Amsterdam is the perfect choice for a weekend break, or for a hen or stag-do from the looks of things when we arrived at Schiphol airport! A lot of tourists travel to the dutch city for their ‘coffee shops’ and relaxed laws. However if that is not your scene, there are still plenty of things to experience in the dutch capital. Here are my 10 recommendations.
Visit the Anne Frank house
This is definitely a moving experience and it actually feels quite surreal to be standing in the house and rooms where Anne Frank, her family and other jewish people were living in hiding for two years. Be sure to buy your tickets online, as they don’t sell tickets at the door and allow people in based on half hour time slots. This did however mean that we weren’t queuing for long to get in.
Experience the MOCO museum
This museum features a range of modern and contemporary art including the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol. There was also a range of immersive rooms that make for a great backdrop for your photos for the gram. If you’re into the recent NFT hype, they also had a whole gallery dedicated to this.
Cruise through the canals with with wine and cheese
I’ve done river cruises in cities before that have been quite underwhelming, but this one I’d choose to do again. There are different types of packages you can get for these, and you can choose either a private tour or a group one. The canal cruise takes you through some parts of Amsterdam that you can only access via the canals, and it was very picturesque. Make sure to make the most of the ‘bottomless’ wine on the boat too.
Fill your belly at Foodhallen
We liked this place so much that we came back twice. Foodhallen is an indoor food court with over 20 different food stalls that offer everything from japanese to mexican cuisine. They also of course have a dutch stand where you can try a variety of ‘bitterballen’. Which are a cross between meatballs and croquettes.
Scream at the Amsterdam dungeons
The weather in Amsterdam can be quite unpredictable, so if you happen to be there on a rainy day I’d suggest visiting the Amsterdam dungeons. If you’re travelling with a group, this most likely will be a good laugh because the chances of a member of your group getting picked in one of the rooms is high!
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
This museum houses over 1000 paintings, drawings and letters by Van Gogh. Including his famous ‘sunflowers’ and ‘self portrait’ paintings. A friend recommended that in order to feel fully immersed in this experience, visit the Bulldog ‘coffee’ shop first and watch the colours and textures come to life!
Get a rush of adrenaline at the A’DAM Lookout Swing
If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker, head to the ‘Over the Edge’ swing in Amsterdam where you will dangle 100 metres over the ground. This is actually the highest swing in Europe so that’s something you’ll be able to tick off your bucket list. In order to get here you’ll have to catch a free F3 ferry (to Buiksloterweg) and then take a short walk along the IJ waters.
Visit the Tulip Fields
If you’d like to see the iconic endless rows of colourful tulips, then plan a day to Keukenhof which is known as the ‘garden of Europe’. You can find a variety of tours available on GetYourGuide. You will get photo opportunities, as well as the chance to visit a typical Dutch town which is famous for its iconic ‘Delftware’ handcrafts. Your guide will also take you to the lively market square of Delft, where you can stroll through the cobblestoned streets.
Go on a cheese crawl
You can do this the sophisticated way by purchasing a tour in a cheese shop, where your guide will let you sample several cheeses paired with mustard, dips and red wine. Or you can visit all the cheese shops in the centre of town and try all of the cheese samples. Just make sure you actually buy something so the shop attendants don’t look at you strangely when you leave! My favourites were the smoked gouda, the pesto gouda and the truffle gouda.
Go on a Red Light Pub Crawl
If you’re travelling on your own or with a small group, a good way to meet people from different countries is by joining a city pub crawl. ‘Ultimate Party Amsterdam’ host a pub crawl every Friday and Saturday, and for 25 euros you will get shots in a number of bars, and entry into Amsterdam’s biggest club ‘AIR’. When you arrive at the meeting point they will give you a Whatsapp message with the pub crawl route and timings, so if you want to stay somewhere a bit longer you’ll know where to end up!
The best time to visit Amsterdam is between April – May, for light jacket weather and tulip season. We visited in June and the weather contrasted from 30 degree sun on the Friday to light rain and jeans weather on the Sunday! To get around Amsterdam you can rent a bicycle, purchase a 24/48/72 hour tram ticket, or walking is doable too. If you do rent a bicycle, don’t expect this to be a leisurely ride as there are more bikes than cars in the city!