Amsterdam is one of those cities that has a stigma attached to it due to their legalization of cannabis and prostitution. To be completely honest with you, I was a bit nervous about going there because of that very reason, but once I arrived, I was surprised by what I found. Not only was it a very quaint and picturesque city, but the people were very nice, and the food was fairly decent. Here are my travel tips for visiting Amsterdam!
My Favorite Attractions
Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House)
This was a really nice view into the history of Dutch painter and etcher, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. They’ve basically made his former residence into a museum showing you what each room was used for while he lived there with his former belongings on display. There’s also an art gallery on the top floor with commissioned work from other artists!
Boat Tour on The Canal
Yes, its basically exactly as it sounds. You get on a boat and they take you on a tour of the city via their very intricate system of canals! My favorite part of this was seeing the boat houses that are situated along the sides of some of the canals.
Amsterdam is known for their gouda cheese, and there is one cheese specialty shop called Raypenaer right by the Anne Frank House that offers wine and cheese tastings! They give you a variety of pairings from very young and light cheeses to really aged and strong ones as well. They also have an award winning gouda that we were able to try and pair with a nice red wine. If you have the time and are a big fan of cheese like I am, then I’d definitely stop by this place for a tasting.
Food & Drink Suggestions
1. We went to a few fairly decent restaurants, but I would definitely suggest going to a little place called Gartine. They had really great food with very fresh ingredients, and their desserts were really nice as well.
2. Also, if you like Heineken beer, then get some in Amsterdam because its Dutch! To me, it tasted better there than it does in the UK or the US, but I’m not sure if that was because it was on tap or if it is actually better in the Netherlands.
Tips On Visiting Popular Attractions
The Red Light District
I personally felt a bit uncomfortable seeing how the women are basically on display in the windows, but other than that its fairly safe to just walk around in that area. I definitely wouldn’t suggest going alone, but if you’re with at least one other person, you will be totally fine. Actually, its a bit subtle at first when you walk through it. We didn’t even know that we were there until we saw a store front with four women standing in it. I’m not going to get into my moral beliefs on the actualities of this particular issue, but while you’re in Amsterdam, its definitely worth seeing once in your lifetime.
Anne Frank House
All the travel website warn of this as well, but on most days, there will be a very long line in front of the Anne Frank House. If this is something that you are interested in seeing while you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to either plan for a wait of about 2 hours outside or get there 30 minutes to an hour before they open in the morning. Also beware of the days that they’re closed because you don’t want to get there and then realize that they’re not opened at all that day. My advice would definitely be to check their website beforehand to see: a. if they’re opened on the day you’re planning to go and b. What time they open in the morning so you can get there early enough to beat the crowd.
Final Thoughts: Amsterdam is a very cute city with some really nice areas along their famous series of canals. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you get the chance!
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