I recently spent six days in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, a city famous for it’s canals, culture and notorious nightlife. Whether you fancy sipping wine on a canal boat or having a gander about the Red Light District (come on, we’re all a little curious) Amsterdam needs to be on your travel bucket list.
5 Things everyone should do in Amsterdam:
1: Take a Canal Tour.
You can’t go to Amsterdam without travelling along one of the beautiful canals, with over 200 boats that carry over 3 million passengers every year – Canal Tours are the most popular tourist attraction in the city. Often referred to as ‘The Venice of The North’ Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometres of Canals that stretch throughout the city. With guides that are both informative and entertaining, a canal tour offers a unique way to experience the culture and history that Amsterdam has to offer. So sit back, relax and enjoy the sights.
2. Visit The Anne Frank House.
The Anne Frank House is a place that I feel everyone should visit at least once in his or her lifetime; I have never been as moved as I was when I was there. Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in early July, 1942 after the Nazi’s occupied the Netherlands, they managed to go on undiscovered, hidden in the annexe before they were discovered and captured on August 4, 1942. The Annexe has been stripped of all it’s furniture, as was requested by Otto Frank – the only member of the Frank family to survive the Holocaust. It’s hard to describe what it felt like to be surrounded by so much history, to know that not so many years ago people were forced into hiding, simply because they were Jewish. In the room that was Anne’s, the walls were covered in pictures of famous film stars, that room spoke to me. In that room it hit me that people lived here, yes it’s a museum, but this was somebody’s life. What a terrifying life it must have been and yet she managed to stay optimistic, despite all the horrendous things that were going on around her.
If you are planning on visiting, a word of advice; buy your tickets before you arrive. The queue to get tickets on the day can be up to three hours long, so save yourself some hassle and get yours online!
3. Rent Bikes!
Never in my life have I been scared of getting run over by a bike, yet when I was in Amsterdam it became a growing fear. They are everywhere! Every corner, every crossing, you can’t escape them. It’s how all the locals get around, and you can’t blame them. It’s so much easier than getting on public transport, purely because of how many routes there are for bikes, you get to see so much more of the city. Riding my bright yellow bike through over bridges and alongside canal banks, I felt as though I was in a movie. As in, this is a moment too good for real life, therapeutic in a way. Like I had no troubles in the world (well until cars and fellow bike riders came across me). Quick tip, RIDE ON THE RIGHT, in order to avoid a very mad Dutch gentlemen screaming obscenities at you and insulting your newly acquired bike skills.
4. The Red Light District.
So, we’ve all heard about the notorious Red Light District, for most people it’s the thing that is most associated with Amsterdam (well besides the obvious). If you’re planning on visiting the city, it really is something you have to see, because where are you going to see something like it again? It’s such an odd experience, mostly because of the normality of it all. Nobody bats an eyelid (apart from us tourists) the locals just embrace it. I mean, there’s a freaking Church in the same street, yes ladies and gentlemen, a Church is located not even 20feet away from the Red Light District – bizarre! It’s worth going just to experience, the culture shock. Imagine seeing that alongside the canals in Manchester? But it’s also an area that I felt incredibly safe in, you can feel that there is a certain amount of respect held for the women in the windows, maybe because they’re putting it all out there or maybe because they embrace and love what they do? None the less, it’s there. Good on you girls!
5. Selfie with the I AMSTERDAM sign.
I am a social media addict, and a shameless selfie Queen. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do one of the most ‘touristy’ things possible and go get some photos with the I AMSTERDAM sign. If you, unlike me, can get up in the early hours, then make sure to go as early as possible, Because it gets busy really quick, and you don’t want your new cover photo to be you and a load of strangers (shout out to the random guy who managed to photo bomb about 70% of my pictures, cheers for that) it’s definitely worth a visit. Plus it’s right next to all the museums. So once you’ve got some holiday snaps, go see some art at the Van Gogh and have a wander around the Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam is a beautiful place, filled with beautiful sights and the fast pace environment expected on a city holiday. It’s a place that allows you to let your hair down and escape reality for a few days, a must on any budding travellers bucket list. So come on, make some memories here and maybe even make your own list of ‘Must See’s’ in this extraordinary city.
Written by Jazzmine Pickles.