Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a famous city all around the world because of its coffee shops and the Red Light District. It is true that these two are quite unique and they are something everybody should try at least once in their life, but there are many other things to do in Amsterdam. The Dutch capital in part of the UNESCO World Heritage and it is simply charming: the canals, the bicycles, the tulips, and the little streets will enchant you.
Amsterdam is a special city: crazy, effervescent, artistic, but very free and with a hedonistic side. You cannot compare it with Paris or London, because you won’t like it. But if you take Amsterdam as it is, you will discover a unique city, with an incredible night life, a rich artistic heritage, and a vibrant atmosphere. There are a lot of things to do in Amsterdam, and you have to explore it more than the coffee shops and the Red Light District.
Let’s see now some things to do in Amsterdam you simply cannot miss:
- Rent a bike – The first thing to do when you arrive in Amsterdam (or in any other city in the Netherlands), is to rent a bike. You simply cannot survive in this city without a bike, and you will notice all the locals have one. They are very popular, ecological, and they will help you to feel the city’s spirit in a different way. There are parking places for bikes everywhere, so feel free to use it all day long.
- Visit the flower market – You cannot imagine Amsterdam without tulips, clogs, cheese, and windmills. Well, you can admire the tulips and many other flowers at the famous flower market. A walk along the floating flower market is highly recommended, and you can even buy some flower seeds as a souvenir.
- Get lost on the canals – Amsterdam is famous for its canals, so allow yourself to get lost while exploring them. Whether you choose to walk, or to visit them by boat, the views are incredible, and you will love it. I cannot believe how much I liked them. There are more than 150 canals in Amsterdam, and many many bridges, so feel free to walk around them and take pictures all day long. The most beautiful is Prinsengracht, so make sure you check it!
- Discover Amsterdam’s museums – As you can see, there are a lot of cool things to do in Amsterdam, but you cannot miss the museum. There are many museums in Amsterdam, and even if you are not a fan of it, you will find one for your taste. The most famous one is Rijksmuseum, where you can admire paintings of Rembrandt or Van Gogh, the Dutch masters. Another interesting place is Anne Frank’s House, one of the most famous figures of the Holocaust. If you prefer something light, go to the Sex Museum, or Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
- Try the Dutch cuisine – You must try the stroopwafel, which is, in my opinion, the best cookie in the world. I bought around 10 bags when I left the city. You can find it in any café or bakery, and they go well with coffee or tea. Do not avoid the street food in Amsterdam, because it is delicious, the meatballs, and of course, the cheese.
- Visit the Red Light District – Amsterdam is famous for its Red Light District, the “hot” area of the city. I didn’t know what to expect to see there, but do not be surprised if you see girls from all over the world, almost naked in the windows, inviting you to have an unforgettable night. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, and tourists from all the Europe go there to try it once in their life. Even if you are not for such things, visit the district, because it is an interesting experience. But remember, taking pictures is not allowed at all!
- Experience the coffee shops – As you may know, consuming light drugs like marijuana is legal in Amsterdam, and many tourists go there to try it for the first time in their life. It is totally up to you, but you should at least visit a coffee shop and enjoy the atmosphere. In the end, you can feel the smell of weed at every corner of the street, so why not to experience the local culture? The best way? Try a cookie or a muffin!
- Relax in Voldelpark – This is one of the biggest green areas in Amsterdam, and it is perfect to relax in a sunny day. There are many things to do in Amsterdam just in this park. During the summer, it is the perfect place for a picnic. What I’ve heard about it? Since 2008, it is legal to have sex in this park, but only during the nighttime, and you need to clean to condoms after you. I really didn’t understand this law, but it is the Amsterdam culture!
- Shopping in Amsterdam – You must make some time and go shopping, even if there are so many things to do in Amsterdam. But you cannot leave the Netherlands without buying some clogs, even miniature ones, some Dutch cheese, souvenirs, tulips, or some sex toys. The best place for shopping is Haarlemmerstraat, just 5 minutes away from the city center. You will find there a lot of shops, caffes, bars and restaurants.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam, no matter if it is summer or winter, day or night! If you will allow the city to surprise you, and accept it as it is, I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Just make sure you go there with the mind open, and you will have an incredible experience.