Ah Amsterdam, the beating heart of all European cities. No matter what the season, Amsterdam conjures up imaginings of charming buildings, quaint houses, sprawling windmills and hundreds of picture-perfect canals.
Whether it’s exploring the tulip fields in the Spring, or reveling in a blanket of snow across the ancient bridges, Amsterdam is bound to capture your heart with its fairy tale like, magical atmosphere.
As well as being one of Europe’s most stunning cities, Amsterdam is also full to bursting with culture and things to do. The Dutch people are crazy friendly and welcoming. The cities atmosphere is super relaxed, open and tolerant. And the vibes, unmistakably chilled. Amsterdam is the perfect city for an enjoyable weekend away, a girl’s holiday or a romantic break.
The accommodation options are endless, from cute little Airbnb’s overlooking the canals, to sprawling, inner city luxury hotels, and don’t even get me started on the food and drink options.
So, if you’ve never been to Amsterdam, it’s time to book that plane ticket (or train ticket or ferry ticket), grab yourself a bicycle from one of the many rental shops in the city and get exploring like a local. Here’s a quick Amsterdam guide to get you started.
What not to miss in Amsterdam
Canal boat cruises
If you only do one thing in Amsterdam, make it a canal boat cruise. There’s no better way to explore the cities endless array of beautiful canals and ancient bridges. Canal boat cruises are offered all over the city and range from an hour cruising to a whole evening with food and drinks included. Day time cruises are great, but sunset cruises are worth considering too. Amsterdam by night is simply magical.
Anne Frank’s House
If you haven’t read the famous story of Anne Frank and the house she lived in during WWII, then where have you been? A trip through the tragic past of Anne and her family is an absolute must. Today the house is a museum. It holds many artefacts including her original diary. Remember to book tickets online, they sell out way in advance.
Van Gogh Museum
Trust me when I say, you don’t even have to be a fan of art to appreciate this place. Not only does the museum carry the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work, but it also tells the story of his interesting life and his struggle with mental illness, all the way from birth through to death. You can’t buy tickets on the door, so remember to book online.
Floating flower markets
Amsterdam’s famous flower market is situated on one of the most frequented canals, Singel canal. Known locally as the Bloemenmarkt, it promises a treasure of colorful flowers from tulips through to sunflowers. Every shop is built onto a floating barge. Once upon a time, all these flowers arrived daily, by boat from the countryside. That doesn’t happen anymore, but the floating flower market remains one of Amsterdam’s most colorful and famous attractions.
Must visit Amsterdam neighborhoods
Red light district
Of course, this made the list! Probably the most famous of all Amsterdam’s neighborhoods, the Red-Light District showcases what most other cities keep under wraps. A place of prostitution, sex shows and marijuana, it’s probably not for the fainted hearted. It’s also home to a few museums’ worth visiting, including the museum of prostitution.
The 9 streets
Much more classy than the above-mentioned neighborhood, 9 streets is the home to 9 cobbled streets littered with classy, quirky cafes, restaurants and shops a plenty. A hot spot for Amsterdam’s elite crowd, this district is often referred to as Amsterdam’s trendiest neighborhood.
De Pijp has only recently found its feet. Once built to accommodate Amsterdam’s low-income families, today De Pijp is hip and trendy and is home to Amsterdam’s largest and most famous market. Albert Cuyp market attracts hundred of visitors every single day.
Be sure to explore De Pijp’s trendy cafes and restaurants after your daily fix of shopping.
Westerpark is Amsterdam’s largest and greenest park. As well as plenty of green space to roam, picnic and wander, Westerpark is full early 20th century red brick buildings now converted into an array of bars and restaurants.
Most of all. Amsterdam is just a really cool city to hang around in. Eat stroopwafels, grab a beer, cycle the streets. You’re sure to find a surprise on every single corner.
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Check out the Jetset Bunny Guide to the Netherlands including the basics, things to do, eat, stay and plan: Netherlands Travel Tips