Get ready to find out the 26 BEST things in amazing capital of the Netherlands!
2020 didn’t start so well.
We are caught up in a misfortunate, global situation that left us all feeling a bit discouraged.
In times like this, it is the most important to occupy your brain. Bloggers and creatives are here to help you spark you imagination!
In order to feed your imagination and travel appetite, I am continuing to write about travels. Many readers and followers expressed desire on my Instagram profile to read more tips about an unique city such as Amsterdam.
Just to remind you, I was a resident of Amsterdam for almost 4 years so I was able to wander around long enough to share with you some excellent corners that are maybe not so popular.
Here are some items you definitely should add to your Amsterdam bucket list regardless of the season.
As Lost in Amsterdam slogan says:
“You are not lost, until you are lost in Amsterdam.”
GPS is such a cool invention, but sometimes, it feels much better to let go. Somehow, I was never feeling afraid being lost here. I advise you to do the same. Leave your phone and start exploring around by yourself! Make sure to visit Lost in Amsterdam restaurant & bar too. Interior is very different and the vibe is extremely pleasant.
- Have an address of your accommodation and Google Maps already downloaded, so you can use it even when offline and end your day sleeping somewhere warm
STROLL OVER THE MOST ARTISTIC AREA OF AMSTERDAM: DE JORDAAN
Back in the 17th century, The Jordaan area of Amsterdam used to be the neighborhood for poor full of refugees and struggling artists. Today, it’s one of the most expensive areas to live, still full of artists and charming little houses. I advise you to explore every little street in this Jewish quarter!
- Visit Noordermarkt market (my favourite market in Amsterdam) that works on Mondays and Sunday mornings, to explore some local delicatessen and organic food, souvenirs, crafts…
HOP ON THE BIKE AND FEEL LIKE A LOCAL
Okay, this is a big lie. The reality is, you won’t feel like a local as soon as you hop on a bike even if you did a Tour de France for a few times. You will still be a tourist driving a bike and locals will see that from the distance.
However, if you visit Amsterdam for a longer period, or you have a local by your side, you might get deeper and faster into Dutch biking culture. Amsterdam is flat and highly populated so leave the expensive public transport and enjoy in city properly – biking!
- Many places that offer accommodation, offer a possibility to rent a bike (always ask)
- Discover the best cycling routes in Amsterdam
- Mike’s Bike Rentals are having great rental prices + their bikes don’t have company written signs on the bikes screaming “I am a tourist!” 🙂
EXPERIENCE AN ADRENALINE RUSH ON EUROPE’S HIGHEST SWING
Whether you like adrenaline or not, climbing up to A’DAM tower to observation deck is a must! You’ll experience the best panoramic views of the city and who knows, maybe you get encouraged once you’re up there, to swing 100 meters above the ground. 🙂
- Buy tickets in advance and see the weather forecast
- If it’s cloudy and rain, the views won’t be so spectacular
TAKE A WALK OF A LIFETIME OVER THE FAMOUS RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Whatever your opinion might be about legal prostitution, coming to Amsterdam and not seeing it’s old part ‘De Wallen’, equals to going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. On the other hand, I understand we all have different desires and priorities. Yet, wandering around the streets of Amsterdam in the Red Light District area can only be exciting and fun, even during the late nights.
For all of you who might be scared, this area is all covered with cameras and police offices are regular visitors here. (I don’t mean it literally!😂)
- If you want to avoid teasing, never go alone sightseeing Red Light District in the night time (if you are man it’s not a problem). Plenty of people who spend their time there, are there for one obvious reason
- It only makes sense to visit this area during the night because all the lights are visible after the sunset. Remember, passing with a bike can be tricky during the night due to crowds
YOU AIN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN KING’S DAY YET
Each year on April 27, the Netherlands celebrates the birthday of their King Willem Alexander. Most of the canals (more than 165) become packed with boats with loud music and shows. Streets become dancing floors with parties, flea markets and fun activates. It’s the day of free tax so literally anyone can sell almost anything.
The craziness starts on April 26th with great festivals and concerts with music from all genres. Each club offers different a program. Almost everyone is drunk or on drugs and wearing orange colors. It’s the wildest event I’ve seen in my life, but definitely a must experience. It’s even wilder than New Year’s Eve!
- If you want to get some orange items for this day, head over to ‘Action’ shop few days before. Buying items on the streets will cost you double or even triple
HEAD OVER TO THE TINIEST HOUSE IN AMSTERDAM – OUDE HOOGSTRAAT 22
The smallest house (1738) is like a miniature version of typical houses along the canals of Amsterdam. Tiny house is located in Oude Hoogstraat – one of the oldest streets in the heart of the city being only 2 m wide with 5 m deep.
- The smallest house in Amsterdam is also the smallest tea shop plus a decent choice of coffees and sweets
- On the second floor, you can have a meal and enjoy with the view in the smallest tea room in the city
VISIT THE EXTRAORDINARY RIJKSMUSEUM AND ITS LIBRARY
Rijksmuseum is one of the greatest and the most popular museums in the Netherlands. Here you can admire Dutch art and 800 years of history from the Middle Ages till today. It has many artefacts and building itself it’s worth revisiting.
Please don’t miss the most extensive art history library in The Rijksmuseum (INCLUDED IN THE TICKET PRICE) because it seriously looks like a library from the Harry Potter movie. It’s gigantic!
- By downloading the Rijksmuseum app, you will have access to free and self-guided tours
- Buy tickets online and get there early morning
- Enjoy in Rijksmuseum’s garden on a warm day and stretch your legs around the greenery and its sculptures FOR FREE (every day from 9 AM – 6 PM)
SEE THE MOST INTERESTING MUSEUM IN THE ATTIC
Our Lord in the Attic Museum (Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder) is one of the oldest and most unique museums in Amsterdam. The museum is actually well preserved house from the Dutch Golden Age. It hides a very interesting story and has a church built in – attic !
- WORKING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sundays from 1 PM to 6 PM
- Be prepared for many stairs
- You can’t enter the museum if you are wearing stiletto heals
HAVE FUN IN NEMO, THE SCIENCE MUSEUM
Reward yourself with a day in innovative Nemo Science Museum and discover approximately 19,500 unique artefacts of humankind, energy technology and science. This is my favourite museum in Amsterdam because it offers fun activities, knowledge and plenty of rare items that you won’t seen anywhere in the world but here!
- Mornings and warmer days are less busy
- With I Amsterdam City Card you have a FREE ENTRANCE
JOIN PLASTIC FISHING WITH THE FIRST PLASTIC FISHING COMPANY IN THE WORLD
Did I already mention how Dutch people are brilliant? Plastic Whale is a movement that collects people (crowdsourcing) who love creating and doing a greater good. You can join the movement of fishing for plastic along canals of Amsterdam on boats made from plastic and help these people to collect, recycle and turn plastic into furniture and more boats.
- If you are resident of Amsterdam, involve in the movement in more areas to help fight the plastics and become a part of this important wave
ENRICH YOURSELF WITH A HISTORY IN TROPPEN MUSEUM
Amsterdam is the most multicultural city in the world with over 180 nationalities. Troppenmuseum wonderfully shows that diverse world of cultures, located in one of the most impressive museum buildings in the whole country.
GO SIGHTSEEING THROUGH AMSTERDAM FROM THE WATER
Amsterdam is much more special from canal point of view. The city has 165 canals and 10 of them were placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. On each canal there are interesting and historic sights, some of them you can only see boat’s point of view. (Reguliersgracht-7 bridges)
- Rent a pedal boat especially if it’s a warm and sunny day ➜TOP 5 REASONS WHY THE PEDAL BOAT IS BEST WAY TO EXPLORE AMSTERDAM CITY CANALS!
DIVE INTO FLORA AND FAUNA OF THE OLDEST ZOO IN EUROPE – ARTIS
ARTIS ZOO (Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo or Natura Artis Magistra in the past) is opened in 1838, being one of the oldest zoo parks in the Europe. Interesting, the Zoo first had only few monkeys, parrots and a cat from Suriname which was Netherlands colony. (That explains a lot!)
And whatever your opinion may be about zoos, you have to admit that ARTIS is truly a captivating place, nicely decorated and the best part, it keeps expanding as much as it can, in order to offer more space to the animals. (The oldest zoo in Europe is in Vienna)
- Don’t miss Planetarium which is included in the ticket price
- ARTIS is big so make sure to set a whole day aside for wandering and try to make some space for Micropia – the only museum in the world that displays the world of micro-organisms.
- Online ticket saves you €2 euro (maybe not that significant nut beware that Amsterdam is an expensive city, every penny counts!)
MEET A LOCAL PERSON IN THE BIGGEST MARKET IN EUROPE
Albert Cuyp Market is actually a long street, originated as a market in 1905 and it represents the hot spot for locals. Here you can taste authentic dishes, stroll over more than 260 market stalls, dozens of shops, experience Dutch humor and “gezellig” (a Dutch word which means “fun”, “coziness”, “great”) vibe in the streets.
Don’t be shy to start the conversation, Dutch people are extremely friendly and interesting plus their English is great! (In case someone doesn’t approach you first)
- Market is open on Monday-Saturday from 9am to 5pm and closed on Sunday.
- Make sure you don’t come late because sometimes it closes earlier especially if it starts to rain
- If it’s rain during the whole day, double check their website for opening hours
SNEAK PEAK INTO THE HOUSEBOAT MUSEUM TO SEE HOW LIVING IN THE BOAT LOOKS LIKE
Amsterdam has more than 2500 houseboats and this cute little museum allows you to see what living inside a houseboat looks like. Head over to houseboat museum on address Prinsengracht 296k and enjoy in short and self-guided tour.
- Go early to avoid the crowds
ENJOY IN CULINARY CULTURE IN DE FOODHALLEN
This place used to be a tram station until creatives turned it into a venue of 21 stands with fresh and unique dishes. In Foodhallen you will find local Dutch treats as well wide range of other foods from all over the world. I highly recommend you to visit this place and surprise your palate!
- It’s a bit further from the city center so bike your way there
- WORKING HOURS: 11:30 AM to 11 PM, from Sunday to Thursday & 11:30 AM to 1 AM Friday to Saturday
TREAT YOURSELF WITH DUTCH SWEETS IN SOME OF THE COOLEST SPOTS IN AMSTERDAM
You will notice that Amsterdam has a ton of cute, cosy, modern or even rusty little cafes and places to have a bite. As I already mentioned in my previous article, ⇨Where to Eat in Amsterdam⇦ Dutch cuisine is full of snacks and sweets. In almost every café, you can taste famous Dutch apple pie. However, if you want to eat something more, I will share some of the cutest places that you shouldn’t avoid ↓
- Bagels and Beans – wide range of interesting foods, organic drinks, mushroom coffees etc.
- The Avocado Show – everything is made from avocado
- Little Collins – quality food from local markets, an unconventional way of preparing classic dishes
- Vegabond – a cosy, vegan place with an unique interior
- Winkel 43 – best apple pie and hot chocolate (beware of the huge lines, but totally worth it!)
- Van Stapele – best chocolates
TAKE A WALK ALONG 9 STREETS
The 9 Streets are a must shopping alleyways situated in the Amsterdam canal belt, just behind Dam Square. “De 9 Straatjes” is the ideal place to get deeper into the Amsterdam vibe and explore vintage shops, hidden restaurants and small bars.
For that true taste of A’dam. Nine little streets that are big on personality. (National Geographic)
- Once you’re there, explore three main magical Amsterdam canals: Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizergracht
EXPLORE ELCTRIC LADYLAND – THE FAMOUS FLUORESCENT LIGHT MUSEUM
Electric Ladyland is also the final studio album from Jimi Hendrix and the name of the first museum of the fluorescent art. To be frank, I haven’t been here yet, but many of my friends did and they loved the concept. It’s very unique, a kind of “Participatory Art” where you as a visitor, take place in the creation of a piece of Art, not just viewing it.
How cool is that!? 🙂
Museum offers a guided tour with a small fee and includes demonstrations of wide collections of Fluorescent Minerals from all over the world.
- You can visit this unusual museum BY MAKING AN APPOINTMENT ONLY (Wednesday – Saturday 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
TASTE A DUTCH LOCAL BEER IN THE ARENDSNEST TASTING ROOM
This place is so authentic because it offers more than 50 beers on tap and more than 100 on bottle, all from The Netherlands only. (There are 400 breweries in the country!)
- If you are visiting Amsterdam with friends or family, try group beer tasting paired with food. I did it once and absolutely loved it. Beer tastes much better if you pair it with proper food plus, you learn the history about beers and a right way to taste them
DO A CYCLING TO IJBURG AND EXPLORE IJMEER LAKE AND DIEMENPARK
IJBURG is a beautiful neighborhood, yet still under construction. The area is located on the IJmeer lake, on six artificial islands. The area obviously has many bridges with some being the biggest in Amsterdam. I went many times with bike here on a sunny day because the path is beautiful with plenty flora, fauna and gorgeous views along the water and greenery.
- Crossing over the bridges with a bike can be challenging, but the views are rewarding
- Sometimes during the warm days, you can spot art performers in the bushes
AMSTERDAMMERS (people who live in Amsterdam) love to spend their time in nature and parks are the hot spots during the sunny days. Beatrixpark is the least known and Amstelpark is being the furthest. Vondelpark and Westerpark are very popular, especially Vondelpark which breaks records each year in number of visitors.
- If your time is limited, see only the famous Vondelpark
- My favourite park in Amsterdam is Amstelpark (if that means something to you) because it’s beautifully decorated, it even has a windmill and a labyrinth
GO ON A CANOEING OR HORSE RIDING IN AMSTERDAM FOREST (AMSTERDAMSE BOS)
Amsterdamse Bos is an enormous man-made park/forest, approximately three times the size of Central Park in New York City. It is situated in both Amsterdam and Amsteelveeen muncipality.You can enjoy in many sport activities in Amsterdam Forest or just take a walk and discover all the art and monuments.
Hire canoe from 6 euros per hour and a pedalo too from 10 euros per hour. I must say, the entire place looks like Amazon from the water. ➜Explore more about horse riding in Amsterdamse Bos.
- Avoid visiting Amsterdamse Bos when it’s rainy especially if you don’t have a good, long boots – it gets nasty!
THE HORTUS BOTANICUS AMSTERDAM
Dutch people love plants and guess what; Amsterdam has its botanical garden too! The Amsterdam Hortus dates back to 1638 and it has various cultural activities throughout the whole year plus of course, many remarkable plants. If you love nature, put this place on your bucketlist!
- The Amsterdam Hortus offers video tours to enjoy in plants from the comfort of your home
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