Amsterdam might be the most unique place I’ve ever been in my travels. When traveling to Amsterdam there is so much to see and do that you will need to schedule a few days. With all the diversity it will be difficult to paint a picture of this country in anything less than 10,000 words so I’ll outline my top 6 favorites in something less than a novel.
Traveling to Amsterdam
Anne Frank House
I’ve been fascinated with Anne Frank ever since I read the book as a kid. Visiting the site where a piece of history was recorded in a way that is so personal and touching was a very emotional experience. More so than I, or especially my husband, thought it would be. My sweet hubby looks pretty tough with his big burly beard and tattoos but there is something about this place that accesses the human side within all it’s visitors.
You can almost feel the presence of Anne, her family, and the other poor souls that hid there, in that way too small a space, so many years ago. The story is told so beautifully it guided my thoughts to children I know personally that are now the age she was during her time in hiding. I imagined what their reaction might be if thrust into similar circumstances, and I shudder. She, and all those who hid with her, are some of my biggest heroes.
The Heineken Experience is a really fun way to spend a few hours when traveling to Amsterdam. It is not really a brewery tour, more of a museum showing some history of the company, an exhibit showing how beer is made, and a few interactive games and photo makers. The ticket includes a couple small beers at the end of the tour which you can enjoy in a fun lounge. Also included (weather permitting) is a boat ride through the adjacent canal.
More beer is available for purchase. The view of the city from the boat gives a unique and beautiful perspective of the sites. If you are a beer enthusiast, This is a must see.
This outdoor market is so much more than what the name suggests. Bloomen makt = flower market. This is THE best place for trinket and souvenir shopping in Amsterdam. Nestled on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein in the city’s southern canal belt, the market is easily found. I found the perfect Christmas ornament to bring home in one of the many shops that line the canal. If you, like me, are a bulb enthusiast you will enjoy several blocks of tulip, daffodil, and lily ecstasy. Of course, the tulips are the showstopper here. Buyers beware, if you’re bringing bulbs into the United States they must be marked on the package as being approved for export.
Find A Pub
If you are traveling to Amsterdam plan on wandering out from downtown Amsterdam to any of the surrounding towns you’re sure to find a small corner pub. My husband and I happened upon one totally by accident. There happened to be a local artist club meeting there who needed subjects to sketch. They kept our glasses filled in exchange for us “allowing” them to sketch us. We were honored. It was a totally unique and delightful perspective on the local culture through the eyes of some local talent. Chatting with them was one of the highlights of our trip. This sketch of my husband is a better souvenir than we ever dreamed of. Isn’t he dreamy!
Bakery & Coffee Shops
Okay, I know this is totally impossible, but do your best to try as many as possible. Everyone goes nuts for the stroopwafel and with good reason. But don’t miss your chance to try any of the myriad of other pastries, cakes, buns, and treats. All of which go beautifully with a blissfully strong cup of European coffee. We found a little bakery just around the corner from the place we were staying. Totally off the beaten path with no appearances in any guide books.
This is the best kind of gem to find. Everyone was so friendly and the treats were all out of this world. I think I had tried one of everything before our trip was over.
When traveling to Amsterdam your trip would not be complete without a day in the country, traveling by bicycle. My day in the country was quite an adventure. Check out the story here.
Please let me know if I missed anything on your Amsterdam must do list. Have a great time next time you are traveling to Amsterdam!