This is why I love Amsterdam!
I always say that Amsterdam is explosive, full of unpredictable experiences and for anybody that doesn’t live there it fulfills all the most important requirements for a long waited city break in Europe.
I love walking around Prinsengracht any time of the day: houseboats, bike bells cling cling, flower sellers lay out their products.
Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly city in the world and this is only one of the reasons why has became must have destination for a high number of adventures type tourist.
Ok, so you want a city break in Amsterdam? You can have several types of visits in Amsterdam: If you want to spend a sexual weekend, no problem – you can go see the IT girls in the showcase, brothel girls, sex shops, sex shows, even a sex museum, well, it can be one option. But, if you want an intellectual weekend, there are many museums in Amsterdam and “world class”. Or maybe you want a wild party weekend – no problem, Amsterdam clubs are legendary, and coffee shops continue to offer the necessary ammunition for the night to last long …!
First things first – the boat trip.
I am not talking about those tours trips which you can see the second you step out of Central Station. I am talking about having your private tour, with your friends, listening to some jazz, having cheese (the Dutch one of course!) with wine or beer during the summer and for sure, until the end of the day, so you can enjoy a gentle crimson sunset.
Let’s talk about foodies
Any city break in Amsterdam should include the traditional food, the herring fish with a lot of red onions and pickles or the famous kroket, which you can find in any restaurant. Fries, with again, onions (a must have in the Dutch cuisine) mayo and peanuts butter sauce, but if you feel this is way too extreme for you, then you can give up the sauce. When it comes up to desserts, there will always be the almonds cakes and ice cream. There is also the Dutch poffertjes which usually are served with coffee aside.
You can’t walk a kilometer without bumping into a masterpiece in the city. The Van Gogh Museum hangs the world’s largest collection, a few blocks away, Vermeers, Rembrandts and other Golden Age treasures fill the glorious Rijksmuseum. And when the urge strikes for something “blockbustery”, the Hermitage Amsterdam delivers: only a glimpse into the Russian State Hermitage Museum’s impressive three-million-piece collection found in St. Petersburg.
Let’s not forget about the best workout…shopping.
Ok, Amsterdam is not Paris or Milan, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t conquer your heart easily when it comes up to shopping. If you visit the Jordaan neighbourhood, you can find here tones of local shops which will delight you with Dutch fashion design. Another popular place is Haarlemmerdijk district, where the non-conventional fashion primes!
The best way to live some adventure and to see the city from above is to go to A’dam Lookout Swing, I wrote about that experience HERE.
One interesting and hidden spot away from all the craziness in the Dam (the main square of the city) you can see that somewhere, two steps away from this crazy world, is an oasis of tranquility … The Begijnhof, a small monastery of nuns, and yes, there is such a things in Amsterdam.
You get to Munttoren, the Tower of Money next to the flower market and if you got up to here, what about stopping at Bloemenmarkt, the square with a thousand flowers and a blossoming explosion and blooming additions? Somewhere in the middle, on a ground floor of one of the buildings in front of the market, you can find a “Christmas Store” which sells ornaments all year around.
In the evenings, you can go through the Red Light District, which will be in full swing … The showcases will be occupied at maximum capacity, the streets will be full, you will not feel insecure for a moment … What you do in the Red Quarter remains at your discretion, there are also friendly coffee shops, so better go there and keep your money for probably a much better show in Bangkok! But bare in mind that the coffee shops in the red light district are more expensive that others.
Some hidden gems: Singel 7, is where you can find the narrowest house in Amsterdam (actually in the world as well) and since we are talking about streets and houses how about taking a stroll along Westerstraat and you might notice that around 16 houses seems to have just disappeared. The addresses jump from 54 to 70, with nothing but a four-inch crack between them. Where did those houses go? Ad agency Natwerk has its own creative take and added little tiny houses in between the crack, but the truth is, nobody knows how this happened.
One last thing – coffee shops.
I know that every single person that comes to Amsterdam has in plan to go inside at least one coffee shop. Nowadays, anyone can buy and enjoy weed, hash and marijuana in a pleasant and safe environment, but there is a trick, you need to be above 18 to enter a coffee shop. Your ID may be required to check your age. One of my favourite spots is Dampkring, which is actually a quite world famous spot because the crew of the famous movie Ocean’s 12 spend time in this coffeeshop while filming in Amsterdam. What makes Dampkring Coffeeshop different is its spacious feel and gorgeous interior.
In one city break in Amsterdam, any scenario you can imagine can become reality, so what are you waiting for, did you book the tickets already?