Do you want to explore a beautiful city, full of bridges, romantic streets, cozy atmosphere and open minded people? What are the first two things you recall when you hear Amsterdam? Sextourism and legal weed consumption? This European city can offer you much more than that. Let me take you to the journey around Amsterdam and tell you about 10 Cool Things To Do in Amsterdam.
1. Rent a bike
When there is a city, where riding a bike makes sense than its Amsterdam. Everyone rides one and so should you, that way you can explore the city like a local in a fun and exciting way. You can rent it at any bike renting office, they are located at various spots in the city, if you have not seen it yet, just google it. The average price for a bike is around 8 EUR, depending on the bike and time you want to use it. I have done it last fall and highly recommend it to every visitor of Amsterdam.
2. Rijksmuseum “I Am Amsterdam Sign”
While riding your bike, make a stop at the Museumplein and walk to the back of the Rijskmuseum. It’s a lovely place with a small pond and big field where you can take some photos of the « I Am Amsterdam Sign » which is a popular tourist attraction.
3. Heineken Experience
Did you know that Heineken beer is from Amsterdam? There is a great public tour through their former brewery. Here you learn something about the history in a fun and entertaining way (5D cinema). There is also a degustation of the Heineken beer, which is popular especially by male visitors. You can buy the tickets online or in the tourist offices which you will find in the city center. The price is 16 EUR and two beers are included. You can of course buy the ticket at the building, but it will cost you more and you will have to wait the queue.
4. Vondelpark bike tour
One of the best places to be in Amsterdam. Get your bike, and ride through the Vondelpark, which is only a couple minutes from the Heineken Experience or Rijksmuseaum. It’s the largest park in center of Amsterdam and it’s a great place to relax and have some pique-nique. There is also a hot-dog stand that I highly recommend to visit if you get hungry.
5. Visit Anne Frank House
In case you are a fan into history or literature. The visit of Anne Frank house might be something for you. I have not done it by myself, but a friend did and she was touched by the atmosphere. In case you are interested, buy the tickets online or in advance. The queues are always quite long. Be aware of their opening hours.
6. Boat trip at sundown
As you might noticed, Amsterdam has about 1500 bridges and 90 islands. You can and should explore the canals by boat, it gives you a whole another view over the city. I would discourage you from taking a boat tour with 50 other tourists that starts at the harbour in front of the central railway station. My tip is to walk to the Bulldog Hostel, around 20 meters away you will find one or two boats that do boat trips as well. It’s an open boat with limited seats, so you will not have to look through windows and cuddle with other tourists. It cost 12 EUR which is around the same as the mass tourism boat trips. You will get one free drink and a blanket in case you get cold. A must thing to do in Amsterdam.
7. Red Light district & Museum of Prostitution
When you finish the tour you will dock right at the Red Light district. This is the hotspot for sextourists, you will see prostitutes, sitting at the window and waving to attract potential customers. The area is full of pubs, coffee shops, sex-shops and museums. If there is one I would recommend, it’s the museum of prostitution. Two years ago it was still intact as the « house of love », last year they opened it for public as a museum which tells the crazy stories behind the life of prostitutes. If you want to get more info about the oldest craft, go check it out (there is also a student discount). When walking through the area, please respect that taking photos is restricted. You will probably be also confronted by drug dealers so be cautious.
8. Windmills in Zaanse Schans
Holland is known for their old windmills, the best way to see them is taking the train to Zaandijk. It’s a couple minutes train ride out from Amsterdam. At the train station follow the signs that will lead you to the windmills of Zaanse Schans. Check out the beautiful small village with a pleasant atmosphere. Here you can buy some souvenirs and local products. In the summertime you can also take a ferry across the river Zaan.
9. Zandvoort beach
In case you are travelling to Amsterdam in summer and want to refresh yourself. Get yourself swimsuit, towel and sun protection and take the train to the North Sea. A couple minutes train ride will get you to the Zandvoort beach. A great place to relax and play some games. You might notice that there are not that many people in the water. It’s because the water temperature is quite low even in the summer months. An interesting fact, you will notice, is the water level during tides. In a few minutes the water moves several meters towards the coast, so be sure to keep your belongings in a distance.
10. Go out at night
Amsterdam’s night life is great. There are many pubs, bars and clubs. An interesting bar is located at the Warmoesstraat and its called Cafe Hill Street Blues. On the same street you will also find a cool Irish Bar. If you look for clubs, check out the Rembrandplain or Leidseplain.
Some tips to the end
When arriving in Amsterdam airport, take the 15 minute drive to the Centraal train station, from here you can easily reach the city center by feet within 10 minutes. If you are looking for accommodation, I stayed in Bulldog Hostel and Stayokay Hostel Zeeburg. Both of them are clean, well secured and offer decent breakfast. From Stayokay you can take the 20 min tram ride to the center. In Bulldog you are right in the Red Light Dictrict from where you can walk everywhere.
Ant that was about it with the 10 Cool Things To Do In Amsterdam, I bet there is much more you can do, explore the city and have a great time.
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Here is a map with all the mentioned locations.