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Things to do in Amsterdam: sights, accommodation, restaurants and many other tips

4. Bicicletele - principalul mijloc de transport din Amsterdam.jpg

Amsterdam holds a very special place in my heart. It is the first foreign city I ever stepped into. No, I wasn’t there for a visit. I was merely changing a train and carrying 44 kg of luggage and heading towards Maastricht , the city of my student years. So, technically speaking, Amsterdam is the first foreign city I set foot in (Schiphol doesn’t count)…Obviously, later I returned several times and was able to enjoy this matchless city, a city of art and also of sex, a perfect example of the 17th century architecture but also the place where marijuana is legal, a city with both liberal and libertine views…A city where Walloon ladies enjoy special exhibitions at Rijksmuseum and where rednecks across the pond (from England) come for15 minutes of sex on 50 € with the girls displayed at the windows …

Still, I think the best experience ever to enjoy in Amsterdam is walking around the channels (either on a small boat, either by foot), admiring the interesting roofs of the buildings mirrored in the water of the channels that made this city so renowned…But let’s not beat around the bush and start to learn more about how to travel on a low budget but in an intelligent manner!

When to visit Amsterdam

Have you ever heard of the Dutch weather? If the Dutch can complain about something, then certainly, that is the weather aspect…no doubt about it! It is not terribly cold, it rarely snows or even encountered temperatures below zero, but the wind coming from the North Sea combined with humidity and approximately 5°C makes you think twice about visiting Amsterdam during winter. When I was living in The Netherlands, I counted 36 consecutive days without ever seeing the sun. What was frustrating during those days was the fact that there were cloudless nights – the moon was visible. But in the morning, I was waking up to the very same gloomy atmosphere.

The best time to visit Amsterdam is during summer. You have good chances of sunny days and the city literally seems to be smiling under the sunlight.  The Dutch take over all the terraces even when the sun is visible for merely 10 minutes and an intense feeling of happiness seems to be floating in the air!

 

How to get there

Amsterdam is well connected by plane, rail or busses. Schiphol airport is one of the largest in Europe and dozens of airlines connect it to destinations all over the world

 

How to get from the airport to the city

From Eindhoven Airport, you have two options: take the fast bus no. 401 which will take you to Eindhoven Centraal railway station (3 €) or bus no. 11 which costs a bit less (only by a few cents), but that doesn’t drive as fast as the first one. Bus no. 401 comes every 30 minutes (later in the evening), but during the day there are up to 8 rides per hour!

From Eindhoven, you can take one of the trains that go up to Amsterdam Centraal (17.15 €/90 minutes). So, from Eindhoven Airport until Amsterdam Centraal railway station, you pay 20 € more and get there with 2.5 – 3 hours.

If you are in a hurry, you can take a bus from Air Expressbus that takes you straight to Amsterdam for 22.50 € in about 1.5 hours. But be aware that there are only 3-4 rides per day, so the option local bus + train might be the fastest.

From Schiphol Airport, don’t make things even more complicate… just take the train and you’ll be there in approximately 20 minutes for the cost of 3.80€ (one way).

 

Getting around Amsterdam

You can honestly do that perfectly by walking and by using the bicycle. You can rent bicycles from everywhere and it’s the easiest and the most pleasant way to integrate oneself into the landscape of thousands of bikers. As anywhere else in The Netherlands, there are special areas for bicycles. Besides, the center of the city can be easily enjoyed by walking. If by any chance your hotel is not located in the center, you can take a combined ticket (bus, underground, tramway and even train). The historical strippenkaarts were replaced since 2010 by OV-chip cards that can be recharged. Such OV card costs 7.50 € and it can later be recharged as many times as you need. A one hour trip costs 3.60 €, but its best to buy OV-cards for 1, 2, 3 or as many days as you need. Further information can be found here.

 

 

Top 5 tourist objectives in Amsterdam

  1. The Channels of Amsterdam– as I was saying, they are absolutely beautiful. Take a boat ride or just go walking (it would be great if you could do both) and try to get away from the main boulevards.
  2. The Red Light District – hey, it’s unique…. Not dangerous at all and if the image of semi-nude girls staring at you straight from the windows shop doesn’t bother you (nude exposure was forbidden a few years ago), you won’t have any problems.
  3. Rijksmuseum – Paris has Louvre, London – British Museum, Madrid – Prado, so even Amsterdam has a large art museum. It is a true Flemish art lesson and it really deserves to be seen. Near Rijksmuseum can be found the more and more famous Van Gogh Museum!
  4. Madame Tussauds – apart from the possibility of photographing yourself together with the stars of the day (or the past ones), you can experiment the golden era side of Amsterdam, the city of the great merchant companies and of the riches brought by the Dutch from all over the world.
  5. Begijnhof – Amsterdam is a city of contrasts and Begijnhof is one of them. Take a walk on the main commercial street called Kalverstraat. This street is filled with shinny shops and from some you can hear the latest music sounds blasting out, there are luxury brands or regular clothing shops…Somewhere on the right side, near American Book Store, you’ll see an entrance… and you’ll step into this surreal oasis, a 14th century monastery, still and surrounded by greenery and old houses…very hard to find such different places only a meter away! Begijnhof was a Catholic order for women – usually widows or old ladies that retired here, but without becoming nuns!

Despite the fact that most Europeans regard the Dutch as being very cheap (maybe only the Scottish to top them), well, you’ll find here too a free pedestrian guide. Be it rainy, snowy or even sunny, there are two of them offered daily: one from 11 AM and the other from 1 PM and the starting point of the tour is that phallic monument from Dam Square. No, it’s not a monument in the honor of Shiva. The National J. Monument was designed by the Dutch architect J.J.P. Oud but more details you can find on the site of Sandeman Tours.

Would some other tours be of any interest to you? We’re in Amsterdam, thus it won’t be hard to bump into bicycle tours offered by many companies. And as the Red Light District is so unique, there are obviously tours for this area – with visits to sex shops, video rooms or maybe to the famous Condomerie store where you can find thousand types of condoms and in the end why not a quick stop by the Prostitution Information Center. Perhaps smoking is more interesting to you than girls? No problem, there’s also a tour of the best coffee shops in Amsterdam (I won’t be explaining what these are as I’m sure everyone knows what they are!).

 

Where to sleep in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the place where it’s best to have a friend living there as the accommodation is very expensive. When I stood overnight in Amsterdam, I chose Hotel 83, positioned right in the Red Light District between a brothel and a sex shop. The price was great and I think it became a success in the meantime as now a double room costs around 80 €. It’s not too bad for a city like Amsterdam but I’m sure there are better solutions. Another hostel recommended by many (including TripAdvisor) is Cocomama where a double room costs 80 €. If you like something less expensive, a bed in a dorm with 6 other people will cost you 26 € per night. Alternatively, you can stay away from hotels or hostels or book a regular home, apartment or even a boat at Casamundo.

 

Where to eat in Amsterdam

The Dutch enjoy their food and prefer it as diverse and exotic as possible. They also enjoy the fast food (although the effects of this kind of food are not visible on them and that’s maybe because sport practicing is a sort of national religion and bicycle riding is the main transport method in the kingdom). You will find lots of varied restaurants and fast food restaurants as exotic as possible. If you feel like enjoying a pizza combined with shawarma, satay, loempia or any other culinary madness from any place in the world, just go on the street behind the National Monument towards the Red Light District!

These were today’s tips on Amsterdam. If you were recently here and encountered some special places, reasonable prices, well, you know…some good tips to share with other travelers, I’m looking forward to seeing them in the comments field! Thank you!

Images of Amsterdam

1. Palatul Regal Amsterdam.jpg

The Royal Palace from Amsterdam

2. Barca agrement Amsterdam.jpg

Take a boat and enjoy the beautiful view of the channels!

3. Canalele din Amsterdam.jpg

Look how great it is!

4. Bicicletele - principalul mijloc de transport din Amsterdam.jpg

Or maybe rent a bicycle!

5. Canale prin Cartierul Rosu.jpg

The channels go all the way through The Red Light District

6. Graffitti in Cartierul Rosu din Amsterdam.JPG

Some explicit graffiti

7. Hotelul 83 Amsterdam.JPG

Hotel 83 – Amsterdam

8. Madame Tussaud Amsterdam.JPG

Just as you enter Madame Tussauds, a giant greets you!

 

Până acum există "7 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Noel says:

    I’ve only seen Amsterdam on movies and magazines. Such a grand architecture of buildings and structures. It seemed the city is rich with history and culture. I don’t have any idea, though, that Amsterdam is so liberated a place.

  2. bastiaan says:

    Hello Cezar,

    Nice to hear you had a good time in home country! I came across your blog trough tthe travel blog top 50. You visited just the right things in Amsterdam. But there is more to visit in Holland and there are a lot of beautiful places. I hope you will come back one day and visit the rest!

    Cheers,
    Bastiaan
    http://want2discover.com

    • Imperator says:

      I was student in the Netherlands, so I lived in Maastricht for 1 year… Obviously, I visited lots of places and I returned pretty often. But, yes, I do agree, I need to come back and stay longer. Last time, I visited Maastricht, my “home” town 2 years ago

  3. Tobias says:

    I was this May in Amsterdam and it is an amazing city! I also stayed with couple of friends in Hotel Aadam Wilhelmina. You can find it on http://www.reservationcounter.com/.

  4. jan blom says:

    A small revolution in Amsterdam canal cruising

    I live in Amsterdam, am a retired canal cruise captain. In that capacity I have some news to share with you.
    For the first time in the hundred year history of Amsterdam canal cruising you can buy a ticket for a scheduled cruise on the oldest canals in the city. There was always embarrassment about these canals because they also lead through the center of Amsterdam’s Red light district.
    But the new ‘Friendship’ cruise company broke the taboo. With a luxurious scheduled ‘Champagne Cruise’ departing from the dock of Hotel Krasnapolsky, they offer a fascinating alternative to the ‘beaten tracks’ of the established cruise companies.’Friendship’ operates this new line with electrically powered boats. On youtube,a video of this cruise can be found at this URL:
    http://youtu.be/IdOiFDPHKMU?list=PL11DA842457870370

  5. chamrul says:

    I have never visited the Netherlands. But I had a brother who already lived in Wageningen since 15 years ago. I often hear the story, that the Netherlands is a great nation. According to them, one of the interesting things is the amsterdam canals and rivers in the suburbs. You can travel around the city by using the existing water transportation around the city. there is a lot of interesting things, from houseboats and river very clean. I can not imagine there temapta like that in my country. But definitely, it was great sekali.Nice share, good post.

  6. Great article, thanks for the tips! Home to picturesque windmills, colourful tulips, famous painters, canals and more, the Netherlands is a fascinating place to visit. However, there are numerous tourist targeted scams to be wary of. http://travelscams.org/europe/common-tourist-scams-netherlands/

    Do be wary of the junkies, pickpockets and robberies, spilled liquid scam, may I help you scam, spiked cookies/drinks, food museum, counterfeit bill machine and switcheroo, fake police, tulip stands, rogue taxi drivers and many more!

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    My name is Cezar (where the nickname "Imperator" comes from) and I have travelled to 105 countries around the world. In this blog, I would like to share with you stories, memories, travel tips & tricks and news to help you plan your journeys !

    For any questions or comments, please, feel free to contact me at imperatortravel@yahoo.co.uk

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