Amsterdam is a place of quaint buildings and historical beauty as well as offering hundreds of attractions ranging from weird to wacky and wonderful. It’s a place where I’ve always felt safe and welcome which for me, as a tourist, is as important as the experience of travelling itself. Below is a useful list of my recommendations, should you ever be lucky enough to visit this fabulous city. There’s also the slightly crazier side, which you can read about in this article on Stag Do’s in Amsterdam.
Canal Tour Boats – With more than 150 canals interlinking throughout the city, Amsterdam has been likened to the very famous and beautiful Venice. With that said, it’s not only a different experience that you would normally find in most cities throughout the world but, it’s also informative and packed full of useful facts about the city and it’s also a quick and cheap way to get around the city.
Amsterdam Beer Bikes – I last travelled to Amsterdam on a stag-do and whilst we were there we decided to hire a beer bike. It was as much fun as we expected and more, and not only had us laughing the whole time but we also got to see a large part of Dam that we wouldn’t have normally seen. My first thought was a mobile fridge freezer full of beer, on wheels but, it’s actually a barrel of beer in the middle and beer pumps on each side for convenience. Do remember to take a jacket with you if you’re there in the colder months though as it can get quite nippy.
Grab a Coffee – There are many coffee shops in Amsterdam and being the coffee lover that I am, I was so pleased to discover that the coffees are brilliant. On my first visit to Dam in March 2010, I remember being sat in the coffee shop around 6pm, when the warm glow of the street lights illuminated the dark back streets, as me and my girlfriend sat in the warmth of the cafe sipping hot drinks and watching the world go by.
Visit the Museum of Anne Frank – One of the most famous names of World War II and writing resides here in Amsterdam at Anne Frank House. Anne and her parents lived here during the war in which the Dutch Resistance kept them hidden away from the Nazis in The Secret Annex. Anne wrote her famous diary here whilst living amongst 7 other people. Few people come away from this museum unmoved and it’s a must see.
Get on a Bike – One thing you will notice in Amsterdam is that there isn’t a shortage of bikes. They’re everywhere and one question you’ll ask yourself is “how do they know who’s is who’s”? Most locals in Amsterdam prefer this method of transport and the flat terrain makes biking around much easier than other cities. There are plenty of bike rental companies around and you can hire them for as long as you’re there. There’s just two words of advice, remember where you have parked your bike and always lock it up.
Pancakes for Breakfast – “Yuck” I said as my girlfriend mentioned this as an option over my beloved Full English but, after I’d finished my car-wheel sized bacon and goats cheese pancake, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When you try these delights you’ll want them every morning. Pancake shops can be found around the city and my advice would be to try the first small pancake shop that you stumble upon.
Check out the Red Light District – I haven’t tried to “save the best till last” here at all but, the Red Light District is not just an eye-opener it’s also a peculiar experience and one that you can always say you’ve been. I walked through with my girlfriend who seemed to enjoy it more than I did and it was a true Amsterdam experience for us. I’d advice to watch your pockets as the streets are very closed in and there are lots of people around.
Thanks for our friends over at the Trip Guide travel blog for supplying us with this article.