I have visited Amsterdam for several times, experienced all four seasons there and I can say without any doubt that it is always beautiful. Maybe it is a bit too cold when it is cold and you can not even blink because your eyelid got frozen the moment you stepped out of your place but still…
One of my dear friends sent me a list of to-do’s before I went there. I appreciated it a lot but did not really check the list. I am a very well organized and planned person in my daily life. The best part of holiday is having the opportunity to avoid all your daily routines. The most joyful moment of holiday is when you leave your comfort zone. Therefor I just went there as if I was going to market to get some milk, casual and cool.
Amsterdam is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. So it is a big shame that I do not know how to ride a bike. I have never done it in my life (I had some attempts though, will share them later). But as a consolation, they made it so small hence you can walk anywhere.
I admit that Red Light District was the only thing that I know before I visited A’dam. But I found my way out without spending precious hours on excessive Googling.
If you happen to visit Amsterdam during winter, or just when the weather gets colder for majority of people, spend all your time in the museums; because Amsterdam is full of great museums. You will avoid huge lines because nobody is crazy enough to walk around but you (and me).
Rijkmuseum –national museum of the Netherlands- is great to start with, which is located in Museumplein. The collection is truly magnificent. Have you ever heard of Vermeer? No? That is what I thought so. But I bet you heard of “Girl with a Pearl Earring” thanks to Scarlett Johansson. So Vermeer is the talented person who painted this famous piece (It is not a part of collection though).
After filling your soul with beauty of art, do not forget to take a picture in front of the famous “I Amsterdam” sign because it is great being a cliche.
Then Van Gogh Museum should be your next stop, which is really close to Rijks. It is huge and impressive. I am not an art expert but it is impossible not to be amazed by Van Gogh’s brushwork.
You can also visit Stedelijk which is the third museum located in Museumplein. I did not visit it but the building was cool (wow what a great tip I just gave, and for free!).
If there is something better than visiting a museum, it is visiting a house museum. Museum Het Rembrandthuis a.k.a Rembrandt House Museum is where I discovered by the time I got lost around Waterlooplein. He had a huge collection of art and rare objects, which he had to sell because of his debts but today you can still see a big part of it.
Anne Frank House is a must-see. It made me speechless. It made me cry. It is like nothing else in the world. You should definitely pay a visit and be a part of Anne’s world.
Because it is cold and you are already filled with art, now it is time to do something fun indoors. So why not get experienced at Heineken Experience. It is an old brewery which currently welcomes visitors. The complete tour takes about 1-2 hours but each part is fun. And you get to chance to drink beer as a plus. If you happen to visit Amsterdam during summer, I would not suggest you to be locked up indoors for few hours but it is good fun option for the winter times. They also have sort of a free boat tour afterwards. It is better to go there in the late afternon because boat tour is better at the evening.
You will see many places claiming they serve the best fries in Amsterdam but they lie. Luckily you are reading this and I will guide you to correct address: Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx. Go there and eat like there is no tomorrow.
To extend your knowledge of liqueur, visit Wynand Fockink. Staff is super friendly. They will explain all of the drink, teach you how to drink correctly and give you recommendations based on your taste.
To spend your evenings, solo or with a group, Cafe Belgique offers you great beer and good music.
I am not a fan of Hard Rock Cafe craziness and I do not even get it to be honest. But it is nice to enjoy a beer or two at Hard Rock Amsterdam. Go downstairs so that you can enjoy the view of the canal.
If you happen to be a true piano lover, then Maxim Piano Bar is your address. Or head to Leidsplein and dance like you have never danced before. Suggestions are Paradiso, Sugar Factory and The Cooldown Cafe.
As a big beer lover, I like going to Irish or Belgian pubs. So if you are around Dam, O’Reilly’s Irish Pub is ready to serve you.
Public transportation is really good in Amsterdam as there is no traffic. No, we do not call it traffic when there are 10 cars out on the road. I mean there is traffic which caused by bikes but they have a separate lane so that is totally fine. There is a direct train from airport to city center which departs quite often. You will probably not even need to use any public transportation because you have two perfect options: walking and cycling. Do not waste your euros for the tickets unless it is necessary. But when needed, you can take a tram a bus and pay in cash. Download 9292ov app to your phone, it saves life during emergencies.
If you are on a budget, Amsterdam offers you super tasty couple-of-euros-worth sandwiches. For those who wishes to spend their money on other things rather than restaurants, there is an Albert Heijn on every corner. You will then also have unlimited access to Dutch sweets such as stroopwafel, speculaas, pepernoten, kruidnoten and many more. I personally hate licorice and swear that I will never ever eat it again. But the rest has my full recommendation.
Of course these are not the only places I could suggest after visiting Amsterdam so many times. Let’s call this an introduction (Amsterdam 101 / Winter session). Soon I will be back with a lot more tips and tricks.