Amsterdam is a city I fell in love with completely by accident. I found a flight there for $150 and decided to roll with it. This city is unlike so many other European cities I have been to, but in a great way! Amsterdam is clean, friendly and every single human here is riding a bike.
A quick aside on bikes, before I went I asked about three friends their advice on Amsterdam and all three said “don’t get hit by a bike” and I have to concur and pass on this piece of advice. If we took a shot for every time one of us almost got hit by a bicyclist, we would not have made it out of the city. If you feel brave you can rent one and ride like a local.
When you first get to Amsterdam and if you’re interested in seeing the Anne Frank House I would go to their website and book a tour if you haven’t already. Their website sells their remaining 20% of tickets the day of and they open up tours on the website at random times during the day. Complicated ticket buying aside this was an incredibly interesting part of my trip. www.annefrank.org
If you like beer, definitely book a tour with The Heineken Experience, it is a very different take on a brewery tour, at the end, challenge your friends to pour the perfect Heineken in front of the whole bar. Every trip needs a little competition.
If you find yourself in Amsterdam on a Saturday stroll through an open market, I went to the Albert Cuyp market in the De Pijp area and it was glorious. Have you ever had a stroopwafel? Well if you haven’t it is time to try one. They are very thing waffles that they cut in half, and put mainly caramel or nutella inside #yes.
Poffertjes are small fluffy pancakes that are as delicious as they are adorable, just look at those little guys!
On your strolls around the canals sit at a bar and eat some bitterballen with a cold beer. Bitterballen are essentially beef broth croquettes and you will have no trouble finding them as they are a traditional bar snack.
If you have had your fill of waffles (stop lying that’s impossible) Pluk is an adorable place to grab a lighter breakfast. Just peep these magical smoothie-esque bowls.
Another fun place to eat and drink is Food Hallen. There are a ton of drink and food stalls at this indoor market, you can sit at a bar and grab a drink and then try some fun foods from the aforementioned bitterballen to sushi burritos.
If you have an extra day I suggest an excursion to see some of Holland outside of the city. See the windmills, watch the dutch make wooden clogs (I want a pair very badly), and eat cheese, waffles and fish (maybe not together) at local fishing villages. You get a very different view of the Netherlands once you leave the city limits.
Other suggestions for your time in Amsterdam are to book a canal cruise and depending on the time of year, go see the tulips (April), go to the I AMsterdam signs, and eat a hotdog served in a baguette. Okay maybe that last thing is only cool to me but I really liked the idea of that. If you want to get absinthe, there is a liquor store which we found after much research called Quinta Absinthe, where you can buy a bottle for about 80 Euros, and although I didn’t buy a bottle, meeting the owner, a quirky old man who explains the exact technique to correctly drinking absinthe, is worth the trip to this small intriguing liquor store.
This is going to be another city I urge you to book a later flight out of because dragging post-Amsterdam friends through international travel is ROUGH. Just imagine four twenty-somethings sweating profusely, running through airports and attempting to get a barely functioning hungover man through customs… woof. Departure aside, this city was incredible and I highly recommend a trip.