Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam.Home to intricate canal systems, narrow buildings, thousands of bikes, coffee shops and the Red Light District. It is no surprise that Amsterdam has become a tourist trap and on many people’s bucket lists. The cities canals are charming but Amsterdam is one of my least favourite cities due to many near death experiences crossing roads with hundreds of bikes, trams and cars. Please take a visit as it is something you need to experience to believe!
· Anne Frank House
Visit the historical Anne Frank house where the Frank family hid from the Nazis in an annex for almost 2 years. Walking through the house where Anne wrote her famous diary is a strange and when you see the hidden bookshelf behind the stairs it is very thought provoking. Be aware that bookings sell out online extremely fast but sometimes you may be able to get a few left over tickets at odd times. After 3pm there is an opportunity for anyone without bookings to enter the Anne Frank House. This involves patiently waiting for a few hours. Don’t be turned away by the long line, it moves very fast.
· Sandman’s New Amsterdam Tours
Whilst in Amsterdam I did this free walking tour around Amsterdam because it is a great way to give you some bearings in the city and learn some of the history. Starting in Dam Square you get to visit Anne Frank’s House, visit the smallest width house in Amsterdam (that is cool) and discover the hidden churches in the Red Light district. The walking tour is 2.5 hours long and is a really good way to see some quirky and unusual things in Amsterdam. The guides are awesome and it is free as well!
· Red Light District
A very popular part of Amsterdam’s Old Town and very popular with drunk tourists at night. During the day this district is quiet and looks like any other part of town. However at night this district comes alive with red lights and sex signs and is home to many bars, peep shows, suggestive shops and window prostitutes. It is very important to not take any pictures of the women and men in the windows as this is HIGHLY OFFENSIVE. This district has many hidden gems with beautiful canals and churches that can be visited before 4pm for a quiet stroll around the district. Whilst in the Red Light district you can visit the Sex Museum and a famous condom shop in the high street.
· Visit the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most visited museum which features Dutch art to the history of the Middle Ages. Outside the museum you will find the iconic ‘I Amsterdam’ sign where you can take those Instagram shots in the letters! I was there at 9.30pm on a summer evening and it was still busy!
· Picnic in Vondel Park
Vondel Park is a 47 hectare park is a great place to wander around and have a picnic with some Dutch cheese. In Summer Vondel Park hosts many live concerts! At night time Vondel Park may seem dodgy but it is totally safe!
· Explore the Canals
The canals in Amsterdam are incredibly beautiful and that they have become a UNESCO world heritage site. Simply walking around the canals you can discover boutique shops, coffee shops and take some gorgeous pictures .Canal tours are also very popular with many tourists!
· Bike like a local
The best way to get around Amsterdam is to rent a bike and ride along the canals. This city loves bikes and there are bikes in the city then people! The bike lanes make it easy for you to visit some of the city and the countryside. Riding along the Amstel River you will pass authentic windmills, houseboats and visit Dutch farmer’s cheese and clog factories. There are many bike rentals over the city or you could join along a bike tour group like ‘Mikes Bikes’.
Hostel Accommodation: The hostel I stayed in whilst in Amsterdam was the ‘Flying Pig Uptown’ hostel. The location is in a perfect position located opposite Vondel Park and an easy 15 min walk to Dam Square and a 5 min walk to Rikjsmusuem. The hostel has a small kitchen, a party vibe with a large bar and even has a smoking room. The hostel is very narrow like most of Amsterdam’s buildings but it meant I got fit and there were 105 steps from the entrance to my room!