People like to travel because they want to see places they haven’t seen before. And when you go to Amsterdam, we promise you; you won’t have seen a place like this.
It’s a city that has it all: picturesque canals, magical buildings, a raging nightlife, world-class culture, and a singularly unique charm all of its own.
We’ve made these concise visitor guide to help you make the most of your time in Amsterdam. You’ll find out where to go, what to eat, and whee to stay.
So, kicking us off, one of the best ways to get a feel for this city is traversing its many waterways. The canal boats are comfy, with 360 views, and many with fantastic catering options. You can take one as part of a guided tour, or perhaps – if you feel up to it – you can rent a private boat and be the captain of your own voyage!
Alternatively, you can always see the city by land. Because if there’s one thing you won’t fail to notice about Amsterdam, it’s all the bikes. It might seem daunting, but to experience the city like a local, rent a bike and explore it on two wheels!
Up next, for fun and indulgence, you need to check out the Heineken Experience: the beer museum tour that even non-beer drinkers love. It’s an interactive tour in a beautiful historic brewery, culminating in tasting sessions that can be as short or as long as you want them to be.
If you’re with the family, forget the beer, and say hello to the animals. The Artis Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. And you get extra bang for your buck with the zoo also containing an aquarium, a planetarium, a botanical garden, and an impressive art and sculpture collection. You’ll also have lots of listed buildings, beautiful plant life, and of course, unique animals, including a jaguar, elephants, penguins, giant turtles, monkeys, giraffes, gorillas, lions and more.
Ann Frank Huis
One of the most popular sites to visit in Amsterdam is the Ann Frank Huis. This attic museum on the Prinsegracht is the actual loft where the Frank family hid from the Nazi occupations persecution of the Jewish people. This house is a living testament to a remarkable young woman and her family’s horrific struggle; It’s a haunting and emotional biographical experience that makes a big impression on visitors.
For anyone interested in culture, they have to get down to Museumplein. Here you have three of the most impressive art galleries in the world, all bordering the same park. You have the Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to one of the best artists ever to pick up a paintbrush. Then you have the Stedelijk for contemporary art lovers, and last but not least, the Rijksmuseum, for the largest and greatest of the city’s museums.
What to Eat
Of course, you need to try some of the famous Gouda cheese. It’s strong, but it’s beautiful. For snacking, you’re going to want to try the Dutch deep-fried croquettes. And another authentic snack is pickled herring. But a word to the wise, it’s an acquired taste.
Being an international city, it has an enviable selection of different cuisines. In particular, Amsterdam has a superb selection of Indonesian and Surinamese eateries all over the city. For a thriving neighbourhood of Chinese restaurants, then get to the Nieuwmarkt en Lastage.
Sophisticated diners are also very well catered for in Amsterdam, with no fewer than 21 Michelin Star restaurants. If you’re looking for something more informal, then the Foodhallen is waiting for you. It’s here where the city’s hottest trends are born.
Where to Stay
So now you know where to go and what to eat. But what about where to stay? The obvious answer – for good reason – is the Centre. You can walk to most places you need to be, get transport to anywhere in the city, and you get to live alongside the city’s grandest buildings and canals.
If you want to live like the locals, then stay in Oost (East). Alternatively, if you want to live in the heart of Amsterdam’s cultural hub, then you should stay in Oud Zuid (Old South). And if you desire to live somewhere trendy, then go to De Pijp.
And finally, you’ll need a good hotel. Well, the folk at Spacehuntr got their local experts to put together this guide to the best boutique hotels in Amsterdam, so your decision has been streamlined for you.