Travel Guide: Amsterdam

You may not have already visited Amsterdam but I’m sure it’s on your bucket list.  I visited Amsterdam in the spring of 2019 and it was one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere in Amsterdam is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I truly hope you’re able to experience it for yourself. Here is the ultimate Amsterdam travel guide:

What To Do: Canal Cruise

A canal cruise is a must-do item to add to your itinerary! Amsterdam has canals running through the entire city. The canals were originally created for water management and defense, however today they are extremely important transporting merchandise. The canals are incredibly beautiful all throughout the year. There are three main canals called Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. In total, there are over 160 canals running through the city. You can pay for an open boat tour (more personal and much smaller) or have dinner and drinks on the canal on a larger boat. Expect prices to start around 20 euros per person. 

Open Boat Tours

Trip Advisor Recommended Tours

Free Walking Tour

Would it even be a complete Miles With Maggie travel guide without my mentioning a free walking tour!? Walking tours are the best way to orient yourself to the city. You can learn your way around in a short period of time and get to know the history behind the city and it’s canals. If you’re staying in a hostel (see below), they might offer a free walking tour. If not, I recommend this one:

Free Walking Tours

Anne Frank Museum

First things first, if you’re planning on visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, I recommend booking your tickets in advance. You can book them online up to two months in advance and this will let you skip the line on the day of your visit. I really enjoyed visiting this museum. It does get crowded but don’t feel like you need to rush from room to room. Let people pass you so that you can read and take in everything. You’ll be able to read about her life, her diary, and the secret annex. It’s truly an incredible experience and one that I have not forgotten!

Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience was honestly way cooler than I was expecting. You get to learn all about the history of Heineken and the price of admission includes a few beers, as well. They also have a pouring competition at the end that will win you another beer (shoutout to my brother for getting the W). If you’re a beer snob, go in with an open mind. This isn’t a hipster brewery and you shouldn’t be expecting that! The Heineken Experience definitely doesn’t sum up the beer scene in Amsterdam, but it’s a fun activity to add to your itinerary! Tickets are around 18 euros per person. 

The Heineken Experience was honestly way cooler than I was expecting. You get to learn all about the history of Heineken and the price of admission includes a few beers, as well. They also have a pouring competition at the end that will win you another beer (shoutout to my brother for getting the W). If you’re a beer snob, go in with an open mind. This isn’t a hipster brewery and you shouldn’t be expecting that! The Heineken Experience definitely doesn’t sum up the beer scene in Amsterdam, but it’s a fun activity to add to your itinerary! Tickets are around 18 euros per person. 

Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is a street market in Amsterdam. I have heard positive and negative things about this market, so I think it really depends on the type of traveler you are. I personally enjoy visiting any type of market, even if it’s just to explore. You can find food, flowers, clothing, and more. They also have fresh produce. I definitely recommend checking it out as it’s open 6 days a week (closed on Sundays) and there are over 250 stalls. 

Red Light District

If you’ve heard anything about Amsterdam, you probably already know a little bit about the Red Light District. In Amsterdam, prostitution is legal, but not on the streets. The sex workers in Amsterdam stand in windows with red neon lights highlighting the glass. If your curiosity gets the better of you, head over to the Red Light District at night, when it’s the most lively. This district is very safe but it’s very important to be respectful when you’re walking through this area. Check out this article to read about the do’s and dont’s of the Red Light District.

Keukenhof

Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and while it’s not located in Amsterdam, it’s just a short trip away. You’ve probably heard of this as the famous tulip garden. If you’re traveling by car, it will take about 30 minutes. If you’re like me and rely solely on public transportation, here is how you can get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam city center.  

*The tulip bloom takes place from March to May. 

Coffeeshops

Most of you probably know Amsterdam is the weed capital of Europe, and there are around 100 licensed coffeeshops all over the city. If you don’t already know, coffeeshops are not the same as cafes in Amsterdam. These are licensed shops where you can legally purchase and consume cannabis. You may not even be able to buy a coffee at a coffeeshop. Here are some of the best coffeeshops in Amsterdam. 

You can also go on a drug tour if you’re interested in the history of drugs in Amsterdam. There is also a Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum.

Museumplein

If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned many museums yet, it’s because many of the museums in Amsterdam can be found here, in Museumplein. Here, you’ll find the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museum. Tickets for the Van Gogh museum are 19 euros per person, free for anyone under 18 years old, and 10 euros for students. Remember to always travel with your student card!

The Jordaan

Jordaan is one of the most famous districts in Amsterdam. This is a hipster neighborhood right next to the Anne Frank House. There are tons of vintage shops, trendy restaurants, and hipster pubs. There is also the Amsterdam Cheese Museum and the Houseboat Museum. I definitely recommend visiting this neighborhood and strolling around the streets and over the canals. 

Vondelpark

Vondelpark is an outdoor public park in Amsterdam. It is 120 acres and located just West of Museumplein. There is a playground, open-air theatre, and a few different eateries/bars within the park. There are tons of different music performances at the theatre from June to August and they are all free to attend. Check out this website to learn about future events. 

Other Tips

  • If you like vintage shopping, head over to the 9 Straatjes. There are quite a few boutiques that are both cheap and more expensive. 
  • If you want to bike around Amsterdam, check out this article about the 5 best cycling routes in and around the city. 

Best Hostels

If you’re traveling to Amsterdam, I recommend staying in a hostel. Hostels are a great way to meet people, participate in events, and learn more about the city. If you know me or you’ve read Miles With Maggie in the past, you know I LOVE hostels! There are TONS of hostels to choose from in Amsterdam. Here are a few you should consider for your stay. 

Party Hostels:

Flying Pig Uptown

The Bulldog

Solo Traveler Hostels:

Ecomama

Stayokay

Budget Hostels:

Shelter Jordan

Jordan Shelter

Where To Eat:

I was pleasantly surprised by all of the delicious food I had in Amsterdam! When I researched Amsterdam before my trip, food was never something that came up so I was not expecting anything special. I ended up having some incredible meals for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! Here are some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam. Thanks to my Instagram followers who helped out with this list!

Breakfast/Brunch:

Bakers & Roasters (line starts forming around 10am- vegan and vegetarian friendly) 

    Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54, 1072 BH Amsterdam, Netherlands

G’s Brunch Boat (brunch on the canal- here is a review with prices)

    Pick Up Point, Keizersgracht 177, 1016 DW Amsterdam, Netherlands

Staring at Jacob (everything from chicken & waffles to smoked salmon benedict)

    Jacob Van Lennepkade 215, 1054 ZP Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lunch/Dinner:

Bulls and Dogs (hot dog and burger bar with fun milkshakes)

    Van Woustraat 58, 1073 LN Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pesca (Fresh seafood daily so there’s no menu)

     Rozengracht 133, 1016 LV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hap-Hmm (very popular taditional Dutch restaurant- get there early!)

    Eerste Helmersstraat 33, 1054 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Traditional Dutch Foods To Try

Tips

*Bitterballen (dutch meatballs) are a famous traditional Dutch snack usually eaten with mustard.

*Poffertjes look like mini pancakes and are a traditional Dutch sweet treat served with powdered sugar and sometimes syrup. Here’s where you can find some.

Published by Badass Female Travelers

It's simple - we're females. We travel. And of course, we're badass. Discover the numinous accounts of women's journeys around the world.

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