When we think of Amsterdam city breaks, there are often a certain number of stereotypes that spring to mind. After my first trip to Amsterdam, I’m here to quash those rumours. There’s far more to this beautiful city than what people think. It’s hard to know where to start in terms of describing how much I loved my time there, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you.
1) The architecture
When you see photos of Amsterdam, you get a vision of quaint buildings; narrow, but tall in structure. I’ve always thought that must be just one area of the city, famous for architecture like that. But no, the entire city is built like this; each street just as picturesque as the next.
2) The canals
Amsterdam’s canals are just as impressive as its stunning architecture. I never realised there were so many! Narrow ones, wide ones, big bridges, pretty little footbridges; I can’t quite believe how many photos of canals I managed to take in just four days! And can you believe there are over 1,500 bridges in the city?! Make sure you do a canal boat cruise while you’re there.
3) The food
Now, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re going to love Amsterdam. For the purpose of research, I found it absolutely necessary to sample every form of apple pie, stroopwaffel (strawberry waffles), giant meringues and cakes that the city had to offer. And for those who don’t have a sweet tooth? Well, there’s plenty for you too. Including so much incredible cheese!
4) The museums and breweries
There are a number of museums in Amsterdam that are always high up on people’s lists of things to do while you’re there; the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum being two of the most popular. Then, of course, the Heineken Experience is an absolute must too. You’ll find all of them located close to the famous I Amsterdam Sign in the museum quarter.
5) The people
One thing that I really loved about Amsterdam is the friendly and welcoming nature of the people who live there. They can’t do enough to help you and they just add to the fun and vibrant atmosphere of the city. I happened to be there for the city’s King’s Day celebrations and all the crowds make you feel part of the celebration, not just a visitor looking on.
6) The highest swing in Europe
Yes, you heard that right; Amsterdam is home to the highest swing in Europe. And I went on it! Granted, I pulled every muscle in my arms from holding on so tight, but I did it. Just head to the lookout at the top of A’DAM Tower and you too could be swinging off the edge of the building, taking in the sights of the city below.
7) Getting about
There are so many ways in which you can easily get around the city, from trams and trains to taxis and Ubers. But a trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without hiring a bike. It’s easy to get hold of one and so much fun too. It also means you get to see lots of different areas of the city and fit even more into your day.
8) The flowers
Amsterdam is beautiful enough as it is, but time your visit right and you can see all the bright and colourful tulips that The Netherlands is so famous for. If you don’t have time to get out to the Keukenhof Gardens or the tulip fields, head to Vondelpark in the city and don’t forget your camera. April and May are the best months to see them.
Have you ever visited Amsterdam before? Did you realise there were so many amazing things to see and do? Let me know what appeals to you the most in the comments below.