There are so many things to do in Amsterdam, it’s fair to say we absolutely loved the place. We couldn’t have picked a better city to finish our nomadic adventure before heading back to Australia for the foreseeable future. The sun was shining, the weather was warm and the streets were filled with happy people going about their business. There was a real buzz to the city and everyone just seemed to be enjoying life. I’d like to think it was the changing of the seasons and not the copious amounts of wacky weed being smoked in the ‘coffee shops’, but it was a really great place to spend a few days.
Because the weather was warm the locals had brought their indoor furniture outside and were soaking up the rays. They were either tapping away on laptops, reading a book or had gathered a few friends for a few drinks and a laugh. As I walked the streets I imagined what it must be like living in Amsterdam, at least when the sun is shining, and I liked what was flashing through my mind.
We spent four nights in Amsterdam but could have spent many weeks and months here. It’s a beautiful city sliced into many pieces by the hundreds of canals flowing in every direction imaginable, but it feels very much like home for residents and visitors alike. Some places we’ve visited are so beautiful you don’t want to touch anything for fear of breaking something (like Bruges), but Amsterdam is completely different. From the moment we stepped out of the train station we felt like we were at home, comfortable enough to relax and enjoy the city for everything it’s worth.
- Hire some bikes – As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. In this case, hire bikes to explore the city because that’s how the locals get around. It’s a flat city small enough to get around and see everything with ease. We had Jack sitting on the back in his seat and there was no problem at all.
- Dam Square – Featuring the National Monument, De Nieuwe Kerk and Royal Palace, this is the busiest part of town with a number of attractions visible with a simple 360 degree turn.
- Red Light District – While it may sound sleazy, it’s a fascinating area of town where the ‘ladies of the night’ parade themselves from their booth windows, and the ‘coffee shops’ do a roaring trade in marijuana and alcohol. This area is also home to Oude Kerk (Old Church), Amsterdam’s oldest surviving building in the city centre.
- Museumplein – For those who love art, this area is where you’ll find the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. It was also the sight of the giant ‘I Amsterdam’ letters during our stay.
- De Pijp – This is a trendy part of town with great cafes, bars and shops, as well as the famous Albert Cuypmarket. Here’s where you can pick up a bargain as well as munch on a raw herring sandwich served with pickles and onions, a popular meal in this part of the world.
- Jordaan – Another lovely suburb in the city, filled with quaint little bars and restaurants, lovely antique stores and independent art galleries.
- The Nine Streets – De Negen Straatjes was our favourite part of the city. It was filled with expensive boutique stores and excellent places to grab a bite to eat. Real estate is out of reach for most for obvious reasons, but we made sure we explored the streets in this area every day we were here.
- Voldenpark – Amsterdam has plenty of parks to escape the action of the city streets, and Voldenpark is the biggest of them all. We rode our bikes through just a fraction of the 47-acres, and there’s a great playground to send some time with your children if they need a run around.
The eight things to do in Amsterdam we’ve mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more things you can do during an extended stay. Amsterdam is one of those cities we could easily see ourselves moving to if the weather was just a little kinder during the winter months. But for those wanting to settle down for a few months when the sun is shining, there are fewer better places in our experience than Amsterdam.
Take a look at this video from our time exploring the streets of Amsterdam…
MUSIC: ‘Words Of Release’ – by Westy Reflector