Amsterdam gives you a taste of everything. You can be transported back through time with a visit to the Anne Frank House, partake in the "coffee shop" culture, eat as much cheese as you could possibly stomach, and so much more. The city is full of unexpected charm and you can't go wrong with exploring the narrow streets and many canals.
Pack your bags, grab some euros, and check out this guide to Amsterdam:
Before You Go
While card is accepted in a fair amount of restaurants in Amsterdam, most bars only take cash. So if you plan on tasting any of that delicious Dutch beer, have some euros ready.
Be prepared to pay to use the bathroom if you aren't dining or having a drink at an establishment. Keep coins handy for this.
It rains a ton. Pack adequate clothing and an umbrella.
Reserve tickets to Anne Frank house way ahead of time. Otherwise, you will need to wait in line.
Where to Stay
I highly recommend staying close to the city center. The city is fairly walkable and this will give you access to a lot of the sights. If you need a landmark, search for places near the National Monument
Things to Do
Free Walking Tour: Besides getting a great overview of the city and seeing the top sights, this will also give you some rich history of Amsterdam
Anne Frank House: To answer a frequently asked question, if you have any interest in World War II and the Holocaust then yes, this is absolutely worth it. It's a very powerful experience. If you don't book tickets in advance or if they are sold out, you will only be able to enter the house after 3:30 pm
Reypenaer Cheese Tasting: This is a must do, unless you hate cheese in which case you aren't human. You will get a great overview of how the cheese is made and aged. You'll learn how to properly taste cheese - noting color, scent and tasting notes. The cheeses are all paired with a glass of wine and you can have seconds…or thirds of both the cheese and wine!
Oude Kerk (Old Church): You can get a view of the city from the top. It's also at an interesting spot - the start of the red light district. You'll witness sin juxtaposed with faith.
Museum Ons'Lieve Heer Op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic Museum): A hidden Catholic church in the attic of an old Amsterdam canal house from the time that it was forbidden for Catholics to practice. Trust me you won't have seen anything like it
Hop on a bike: There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. There will be a few times that you'll fear for your life from oncoming cyclists. I'm warning you now. But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Check out Jordaan: One of Amsterdam's most charming neighborhoods. Don't worry about your destination and just get lost. If you're someone who need a destination (I get it, you're a bit of a control freak), then head to 9 Streets and get your shopping on
Take a Canal Cruise: Sure it's touristy but it's a stunning sight to see the bridges lit up at night and you get to view the city from a different perspective.
Take a picture with the iconic I Amsterdam letters: I personally don't think it's necessarily worth spending the time to track down the letters but if you're dying to take a photo with the letters, add this to your itinerary. See where the traveling letters are now
Day Trip to Keukenhof Gardens: If you are obsessed with tulips, this is a day trip for you. Even if it isn't tulip season, there are plenty of colorful flowers to witness in these gardens
Food to Try
Pataje Oorlong from any snack bar - fries with toppings. I recommend getting yours from Mannekin Pis
Waffles: They are basically on every corner so logically, you should eat a couple a day
Cheese: Amsterdam is known for its cheese. Make sure you get your fill of it
Broodje Bert: Great spot for lunch with open faced sandwiches. It's cash only so be prepared
Bagels and Beans: Delicious bagels and bagel sandwiches with great coffee
Italia Oggi: It's a quaint little restaurant and they literally flambé one of the pasta dishes in a cheese wheel. A freaking wheel of cheese. I know what you are thinking but this is Amsterdam, there is no such thing as too much cheese.
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