Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities. It’s quirky, modern, diverse and during the 4 days we spent there, very cold and wet.
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades.
In my opinion, Amsterdam is the coolest city I’ve ever been to. It’s completely multicultural and the people are super friendly. It has the most amazing cheese and I always stumble upon delicious street food. And let’s not forget the beer! Does the name Heineken ring a bell? You will also find countless museums, shops and restaurants. There are so many things to do!
This city is fast-paced with over 800,000 bikes (4 times the amount of cars) so know that rain, snow or shine, you should steer clear of the bicycle lane.
Watch my video here:
The Heineken Experience
If you like finding out where things come from and how they work, or of you just like beer (Duh!) you will love The Heineken Experience! Here you’ll learn about Heineken’s history, how it came to be and what makes it different than other beverages (hint: A-yeast). I learned about their brewing process and the ingredients they use. You will also be immersed in games and interactive activities which make the tour all the more fun! The best part? You get to drink freshly brewed Heineken when the tour ends.
We also got tickets to go on the Heineken canal boat which was a fun way to look at the city from another vantage point.
Amsterdam’s canals are their most iconic feature. It feels like a dream walking alongside them. Even though there is not as much traffic in the water, you’ll find boat houses, canal boats and other means of water transport. Locals park their bikes along the bridge rails and you’ll see the buildings on either side. They’re built tall and thin because back in the day it meant paying less taxes (because they were taxed by width and not by height).
Windmills, Cheese and Clogs
We took an Uber to go see the windmills which were about 30 minutes away. When we got there all I could think was “What a view!”. Here we got to see and experience the beautiful and quaint countryside. A big contrast from the city center.
You can visit the Windmill museum or stroll around the area free of charge. You’ll read about the 10,000+ working windmills that used to be in the area and get to see the remaining 8 (fully functional) ones left. If you want to see one from the inside you can do so with a few Euro. We visited a windmill where dyes where made. Climbed all the way to the top and simply enjoyed the scenery.
Visit museums, factories or shops and try their samples! There’s enough cheese for everyone and every taste. I ended up buying a 14-year aged cheddar (I like them sharp) and my husband brought back a champagne infused Gouda.
The Amsterdam Cheese Company has so many flavors to choose from and the cheeses are packaged and ready to bring back home.
You’ll find clog shops and factories everywhere. Back in the day, when Amsterdam was a land covered in mud, clogs would be the shoes to help you work safely under those conditions. They became a part of the culture and even though they’re not used that way now, they serve as great souvenirs.
I love food. I also love street food, so this is the place to walk around with cash in your pocket and buy things from the street vendors. I wanted to eat the frites (french fries) with mayo in a paper cone, as well as Stroopwafels. But there is so much to choose from! Anyone interested in herring? I’ll pass.
This heavenly cookie/thin wafer with caramel in the middle can be found pretty much anywhere in Amsterdam. The vanilla mixed with cinnamon and brown sugar will make you forget everything around you until you try one. Make sure it’s warm so you can enjoy that ooey gooey caramel inside!
You have to cross this off your bucket list! Eat frites with mayo from a paper cone by the Amsterdam canals. Mayo, you say? Yes. It’s part of the experience (leave the ketchup for home :D). This is part of the street food menu so you will find them everywhere.
A Dutch baby pancake or German pancake is a sweet popover that is usually served for breakfast. It’s baked in a cast iron or metal pan and it’s very filling. Seriously, It’s more than enough for two (2).
The Red Light District
The RLD is a cool place to visit day or night. It consists of alleys mostly famous for their windows, which are cabins rented by prostitutes to showcase themselves and attract clients. This practice is completely legal in the area.
You can also find restaurants, bars, stores, novelty shops, theaters and museums. Even though it sounds crazy, the people walking the streets were behaved and we didn’t encounter any mayor problems. We are not supposed to take pictures so I’ll leave you here with a few stock photos courtesy of my good friend Google.
You should go visit the place even if it’s to wander around the alleys. Just don’t bring your kiddos.
Where I stayed and how I got around
We booked a beautiful apartment using Airbnb (here’s $20 Airbnb credit you can use when choosing your next place to stay). It was very modern and even came with a bike! We used Uber as our preferred method of transportation because it was cheap and convenient. If you want to save $15 off your first ride use my promo code kiloryrue or click here. We also used the tram on several occasions because it was accessible and you could buy your ticket right when you hopped on.
This city is a dream to explore. Feel free to contact me to find out how you can visit Amsterdam and all the cities in your dream list!