Let’s face it, most people associate the Dutch Capital with with its liberal drug policies and its Red Light District. But there is so much more to the city of Amsterdam, whether it’s the immersive art scene or its major sights which give a glimpse into the fascinating history of the Netherlands. Here is some spots which you should definitely check out while in the area, as well as some tips for during your stay.
1. WALK ALONG THE CANALS
You can’t visit Amsterdam without taking a stroll through the canal streets. While visually stunning, you can also see clear markers of the city’s past as well as present. These areas are clearly developed by the great Merchants of the city, with easy access by boat and tall houses for storage.
TIP: On the southside of the city centre there is a single spot where you can see a row of 7 bridges along the canal. It’s a great view!
2. THE FLOWER MARKETS
Ok, so this may not on the top of everyone’s list, but it is definitely a part of the city you should see. The market is actually floating on the canals and shows visitors exactly why the Netherlands are so famous for their flowers, namely the tulips. There is so much to buy here, but even for non-gardening enthusiasts it is a nice spot to check out.
3. THE ANNE FRANK HUIS MUSEUM
Like many other European capitals, Amsterdam became ravaged by Nazi occupation in the mid 1900s, something which becomes all too clear when visiting this museum. The house where Anne Frank and her family went into hiding gives accounts of both horrendous living conditions, as well as her unwavering hope. This is a must-see for everyone visiting Amsterdam.
TIP: Advanced tickets can be bought online (which sell out crazy quick), but if you want to just turn up on the day, around 7pm is the best. The line is pretty long, but it’s shorter than any other time, while still giving you enough time inside.
4. A FREE WALKING TOUR
Amsterdam, especially in the centre, is like a labyrinth which is so easy to get lost in. Taking a walking tour around the area can help you familiarise yourself with the surroundings; but it also lets you see places you wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s also an interesting way to learn about the Red Light District and “Coffee Shops” which are so common in the city.
TIP: We took a tour with the FreeDam company which was amazing. It lasted just under 3 hours and was really interesting and gave us a good taste of the city as a whole.
5. THE RIJKSMUSEUM/ “I AMSTERDAM” SIGN
The Rijksmuseum is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, as well as housing hundreds of amazing pieces of art. Buying a ticket online at a reasonable price remains valid for an entire year and is definitely worth it. Outside the museum though, you can check out the I Amsterdam sign (for free btw!), perfect for having some great photos taken.
TIP: The museum is a bit far from the very centre of the city, but if you’re sticking around you can buy a 3-day public transport ticket for €26.00 which covers you for buses, trams and trains within the city.
Dubbed as Amsterdam’s answer to Central Park, this huge central area is a nice change of pace from the crazy atmosphere of city centre. There’s lakes, cafés and bars all over; though it’s just as nice to wander around the whole park for a relaxing time. Definitely try it out!
TIP: Near the park there are streets full of art galleries and museums. If you’re checking them out, it is nice to grab a coffee before you head down your “gallery crawl”.