Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Home to iconic attractions like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank’s House, as well as many other cultural experiences, Amsterdam is a city full of history and things to explore.
From its canals to its world-famous museums, from its vibrant nightlife scene to its architecture and culture, from biking through the streets to enjoying sweet treats at a local cafe. Amsterdam offers you countless reasons to add it to your bucket list. Let’s examine some of these definitive reasons why you should visit this incredible city.
Amsterdam Travel Tips
- Don’t visit during the peak seasons.
- Book your tours in advance to save time and money.
- Avoid deserted places, such as alleys.
- Public transport is cheap, so avoid taxis.
- Explore the canals.
- Carry cash.
- Get the city card if you are staying for a long duration
- Research how to move around. Check this blog for a detailed guide on the best means of transport.
Visit the Art Scene
Amsterdam is an art lover’s paradise, home to many famous art galleries and museums. From major institutions like the Rijksmuseum, where you can explore works from Dutch masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer, to smaller galleries like the Amsterdam Tulip Museum that offers insights into the history of tulips in Holland.
There are plenty of options for art lovers in Amsterdam. For a unique experience, check out The Museum of Prostitution, which provides a fascinating insight into one of Amsterdam’s most controversial industries.
Learn about its Rich History
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without understanding its rich history. With centuries-old buildings still standing alongside modern structures, visitors can easily explore this city’s varied past through guided walking tours.
You can also take evening canal cruises, which offer a different perspective on the city’s culture and architecture, all while taking in some breathtaking views along the way.
Additionally, you can learn more about two iconic figures who have shaped this city: Anne Frank and Vincent Van Gogh, at their respective houses.
Evening Canals Cruise Tour
Exploring Amsterdam by day is excellent, but nothing compares to seeing it at night from a leisurely cruise ride along its world-famous canals. Whether you go alone or with friends, choose an open boat tour or go aboard a luxurious dinner cruise; these canal tours provide spectacular views that will stay with anyone long after they depart this incredible city.
Biking around town isn’t just fun; it’s also considered one of the main ways locals get around Amsterdam. Dedicated bike lanes throughout downtown provide easy access and plenty of parks perfect for cycling excursions outside central areas.
Cycling allows travelers to explore parts unseen by cars and buses, giving them better opportunities for discovering hidden gems within this wonderful Dutch capital city!
Any time spent in The Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some local festivals. So, do your research and ensure your trip coincides with some festivals.
Some of the popular celebrations in Amsterdam include:
- Kings Day Festival is held every April 27th to celebrate King Willem Alexander’s birthday
- The pride Parade usually happens to begin the last week of June, attracting thousands each year
- Grand Wine Tasting Festival showcasing wines produced from over 30 countries across Europe and America every August
- Chocolate Festival indulging sweet tooth lovers throughout November
- Try out different Cuisines
A country as diverse and international as The Netherlands is sure to offer delightful culinary experiences. And you must delight in their delicacies as there is something special in almost every corner, from traditional Dutch delicacies like oliebollen (doughnut-like balls) or bitterballen, which are small savory snacks usually served with mustard. You can also find exotic dishes from other cultures, like Surinamese roti or Indonesian dishes.
Enjoy Sweet Treats
What better way to end a day of sightseeing in Amsterdam than indulging yourself with delicious treats. Whether you’re looking for freshly baked pastries, creamy ice cream cones, decadent chocolates, or mouthwatering waffles, the city has plenty of options for anyone craving a sweet snack.
For an extra dose of nostalgia, try out Poffertje, miniature fluffy pancakes that are perfect when eaten warm and topped off with butter and powdered sugar.
Taste Dutch Gin
If you’re looking for something stronger after your meal, there is always Jenever, a classic Dutch gin made from juniper berries. Best enjoyed at one of the many local bars throughout town; this strong spirit will undoubtedly give your night an unforgettable kickstart.
Learn about its Architectural History
Whether you take a guided walking tour or explore by yourself, Amsterdam’s quirky architecture will impress you. From traditional Dutch houses with their characteristic gables to the modern mix of styles seen in newer districts, this city is full of interesting buildings that offer insight into its past and present evolution.
Suppose you are looking for a unique experience. In that case, you can even learn more about Amsterdam’s iconic canal houses through museums dedicated solely to preserving them, such as Zuiderkerk Museum, which holds exhibitions on how these unique structures were built and what purpose they served throughout centuries.
If nightlife is your thing, Amsterdam offers plenty of bars and nightclubs catering to all tastes. You can enjoy live music or EDM clubs playing the latest dance hits.
Alternatively, you can visit cocktail bars offering handcrafted drinks from experienced bartenders. Or the underground pubs boasting the hottest craft beer selections.
To Get High on Weed
Looking for a different thrill? Despite being illegal in The Netherlands, cannabis remains widely available throughout certain parts of the city. While smoking marijuana may not be encouraged, exploring “coffee shops,” where buying and consuming soft drugs are allowed, could provide an interesting glimpse into another side of Amsterdam’s culture.
Just make sure you check local laws before doing so. Because, like any other city around the world, you should always research beforehand if you want to enjoy lawful activities while traveling.
Go to the Museums
Amsterdam is known for its incredible museums, with something available for everyone. These include:
Amsterdam has a complicated relationship with prostitution, which is worth learning more about. The Red Light District is home to many brothels and a museum dedicated solely to exploring this industry.
You can learn of its origins until the Dutch government enforces present-day regulations. It offers visitors unique perspectives on all aspects related to prostitution, turning what could otherwise be seen as a taboo topic in most parts world into a fascinating educational experience.
This incredible museum houses over 8 million works spanning various periods across Dutch history, making it one of the largest collections worldwide.
With iconic pieces ranging from Rembrandt’s night watch painting to Vermeer’s milkmaid, this place offers plenty for art lovers to explore while visiting Amsterdam. But beware, as crowds tend to get busy during peak season, so you are advised to do your booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
Stroll at Vondelpark
For nature lovers, there doesn’t seem to be a better spot to relax than taking a stroll through Vondelpark, one of the biggest public parks. It is covered by lush greenery where locals come to picnic and enjoy bike rides while admiring beautiful views from ponds surrounding nearby rivers.
Don’t miss the chance to explore paths scattered across the park and stop by the food stalls. Remember to bring mosquito repellent if they start nibbling at you as you explore.
If you love cheese, you should visit Amsterdam because the famous cheese market is held every Friday morning at the old harbor. There are loads of vendors offering various kinds of cheese produced across the country. The best part is that the cheese is paired with wine, fig bread, and water.
Cheese makes excellent gifts to take back home for friends and family. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t appreciate a good lump of delicious cheese?
Go on a Bus Tour
Amsterdam is best explored on foot; however, summer’s overwhelming heat can sometimes take a toll on your body and mind. In such instances, hopping aboard a classical double-decker bus tour is the ideal way to discover major attractions and monuments without walking. Plus, you get the added benefit of enjoying an air-conditioning ride.
Shop at The Nine Streets
Shopping enthusiasts rejoice in the fantastic selection of shops and boutiques in The Nine Street district. Here you can shop at vintage stores selling second-hand goods and luxury designer labels.
You can also pop into Instagram-worthy cafes and bakeries. Plus, an array of fine art galleries spread throughout the area. Indeed won’t run out if things browse through the windows, making window shopping so much fun can get.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
What better way to conclude your trip to Amsterdam than being surrounded by colorful flowers? Located in the central part of town, this charming museum is an excellent introduction to anyone interested in horticulture. So make sure you check out if you are nostalgic or want to see vibrant colors while staying here.
Visiting Amsterdam once in a lifetime should be on every traveler’s bucket list. This is because the city has lots to enjoy, from the awe-inspiring art scene, biking, tantalizing cuisines and sweet delicacies, and not forgetting its famous canals. Thus offering you unforgettable memories.
Photo: Jorge Royan / Wikipedia