I spent 3 days in Amsterdam last week and I had a brilliant time. I’m sure there are many other (possibly even better) things you can do in the city but here’s a breakdown of what I really enjoyed. I feel that one of the best things you can do though is to sit in a canal-side bar and watch life go by and walk/cycle around the city.
What to Expect?
Amsterdam is a really pretty city, built around a network series of canals, it really is very picturesque. Lots of little boats lying around and canal cruises always on the go add to the quaint and idyllic atmosphere the city has.
Expect to see lots of bikes and cyclists. Literally expect them everywhere, on sidewalks, on bridges, in streets, darting out of side streets, running red lights, the city is overrun by bikes.
Super duper urban planning that consists of a series perfectly fitting red-bricked houses and buildings all of them with their own features and characteristics but yet blending in with each other so well.
What to See and Do?
Walk walk walk – this is such a lovely city to walk through, forget about public transport or cabs if remaining in the central area, there’s absolutely no need – use them legs. I’ve heard there’s a hop off hop on a canal boat which especially on a sunny day would be lovely. I didn’t try this myself though.
See the flower market Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world and full of lovely shops and so many flowers especially tulips everywhere.
A canal cruise of some sort is a must – I did one as a brunch cruise which was lots of fun. It’s best to do on a boat that has outdoor seating so you can sit outside and see the bridges as you pass underneath them and all the lovely red-bricked buildings.
There’s also a great street market in the wonderful area of Jordaan – Noordermarkt
There’s a high number of cultural activities that one can do in Amsterdam. I chose the Van Gogh Musem (gorgeous artwork and a great insight into his life), Bansky (a great collection of his famed street art) and Rijks Museum that holds some lovely Rembrandt pieces and some other great fine art pieces. I sadly enough missed going to the Anne Frank house as it was completely booked up – all ticket for all museums can be booked in advance so don’t make my mistake.
Red Light District
We’ve all heard about it and whatever you think of it you should at least saunter through it. One thing to keep in mind is that in Amsterdam sex is a work industry like any other, there’s nothing shocking or distasteful about it, no one is made to work in this industry against their will. There are also sex shows that are very popular with visitors to the city.
Where to Stay?
Like any other city, there are tons of options but I chose to stay in a boutique serviced apartment – Wittenberg, it was a little bit out of the main centre which means it was nice and quiet yet still close to a host of wonderful restaurants and coffee shops and right on a canal.
Where I ate?
Normally when visiting a new place I try to place reservations at some recommend, high restaurants but this time I left it open. We went for brunch every day, there are so many great coffee shops and brunch spots all serving fresh, homemade. options including vegan, vegetarian and super healthy.
Chips are a national dish and you can get them with a choice of about 20 different sauces at some spots.
Raw herring is another popular street food option served on a bun or simply with pickles – I happen to love herring so this was a treat for me
Waffles are also everywhere – fresh ones served with Nutella or pre-prepared ones covered with different kinds of chocolate and served with ice cream.