One of our favourite cities in all of Europe is Amsterdam. Full of stunning architecture, charm and beautiful canals, this city is so much more than its coffee shops and red light district.
Here is our guide on what to do, what to eat and where to stay during your next visit to Amsterdam.
What To Do
Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum
Being two of the most visited attractions in Amsterdam, you can imagine they are both worth the visit. They are located right next to each other at Museum Square, so we recommend checking out both in one day.
The Van Gogh Museum is an art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh, along with paintings by artists who inspired Van Gogh’s work and those that followed with inspiration from Van Gogh.
Opened since 1800, The Rijksmuseum features a wide range of contemporary and historical art works, many by classic Dutch artists. The building itself is stunning to take a walk through. Out the front is where you will find the famous iAmsterdam sign, where tourists gather around every day. If you want a photo in front of the sign we recommend coming down during the early hours of the morning to have it all to yourself.
The Heineken Experience
The Heineken Experience is a tour of the historic brewery of the internationally distributed Dutch pilsner, Heineken beer. Built in 1867 as the first Heineken brewery, it is now a top attraction where you can learn about the history, drink a few beers and learn how Heineken is made. The admission includes 3 beers, so if you are a beer lover we recommend you check this one out.
Anne Frank House
A visit to the Anne Frank House is something we recommend putting at the top of your to do list when visiting Amsterdam. We will warn you though that you need to be prepared for a 2 to 3 hour wait, as this is a point of interest for many visitors to Amsterdam.
During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex. It is incredibly interesting to step foot inside the house she hid in, learning first hand what it was like during that time. A very moving experience we recommend anyone to do.
Hire a Bike
Amsterdam is the most bike-friendly city in the world, and when you visit you will see first hand what we mean. Bikes are everywhere, we think there may even be more bikes than people! So why not jump on the band wagon, grab yourself a bike and take a day cycling along the canals, finding some cute hidden back streets and spend your day exploring parts of Amsterdam you may of missed on foot.
Jordaan is probably Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhoods to go check out. With maze-like streets and hidden courtyards filled with trendy cafes, art galleries, and amazing restaurants, its a great place to spend an afternoon. If you are around here on a Monday you will find the flea market at Noordermarkt during the morning and also organic farmers’ markets on Saturdays in the same location.
We highly recommend also exploring Amsterdam via its famous canals. There are plenty of companies offering canal tours, taking you in a boat under the bridges and through different neighbourhoods, giving you a different perspective of the city.
What To Eat
These are the dutch version of French Fries. They are thicker than the normal French Fries, invented in the northern part of Belgium. You have to try them with toppings, most popular being mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, curry or peanut sauce. For something a little more traditional we recommend trying it with the famous ‘pataje oorlog’ sauce made from mayonnaise, raw chopped onions and peanut sauce.
The Dutch have been making cheese since 800 B.C and the Netherlands is the largest cheese exporter in the world – so you just have to try at least one slice of cheese during your visit.
They are pretty much deep fried balls of gravy and the dutch love them!
You will pretty much find most vendors selling XL stroopwafels. They are a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. YUM!
They are delicious baby pancakes covered in butter and icing sugar.
Where To Stay
Luxury Hotel: InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam
This 5 star hotel is located in a 19th century building right on the waterfront, with incredible views of the city and Amstel river. With beautiful suites and marbled bathrooms, the InterContinental Amstel is one of the best.
Budget-friendly Hotel: Citizen M
The Citizen M range is a go to for nice, yet budget friendly rooms. With XL beds, wall to wall windows, free wifi & movies and a rain shower for a super low price – what more do you need?
Unusual Hotel: Inntel Hotel Zaandam
The Inntel Hotel Zaandam is a four star hotel made of 70 dutch-style houses all stacked on top of each other, making for an unusual yet awesome place to stay!
Located in a pretty, traditional Amsterdam townhouse complete with high ceilings, chandeliers and plentiful daylight, Cocomama is a ‘boutique hostel’ offering both private rooms and dorms for budget-conscious, yet sophisticated, travellers.
There are some really cute Airbnb’s scattered throughout the city. We even found the option to stay in a houseboat right on the canal!
Anything we missed? What would you recommend travellers do, eat or stay during a visit to Amsterdam?
A big thank you to Bus2Alps for allowing us to experience the beautiful city of Amsterdam.