So you’re going to Amsterdam… The main city in Holland/ the Netherlands and what is refered to as the Venice of Northern Europe. Amsterdam is full of canals, bicycle’s, and coffee shops. No matter how long, or how short your stay is you absolutely need to experience these five pleasures.
1) Boat ride through the Canals. They have tours available, but if your anywhere between the ages of 18-30, I highly recommend the “Party Boat Tours”
. Every saturday night, NewEurope Tours throws a party on the waters. Generally NewEurope Tours is known for their daily free walking tours and anything but classy, guaranteed fun pub crawls throughout most major European cities. On the waters you will get a sense of how truly connected the whole city is by these water ways, you see the house boats, motor boats and paddle boats filled with families or friends. (Most of them smoking something only legal there).
2) The Anne Frank House. Also known as the Anne Frank Huis in Dutch. If you’re going to go to any touristy monument, museum or attraction, this should be it. (The Van Gogh museum is pretty good too). The museum is in the exact same house, the walls are still the same, and when you reach Anne Franks room you get shivers as some of her magazine clippings are still taped to the walls. The house is filled with lingering memories that consume your body. Everyone is quiet in the house, over whelmed with the emotion. Needless to say, it is laid out well, really gives you a sense of what happened, what life was like for Anne Frank and the two families residing in this attic apartment. You walk out sad, yes, but I still talk about the feelings I felt when I was in that house. It’s powerful and worth your while.
3) Go to a Coffee Shop. It is not forced upon anyone to “smoke-up” while in a coffee shop. They don’t care if all you order is a smoothie and not a joint on the side, but it’s worth going in one because, let’s face it, YOU ARE IN AMSTERDAM. Most of the coffee shops are very relaxed, and extremely unique with big couches and graffiti all over the walls, some colour coded, others just tables and chairs. There is a strip near the Red Light District filled with coffee shops and sex shops.
4) Go for a walk through the Red Light District. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how I would have done this if I was not with two men who knew where they were going, but if you are a woman and have the balls to do it. Then you absolutely have too! The tiny alley ways filled with beautiful women in door ways or windows, some with scandalous outfits or bikinis on, the others naked. There are men everywhere walking up and down these alleyways, but I felt like my friend and I were the only females around who were not half-naked waiting to be prostituted. Your wildest fantasies can come true in this district…
5) Enjoy the drinking culture. There is a Heineken Brewery tour, where you get to taste the beers and tour the brewery, taking home a few souvenirs. There are the New Europe Pub Crawls, one through the clubbing district of Liedseplein and the other through the Red Light District. (These I HIGHLY recommend for a cheap and amazing night). By enjoying the drinking culture, I was able to experience hundreds of other things, such as late night bicycling tours, hanging out by the sides of beautiful Canals and meeting people from all over the world.
If you are between the ages of 18-30, Amsterdam will quite literally destroy you. You will never come home before sunrise, and will love every minute of it.
A piece of advice: The city is tiny, so when trying to find accommodations and hostels, everything is literally within a twenty-minute radius of you. The Flying Pig Hostel and the St. Christophers Hostel are both amazing hostels with a great atmosphere and good people, but are generally booked up quickly and costly. I stayed at the Sphinx Hotel, which was ten minutes walking from Liedseplein square and 20 minutes to the red light district, but I save over 300 dollars staying there for my four nights.
Another piece of advice: The weekends are most expensive to sleep in Amsterdam, but people party just as hard on a monday night as they do on a saturday. I promise.