Say hello to Amsterdam! Back from two nights in Amsterdam and I must admit I was a little sceptical before we headed off on this trip as Amsterdam was not a destination that I would have traditionally picked. We were invited on the trip by some friends and Amsterdam surprised both Jack and I. We didn’t head off with an itinerary in mind like we have done previously. Partially because we didn’t know what our friends would like to do but also because we weren’t 100% sure what Amsterdam had to offer. Amsterdam has such a chill vibe it was lovely to explore at our own pace and marvel at the beautiful canals and windy streets that create the heart of Amsterdam. Whilst on our trip, I did pick up a few tips to share with you all.
10 Things To Know Before Visiting Amsterdam
Watch Out for Bicycles
Amsterdam is full of cyclists and is renowned as a cyclist hub with many locals opting to use bikes as their main form of transport. The city is full of bikes lined up! So it’s worth being aware of your personal space whilst wandering the city.
Knowing The Difference Between A Coffee Shop & Cafe
It is widely known that Cannabis is decriminalized in Amsterdam and many tourists have headed to Amsterdam to take advantage of that fact. Of course if this is not your cup of tea, it’s worth noting that there is a difference between a “Coffee Shop” and a regular “Cafe” in Amsterdam. A “Koffieshop” will sell Cannabis whereas a “Koffie Huis” are classed as your regular coffee shop.
Making Use Of Public Transport
As our accommodation was based just on the outskirts of the city centre so we opted for a 72 hour tram pass to help us get around. The pass gives you unlimited use of the trains, trams, daytime and night-time busses and it a very reasonable price of £17.50 each. The tram and train systems were quite easy to navigate once you have gathered your bearings. Each tram is labelled by numbers at the tram stop and it’ll show you the route of each tram. It’s worth noting the last trains stop around 12:30am but as the night buses are included in your pass if you want to stay out a little later its not a real faff to get back to your hotel. The night buses all set off from the Amsterdam Central Terminal.
Exploring The City By Foot
Once we were in the city centre we decided to continue to explore the city by foot. On a city break exploring by foot is actually my favourite way, as you tend to find more unexpected wonders, such as quaint little neighbourhoods and independent shops, restaurants and so on.
Weather In Amsterdam
The weather is known to be very unpredictable in Amsterdam and considering I am English born and breed I was still very unsure on what to pack. I knew that as it was the beginning of November a thick coat would be advisable and I was so glad I listened to my instincts as it came in very handy.
Accommodation In the Centre Is Expensive
Booking our trip we were surprised at just how expensive the accommodation was, especially compared to other European trips we have recently taken. As of this, we opted to be based outside of the city centre. The accommodation prices were considerably less than if you wished to be based along the canal fronts. We stayed at the Van Der Valk Amsterdam with around a 20 minute train journey into the centre.
Dine Away From The Main Tourist Hubs
As much as I love exploring tourist spots when we head to a new destination I am the opposite when it comes to dining abroad. I love to try local dishes and am not a fan of heading out for Italian if you are in France. Being in Amsterdam I wanted to try some local Dutch dishes. We found a couple of lovely little eateries not far from the main tourist spots which meant you didn’t have to go too far to enjoy some delicious local cuisine. It also worked out to be a considerably cheaper than some of the restaurants that were located by the tourist spots. So it’s worth venturing a little further out if you are being money conscious also.
Book Anne Frank’s House In Advance
Probably one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam is Anne Frank’s house. Many tourists flock every day to visit but unfortunately we were unable to get tickets. All tickets have to be pre-purchased online and get booked up pretty quickly so if Anne Frank House is somewhere you would like to visit I suggest booking it a few weeks in advance.
Use Uber Instead Of Taxis
We decided to opt for an Uber once we arrived at the airport instead of getting a taxi. We approached once taxi drive and they wanted an astronomical amount of drive us twenty minutes to our hotel. Our Uber was considerably less totalling at, £45 for 6-people.
Check Out The Red Light District
I was very curious to check out the Red Light District, I mean there is nothing like this back home in England. For something that you would have thought would be so abnormal, to everyone walking around us it seems so normal. Ladies standing in red-lined boxes posing in their underwear. To top it off, you can also visit the Prostitution Museum that walks you through the life of a prostitute with commentary from a working lady. Although it may not be everyone’s choice in career paths it was fascinating to listen to in a way.