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As I get older, my desire to get out and explore more of the world increases! I was thrilled when my husband had a business trip to Amsterdam and I got to tag along. We had a couple of days to get out and explore the city so I am sharing some of the fun things we did.
Before I get on to all the fun stuff, first I need to address transportation. When visiting a new city (especially International cities) it’s a must to figure out ahead of time how you plan to get around. Amsterdam has a great transportation system with metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains. I recommend purchasing a pass for the GVB public transportation system for however many days you will need. Also, getting to Amsterdam was a breeze with the NS train from the airport. Of course you can also get around the city like the locals do, via a bike. Check out some of the fun things you can do when visiting Amsterdam.
Rent a bike – How the people of Amsterdam get around is truly fascinating! The primary method of transportation is via bike and pretty much everyone uses that mode of transportation. There are very few cars. There are actually more bikes than people in Amsterdam, some people will have more than one bike because they have a different one for getting to work than they would have just for getting around town. It doesn’t matter if you are old, young, in a business suit or a dress, they bike everywhere and I think it’s awesome! I recommend renting a bike for a day or two so you can really tour the city and get around like the locals do.
Take a canal cruise – If the weather is cooperative, I highly recommend taking a cruise in an open boat so you don’t have to look through windows. You will see lots of amazing sights and it’s much easier to take photos in a boat without windows. We used Friendship Amsterdam and I highly recommend them. I’ve also heard great things about Those Dam Boat Guys.
The canal cruise was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I love water and I love looking at the architecture and old buildings. I could have stayed out there for hours. We learned some fun facts about Amsterdam too. If you go to Amsterdam, put a canal cruise at the top of your list.
Visit the Rijksmuseum – The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history in Amsterdam. The Night Watch by Rembrandt is probably the most famous and popular piece in the museum. You can purchase tickets online and use an e-ticket to enter the museum. It’s not necessary to buy tickets ahead of time, but buying online will save you time waiting in line to purchase tickets. I recommend visiting in the morning because it’s less crowded. Another popular museum worth visiting is the Van Gogh Museum.
Enjoy nature in Vondelpark – Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most popular park. It also has some great restaurants and cafes in the area, so you can grab yourself some lunch to eat and enjoy it in the park.
Explore the NEMO Science Museum – This is a great option of you are traveling with kids, they will love the fun and educational exhibits at the NEMO Science Museum. This museum is just a short walk from Centraal Station. I really love how easy it is to get around to some of the most popular sites in Amsterdam
See the Anne Frank House – When I asked for suggestions of what to do in Amsterdam, pretty much everyone said to visit the Anne Frank House! You MUST buy tickets in advance for this museum because they will sell out, it is best to purchase your tickets a month in advance. Tickets are only available online. Unfortunately, because of transportation issues I missed my reservation time so I didn’t get to check it out personally. I was kind of bummed! So many people say this is a must see, so I would add it to your list for sure. And don’t miss your reservation time!
Stroll the 9 Streets – The 9 streets consists of 9 picturesque alleyways along the canal belt. There is a mix of vintage boutiques, designer shops and lots and lots of great places to eat. We enjoyed our stroll through the area, and found there were really a ton of great places to eat.
Just a few of the great food options in the 9 Streets area are Pluk, Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, Chocolate Pompadour and Pancakes Amsterdam.
Take a trip to Haarlam – Haarlam is such a cute place without the hustle and bustle of the streets of Amsterdam. We loved strolling the streets, checking out the shops, eating, and enjoying the scenery. The trip to Haarlam is a quick ride via train from the Centraal station. I highly recommend it!
Eat great food – Food is always a highlight of any vacation we take, not just because it’s fun to try new things, but because I don’t have to cook! I usually always do research regarding the best places to eat before I reach my vacation destination. Here are some of the places we ate while in Amsterdam.
Pancakes Amsterdam – The dutch pancakes were fabulous, my husband bought a savory one, I bought a sweet one and we shared. I’d highly recommend Pancakes Amsterdam not only for the food, but the service was amazing, everyone that worked their was super friendly. They have several locations, so there is a good chance you can find one near wherever you are staying.
Jetties Organic Food & Ice Cream – We found this cute place while we were visiting Harlaam. We loved it. We both had hamburgers which were different than any other hamburger we’ve had before. The menu was all in dutch so were weren’t 100% sure what would come on our burgers. Turns out there was some unexpected veggies like cucumbers and a chunky like salsa, but it was one of the best burgers I have ever had. It was a burger, but it was also so fresh. So good! We of course had some ice cream too and it was amazing (and so cheap).
Eat Fries with Mayonnaise – I know it sounds gross, warm fries with mayonnaise? No thanks, right? I was wrong…fries with mayonnaise is absolutely delicious! I especially liked my fries with the garlic mayo. So good! We ate our fair share of fries on this trip. Here are just a few recommendations of places where you can get some great fries. Vleminckx de Sausmeester has 25 different types of sauces, so if mayo isn’t your thing you should find something that is. Manneken Pis always had a long line, so I’m fairly certain they sell amazing fries.
Eat Ice Cream – The ice cream in Amsterdam is so cheap! You can get one scoop of really good ice cream for around 130 euros. Since it’s so cheap I had to of course go for two scoops. I love me some chocolate and raspberry ice cream together. Yum!
Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the area where our hotel was located smelled a lot like pot. The hotel itself didn’t smell like weed, just the streets around the hotel. If we had more time I would have enjoyed getting out to see more cities outside Amsterdam. I absolutely love the architecture of European cities, I love just walking up and down the streets and just taking it all in. Have you been to Amsterdam before? What were your favorite places to visit? You can also check out 30 of the best things to do in Amsterdam via Your RV Lifestyle
Love to travel? Us too! Check out our posts of fun places we’ve traveled.
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- If you have a Disney trip in the works we have a bunch of Disney themed posts to help you make the most of your vacation (It’s one of our favorite vacation destinations).
Love how you organized this guide! Super helpful! Cheap ice cream?! What a great perk! 😉
Canal Cruise and trip to Haarlam looks exciting. Seems you had lovely time with all yummy food and ice cream.
Janelle Bell says
I loved Amsterdam and stayed in a houseboat on the canal for 10 days. It was incredible and I would suggest it to anyone. I love some of your suggestions, but I have to suggest 2 more places to visit. The Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam is the most insightful WWII museum. It shows the 3 different sides of the war through the eyes of the Dutch – 1. join the Nazis, 2. resist the Nazis or 3. ignore the Nazis and pretend nothing is happening. There are so many incredible stories about individuals and groups with real letters, photos, and artifacts. So much history to learn here and I enjoyed it more than the Anne Frank house.
On a lighter note, the Museum of Bags and Purses is a fun look at purses throughout history.
Amsterdam is on my bucket list! What a fun trip.