Hope everyone is having a great summer!
I had the chance to visit the Netherlands and it’s capital, Amsterdam, for the very first time and came back with an intense appreciation for the canal-laden city.
It has so much to offer than just the mix of drugs and debauchery the city has become infamous for. After a ton of questions, I’ve compiled a few things that I loved to do in the city:
1. Take a historic cruise across the canal
Canals were once Amsterdam’s lifeblood and are now the defining anchor of it’s beauty. Make sure you take an hour’s canal ride that comes with an audio tour so you get to hear of the charming little stories behind the city’s iconic buildings and architecture. The cruise I got to try was the Lovers Canal Cruise which came free with the I Amsterdam City Card I purchased – it was definitely worth the trip!
Time: 45 mins – 1 hour
Details: Visit lovers.nl/ for bookings and packages
2. Get your music fix at Leidseplein
Leidseplein has an epic mix of jazz bars, street eateries and live-music venues (including the famed Hard Rock Cafe). Look up what Paradiso – a church converted into a cosy indoor concert arena – has to offer as well, they’re always playing host to great acts. I got to see indie-rock maestros Foster The People and the experience was absolutely unforgettable.
Time: Up to your discretion
Details: Visit paradiso.nl/en/ for more details
3. Try Europe’s highest swing
If you love panoramic views and are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush – head to A’dam Lookout, one of the latest additions to the city’s tourist offerings. Standing at 20 storeys high, you get 360 degree views of the city and also get the chance to swing on Europe’s highest swing – a great experience for anyone who loves heights and wants that moderate adrenaline rush like me!
Time: 1 – 1:30 hours
Details: Visit adamlookout.com/ for more
4. Sit at one of the insta-worthy cafes in the city
The city is full of cafes run by young, passionate citizens (read: hipsters) that break away from the norm and feature vintage, minimalist decor. Their service might be slow (by Dubai standards) but they are perfect for that Instagram coffee upload too! I found some great cafes around Bellamystraat and Food Hallen – one of them being The Breakfast Club which served up some delicious breakfast.
Time: At your discretion
Details: The best way to find cafes in Amsterdam is through Yelp. If you’re planning on visiting The Breakfast Club, head to thebreakfastclub.nl/ for bookings
5. Get to smell the roses at Bloemenmaarket
The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market and is full of stunning insta-worthy sights that show why Netherlands is the flower capital of the world. The fact that it’s a good and relatively cheap place to buy souvenirs is an added bonus!
Time: 1:30 to 2 hours if you plan to explore the entire market
6. Visit Artis Royal Zoo – Europe’s best-rated zoo that also doubles as a royal garden
A beautiful animal sanctuary right in the middle of Amsterdam’s city centre – The Artis Royal Zoo is especially among tourist families and for good reason. It plays host to 700 animal species including lions, flamingos and pelicans and over 200 tree varieties. If zoos are not your thing, you can just sit and enjoy the expansive manicured lawns of flora and fauna the place has to offer.
Time: 2:30 to 3 hours
Details: Visit http://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/amsterdam/artis-royal-zoo-amsterdam.htm/ for more details
There is so much more to see and do in Amsterdam beyond this list including its magnificent museums and walking through its old historic bridges – let me know your thoughts about the city in the comments below!