10 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in Noord-Holland on the west side of the country. A buzzing city with a renowned Unesco area that has more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris.
With its photogenic and laid-back character, unique squares, quaint shops, and buzzing nightlife, it’s not surprising that Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities in the world. Some would even say that you have to visit Amsterdam at least once before you die! Here are 10 reasons why...
1. Canal Area
The 17th-century canal area is one of the biggest attractions of Amsterdam and listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. The unique character of the cobbled streets, the 8,000 official monuments of quaint houses with crooked facades, unique hotels and beautiful townhouses lining these waterways are characteristics for the Netherlands. And the many houseboats and flowers alongside the bridges make it even more photogenic!
2. Cycling & boat tours
Latest estimates show that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than residents. The locals prefer to use a bike as it is much easier to get around and park in this busy city, and of course, it’s healthier and better for the environment. To fully experience this you can rent a bike yourself, or do an organized cycling tour. Also highly recommended is to rent a water bike, or do a canal sightseeing tour on one of the many boats through the historic and scenic canals.
3. Tolerant and laid-back
The Dutch are very tolerant of different nationalities, personal preferences and same-sex marriages, which creates a feeling that almost everything is allowed. Amsterdam is also well-known for its Red Light District, and you can find coffee shops in between regular stores, but also renowned museums and historical sights all next to each other, which makes a unique mix. The 180 nationalities living in Amsterdam, and more visiting every day, could explain the laid-back mentality and social character of the residents, creating a unique atmosphere.
4. Buzzing atmosphere and nightlife
With over 1,500 café’s and bars, and 16 clubs, you can say that Amsterdam has everything for a vibrant night out. Most big clubs are located on the outskirts of the city, but in the center squares like Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein, and various small streets around it, are filled with bars, cafés, and restaurants, all next to each other, making it easy to go for cocktails, barhopping, wining and dining.
Also, dance events, festivals, and concerts are organized throughout the year. As several world-famous DJ’s are from the Netherlands it has a renowned dance scene in the clubs. But Amsterdam has many cinema’s and theaters as well to cater to everyone’s needs.
If you appreciate art and culture this city has you covered, and the recently renovated ‘’Rijksmuseum’’ cannot be missed! Located on the ‘’Museumplein’’ this stunning building with scenic gardens is a must visit. Neighbored by various other world-famous museums, such as the ‘’van Gogh Museum’’ and ‘’Stedelijk Museum’’. In these 3 you will find great works of famous artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals, including the ‘’Nightwatch’’, and also a big variation of modern art pieces.
With a big variety of museums and galleries, from the renowned museum of Anne Frank to museums about handbags, photography, archeology and more, Amsterdam has something for everyone’s taste. You can even buy a museum card to combine several and save money.
In Amsterdam, the shops are diverse and plentiful, and for the biggest offering of commercial shops the ‘’Kalverstraat’’is the right spot. But this city is also loved for the more unique concept stores, which you will find in the smaller neighborhoods around the city center. In the ‘’Pijp’’and ‘’9 streets’’ there are many innovative and independent shops to discover, perfect for souvenir-and gift shopping, quaint restaurants and cafés.
Located in a beautiful historic building near the canal area you can find a shopping mall called the Magna Plaza. And for exclusive shops the ‘’van Baerlestraat’’ and ‘’P.C.Hooftstraat’’ are the places to be with all the designer brands and luxury chain stores.
7. Authentic neighborhoods
Although it’s easy to walk around and stay in the city center, it’s recommended to wander around trendy and upcoming neighborhoods like ‘’de Pijp’’ as well! Filled with small squares, quaint shops and restaurants and home to the multi-cultural Albert Cuyp market as well, very interesting and open every day, except Sundays. The districts ‘’Jordaan’’, ‘’Oud-West’’, ‘’Westerpark’’ and ‘’Oud-Zuid’’, are also very nice, not crowded yet, and easy to reach by bike, or with one of the many trams in Amsterdam, as public transport is easy and well organized!
8. Hip restaurants and hotspots
The hotspots in this city are ever changing, as new restaurants, bars and cafés are always emerging. With its creative and multicultural vibe new concepts are born every day, and the locals love to eat out! From a hip restaurant by the waterside in Amsterdam Noord, to a vegan café in the canal area, or the popular ‘’Avocado Show’’ restaurant, the variation is huge. No matter your budget, taste or style there is something for everyone.
Amsterdam is very photogenic, also from above, therefore the stunning viewpoints over the city should not be missed! The Westerkerk, with its 85 meters the highest church in Amsterdam, also has a viewing platform. Built-in 1600’s in Renaissance style, it can be seen from all over the ‘’Jordaan’’ with its high tower and colorful crown, offering a stunning view over the historic canal area.
The A’DAM Lookout houses the highest restaurant in Amsterdam and offers a more modern view over the city. With its 22 floors and 360 panoramic views over the city center, this is the place to be for the ultimate birds-eye view! On the Sky Deck there is a viewing platform at 100 meters height, with an exhilarating swing that even extends over the edge of the tower.
10. Perfect base for exploring the Netherlands
As the Netherlands is a relatively small country and has much more to offer than Amsterdam alone, a day trip is recommended if you have more time to spare. Located just 20 minutes from the airport and quite centrally in the country, Amsterdam city is the perfect place to stay if you want to see more of the Netherlands, and easy to combine with one of the more quaint villages and historical sights nearby.
A day trip to nearby Zaanse Schans and the historical villages Volendam and Monnickendam, to learn about Dutch Heritage, is highly recommended, but many other interesting areas and cities are generally also just 30-90 minutes away.
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