As I mentioned already, I was working on small guides for the cities I visited, they are very personal and of course do not include every hotspot, but rather the things I visited and loved while I was there this year. I was in Amsterdam from April 1st to April 6th (left very early in the morning) and I think five days is a great amount for the city, you can see a lot and even have time to take the train out of the city (I will post a whole feature about Haarlem soon). Both weather and people were lovely, in Rijksmuseum an attendant told me how lovely I looked and that I should keep my smile (in a very polite, friendly not a sexist, creepy way), people told me they liked my dress/bag and a bus driver even let me use the bus anyway when my card just stopped working.
For Amsterdam a canal cruise is the perfect start, because obviously the city is all about the canals and while shippping across the canals you see quite a bit of the city.
If you enjoy visiting museums, the Amsterdam Card is very worth it, though check out what is actually included, because certain museums are not included/only give you a discount. One of the most famous ones, the Van Gogh is included, though I would only recommend it, if you are a real fan. It’s a fnatastic museum for sure, but even though I was there pretty early on a not that busy day it was heavily overcrowded and most people just look at what’s most famous. There was a special collection of turn of the century posters (19th/20th) as well which was barely visited, but a fantastic exhibition.
The Rijks Museum however has some Van Gogh artworks, too, and a lot of other artists, too. It is an amazing building and has to offer art from every era, so there is something for everyone, it’s free up to 19 years and the amsterdam card offers a discount.
When you walk around Dam, you see the Paleis. Though until this time I did not know you can visit it for 10 €, but it’s very worth it and includes a very elaborate audio guide. The Paleis itself is beautiful with marble and gold and you can also enjoy the royal rooms.
The Nemo Museum for Science is basically just for kids with a lot of things to experience and try, but you can visit the roof top terrace for free and get a great view over Amsterdam and the harbour. If you’re hungry you can get something at the café/take away restaurant and enjoy that outside in the sun.
Het Muizenhuis (eerste tuindwarsstraat 1hs) is a very cute exhibtion of little handmade mice figurines in dresses doing human things. It’s not that far from the city centre and so adorable, I highly recommend it.
Another thing you can visit for free is the Begijnhof, a beautiful patio, very silent and enjoyable when the noise of the city is just a bit too much.c
When you enter the Tulip Museum you already smell the amazing scent of tulips. It’s a tiny museum and for that rather expensive (without the amsterdam card), but also quite cute. And even if you don’t visit the museum, I highly recommend the shop with all the different tulip seeds.
Walking a bit from Dam, you get to the Grand Café where they sell delicious food (chocolate brownie with ice cream and strawberries!). The staff is very friendly and the prices are okay.
The L’Amour has a selection of waffles, sandwiches and just a great selection of snacks that look fantastic.
A bit more expensive are the cakes at Bakken met Passie, a patisserie with a fantastic selection of fresh cakes and tartlets.
On one end of China Town you find the small Café Latei, a retro café with a very colourful furnishing and freshly made cakes and sandwiches.
The most famous place to shop is the Bijenkorf (the beehive) for sure, it’s basically like most big European store with various brands and products.
If you’re looking for English books, definetly check out Waterstones (Kalverstraat 152). Obviously they also have stores in GB, but the Amsterdam one is adorable. They even have cats that visit from time to time and quite the big selection with a lot of classics, too.
De Winkel van Nijntje (Scheldenstraat 61) is a shop dedicated to Miffy, the bunny character created by Dick Bruna. I grew up with Miffy and I was looking for a plush there. They have a lot of cute merchandise and the area is very cute, too.
Amsterdam has a lot of street markets, like the noordermarkt, ten kate markt and my personal favourite the albert cuyp markt. Some of them are open every day, others only on certain days, but it’s easy to find online. Prices for both food and other things they sell are pretty good – you get fabrics for 1 or 2 €, so check them out!
Walks, Trips and Parks
Like markets, Amsterdam also has lots of parks all over the city. The biggest one is the Vondelpark, a beautiful green belt with lots of water and people jogging and biking all over.
One of my favourites is Frankendael Park and Kleendanzig, both a park and allotments with a little stream, places to have picnics and almost untouched nature. It is like an oasis of quietness with only birds and plants everywhere.
For only about 10 € you can get to Edam and back to Amsterdam (and visit the area north of Amsterdam with the EBS Ticket). Edam is a town of cheese, but you can also enjoy the small houses, have a look at the churches and just go for a walk.
De Pijp is kind of a hipster quarter and as most of Amsterdam very enjoyable while walking around. In De Pijp you find cute shops, markets and cafés. And if you just want to enjoy a snack in a park, there is the Sarphatipark as well.
What are your favourite things to do in Amsterdam and would you do there?