I plan every holiday I go on to the intricate minutes, it’s annoying and practical in even quantities! When it comes to visiting Amsterdam, I’m completely different. My favourite thing is just being in the moment and enjoying the streets, the canals and the houses. That being said, there is plenty to see in the city and below you’ll find a run down of some of my favourite things I’ve seen and done when in Amsterdam.
A morning stroll through Vondelpark
Amsterdam is a beautiful city but as with any city, sometimes it’s time for some green. Based in the Amsterdam-Zuid district, it’s a large public park filled with ponds, play areas, green space and beautiful nature. The park itself is 130 acres so it’s pretty large! It’s very easy to get to with numerous entrances around the space. I like to get the tram down to the bottom of the park and wander my way back up. It doesn’t take too long to stroll your way through and there’s tracks to walk, run or cycle. If you’re lucky to have the sun shining, it’s a beautiful place to grab a picnic and hang out.
See the city from the water on a canal tour
Something you simply have to do is hop on a canal tour. There’s so many in operation, you don’t need to book, just hop on and enjoy the ride! There’s large tour boat companies such as Lovers which offer larger canal boats with headphones to tell you the history. This is good if the weather is questionable as it’s under cover but my favourite are the smaller companies offering open boats and a good natter on your way around. I would highly recommend Flagship, you can hop on every quarter hour from outside the Anne Frank House and it’s 16 euros a trip. It’s intimate and the facts they tell you are brilliant. The tours last an hour.
Something we spotted on our trip with Flagship – Amsterdam’s second smallest town house, look how cute!
Embrace the history at the Rijksmuseum
There are museums in abundance in Amsterdam and the most famous is the Rijksmuseum. This fantastic building houses a museum offering history of arts and the city as well as a pretty garden surrounding it. You can enter the building and walk through into the gardens for free, if you’re not interested in the museum itself, it’s still highly worth a visit to enjoy the scenery.
Explore the architecture of Zevenlandenhuizen
Something I only learnt about on my latest trip to Amsterdam is Zevenlandenhuizen. This absolutely fascinating piece of architecture was commissioned in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. It was created out of a romanticised love of all things foreign and exotic and the architect, Tjeerd Kuipers, designed this row of seven houses in the style of seven European countries. It is brilliant and the general street is very clean and beautifully presented. Each house has the country painted near the doorway so you can spot which represents which – my personal favourite was Spain with the beautiful stripes. Zevenlandenhuizen is not far from Rijksmuseum and only a 10 minute walk from Vondelpark so you can form a day plan around this.
Take a (s)nap on this famous bench
We all like a little Instagram spot and this is one in Amsterdam, the ‘Wake Me Up When I’m Famous’ bench. This fun piece of art was created by Rinus & Jurriaan van Hall in 2013. It’s situated in the Oude Pijp district and you will stumble upon it on some backstreets. There’s numerous cafe’s and coffee shops nearby so you can work it in with your breakfast destination. When I headed here, there was someone there when I got there and someone appeared as we left but no queue or crazy attention which was so nice!
Try all the flavours at Tony Chocoloneys store
If you’ve been to Amsterdam not not tried Tony’s Chocoloney chocolate than you really have missed out! Based at the bottom of the Damrak in the centre of the city, you will literally stumble upon this store. It’s based underground and the entrance is slightly hidden, keep an eye out for it! It’s a small store but they hold every flavour and they have samples of them all!
Visit the home of Anne Frank
Now, I’m adding this to the list as a guide to Amsterdam wouldn’t be whole without it but I have to admit, I have never been. I know several people who have done it and they all recommend it. It can be hard to get tickets as it books up quickly, there’s a lot of queues and I hear it’s quite narrow and small inside but it is an incredibly moving story and something which I will eventually get round to exploring as it’s a sad story that should never be forgotten. The house is very easy to find and you’ll find yourself walking passed it many times.
Pick up a bunch in the floating flower market
Amsterdam and Holland in general is well known for its famous tulips and other flowers. They have a floating flower market which is based along one side of the canal and it is lovely to browse. They sell beautiful dried flowers, plants and loads of souvenirs. If you want one of the Amsterdam house magnets, this is where you get them!
Stroll the De 9 Straatjes
Also known as the 9 streets, De 9 Straatjes is a beautiful part of Amsterdam and one that I like to spend most of my time in. It is a section of three roads and three canals which forms nine beautiful small streets full of boutique shops, cute cafes and the prettiest houses in the city. You can easily walk here from Centraal and it’s the best place to stop off with a coffee on an outside bench and people watch as there’s many bikes around this area.
Go shopping in the boutique and vintage shops
Amsterdam has every shop you could want, all the hughstreet and designer stores on your doorstep; but what they’re even better for is boutique and vintage shopping. Mostly within the 9 Streets area, they have some beautiful stores to stroll through for vintage leather goods, dainty jewellery or unique homewares. Ensure there’s space in the suitcase!
Eat all the apple pie
The Dutch are nothing if not apple pie connoisseurs! Be sure to stop off and get yourself a slice. It’s served cold with a squirt of cream and it’s lovely. I often share it over a pot of tea and you can find it anywhere and everywhere.
So that’s my round up! There’s plenty of other things to do in Amsterdam and some great places to travel to for a day trip so I’ll have to find my way back there soon to discover them for myself! I hope you found this helpful and try out some of these things!