Amsterdam is a city that rarely rests and has a welcoming small town feel to it, with small cobbled streets flanked by tall buildings, occasionally widening to accommodate the canals Amsterdam is famous for.
Amsterdam's peak tourist months are from June to August, when the city becomes a more expensive and much busier place to be. Hostels are abundant, place an emphasis on safety but can be pricey. You can also stay on boats, which provide a fun and authentically Dutch alternative to hostels.
There's a lot to see and do in Amsterdam, from the notorious sex museum to tiny cafés overlooking canals and the more conventional art museums. Amsterdam city passes are available for 1, 2 or 3 day periods (www.amsterdam.nl) which give free admission to many museums, a free canal cruise, travel on the city's trams, subways and buses and 25% discount on selected restaurants, trips and bike hire.
A must visit is the classic Van Gogh museum - housed in a majestic airy gallery, it requires a few hours to explore. As far as modern art goes, the Cobra museum is particularly remarkable and features short-term special exhibitions along side its permanent collection.
Amsterdam has a vibrant club scene - check flyers and ask around for the current hot spots, but be cautious when walking around at nighttime.
Nowhere in Amsterdam is really too far to walk, but if your legs are failing you - a common affliction in Amsterdam - trams run all around the city. If you are feeling energetic, or just game for a laugh, hiring bikes is a great way to explore this bustling city fully. Just mind out for those canals!!
There is absolutely loads to do aside from drugs and sex shows!
- Van Gogh Museum: very modern, really interesting. A bit of a way out, but not far from the Rijksmuseum if you're going for an arty day
- Rijksmuseum: the Dutch national art gallery
- Troppenmuseum: culture museum (originally intended to show off wares from the Dutch colonies but has moved on since)
- Hortus Botanicus: botanical garden. Has huge butterfly enclosure with tropical butterflies, the first cocoa plant brought to Europe etc. Good for a rainy or downbeat day
- Artis Zoo: a zoo, you can get to it by boat through the canals which is good fun
- Kattenkabin: a museum dedicated to cats
- Tushinski Theatre: beautiful deco cinema that used to be a cabaret theatre
- Cannabis College & linked things!: all around the red light district
- Red Light District: hard to miss, beware of drug pushers and don't humour them
- Flower Market: pretty, some amazing stands
- Flower parade: in September, vibrant and enjoyable
- Diamond Factory: further out in Amsterdam, you can see some amazing rocks
- Jewish History Museum: very large and one of the best I've ever seen, really interesting
- Anne Frank's House
- Parks and Memorials
- Lovely restaurants and cafes (not coffeeshops necessarily!): One in particular I liked called "Oude Hollande" that specialises in traditional Dutch cuisine
- Madam Tussauds
And there are hundreds of amazing shops; ones that sell only toothbrushes, shops full of produce from other parts of the world, some very very cool design shops, wooden toy shops, art shops, markets etc. etc!
The city is beautiful and so nice to walk around - Herenstraat was lovely, Museumplein is nice too! You just need to get on a tram or sneltran.
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