Amsterdam is no doubt one of Europe’s greatest cities, not to mention one of the most photogenic, one of the wildest, and certainly one of friendliest.
If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, here are five top things to see or do that you won’t want to miss!
Eat and drink. Eat some “patat met,”—literally translated, “potatoes with”—referring to one of Amsterdam’s best-loved street foods: French fries with mayonnaise, served in a paper cone. Be sure to try some of the Dutch-style pancakes (flat crepe-style dough smothered in icing sugar). Drink some Dutch beer like Amstel or Heineken or better yet, visit the Heineken brewery for the “Heineken” experience that includes a couple free drinks with your admission fee. If you like coffee, go to a café because in Amsterdam,” coffee shops serve up more marijuana than coffee.
Visit the Red Light District at night. Even if you don’t plan on participating in the “fun,” a visit to Amsterdam isn’t compete without a stroll through its famous Red Light District at night when it gets really wild. Aside from gawking tourists, you’ll find sex shops, condom shops, girls in windows strutting their stuff, men trying to bargain, and lots of marijuana-related shops.
Go for a canal boat ride. Okay, so it’s a little touristy, but the tours offer a great historical background to the city and it’s the best way to see a city that’s known for its picturesque canals. The best time to do it is at sunset for a little romance and ambiance. Tours leave three to four times every hour from the canal docks, located right beside Amsterdam Centraal train station.
Visit the Anne Frank House. In a city that’s bustling, fun, and a little on the wild side, a visit to the Anne Frank House is not only sobering but a definite “must” to get a real grasp on what Amsterdam was like during World War II. A walk-through of the house takes about an hour and brings visitors into the hidden annex where the Frank family lived for over two years in hiding. As one of the city’s most-visited sites, people are lined up around the corner all day so be sure to visit first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.
Ride a bike! The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Amsterdam is the overwhelming, wonderful number of bicycles. Cyclists run this town, and so get the local experience by renting a bike to travel to/from the sights or sign up for a bike tour of the city. Joy Ride Tours offers two to three hour city tours that take you around the city’s top sights but it’s their four-hour country tour that is a big-seller, a twenty kilomete route that brings you to an old Dutch cheese farm, a traditional clog-making workshop, to see windmills, and enjoy Holland’s countryside.
If you go:
Get there: Amsterdam’s Schipol airport is a short train ride from the city. Otherwise, Amsterdam can be easily reached by rail via any other European city. For rail passes or fare information, go to: www.RailEurope.com .
Stay: There are lots of large hotel brands with locations near the train station or on main streets. For something cozier, stay at The Toren Amsterdam hotel, a boutique hotel in the city center on a quiet canal street for incredible accommodations, exceptional customer service, and an unbeatable location.
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By Gizelle Lau for TripAtlas.com