Amsterdam, oh Amsterdam, you are truly special. We love you for so many reasons, it is hard to choose just one, so we chose 12:
Cruise the Canals
There are canal cruises to suite your every mood. I personally did the candle lit canal tour with wine and cheese. A night trip was a great experience for a Romantic evening but we also shared the ride with groups and friends. It was an amazing way to see the cities house boats as they were all lit up. Other cruises we recommend would be the night cruise with dinner, dessert and wine cruise, day time lunch cruise, cruise partnered with the Heineken experience, and there is even a smoker’s boat which starts its voyage in front of a coffee shop.
Visit the Iamsterdam Sign
A given, right? You must visit the Iamsterdam sign when in Holland. Your best bet of getting a shot with the fewest amount of people around is going to be early morning or late night. It isn’t just the perfect photo opt, Museumplein where it is nestled, is also a beautiful sight.
Visit a Coffee Shop
Photo Credit: Paste Magazine
Like we always say, when in Rome. Coffee shops are an essential part of this amazing cities unique culture (but totally not a must to enjoy the beautiful city, if you aren’t into that). With so many to choose from, you can’t conclude your trip without taking a toke of a pre-rolled joint or enjoying a space cake. For more on Amsterdam’s coffee shops visit our article, A Coffee Shop for Every Nomad (coming soon).
Go to the Rijksmuseum
Although I’m not a fan of art museums myself, you can’t ignore an attraction with 4.8 stars. The Dutch National Museum is devoted to the art and history of Amsterdam. Buy your ticket ahead of time to avoid waiting in line. Keep in mind the museum’s peak hours, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., while playing your visit.
Sidetone from Carley: I went to the Rijksmuseum and like Danielle am not a big fan of art museums, but I loved the Rijks, and could have spent hours in there. You learn a lot about Dutch history, a lot I had no clue about before, and was something I’ll remember for quite a while. Go if you have the chance and skip the more obvious museums (like Van Gogh and Anne Frank’s house).
Rent a Bike
If you are brave enough to hit the streets, it is the perfect mode of transportation, but beware of experienced local cyclists and drivers with whom you will share the roads. You may want to do this a few days into your trip so you won’t be so memorized by all the sights. For those of you not as confident in your cycling skills, as was I, a ride through Vondel Park is a great way to enjoy the city on 2 wheels.
Take a Free Walking Tour
Photo Credit: freewalkingtouramsterdam.com
There are tons of free walking tours you can join. Many of them meet in Dam Square. The earlier tours tend to be more crowded. We recommend an afternoon tour because you can first have lunch and then walk it off & enjoy the sights. They are typically 2 to 2.5 hours and you will appreciate this very informative excursion learning about everything you need to know ranging from the Red Light District to the World’s First Stock Exchange.
Eat a Waffle
Photo Credit: Reddit.com
I am tearing up as I write this, because I do not have a StroopWafel to eat right now. One of the most well-known and delicious sweets in Amsterdam. It is made up of two thin wafer like cookies with a sweet syrup in the middle pressed on a hot waffle iron. The syrup would traditionally be molasses but now you can also find honey and caramel fillings. Although fresh is always best, they also sell packaged waffles which make great souvenirs for friends, or yourself…
Go to a Unique Museum
Photo Credit: Amsterdam-travel-guide.net
Of course, you have the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gough Museum, but those are a bit cliché don’t you think? Although they are must sees, take the time to visit one of Amsterdam’s smaller and lesser known galleries. For instance, there are sex and prostitution museums in the Red Light District, The Hemp and Cannabis College surrounded by coffee shops, Medieval Torture museums and even a Tulip museum. There is also an amazing science museum.
Visit the Bloemenmarket
The world’s only floating flower market is a must! No matter what season you are visiting, this colorful and fragrant market is sure to be a delight. We made it a point every day to include the Bloemenmarket in our route. The Amsterdam Flower Market is open Monday – Saturday from 09:00 to 17:30 and Sunday from 11:30 to 17:30.
Go to FoodHallan
This unique indoor food market allows you to experience different cuisines while admiring the historic venue. Enjoy a good ol’ burger, international influences or innovative concepts among the more than 20 stalls that makes up one of the only international food markets in Holland. With food being our favorite way to experience a new place, this was at the top of our list.
Eat Herring from a Dutch Food Truck
Photo Credit: Iamsterdam.com
Even if just reading that made your stomach turn, you should still try it. This Dutch Delicacy can be found at stalls or ‘fish stores’ along the streets among all the streets and canals. It is often served with diced onions and pickles. You can have it on a hot dog bun if you wish. This healthy treat is a local favorite.
Visit a Brewery
Photo Credit: National Post
Whether you are interested in the production of beer and want to visit the Heineken Experience or are more intrigued by the ambiance offered by a small brew house under a windmill, Amsterdam will quench your thirst. Take a tour to multiple tasting houses or find yourself a craft beer bar & enjoy one of the things Amsterdam does best.