“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
Nine boxes you must tick on your first trip to Amsterdam
1. Canal cruising – The most charming aspect about Amsterdam is its’ maze of forever running canals reflecting wavy images of beautiful, untouched houses by day and flickering, warm lights by night. Take a cruise along the calm waters back in time as you listen to the tour guide retelling the history of these gorgeous canals and neighbourhoods.
2. Rent a bike – As there aren’t many wide streets around the inner circle of Amsterdam, cycling is the perfect solution to weaving in and out of the crowds and seeing the most this city has to offer! Airbnb are a personal favourite for having the best selection of apartments that include bikes for you to use during your stay but if your accommodation does not, renting a bike is easy, around every corner there is a bike rental shop cheap and cheerful…
3. Wander around Vondelpark – Vondelpark is my favourite spot to take a stroll after filling up on hot chocolate in the winter months. My best friend and I love this place; it’s crawling with budding fitness fanatics working out, families on bike rides and couples walking hand in hand admiring the rose garden. Walk around this huge park, stopping for the perfect beverage along the way!
4. Wake up and smell the coffee… Going to Amsterdam and not visiting a café? That’s just as ludicrous as going to Paris and chosing not to see the Eiffel Tower! On my very first trip to Amsterdam, my best friend and I stayed in the one and only ‘Bulldog’ hostel situated in the glowing heart of the red light district. It was cheap, loud and smelt strongly of weed, but we loved it! It was a brilliant way to see the city first hand, on arriving we explored the local area – jaws dropped!
5. Get lost… Hands down the best way to truly explore a city is to go get lost. Surprise yourself with the hidden treasures you will uncover; cute local cafés, bustling beer gardens, superb sky bars and small local-owned shops. Try following the many street signs and ask for directions to find your next destination. I always try to pick up a map of the town or use the app Citymapper to find my way back.
6. Iamsterdam sign – Tourist central! This landmark is just something you gotta do; pose in front of the giant letters or perform daring acrobatics across the top of them. You will see it all as people try to capture the best photos, applying filters as they happily walk away…
7. The Sex Museum – Another notorious tourist destination you should cross off the list. A provocative insight into the history and nakedness of the world’s origin of sex shown to you through a walking tour of this quirky building. Neck a glass of your preferred poison and giggle your way through this amusingly open exhibit.
8. Red lights – Glistening red lights compel not only the men, but the women too. People are fascinated with the seductive sense of freedom – no rules in this city of ‘sin’. The red light district is filled with stag and hen dos stumbling from window to window; I recommend you retreat to the Rembrantplein square if you’re up for a night out and food! I’ve been to Escape (nightclub) and it was such a good night out but I strongly recommend you pre-drink as the alcohol pricing is very expensive!
9. Shop till you drop – Shopping, shopping and more shopping! There’s an area northwest of the city where I once stumbled upon, home to the cutest local shops holding the best souvenirs. I purchased a silver candle holder for my living room which is now sitting proudly at the centre of all my candles.
Love Thy Traveller