The Best Bits of Amsterdam

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Any chance you’re thinking of paying a visit to the beautiful capital city of Amsterdam? Of course you are, it’s a major bucketlist must do and for several reasons. Here’s a small guide of the sort of things you can get up to in the Dutch capital, based on what I enjoyed most. 

Getting around

  • Bikes are the number one mode of transport in Amsterdam, and you will find yourself constantly dodging an army of cyclists as you try to cross the road. But if you can’t beat them, join them. Go ahead and rent a bike for a day, something so simple as cycling round the canals and parks can keep you occupied for hours and is the most perfect way of exploring the city.
  • Trams in Amsterdam are possibly the most useful way of getting around. They come frequently
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    Credit: Cecile Hemming

    and are well connected to all parts of the city. Before going I would recommend buying an iAmsterdam pass, which allows you on trains and trams, as well as entry into multiple attractions and activities such as canal cruises, the zoo and many of the museums. Alternatively you can purchase a travel card online before you go which will also allow you to use the trams and trains.

  • Trains and the Metro both run from central station which is easy to locate. This is a really quick way of getting in and out of the city centre; plus you get to admire the amazing central station when you arrive, which is absolutely stunning from the outside and the inside is packed full of awesome shops.

Places to go

  • Lost in Amsterdam is a lounge bar, close to Dam Square. The only condition in this lounge bar
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    Credit: Cecile Hemming

    is that everyone must buy a drink, and I would strongly recommend the Oreo milkshake. Although it is a little pricey, I can vouch for it being the best Oreo milkshake I have ever tried. This little bar has cosy decor and shisha available, and although smoking a cigarette inside is not permitted, smoking a joint is.

  • Anne Frank’s House was honestly one of the most interesting museums I have ever been to. Although it seems like a very somber experience, it is extremely interesting and incredible to see just how well everything has been preserved. The original diary is on show at the end of the tour, after you have explored the actual house that Anne and her family hid in for two years. I would suggest that you pre-book tickets if you want to get into the house though, since it gets extremely busy and very few people are allowed in at the same time.
  • The Canals are the epitome of Amsterdam’s beauty. One of the most creative ways to see the city is by
    Credit: Cecile Hemming

    canal, and I would definitely suggest doing a canal cruise. The cruises range from about 8 to 30 euros, and vary in where they go, and what activities you can do whilst on the boat.

  • Bloemenmarkt is Amsterdam’s floating flower market and is packed full of Dutch traditions. Whether you want to pick up a dozen tulips, a pair of clog slippers or simply browse, then this market will suit you well; the whole place is bursting with character and unique souvenirs (Christmas presents sorted).
  • Body World’s exhibition in Amsterdam is named ‘The Happiness Project’ and demonstrates how happiness impacts our health, through amazingly realistic models. The models use real human specimens from body donors, and it is the only exhibition in the world to be based on a donor programme.
  • Artis zoo is a must for any animal lover. Located right in the centre of Amsterdam the zoo is home to 750 species of animals, from elephants to lizards and giraffes to pelicans there is something for everyone at Artis.
    Credit: Cecile Hemming
  • The Sex museum – although it may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, keep an open mind, and for only four euros you are able to explore a part of Amsterdam’s culture. It is an odd experience but fun, if you are up for a laugh, and provides you with some great photo opportunities.
  • The Red Light District is another huge part of Amsterdam’s culture, which leaves very little to the imagination. The district is full of sex shops, peep shows and prostitutes standing in glowing red windows. I would say that it is definitely worth paying a visit to, even if it is just to check for yourself that the rumours are true.
  • The Bulldog Amsterdam – whether you are purchasing a space cake or simply enjoying a coffee; the Bulldog is a great place to go. There are Bulldog chains scattered around Amsterdam, the Hotel is located near the Red Light District and other cafes are closer to the centre of town.
  • Shopping will depend on who you are and who you are with, however Amsterdam does have some amazing shops that will cater to the majority. The vintage shops are great, an in particular a chain called ‘Episode’, sell some fantastic clothes for some very reasonable prices.

Where to eat

  • Wok to Walk is a fast food chain in Amsterdam, which essentially allows you to create your own stir fry. The food is tasty, healthy and ready in a matter of minutes – perfect if you don’t have a lot of time.
  • Burger Bar is a small chain with a couple different restaurants in Amsterdam. The restaurant allows you to ch
    Credit: Cecile Hemming

    oose the meat, cheese and toppings on your burger, along with your choice of fries, and it is delicious!

  • Pancakes Amsterdam is great, especially for breakfast. The one by central station looks out onto the canal area, for a beautiful view whilst you enjoy your food. There is often a small queue outside but it is definitely worth the wait.
  • Crepes or Waffles are a must-have during your time in Amsterdam. The city has an abundance of little cafes, however I would recommend Sweetella near the Red Light District, the crepes are delicious and everything else they served looked just as good.
More articles in Amsterdam Adventures
  1. The Best Bits of Amsterdam
  2. A Guide to Amsterdam
  3. How I Spent 8 Hours in Amsterdam…
  4. A Different Type of Party: Amsterdam
  5. Story from the City – Amsterdam
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