Amsterdam is a city I have visited several times over the years. I simply adore the layout of the city with its cobbled streets and canals. There is a wonderful atmosphere in the city at all times of the year.
I have visited in the dead of winter and the height of the summer. I prefer the spring as it is warm without being too hot/cold. Here are my top recommendations for visiting the city.
Flower Market (bloemenmarkt)
This is a floating market on the canal side. There is a whole street full of various vendors selling all kinds of flowers and bulbs. You can arrange to have them shipped to your home country or buy on the spot. Be aware of any import regulations your home country may have.
I have brought home tulips in the past and they have been gorgeous! FYI there is a ‘National Tulip Day’ in Dam Square where you can go and pick a bunch of tulips for free – I had so much fun when I went.
This is the main tourist Square in Amsterdam although there are many squares in the City. Here you will find many tourist souvenir shops and the food and drink is considerably more expensive. Although it is super nice to sit and watch the world go by, I would recommend you buy a takeaway coffee or sandwich and sit in the square.
A glass of beer can cost up to €10 which is expensive even for a European city.
Taking a tram ride out of the city centre is a great way to see more of the city. For a few Euro, you can spend the day travelling in and around the streets of Amsterdam. Trams are easily accessible and a great way to see more of the city.
As there are so many canals in Amsterdam it is a must to take one of the many canal tours available. You can choose between day or night tours and there are many different routes. I take one every time I visit and see something new each time. The tour guides are informative, and it is a great way to find out new and interesting facts about the city. As Amsterdam is built on a sandy/silty ground it does not have skyscrapers which makes the architecture beautiful to look at in all its glory form the canal.
Red Light District
Over the past few years, the Amsterdam government have tried to clean up the seedier parts of the city and the Red-Light District has been affected by this. It is an interesting thing to see even if it is not your thing. Beware of pickpockets as the area can get very busy.
There are many clubs and bars in this area and onto the Warmoesstraat. The nightlife is great in Amsterdam and there is a massive sense of PRIDE at all times of the year.
There are many locations across the city where you can get great food in Amsterdam. Stroopwafels are a caramel wafer waffle and taste delicious. I also love the Gouda cheese of which you can buy many variations at one of the many cheese stores around the city. These stores offer free tasting and some even make the cheese instore so you can see the cheese being made right in front of you.
Chips in a cone is also a very popular dish in the city and you can pick them up cheaply. I would also highly recommend the apple pie!
An important point to remember is that you can get drinks and food in cafes (coffee shops are where you can buy ‘recreational’ goodies!)
Hire a bike
Another way to see the city is to hire a bike. However, there are literally thousands of bikes in the city and it can be very intimidating if you are a novel cyclist. The cycles hold more rights than the vehicles in the city and you will see all shapes and sizes of bikes.
Amsterdam has many museums of which the Van Gogh Museum is probably the most famous. Spend the day exploring the many museums. You can pick up discounts by buying day tickets/city tickets so plan out your visit to save money especially if you plan to visit a lot of attractions.
Take a trip out to the De Gooyer Windmill. It is the tallest windmill in the Netherlands and a sight to behold. Have a drink in the adjoining brewery (take the tour!) and enjoy the atmosphere.
Brewery Tour (Heineken / Ice Bar / Brouwerij ‘t IJ)
There are a few options in Amsterdam for Brewery tours/experiences. The popular Heineken experience is the story of how a small beer went on to become a worldwide sensation.
The Ice bar is a tourist attraction where everything is made from ice! You can only spend a short time here, but it is definitely worth the experience.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ is a small brewery based beside the De Gooyer Windmill. Enjoy a beer and tapas before taking the tour. The brewery is named after the river IJ which is where the water for the beer comes from. I recommend the Zatte.
There are many more attractions in and around Amsterdam. From Central Station to the Anne Frank house there is something to suit everyone tastes. There are also beautiful churches to see.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam?
Until next time,