As I lived three years in northern Germany, Amsterdam was more than once the perfect destination to escape for a weekend. Moreover, even from all over Europe, the capital of the Netherlands is only a few hours flight or road for the lucky ones. To visit Amsterdam can be a big budget, so I’ve never been there for more than three days. And yes, let’s be honest, Amsterdam is for me, one of the most expensive European cities. It is a real mission to find an affordable accommodation and I recommend you to choose an Airbnb to save a bit of money. Anyway, it must not be a barrier to discover one of the most “intagram-friendly” European capital.
6 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam
Canals and bridges of Amsterdam – the perfect scenery
Going to Amsterdam is above all to discover the many canals and bridges of the capital. In the city center, you can walk along kilometers of canals that are crossed by 1500 bridges. As these canals are very similar to each other, I get lost every time I go to Amsterdam. I advise you to remember where are the main squares of the city such as Dam Square, Rembradtplein or Leidseplein. With road sign spread all over the city, you can find your way more easily.
For the perfect Instagram picture (because yes, that’s also why we come to Amsterdam), I recommend getting away from the main streets. You will then be able to discover authentic canals, with less people around and houses with stunning entrances ! It will also save you from having to queue to get a picture with anyone behind.
Nightlife in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is often recognized as one of the best party cities in the world. You will not go to sleep very early even if, your legs will want to let you down after walking all day to explore the city. For my part, I’m not a big fan of the atmosphere in the city-center at dusk. It seems like English and French tourists are fighting to the title of “who will have the most socially unacceptable behavior at the end of the night”. In the center, you will find most bars and night clubs in Leidseplein and Rembrandplein districts as well as the Red Light District. But, I also discovered some great places around the city center. I particularly recommend the district of Pijp and its many originals bars. For a good beer tasting, there is no better than the Cafe Gollem.
Amsterdam’s amazing architecture
Either it is rural houses outside the city with windmill, ultra-modern buildings in the business district or the typical old houses from the historic city center, the architecture in Amsterdam is a real mix of styles. I particularly like the architecture of the houses downtown, usually from the 17th century. At the time, these houses were occupied by wealthy traders of the city who became rich in the Golden Age. I can highly recommend you a cruise on the canals of the city (€11 for an hour) to admire all the colorful facades.
Among the buildings you should not miss in Amsterdam, there are the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Centraal Station and the NEMOO Science Museum.
As a French girl, it is harder to recognize than another country can make excellent cheese … but, I must admit, cheese in Amsterdam is a real institution. The most famous cheese in the country is the Gouda that you will find in so many different versions : chili, olives, pesto or even lavender and coconut. Cheese shops can be found in all the streets of the city center. The most famous names are Henri Willig Cheese and More, De Kaaskamer and Golden Age Cheese Store.
What I love above all with these stores is the unlimited cheese tasting. Ok, I advise to change stores and pretend that you will return to buy cheese later. But, it’s so easy to eat an astronomical amount of cheese for free : paradise !
Shopping in Amsterdam
I do not know about you, but I love the fashion style of the Dutch, always classy with a small original detail. By taking a look at the amount of shops in the city center, you quickly want to be tempted by a little bit of shopping. Whether large brands like Zara, Pull & Bear or H&M or small designer boutiques, you can find something for all tastes and all budgets. If you think your dressing room still has room for some new purchases, I recommend Kalverstraat, Nieuwendjik and PC Hoofstraat for your shopping. This is where you will find all the big brands. You will surely find some little shops full of treasures if you go around the streets of the city. For example, the district of The Nine Streets (9 Straatjes) offers many vintage shops and boutiques, as well as many cafes and restaurants.
Try some incredible restaurants and cafes
In fact, in Amsterdam you’ll eat all the time ! And even if you are no longer hungry, you will come across a small shop of delicious sweets that will make you want to eat everything. What I love in the capital is the numerous cafes within you can take a break with a hot cappuccino and a homemade sandwich. Among my good addresses, I recommend the Cafe Krom and its vintage atmosphere or the Cafe Sound Garden which also offers a terrace overlooking the canal. For the avocado lovers, you cannot miss The Avocado Show, the first European avocado bar. The best is that the prices are more than affordable, a win in Amsterdam !
What I do not like in Amsterdam
To finish this article, I wanted to share with you the little things that I dislike about the Dutch capital.
- Prices : whether for food, accommodations, alcohol, shopping, transport … everything is extremely expensive in the city. If it’s not a big problem the very first time you visit Amsterdam because you’re still excited to discover everything, it can quickly become annoying. I mean, €7,50 for a pint of Heineken guys ! Do I need to say more ?
- Prostitutes : so, yes I went to the Red Light District to see what’s going on, but I quickly turned around. Honestly, I found the atmosphere so uncomfortable. Either because of young virgins drooling in front of poor women in vitrines, or families visiting the Red Light District with children who do not understand what they are doing there.
- Debauchery as a main motto : while many people come to visit Amsterdam for all the reasons mentioned above, others seem to have come here to do all that is forbidden in their countries. I noticed particularly French and English tourists that come in groups to get screwed in coffee shops as much as they can. In fact, the streets of the Red Light District, especially on weekends, look like bachelor parties 24 hours a day.
And you, have you ever been to Amsterdam ? I am curious to know what you thought about it. Comment bellow what you liked or disliked in Amsterdam.