Amsterdam is one of the biggest destinations in Europe for tourists, and once you visit it will be easy to see why! Coined “The Venice of the North”, there are canals everywhere you look, bicycles are the preferred mode of transportations, and nearly every shop sells cheese, weed, or pancakes.
It’s the perfect size city for a few days. I visited over New Year’s Eve and had an absolute blast and compiled a list of the “must do’s” on your trip to Amsterdam!
Where to Eat
- The Pancake Bakery: pancakes in Amsterdam are basically crepes with a savory or sweet topping! I am more of a sweet fan but the ham & gruyere one we tried was also delicious.
- Croissanterie Egstorf: looking for a bakery that has heavenly smells and lines of locals then look no further! This incredible bakery has grab & go sandwiches and the best waffles!
- Burger Bar: Basically like a Dutch version of 5 guys! Their burgers are juicy, and their window seating allows for a cheap, quick meal, with the perfect spot for people watching
- The Lobby Nesplein: delicious brunch, right in the center. Make sure to grab a reservation!
- Sea Palace: a gorgeous Chinese restaurant on the water, the food is absolutely delicious and it’s a nice break from pancakes and cheese! Reservations are recommended and the view and experience is definitely one of a kind
- Little Collins: Perfect spot for brunch, or a drink outside!
Where to Drink
- Flying Dutchman Cocktails: a friend recommended this and we loved their vibe!
- Bar Bitterbal: bitterballen are a Dutch snack of fried dough balls with various fillings. This bar takes this traditional snack and goes to the next level. They also have an awesome happy hour and are centrally located giving you the perfect afternoon snack and drink
- Cafe Dijk: a local pub in the middle of all the chaos. Cash only and the best music playing with (most likely) older Dutch women as your bartenders, this bar has so much character and is a blast!
What to Do
- Cheese Tasting: There are tons in the city but we opted for the Henri Willig cheese tasting, arguably the most famous in the city, and it was an amazing bang for our buck! They gave us a quick history lesson on cheese production in the Netherlands, 2 drinks each, and a massive cheese board with everything from gouda to pesto cheese. Book in advance if you’re on a time crunch!
- Flower market (bloemenmarkt): is a beautiful flower market where tulips are truly the centerpiece!
- Walking tour: There is so much to see but Amsterdam is also a great city for walkability! Join a free walking tour (tip based) or book a private tour and see the main sights of the city, the red light district, and the museum area for an awesome way to understand the city. Some other awesome tours are the red light district tour, and the food tour. We loved NEW Europe Tours!
- Heineken Experience: Having been to the Guinness factory in Dublin, Coors in Denver, and multiple breweries all over the world, this was hands down the best bang for your buck! They take you from room to room (on your own pace) with a guide in each room giving an explanation of that room in English (headsets available in other languages). You get to see the whole brewery, their prized horses, and then go through a virtual reality ride where you experience the process of being “brewed” and end with 2 beers. Amazing experience! Book in advance!
- Canal Tour: No trip to Amsterdam is complete without experiencing the canal. There are tons of tours and all are pretty similar in price so I recommend looking online and booking what makes sense for you!
What to See
- Anne Frank House: definitely book in advance as this books up. Must see in Amsterdam!
- Van Gogh Museum: This museum is incredible for art lovers and museum goers alike. 100% recommend if you have the time. The architecture of the museum is striking and the collection is unbeatable.
- Rijksmuseum: The building itself is gorgeous and the museum is open almost every day of the year so it’s perfect year round.
- Stay right by the train station: since the city is pretty walkable it is great to be by the station so you can drop your things without having to get cabs.
- Getting around: super easy by foot but also the trams are easy to navigate! Depends on the weather, your shoes, and how much time you have. There is uber but the city is pretty hard to navigate by car in the center so it might take just as much time.
- Getting to and from the airport: is SO easy with the train. There is one that takes you directly from the airport to the main train station. The station is directly underneath the airport and it’s around 6 euro per way. Cabs are available, and more expensive, but if you’re feeling adventurous when you land (and want to save a few bucks), the train is an awesome, quick alternative.
- Amazing day trips: with the train station being a major one in Europe it’s easy to get to other cities in just a few hours. Antwerp, Brussels, and Paris are the best for a day trip, (although Paris is a little further so the train time might cut into your sight seeing), but the train rides are beautiful and pretty affordable if you book in advance!
Enjoy your trip to this gorgeous city!