Top Ten List: Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Start the trip off with a free walking tour – we always like to start our trips off with one of these because it gives you a lay of the land and helps you orient yourself to the city. You also get really interesting information about the liberal attitude of the city and it will answer a lot of those “Why is it like that?” questions that you will have later on when walking the streets.
- Tour the Red light District at night – although you definitely can go during the day, you really don’t get what everyone is talking about if you don’t go here at night. It wasn’t exactly my “cup of tea” but if you are in Amsterdam you have to at least check it out so you understand what everyone is talking about when they mention the Red Light District.
- Tour the city on a canal cruise – not crazy expensive and a very peaceful way to look at the city in a different lens. We went for a birthday and did this on his birthday during the day/sunset and it was a really nice (although cold) way to see the city, have a couple of drinks and relax in a different way than normal.
- Rent bikes and ride through town and the various parks – but be careful. Amsterdam is known for their aggressive bikers and that there are more bikers than cars. So use your signals, be cautious and be prepared but it’s worth doing and gets you to really fun places that might seem out of the way.
- Head to Museum Square and the “I amsterdam” sign – There are great museums here such as the Van Gough and Rijkmuseum, our group split up into the museums that most intrigued us and spent a couple hours at our respective musuem. While you’re here you have to take a completely #basic and touristic photo in the middle of the park at the Iamsterdam sign… *tip: go late late at night or extremely early in the morning if you want an epic photo with no people in it!
- Try out the trendy cafés and typical “Dutch” food – Amsterdam, like many of the Northern European countries, is very trendy. Therefore, you will find a lot of cute cafes and restaurants throughout the city. Our top favorites were Coconut and Coffee, a hipster 3 story coffeehouse/brunch haven mixed with a beach theme and drinks served in coconuts! Also, try out Pancakes! Amsterdam which is a chain restaurant but don’t be fooled, it’s affordable and delicious, and serves only pancakes which is a delicacy in the Netherlands and you might as well try it while you are there!
- Walk and shop around the 9 Straatjes – The streets of Amsterdam where all the high end, mainstream and even boutique designers hang out. Definitely worth taking a trip here, filled with people, the royal palace, shopping, food and coffee you could get lost in these 9 streets for more than a couple of hours.
- Visit Anne Franks House – There is a long line so I would recommend booking tickets online before. It is an historic house and memory for all of “The Diary of Anne Frank” readers out there and just to put an actual place to the memory that we all have lodge in our minds from high school is quite moving and I would highly recommend doing this historic event.
- Stroll or bike to The Windmill Brewery and get a sampler and some appetizers – we went here after biking through the city and a couple parks. It was a nice brewery with excellent beer and great appetizers to enjoy while preparing for the intense bike ride home.
- Check out the “Coffee Shops” – even if you are or aren’t into smoking this is quite an interesting scene that is specific to Amsterdam and worth taking a look inside. It is definitely something that is unique to Amsterdam, similar to the Red Light District, where you might as well take a look to see what the hype is all about. Don’t get the coffee shop confused with a cafe incase your looking for a nice cup of coffee because I think you might be a little surprised.
*Check out our cool GoPro video about Amsterdam here