The down side of visiting big popular cities is that they are very often full of tourist traps. And it can easily happened that you are paying too much for the services, waiting for hours in a queues in front of the museums and ending up with completely wrong impression of the city.
That’s why I made a list of six ideas that will help you to enjoy in Amsterdam like a local.
#1 – Admire the canals on a private small boat
One of the best ways to explore Amsterdam is by taking the canal cruise. And why not make it completely private? There are a lot of companies in Amsterdam that are renting small boats for good prices. They are easy to navigate, you can plan your route in advance and enjoy all the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals on your own.
#2 – Skip the museum lines
Amsterdam has a rich cultural heritage and the artistic hart of the city is definitely the Museumplein. The three major museums are there and in them you can see the most famous paintings of Dutch Golden Age, like Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ or Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’, together with the Van Gogh’s masterpieces. Here is my piece of advice: buy your tickets on line and save yourself a lot of time! Or, if you would like to take the best from the museums and hear the stories behind the paintings, take a look here and hire a private guide.
#3 – Have a picnic in some of Amsterdam’s parks
When the weather is nice, people in Amsterdam just love to have a picnic or barbecue in the park (you can find very handy, small single-use barbecues in the grocery stores). The most popular park is Vondelpark, but it is also the busiest one. Amsterdamse Bos is the biggest one with a lot of bicycle lanes, walking paths and a nice lake. Beatrixpark and Amstelpark are in the southern part of the city, Oosterpark is in the east close to Tropenmuseum and Westerpark is in the western part of the city. All of them have restaurants, caffes and a lot of space for walking, running and having a picnic.
#4 – Visit ‘Brown Cafe’
‘Brown cafes’ are typical Dutch meeting places, where you can have a coffee in the morning or a glass of beer or wine in the evening. They are usually offering some snacks as well, like bitterballen, fries or cheese platter. They are everywhere around the city and you will recognize them by the typical wooden brown interior (from which they got the name in the first place).
#5 – Take a morning walk in Red Light District
Red Light District is well known for its liberal spirit, night life, coffee shops and red windows. But, it is not so well known that it is also the oldest part of the city, and in the calm mornings one of the most beautiful parts of the city, as well. In the Middle Ages the old port of Amsterdam was located here, from which the ship ‘Half Moon’ went to its long voyage where it discovered the Manahata Island, todays Manhattan in New York. The old canals here are among the most beautiful ones in the city, so take my advice and visit them in the morning.
#6 – Buy the real souvenirs
Although I have some doubts about buying the souvenirs while traveling (they are mostly ending up forgotten on some shelf), it is nice to have something to remind you of your trip. If you would like something really Dutch and original, go to Spiegelgracht (the street that goes from Rijksmuseum towards the city center) and visit some of many art galleries there. If you are interested in Dutch design than take a look at Droog store or to one of my favorites, Piet Design. Although it is more pricey souvenir, you are getting a real thing and also supporting a local design!
This few tips should be helpful when planning your trip to Amsterdam. Keep an eye on the blog, because there will be more articles about Amsterdam in the following weeks!
Do you have any tips or recommendations for Amsterdam? Share it with us in the comments!