Despite my short stay in Amsterdam, I absolutely fell in love with this place and would love to visit again when I will get a chance and time.
Amsterdam the capital city of Netherlands, is one of the Europe’s most popular destinations. Like others, even I heard that the city is famous for its red light district, strip clubs, party atmosphere and cannabis practice. Now when I have been to this beautiful city, I can say from my personal experience that the city has so much more to offer. Amsterdam has world-class museums, beautiful canals, historical buildings, wonderful architecture, lovely green spaces and beautiful flower gardens.
If you guys are planning to visit Amsterdam then I would suggest make your own list of places to visit according to your interest area and don’t go for the pre-set tour by travel agents. I hope this article will help you to figure out your interest and you would be able to make the most out of your trip.
1. Rent a bicycle to soak in the city sights and the grandeur of the canals!
Cycling is a very common means of transportation and there’s special lanes everywhere for those who love to explore the city this way. Amsterdam has been dubbed as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world and if you’re a pedestrian don’t make the mistake of walking in a bicycle lane as most of the cyclists here seem crazy and reckless and overlook the people on their way. I was almost run over by them.
2. The IAmsterdam Sign
Iamsterdam sign is a must visit place of Amsterdam. Sit on it or in front of it, take a selfie or have a group picture in front of these giant red and white letters for your very own ‘Me in Amsterdam shot’! The place is always buzzing with people, so you would have to be a little patient and wait for your chance to click picture but it is definitely worth it.
I and my friends were there for more than 2 hours just for those few perfect shots.
3. The Rijksmuseum
If you are an art fan then you must visit this place. It has a massive collection of Dutch Art. The Rijksmuseum building itself is also very beautiful so make sure you stop outside to take some photos.
4. Tour the Red Light District’s female entertainers and sex shops!
Most of you have probably heard about Amsterdam’s Red Light District. And no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a curious walk through it. Leaving nothing to the imagination, most of the stereotypes about this area you have heard are true: there are plenty of sex shops, peep shows, a sex museum and prostitutes in red-lit windows.
And a word of warning, don’t try to take photos of the women’s in the windows or the bouncers on the street won’t be happy. Also, refrain from laughing or saying anything obscene to the women; they may be prostitutes but they are human too.
5. Experience an Amsterdam coffeeshop!
It’s important to know that in Amsterdam, a café and coffee house (koffiehuis) are both different from a coffee shop (coffeeshop). A café is usually a casual restaurant or bar, a coffee house or koffiehuis sells coffee, pastries, or light meals; whereas, a coffeeshop is where you can legally smoke weed or hash and eat space cakes etc. (a.k.a. where you can do soft drugs). You will be surprised to see the variety of weed they offer and they have proper menu for it. You can choose and try different type of weed there. There you will find proper place to sit and roll your joints.
If you are someone like me who doesn’t know how to smoke up then go to the shopkeeper tell them – “I want to get high like my friends but I don’t want to smoke weed”. Then they will give you a piece of cake or brownie which will look like the regular cake or brownie but it will be a hash brownie or cake which will make you high real quickly within few bites so be careful and eat it slowly.
6. Heineken Experience
Heineken is one of the most well know brewers of beer in the world with its beers being drunk all over the world. For beer lovers, a visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without checking out the Heineken Experience housed in an old Heineken Brewery. While the brewery itself hasn’t produced beer in over 20 years, it is however a very interesting and entertaining interactive experience and great way to spend a few hours learning about the brewing process and tasting a few of the Heinekens brews. Your entry ticket includes access to the full experience including guided beer tasting and a free beer in the bar at the end of your visit.
7. The Van Gogh Museum
Located next to the Rijksmuseum is Amsterdam’s second art museum which is a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh.
The museum tells the story of Vincent Van Gogh, including the development of his art, his inspirations, his mentors, his personal struggles and the struggles of his relatives to keep the collection together following his death.
8. The Anne Frank House
If you are not a big fan of museum and want to visit only one or two museum then Anne Frank House is a must visit museum in Amsterdam.
This museum is located in the house where Anne Frank and her family lived for over two years during World War II hiding from Nazi persecution. The museum is dedicated to remembering Anne’s life, parts of the house have been preserved in the same state they were when Ann lived there, there are extracts of her diaries and information at all points about her life and her struggle.
47 Hectares, Vondelpark is the largest green space in Amsterdam which welcome 10 million visitors each year. It is the perfect place to go for a picnic, bike ride or just to relax for a couple of hours and to watch the world go by.
10. Visit the famous flower market: Bloemenmarkt! And Keukenhof Gardens
The Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) of Amsterdam is said to be the only floating flower market in the world. You will get to see the beautiful flower stalls stand on houseboats or barges. The Netherlands is the world’s main producer of commercial tulip plants so you will see a lot of them (as well as its bulbs) being sold here.
If you happen to be in Amsterdam during the spring months then Keukenhof is a must visit as the gardens come alive with tulips and other spring favorites and there would be a carnival like atmosphere all around. It is about a 45 minute drive from the city center.