Amsterdam. You’ve likely had the urge to visit, and for good reason. The distinctive city in the Netherlands has the perfect combination of art, history and entertainment. It’s the triple threat. With remarkable canals, narrow buildings, cycling paths and remnants of the Golden Age, it will have you saying Amster(dayum)! This is a city overflowing with character, and there is never a shortage of things to do. However, if you can only spare a day or two, these are my recommendations of what you should fill your days with, leaving you with the best dam experience.
For the art history buffs, the Van Gogh Museum is a must-see attraction. An affordable 18 euro for adults, and free for 18 years and under, this museum is packed with art pieces throughout Van Gogh’s life and details about how he came to be known as one of the most famous artists in the history of Western art. Each year 1.6 million people come to visit this museum, making it one of the top 25 most popular museums in the world. I wasn’t lying when I said it’s a must-see attraction.
To continue through history, the next must-see historic site is devoted to diarist Anne Frank. Narrow in stature and located on a canal, this house is famous for the diary works of Anne Frank during World War II. From the outside, the building appears to look like a regular house blended in with the gobble stone, but the inside used to hold a constant fear of discovery for several Jews. Stepping inside the rooms which held such fear is an eye-opening moment, and one you shouldn’t miss if you are in Amsterdam. Although the wait may be lengthy, simply glimpsing at the house takes you back in history. I recommend purchasing online tickets well in-advance, as well as reserve a time slot, because this is a common tourist spot for school groups, families, young adults and seniors alike. After long hours cramming your brain with knowledge about Amsterdam’s finest, it’s time for a cold brew.
There’s no better place in Amsterdam to enjoy a pint of beer than none other than the Heineken Experience. Here you partake in a fascinating brewery tour, and enjoy not one, but two free pints of beer. As a very interactive tour, you view old advertisements, aged copper tanks and even horses in stables. To avoid the long lines, purchase tickets in advance online. I wouldn’t stop here for the last cold beverage, however. To keep the night going, you must pass through downtown and the Red Light District.
If your nostrils smell of french fries and waffles, and you walk past several cafes and women posing in lingerie behind windows, you know you’ve found the Red Light District. If you’re a 20 year old girl, your father probably told you not to go there, but go anyway because nowhere else is comparable, just don’t take pictures of the women or you may get in trouble. As part of the oldest area in Amsterdam, The Red Light District has existed since the 14th century. It has been said the district is not as dangerous as it used to be, so don’t be timid to stroll through and gaze at the fine architecture and even indulge in the popular Dutch dish of raw herring. Just make sure you behave yourself and are with a group.
The night-life downtown is truly unlike from any city. I won’t judge what time you leave the pubs and clubs, but make it back safe and get a good nights rest to enjoy the outskirts of Amsterdam on day two.
Visiting Amsterdam in the spring will grant you a colorful opportunity to take in the blooming tulips at Keukenhof Tulip Fields. For transportation to the fields, a bus transits people back and forth from the airport daily. The ride is fairly cheap and gives you glimpses of canals, windmills and beautiful countryside. This is both an indoor and outdoor art and flower tourist area. Be prepared to have your camera fully charged because every step is photo-worthy. This may take a half days worth of exploring, but its whimsical charm will be the perfect end to a great couple days in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam’s artistic heritage, elegant architecture, vibrant nightlife and historic attractions make it one of the top cities in Europe to visit. The canals and bicycling make it an incredibly unique and energetic city. In fact, The Netherlands is even one of the happiest countries to live in, and Amsterdam is its prized capital.