Amsterdam, the city known for its red lights and debauchery, a city which entices tourists, young, old, male or female to experience a completely different culture for a few days.
Amsterdam has many different faces, there’s the old-fashioned side of town, the dark and mysterious side and the new modern locations.
While this city may appeal to most young people for its Instagrammable canals and picturesque rows of bikes, for me, it’s the quaint nature of it all. This city has so much to offer in such a small space.
My first piece of advice when visiting this city is to get your walking shoes on, the best way to explore this city is by foot. I’ve been to Amsterdam twice, the second time I saw so many new things, that’s the magic of this city, it’s full of surprises.
Both times I stayed in a hostel, but the best-located one was in Stadsdoelen, a five-minute walk from the renowned red light district.
There are so many different places to stay here, but if you’re feeling up to it, I’d highly suggest just going for a hostel, they vary in room sizes, cheapest are usually 20-bed dorms, they’re interesting places and you’re bound to meet someone new.
The Anne Frank House is a landmark in Amsterdam, known for it’s rich history, it’s worth getting up as early as possible to join the queue before doors open. No matter the time of year, this place is always busy with queues being up to (sometimes over) an hour.
Once you get inside, it all feels worth it. I won’t say too much, because it is something you have to experience for yourself, but it leaves you with the biggest lump in your throat.
One thing Amsterdam does well is art. This city is filled with museums hosting famous artists throughout history – notably including Van Gough – all situated on Museumplein.
Walk through the entrance to Rijksmuseum and you’ll find yourself in a large square with the oh so photographic Amsterdam letters. Like the Anne Frank House though, get there early as it’s one of the most popular places in the city for tourists.
After you’ve filled your camera roll, take a wander back into the centre – which may take a while. Take a leisurely jaunt to Dam Square, the hub of all things Amsterdam, hosting the nightlife buzz and many different activities.
Of course, there are many other things you can do in Amsterdam, like have food out a vending machine at FEBO, enjoy waffles at the many, many waffles stands, get a tattoo (be careful with tourist prices being applied), or perhaps just sit outside with a coffee and people watch for a strong minute (you will not be disappointed).
This city has so much to offer. It’s full of small streets, large squares, all with hidden gems. My main tip for this city, wake up early, go to sleep late and keep on walking.
This post was originally published in 2016.