10 Things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a vibrant, colourful city providing numberless opportunities for grabbing some culture and art, sightseeing, gastro touring or just simply hanging out. In the narrow streets and among the canals of the city center thousand of secret places, museums, galleries and tiny coffee shops, amazing street food can be explored.
I personally like to discover cities mixing culture, food and chilling. So let’s see, what should be done visiting this crazy, little heaven of Europe.
- Visit one of the most famous coffee shops of the city
The city of freedom in several aspects. Among others smoking weed, hash, marijuana is legal, so according to this the meaning of coffee shops turned into something different: an establishment with good vibe, original interior, nice nonalcoholic drinks and wide selection of weed.
We chose the iconic Dumpkring, which is located in the heart of the city center. It is one of the most popular coffee shops of Amsterdam offering an outstanding smoke menu, fresh smoothies, shake (the strawberry-white chocholate shake is a must) and tea with unique flavours. This place with its bohemian ambiance is perfect both for young and old, local and tourist having good chance to hang out.
The staff is really professional and friendly so dear „smoke virgins” no worries: if you are a first timer, they will advice you the perfect smoke (marijuana, hash, kush) according to your wishes.
- Rent a bike and discover the city
/For the andventurers: cycling from Amsterdam to Keukenhof/
Amsterdam – and the whole country – is super bike-friendly assuring the essential infrastructure and background. However, it can be little adventurous for not experienced tourists. Anyway, if we want to get a dash of real Amsterdam-feeling, renting a bike is the best way.
Bike rentals can be found on every corner of the city for reasonable price (10-12 €/day). It is really easy and cool to visit the old streets, museums and other points of interest by bike. If you have about enough of hustle and bustle of the urban area and there is an adventurer lost in you, there are several options for cycling to surrounding towns.
As we were in the Netherlands in springtime, we tried the following: cycling from Amsterdam city center to Keukenhof to see the „world’s flower garden”, where more than 7 million flower bulbs are planted every year. Please note, that the garden is open to the public between mid-March and mid-May only. It is better to purchase the tickets in advance – all day trip or combined with other programmes – online. The park is perfect for chilling, nice lunch (menu for 15€), long walks and unique photos in ocean of tulips. If you do not want to go in, there is another alternative to rent a Keukenhof bike for taking a ride around the magical tulip fields.
I advice cycling straight from Amsterdam for those only, who are motivated enough to bike 75 km there and back. It is a flawless way to deepen your Dutch experience in every sense.
About tips for long distance biking in the Netherlands you can read here.
- Stamble on secret bars of Amsterdam
Oh yes! My favourite part is coming: experimenting with matchless drinks while traveling. You can choose from certain drink related programs, which are elements of the national gastro culture.
The Heineken Experience is highly recommended for beer fans. The Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal is a Genever Distillery established in 1679 provides Old Dutch liqueurs, genevers and fruit brandies made by traditional craft methods, which you can try in its Tasting Room.
The perfect ending of sightseeing can be Hiding in Plain Sight (HPS), which was selected as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. The bar is open evenings only. You can sip your excellent – made of high quality ingredients – cocktail by candle light guessing HPS riddles hanging on the wall. These are real brain-teasers for free shots.
- Museum trip is a must
Amsterdam can be a true paradise for museum fans. Very diverse museums, galleries, old, secret hiding places are waiting for you. As the city is full of them, I would like to give some ideas related to different themes.
For art and painting lovers there is a never-ending list of museums. The Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam has the largest collection of paintings, drawings and letters of Vincent Van Gogh, while the Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum offering for its visitors nice experience about the country’s art and history. If you are addicted to books, you can enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the museum’s library.
For more fun we checked the Ripley’s Believe it or Not, which has a really colourful, crazy exhibiton, we loved it. Something more special, unusual hides the Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum, the Micropia or the Red Light Secrets.
- Sleep on a boat
If you want some extra seasoning for your stay in Amsterdam, this type of accommodation is a flawless idea!
Due to price-boom of city’s flats and houses people began to get settled on their ships. Nowadays some of them operates as a boat hotel. To be honest, it was one of my favourite shelter while traveling. I recommend warmly the Hotelboat Amsterdam located in the heart of the city, from where almost everything is available on foot.
The price includes the breakfast, which we enjoyed on the deck in beautiful sunlight, whilst evenings is it possible to delight in nice sunset sipping wine.
- Swing on top of the city
’Over the Edge’ is Europe’s highest swing 100 meters above Amsterdam.
If a little adrenalin is what you need, I assure you, this is your place. For my brother it was fun at its finest, but for those – like me – who fear, I recommend something to drink from the bar as encouragement.
The tower houses an exhibition, restaurant and a roof top bar, which is perfect after your cool flying experience or – worse case – mini horror story. Anyway, it can be a good point of bucket list!
- Canal Cruise
Canal cruising in the Netherlands is like gondola ride in Venice: relaxing option for sightseeing and romantic pastime at the same time.
There are several alternatives to enjoy the view and learn about the Dutch history from the water, like small boat cruise, semi-open, candlelight or Amsterdam dinner cruise. Due to amazing weather we chose an open boat cruising in narrow canals with a really cool guy, who showed us the highlights and boathouses pointing out the consequences, what happens, if there’s too many people at a house party on the water…
If you have nice weather during your stay, I advise to book open cruise to catch the sunset while enjoying a drink or a nice dinner.
- Discover the Red Light District
Welcome to one of the most interesting, in some cultures still outrageous district – separate world– of Amsterdam. First of all, it is much more than simply restaurants and bars functioning as tourist attractions.
Before a pub crawl I have something different for you as evening program: Red Light District museums trip. What’s on the list: the Red Light Secrets, the Sex Museum and the Erotic Museum, I assure you: you will have a unique evening/night. We visited the Red Light Secrets, which has very special atmosphere with its real, „face to face” exhibition. I found positive, that it was at the same time mystic and educational. You can take a visit behind the scenes of the oldest profession in the world reading about facts and personal stories. The museum points out, how it feels to sit behind the window, how it feels, when people are staring at you…
At the end of the tour wild confessions of other visitors can be found. I was reading, smiling and I was impressed: how easy it is to share our deepest secrets with unknown people.
- Take a look into the world of waffles
I personally love tasting sweet from all of the world, actually I could do this all day and night. If you have the same feeling to these amazing creations of gastronomy, Amsterdam is your city.
First of all I want to clear the difference between the traditional Dutch stroopwafels and the waffles, which can be found almost everywhere in Europe and in USA.
The stroopwafel is made from two thin baked layers with caramel syrup filling in the middle, first appeared in Gouda in 1784, while the waffles’ origin is from the ancient times of the Greeks. It became famous in France and Belgium having specific size and shape.
The streets of Amsterdam present the sweet treat on every corner. From the huge sugary paradise to cute, tiny shops you can find everything, what gives you dose of happiness hormone. Let yourself dive in this kaleidoscopic world of goodies choosing tempting toppings, sauce and base – like oreos, fruits, marshmallows, caramelised nuts, ice-cream or nutella – for your waffle. The stroopwafel is a must and if you have more space in your belly I recommend to taste the hand-made cookies and the mini pancakes.
- Chilling on the beach
The Netherlands is not only about Amsterdam, canals and windmills. After busy days in the capital it is pure pleasure to sit on the beach listening the sound of waves, which is the nicest music for my soul.
We visited Noordwijk, which was love for the first sight: its unspoilt nature and stunning beach enchants everyone, while the beach bars, restaurants offer delicacies from the sea and cool drinks. My favourite is La Cubanita serving Spanish tapas and amazing cocktails with touch of Cuban feeling, whereas in the Pannekoekenhuisje you can choose from more than 30 different pancakes.
I am a big sunset lover seeking for the epic spots everywhere while traveling. After discovering the Walk of Space – the seafront promenade – don’t miss the magical colours of Dutch sundown.