Matt and I were in Amsterdam for three days, and wished we had about three years longer to cover everything. I fell in love with this city pretty quickly. It might have been the little canals everywhere you looked, or the well planned bike paths, or the overall dutch culture, but I left Amsterdam knowing that I definitely wanted to return.
If you have a ticket to Amsterdam in your Europe itinerary, you probably want to know a few things to see and do while you’re there. Here is a list that I came up with after barely scratching the surface in this incredible city:
- If it’s rainy at all while you’re there (chances are it will be at some point), spend some time indoors and take part in the Heineken Experience! €16 gets you the most interactive tour you will ever have / a sample of beer + two full pints + an Amsterdam Heineken glass to take home! Matt and I loved this tour- through interactive videos, rooms, and presentations, we learned about how Heineken started, how the beer became popular outside of The Netherlands, and how to drink a Heineken properly.
- Unfortunately, I never read the Diary of Anne Frank, but after visiting the Anne Frank House, the book has been added to my list. After seeing WWII memorials in Vienna, Auschwitz, and Berlin, it was interesting to see another side of the war. We walked through the house that Anne and her family hid in for almost two years. I felt claustrophobic going up the steep staircases and walking through the tiny hidden rooms, but it is really interesting and heart breaking to see what some families had to go through to hide from the German Nazis. Tickets were €9.50 each (if you are over 17). The line for the Anne Frank House can be long. Avoid lines by going later in the day if you can- Matt and I went around 530 and only stood in line for about half an hour.
- Hungry and looking for an authentic meal? Go to Restaurante Zwaantje (pronounced Swan) Both of our meals were amazing and tasted homecooked. When I am back in Amsterdam, I will definitely be back there.
- The Sandeman’s Walking Tour isn’t amazing (I had high expectations for each one after Berlin), but it takes you through parts of the city that you might not have seen or known about otherwise. We went through the red light district (in the day time- there is a separate tour just for the Red Light District at night if you are interested), saw the oldest house in Amsterdam which is still made of wood, and the smallest house which is 1.8 meters wide.
If you want to see the Holland countryside and find some windmills to get out of the city for a bit, rent a bike and follow the main river towards the east. As long as you can see the water, you are on the right track. On bikes, the first windmill is about an hour out, but I loved every minute of this day. You can read about our travels into the countryside here.
- As you would in any other city, make time to roam the streets, get lost a little bit, and keep an eye out for all of those lovely crooked houses that only Amsterdam has to offer.
Three days in Amsterdam go by very quickly. This was the first time that I was sad to be packing our bags (every other time it was bittersweet and I was still excited for the next place we were headed to). Usually I had done everything that I wanted to do by the time we left a place, but Amsterdam has so much to offer that I felt like we hadn’t even seen half of the city yet.
Have you been to Amsterdam? Any must see’s that I missed?!