A last-minute break with my little sis looked almost impossible with prices so high over summer – Amsterdam ended up being our bargain compromise.
The stereotype I had of Amsterdam was that it was overrun with half-naked women, bachelor parties, and windmills. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
We spent three days there and fell in love with this down-to-earth city. With great places to eat, plenty of culture and a sense of humor, it’s gone right on my list of places to move to one day.
Here are some tips for making the most of your time in this city!
Do: Free Events
Keep your eyes out for interesting and often free events. The Concertgebouw holds a free concert every Wednesday lunchtime from September to June. The show starts at 12:30 and offers a sneak preview of the evening’s performance for free.
Do: A Canal Boat Tour
Be sure to book a canal boat tour, and do it sooner rather than later in your trip. This will help you get your bearings for the rest of your stay.
Do: Visit Museumplein
Go to Museumplein, one of Amsterdam’s busiest yet grassy squares, and take your pick from the selection of museums. Allow plenty of time for the Rijksmuseum and don’t feel compelled to visit every floor. Being selective will help keep your energy and interest levels up.
Do: The Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank Museum is a must, but expect a long queue. Try to head there first thing; waiting until the end of the day just meant we weren’t sure we’d make it in before closing.
Do: Rent a Bike
It’s true what they say: Amsterdam has more bicycles than people! Renting a bike is affordable and a great way to see the city. Since there are so many cyclists, bike routes are also very safe.
We thought a couple of days would be plenty of time, but we could have easily passed an entire week there seeing the sights. I’d recommend planning a rough itinerary of the attractions you wish to see and ensure you book enough time for all of them! If you’re going for a long weekend, bear in mind most shops are shut on Mondays, so you might need an extra day or two to see everything you had planned.
Don’t: Book Too Early
Don’t worry if it’s last minute. We got a great deal just a few days before departing and ended up staying in a great central location.
Don’t: Have Breakfast in the Hotel
Don’t stick to the hotel for breakfast. They can be really expensive, and there are loads of good bakeries and cafés that are much better value for money. I had one of the best croissants of my life from a corner bakery in Amsterdam!
Don’t: Take a Taxi to the Center
Do not take an expensive taxi in from Schiphol Airport. The train station is really central and a direct train will get you into the city in 17 minutes for around four euros.
Don’t: Avoid the Red Light District
The Red Light District is a must-see in Amsterdam and has a lot more to offer than naked women. The area is great for bars, restaurants, and museums, too!