Amsterdam is well known for its drug culture and legal prostitution… well, both things could be found in other cities all over The Netherlands. When you come to Amdam – come for other great aspects of the city.
Getting around Amsterdam… Everything is walking distance. This could mean 30-40 minute walk, but usually in 20 minutes you’ll be where you need to be. Taking trams is not cheap, 2.6€ per ride although you can purchase tram cards that offer unlimited rides for 24-48-72 hours, costing 7€, 11.5€ and 15.5€ respectivly. Taking a cab should be out of the question; 7.5€ once you get it, although this includes first 2 km. Renting a bike is one of the most efficient ways of getting around and you can get a bike for under 10€ per day.
Let’s begin with museums… Reijmuseum should be your first stop. It costs 12.5€ to get in and if you haven’t visited Reijkmuseum – you haven’t visited Amsterdam. The museum is dedicated to promote the history of at some point, European trading capital. The war with the Spanish, the Chinese influence – it’s all there. Even if you don’t like museum this one is still worth going to. If you really really dislike museums, go to a coffeeshop first and then still visit Reijkmuseum.
The Van Gogh museum is another cultural discovery for many. The name speaks for itself. We didn’t visit it this time because I have passed a few hours in it back in 2008. I was a little upset because many paintings are not Van Gogh’s but rather from painters inspired by Van Gogh – still worth a visit.
Anne Frank’s House is a museum that many go to see, if you don’t mind waiting in a long line than you might want to check it out.
The famous canal tours… I think there are several dozen different boat tours in Amsterdam but we opted for something rather special; The St. Nicolaas Boat Club of Amsterdam. Group of people running this club offer “free” canal tours on their old boats. The goal and purpose of this boat club is to perserve and restore old boats (some are almost 100 years old). They need money to keep these babies afloat, eventhough the tour is free – a suggested donation of 10€ will be more than appreciated. The tour is about 1 hour long and if you go, try to get Neil as your tourguide – fun guy who knows Amsterdam very well.
One of the original Heineken breweries offers inside tours where you will learn quite a bit about one of the world’s most known brands. Unfortunately it is no longer a functional brewery and you will not see beer beeing brewed, however they will explain it to you, show it to you and you’ll even experience what it’s like to be brewed (I won’t tell you more, just go and experience it). The 15€ entrance fee also includes a lesson on “how to properly drink beer” (beer included) and 2 extra beers at the end of the Heineken Experience tour. Sure, Heineken is not the best beer in the world but since you are visiting Amsterdam – visit the brewery.
There are many local markets from Monday to Saturday where you could buy cheap clothes, fresh vegetables, fruits and meat and very tasty Dutch vaffels. If you don’t feel like spending any money at all – a simple stroll around the Vondelpark or along the canals is also great. Amsterdam is a beautiful and interesting city.
Before I forget, DO try the marinated herring. The word “delicious” would be an understatement!