. I remember walking past 1-2 such restaurants / pubs and thinking that they are probably too expensive for me and I didn’t go in.

What I love about the I Amsterdam City Card

Flexibility & Freedom

The biggest advantage of using the I Amsterdam City card for me was enjoying the flexibility that it gave me. I could just go to any attraction whenever I wanted without needing to get a ticket or sticking to only a fixed time of my ticket booking or a fixed place. I could get into any tram or metro whenever I wanted.

You Can Visit Most of the Museums Together

Moco Museum – visiting Museumplein on my rented bicycle

The most amazing thing about visiting Amsterdam’s museums is that almost all of them are right next to each other in Museumplein – the Museum Square. So, one can just get into one museum, get out of it and then get into the next one.

The I Amsterdam Card Covers Almost Everything that I’d Spend My Money On

Over the past few years my travel style has changed. During my backpacking days I wouldn’t really spend a lot of money, but even then when I visited Amsterdam in 2014, I spent EUR 13 on a canal boat tour and around 10 euros on public transport.

I didn’t do any attractions because I thought I’d have to spend a lot. Little did I know back then that I just had to spend a few more euros for a city card.

Of course, things have become a little more expensive now. Now that I’m older, my travel style has changed. I actually like to spend money on things that are specific to a certain location. So in that sense, the I Amsterdam covers almost everything that I’d like to spend my money on

Suggested Things to do in Amsterdam with the I Amsterdam City Card

1) Enjoy the Museums of Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Spend half a day exploring Amsterdam’s amazing museums. The ideal situation would be if you’re in Amsterdam for 2 – 3 days. That way, you can book your museum time slots towards the second half of the first day. If you still think you missed out on something then you can always go back the next morning early.

Considering the card provides a free entry to Amsterdam’s 70-ish museums, you are probably confused about which ones to visit? Here are the top museums:

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Moco
  • Foam
  • Joods Historisch Museum in Joods Cultureel Kwartier
  • Stedelijk
  • NEMO Science Museum
  • EYE Film Museum
  • Amsterdam Pipe Museum
  • Het Woonbootmuseum (Houseboat Museum)

 

2) Use the Internal Transport – Trams + Metro + Buses

You will end up utilizing your I Amsterdam City card the most for the internal transport. You can use the trams, metros, buses and ferries.

Honestly I always end up traveling on the trams more often than the other things because I find them super adorable and convenient. Make sure you tap your card on the card reader at the time of entry and exit both.

3) Take the I Amsterdam Card Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam on a private open boat by Pure Amsterdam

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

The best way to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals is by enjoying a boat ride on them. Thankfully you can take one boat tour for free with your I Amsterdam city card. A typical boat tour is for 45 – 60 minutes so it can be a nice break for your legs from all that cycling or walking.

It can rain anytime in Amsterdam and thankfully most of the boats are semi covered. Don’t miss out on this experience and click a lot of photos.

The below mentioned Canal Cruise Operators work with I Amsterdam:

  • The 100 Highlights Cruise by Stromma (Free)
  • Canal Cruise by Amsterdam Circle Line (Free)
  • City Canal Cruise Blue Boat Company (Free)
  • Dutch Cheese and Wine Cruise by Stromma (Discounted)
  • Cocktail Cruise by Stromma (Discounted)

During the Covid times, you need to prebook a slot for most of the above mentioned cruises. Please note, you can just take one canal cruise for free per card in Amsterdam, Haarlem

4) Rent a cycle

Rent a cycle in Amsterdam with your I Amsterdam City Card

Of course your I Amsterdam City card will let you travel freely on trams and metros but you should not miss out on the joy of cycling in Amsterdam. Your I Amsterdam City Card will let you rent a bicycle for a day from MacBike, A-Bike or Yellowbike for free.

I rented one from MacBike and I enjoyed the experience.  It may appear a little scary because there are too many cyclists but honestly it isn’t difficult because there are bike lanes everywhere that are nicely marked. When in doubt, just follow the cyclists in front – haha.

5) Visit Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden

Me in Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Did you know that the majority of plants and houseplants (in Europe) come out of Dutch nurseries? The Dutch botanists and gardeners are famous all over the world. Yes, they are famous for their tulips but there is a lot more that just tulips that you can discover and fall in love with.

If you love plants then you will really enjoy Hortus Botanicus. It is near the Waterlooplein Market and is like a breath of fresh air away from Amsterdam’s hustle bustle. No doubt the outside garden area is stunning but that’s not even the best part.

There are several themed greenhouses here and my favorite was the rainforest one. I also enjoyed the small butterfly garden, it was unreal.

6) Visit the A’Dam Lookout for the View + Extreme Swing

Extreme Swing on A'Dam Tower - 2 Days in Amsterdam

Extreme Swing on A’Dam Tower – 2 Days in Amsterdam

Take a free ferry from Amsterdam centrum to Amsterdam-Noord to get to A’Dam tower. On the top of this tower is the viewing deck with an amazing view of Amsterdam in all the directions.

A’Dam Lookout entry is included in the I Amsterdam City Card but if you’re in the mood then you can also try the extreme swing on top. You have to pay extra for that. I did it and I highly recommend it.

7) Visit Muiderslot – the Most Famous Castle in the Netherlands

Muiderslot is an adorable castle that looks like it jumped right out of a fairy tale. It isn’t in Amsterdam so you have to get to Muiden with the train or metro.

8) See the Nieuwe Kerk from Inside

This is a 15th century church that’s on the Dam Square. You can go inside and see the exhibition space for free with your I Amsterdam city card.

Dam Square is the most touristy part of Amsterdam and most likely you will end up visiting it as you explore Amsterdam. Visit the Nieuwe Kerk while you’re there to ustilize your I Amsterdam Card well.

9) Enjoy the view from Nemo Science Museum

If you visit Amsterdam with kids then they will enjoy their time at the Nemo Science museum. Even if you’re alone, you will love the view from Energetica – the open air restaurant and terrace.

It is a good spot for sunset photography too but only in winter because the museum closes around 5 and that’s too early for summer sunsets.

10) See the Windmills of Zaanse Schaans

The I Amsterdam City Card includes a bunch of free tours in Zaandam too, that’s a popular destination outside Amsterdam because of the scenic beauty and Zaanse Schaans windmills.

If you filter and look for “Zaandam” location, you will find many tours and attractions. You can further filter this list to show you just the free tours.

11) Enjoy Dutch Cheese

Dutch cheese is famous the world over. If you aren’t lactose intolerant or vegan, then this is something you should absolutely do.

The I Amsterdam City card offers two cheese related activities – the Dutch Cheese and Wine cruise and Reypenaer Cheese tasting. The first is a cruise that you can take with your partner and the second is an hour long cheese tasting session at Reypenaer Tasting Room.

Both these activities aren’t totally free but are at a discount with the card.

12) Visit the Bars and Restaurants listed with the I Amsterdam City Card

I have this thing for food. When I travel, I often research about the best restaurants, best local specialities to try and also the most amazing places to drink with a lively atmosphere.

If you’re also like me and you do a similar search, then you will be delighted to know that the best places to eat and drink offer a discount (usually 15%) on I Amsterdam card. Below are some restaurants and bars where you can get a discount with the I Amnsterdam city card:

  • Amsterdam Icebar – 25% discount on the entrance fee, incl. 3 drinks.
  • Bar Bitterbal – Bitterballen are the traditional Dutch fried balls and this is a speciality restaurant where you get 25% off – but only on Bitterballen.
  • Blue Amsterdam – 25% off on lunch, not on drinks
  • De Drie Fleschjes – a free shot with the card
  • In de Waag – 25% off on lunch, not on drinks
  • Pasta E Basta – 25% off on on a three-course men, not on drinks
  • Wagamama – 25% on total bill – lunch or dinner
  • The Pancake Bakery – 25% discount on an international pancake (excl. drinks).
  • Pancakes Amsterdam – 25% discount on the breakfast menu, served till 13:00

 

13) Make a Quick Trip to Haarlem

Haarlem is a cute nearby town which is just a 10 minute train ride away from Amsterdam. The I Amsterdam card offers a canal cruise there and a free entry to some decent museums, so you’re covered.

Please note that you can just take one canal cruise with your I Amsterdam Card, so if you have already take one in Amsterdam, you won’t get a free one in Haarlem.

Is the I Amsterdam City Card is for you? I Will Help You Decide

1) Get an idea about what to do in Amsterdam

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

Admire Amsterdam’s Narrow Houses – Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam isn’t a big city but it is packed with excitement. There are tonnes of options for things to do, that one can get overwhelmed. I have a post about what to do in Amsterdam which will give you a decent idea. My website has man y other posts about Amsterdam, go get comfy, grab a coffee and give them a read.

Write down the things that you would want to do. Amsterdam. isa spectacular city and most likely you will just visit it once or twice. Make the most of your time there and research.

2) Check the list of things the card offers

See the list of all the things that are included in the I Amsterdam Card. Write down Ask yourself if you’re you interested in at least 2-3? Yes, the card is worth buying because normally one activity is around 20 Euros.

3) What is your purpose of traveling to Amsterdam

Are you visiting Amsterdam just to visit the coffeeshops and to experience the weed scene? If yes, then you don’t need the card. I have a super detailed post about Amsterdam’s coffeeshops with information about the prices, and how to experience the city’s marijuana scene as a first timer.

4) What is your pace of traveling?

Are you a slow traveler who likes to visit just one attraction a day and spend the rest of the time walking around or sitting in a cafe? If yes, then you most likely don’t need the card. The card makes sense if you’re visiting at least 2 attractions a day.

5) Will You Visit Amsterdam Again in the near future?

Not everyone gets to visit a city like Amsterdam often, mainly due to geographical reasons. Also, the hotels in Amsterdam aren’t cheap – even if it is close by, you may not end up visiting it so often unless you can stay at a friend’s place. So if you’re like me, you’d utilize the time well.

Ask yourself the above mentioned questions and you have the answer if the I Amsterdam card worth it or not for you.

Where to buy the I Amsterdam Card

You can book your I Amsterdam card online for the duration that you’d like and pick it up in person when you arrive in Amsterdam at the I Amsterdam Store in Amsterdam Central train station.

When you arrive in Amsterdam, then by all means you will arrive at the Amsterdam Centraal. Not just by train but also by air or bus. When you arrive by air then you will take the train from the Schiphol to Amsterdam Cenraal. When you arrive by bus, most buses will leave you at Duivendrecht or Sloterdjik. You will still end up crossing or getting of at Amsterdam Centraal station. The I Amsterdam store is right there at the station, closer to the exit. Your Google Maps app will guide you to it.

Disclosure: we collaborated with the I Amsterdam (Amsterdam city tourism board) for a part of our trip in 2017 and 2021. However, all opinions expressed in this articles are definitely our own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.   We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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