I used to live for quite a long time in Holland but even after so many years going out or just visiting Amsterdam during the day never got old. It is a very densely packed city filled with narrow houses with picturesque facades, busy canals and millions of bicycles. Today I want to share with you my favorite paces and things to do in Amsterdam. There is a bit of everything – culture, food, (some) expertise and of course shopping.
Once a year the municipality of Amsterdam organizes an even called Museum Night (Museumnacht). It is a great opportunity to visit all museums for fraction of the price. Some museums serve drinks other organize late night themed parties which is an experience I highly recommend. Another great seasonal events are Amsterdam Dance Event and King’s Day (Koningsdag) when the city is buzzing with week long parties. If you are not around for any major city event but still want to visit and soak up some culture I strongly recommend Rijksmuseum. Recently renovated and situated in the city center this arts and history museums really packs a punch. There about five floors packed with masterpiece paintings and intricate objects. The Dutch history can be quite entertaining since they really love to travel and concur new territories. Pre book your tickets to avoid long queue and absolute chaos.
Amsterdam is very flat which is makes it a great opportunity to explore it on a bike. Bike tours are great but I strongly recommend just hiring a bike for the day. If it’s raining, cycling is not a great idea, but still makes getting around the city in fast and economic manner. I love cycling next to the canals, over the tiny bridges and narrow streets. It really gives you a different feel for the city and makes you feel like a local. Make sure you lock your bike at all times since bicycle theft is a very common thing. Cycling around on the streets of Amsterdam I consider much safer since cars and other moving vehicles are very aware of the bikes on the road. Plus everywhere there are designated bicycle lanes, so fear not cruising around.
Another very entertaining way to explore the city are boat trips. Over the years I probably went to about seven, which is quite a lot since it’s more of a tourist thing and I practically lived over there. Nevertheless boat trips are great fun, coursing around the canals and really exploring the city on water. I recommend going for evening boat trip (starting at about 6.30pm-7 pm) so that the lights of the bridges will be on. The views are beautiful and can be quite romantic. There are many routes but I like best the one that cruise around the inner ring of the city, the one that go into open water around Nemo museum etc. are not that worth it.
If you are feeling a bit hungry or want to grab a coffee somewhere nice go to “De Negen Straatjes” (the nine streets). This aria is not only great for food but also absolutely fantastic for shopping. With so many small independent clothing stores, reasonably priced vintage shops, home décor and custom jewelry cute shops you can really find some unique pieces to take home. Around this aria you can also encounter some unique individuals that circle the canals and attract attention.
In case you are a beauty addict like me there are three high end beauty shops (ICI PARIS, Douglas, Skins) that run great promotions at all times (at least 20% off at all times) and two drugstore shops (etos and Kruidvat) that carry more budget friendly cosmetics lines. If you do your research in advance you can definitely score some pretty good deals on cosmetics.
Amsterdam is mostly famous for the “coffee shops” and Red Light District. If you are into any of those things it is worth checking it. Personally I do not feel comfortable around any of this arias or shops, and most locals have the same opinion so unfortunately I have no recommendations to report to.
Hope you enjoy my quick tips on things to do in Amsterdam. Soon I will post few more on other cities I recently visited so stay tuned.