The city of Amsterdam is beautiful and charming with it’s maze of canals and abundance of cyclists – I have never seen so many bicycles! However at night, the centre becomes an unusual hub of sleaziness and excitement for tourists with it’s Red Light District and late night coffee shops. Amsterdam also has a great choice of places to eat and drink including the must-try dutch pancakes, waffles and famous apple pie!
Explore the centre
Amsterdam has many streets and canals to see. Get your bearings on the first day by exploring the city centre including the Dam Square, the Royal Palace, De Wallen canal and the Oude Kerk parish. Try finding a free walking tour to find out more about Amsterdam.
Try some dutch food
Amsterdam has plenty of places to get pancakes, waffles, or chicken and waffles! PANCAKES Amsterdam serves amazing sweet or savoury pancakes – or build your own! Also be sure to try the famous apple pie from Winkel 43.
Red Light District
This place may seem quiet enough during the day. At night the street is bustling with tourists! Around the De Wallen district you will find plenty of sex shops, coffee shops, live sex shows, peep shows and the famous sex workers in the red-lit windows looking for clients. Even if you’re not there to sample any of the above it’s still a very interesting place to walk around on a night!
Ticking off the museums
Amsterdam has a huge range of museums: art, science, prostitution, cannabis – the list goes on.
- Anne Frank Huis – The place where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during WW2 before being discovered and sent to Auschwitz. Make sure to book tickets online well in advance – there’s no ticket office!
- Body Worlds – a little bit creepy but super interesting. Everything you see in this museum comes from a deceased person who has donated their body to scientific research. Get a discount by booking online.
- Sex Museum – a little bit silly but a good laugh for €5. Explore private collections of risqué photographs that were probably never meant to be uncovered!
- Cheese Museum – More of a shop than a museum. It’s free to go in and you can have plenty of free tasters!
- Tulip Museum – a cute little shop with a museum at the back. It’s €5 to enter or you can go and look around the shop for free.
- Rijksmuseum – the history of the Netherlands and an impressive building! Also check out the “i amsterdam” sign whilst you are there! It’s probably covered in tourists, though.
Visit Zaanse Schans
Take a trip to the windmills of Zaanse Schans. There are plenty of tour companies offering a half day trip for €60, but it’s much cheaper and easier to just get the train. The majority of museums are free anyway! Take the train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Zaandijk. A day return ticket costs around €9.80.
The windmills are around a 15 minute walk from the station. There are plenty of signs and maps to show you the way! You can go in plenty of buildings for free including the clog museum. The windmills are an extra €4.50 to go in but climbing to the top of at least one is well worth it!
Now you may have some bearings on the city, try renting a bike and exploring the remaining parts of the city! Cycling is very popular in Amsterdam and a super quick way to get around the city.
A large and beautiful park in Amsterdam great for walking or cycling around. Inside the park are some cafes and restaurants to stop at – or take a picnic!
Located in the De Hallen neighbourhood, FoodHallen is a large and hip food hall serving amazing street food and drinks. A great place for lunch!
A very popular neighbourhood in Amsterdam. Jordaan has beautiful buildings, great restaurants and boutique shops. A nice and quiet area to walk or cycle around.
Amsterdam’s colourful flower market. You can’t cycle here but you can leave your bike nearby or walk through with it. You can see and buy plenty of tulips or bulbs to grow your own.
Originally written for adventuresofaginger.co.uk.
Photo by Gary Mark Smith – www.streetphoto.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10462513