Amsterdam is one of the most charming places I have visited. I have been to Amsterdam twice now, once in 2011 for school and once in 2014 for work. It is the perfect city to stroll around and depending on where you stay you can walk most places (or bike if you are brave).
Each area in the city has its own unique charm and no matter what you are interested in, there is something in Amsterdam for you. Make sure to pick up some stroopwaffles (caramel filled cookies…which become even more delicious when warmed over a hot cup of coffee) and cheese to bring home, you won’t regret it.
What To Do:
Take A Canal Cruise:
One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is on a boat! There are a variety of different canal cruises to choose from, but no matter which one you choose this is a must! I did the basic city cruise both times I went and really enjoyed it. Next time I’m back I’m definitely going to do the pizza cruise – who wouldn’t want to eat pizza on a boat cruising through the canals of Amsterdam?
This museum houses over a million pieces of artwork and historical objects, including a robust collection of classic Dutch painters such as Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals. This museum is great if you want to learn a little Dutch history. Make sure not to miss the iconic Night Watch by Rembrandt
I AMSTERDAM Letters:
Located right in front of the Rijksmuseum, these letters are something you shouldn’t miss. It’s SUPER touristy, but hey – you only live once and if you are there you should check them out!
Browse The Flowers at The Amsterdam Flower Market
Visit The Red Light District
If this is your first trip to Amsterdam I think this is a must. As one of Amsterdams top two tourist attractions it’s worth checking out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Make sure to be respectful of the girls and don’t take pictures.
Visit Dam Square
This medieval centre is the most visited attraction in Amsterdam. Dam Square is known for its network of canals, traditional architecture, coffee shops, and shopping centers.
Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank house was a humbling experience. Standing in the actual room where Anne and her family hid for all of those years during WWII is a feeling I can’t describe. Highly recommend going if you are in Amsterdam and reading her book “The Diary of a Young Girl”.
Heineken Brewery Tour
The Heineken Brewery tour really fun and interactive. During the tour you learn how the beer is made, the ingredients in beer, how to drink the beer (apparently there is a wrong way), and how to pour a perfect pint.
Ajax Soccer Game
Ajax is the professional soccer team in Amsterdam. The stadium is easy to get to by train and the tickets weren’t crazy expensive so if there is a game while you are there it’s worth going. I saw the Ajax vs. Paris Saint Germain game and it was an awesome experience!
Tip: For World of Champion games they don’t serve alcohol at the stadium, so if you want to have a nice buzz on for the game, make sure to stop at a pub before.
Explore the Cafe Scene:
You are not allowed to take pictures at the Van Gogh Museum but you can see paintings such as “The Bedroom”, “Sunflowers” and “The Potato Eaters”. If you like art, they have a great collection.
Where to Stay:
- Flying Pig Hostel – I didn’t stay here but I had a lot of friends who did and loved it. The hostel I stayed at was disgusting (I can’t even remember the name), so ask for recommendations before booking a hostel here.
- Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre Hotel – I stayed here when I came for work and really liked it. It’s located right by the central train station and was an easy walk to anything you would want to do.
- Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel
- Doubletree Amsterdam Central Station
Places to Eat & Drink:
Julias is located inside the central train station. Delicious pasta and take away wine when you’re wanting a quick lunch or dinner.
Liquor distillery located down a side street off dam square. This was recommended to me by a co-worker. Beware they are only open until 9pm. I tried to go for a drink after dinner one night and it was closed.
YUMM! Strawberry, Banana, Nutella heaven.
One Final Tip:
- A lot of the credit card machines in Amsterdam require you to enter a pin number. Before you travel I would call your bank to see if your credit card is compatible with the European pin numbers. If it’s not (my Visa wasn’t), I would take out cash (euros) when you arrive unless your debit card doesn’t incur international fees.