When I stepped out of Amsterdam Central, I felt I had stepped into a brand new world. Suddenly I wasn’t looking both ways to avoid being hit by a car, I was looking MULTIPLE ways to not be ran over by a cyclist, a mini car or a tram!! I had never seen so many on bicycles in my life. I felt that Amsterdam was this magical city with its canals and canal houses, all the flowers and cyclists. I was literally almost hit by a bike when I saw a fries shop across the street and subconsciously stepped off the slight curb into the “bike” lane. It was like being a completely different kind of Western world. Take a peak at my video below and be captivated by the beauty and world that is Amsterdam. I will be going back.
Note: I did not film in the Red Light District out of respect for the women working in the windows, as well there are no shots of the Anne Frank House (which was incredible) and of the various “coffeeshops” we checked out 😉
Where we stayed: ClinkNOORD
We loved staying at the ClinkNOORD hostel. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly. They have a super cheap breakfast and a relatively cheap restaurant. They have a nice kitchen where we once made ourselves a nice pack of Ramen (LOL). ClinkNOORD is a 5 minute ferry ride across from Amsterdam Central station. The ferry is such a cool experience. Bikes, mini cars, bikes with trailers holding their kids, whole families on bikes, pedestrians, mopeds all use the ferry. You just get on, wait to get across, and get off. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! How cool is that? We rented bikes just on the corner before the ferry.
Renting bikes: This is such a classic Amsterdam experience! I would honestly wait a day before renting bikes solely just so you can acclimatize a little bit to how crazy Amsterdam roads are lol, because there kind of are none. It’s all a mishmash of everything! But once we rented our bikes (for super cheap like roughly €12 each for 24 hours including bike insurance if your bike was stolen). This is a really quick way to get around Amsterdam! A funny little side note, I’m a terrible cyclist. I fall all the time. I literally fell in the middle of an Amsterdam intersection and a lady was like “are you okay” HOW EMBARASSING. Anyway, at the end of the video if you see I’m filming behind Nick and he is signalling with his right hand — this is how he would tell me which way we were going haha.
Anne Frank House: Tickets go on sale (here) two months in advance, and I HIGHLY recommend buying them early. It was a dream of mine to see the Anne Frank House since the first time I read her diary when I was 11. After seeing the house, I bought the diary again in the gift shop and read many chapters on 7 hour train rides on our travel days. It was truly a humbling experience.
Coffeeshops: ARE EVERYWHERE. We liked the Grey Area, the Jolly Joker (trip advisor– we really liked all the seating here) and all the Bull Dog locations we stopped at but for real coffeeshops are everywhere.
A’dam Lookout (here): We did the swing and I LOVED it. Nick is afraid of heights haha so he wasn’t so pumped but it was really a cool experience.
Canal Cruise: there are various canal cruise companies but we did a cruise with Friendship Amsterdam (trip advisor here) personally we found that the tour guides didn’t tell us that much information and the drinks were a little expensive, but it was still so cool and I really think should be something everyone does in Amsterdam.
Things I wish I had done:
- Van Gogh Museum: I really wish I had gone here and I want to go back to Amsterdam to do this. We tried to go our last day but the line up was so long and it was towards closing hours anyway.
- We did the Heineken Experience (here) which was alright, I’m not a huge beer girl but I personally prefered the Guiness Storehouse in Dublin.