The capital of the Netherlands is immersed with culture and history, offering visitors wonderful attractions such as the famous Rijksmuseum and the intensely moving Ann Frank House. The story of how Amsterdam developed from a tiny fishing village is fascinating, one which you’ll be sure to hear about if you catch one of the many canal boat tours. Speaking of canals, they really are a highlight of this city, creating a beautiful backdrop to your trip as well as providing a different way to sight see. For all our recommendations, such as what to see and where to stay, head to our ‘Directory’.
Amsterdam is also popular with the fun loving tourists, who flock to the city where both sex and certain drugs are legal. Both of these things can be found in abundance in the infamous red light district, De Wallen, whose narrow streets are home to many sex workers and ‘coffee-shops’, establishments where marijuana can legally be consumed. Alongside the novelty live sex shows and sex shops, a lot of history can also be found in De Wallen; while the ‘Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum’ offers insightful information on drugs, the ‘Museum of Prostitution’ sheds some (red) light on what it is like to be a sex worker, in a respectful and interesting manner. As a couple, we found the red light district to be much like the rest of Amsterdam, friendly and safe (with regular police patrols), and with multiple bars, it is a great location for a night out. While the red lights are certainly a tourist attraction, they are also places of work for the prostitutes renting the windows, so certain standards of behaviour must be adhered to; you must not take pictures of the window’s occupants and drunken or leery behaviour will not be tolerated.
For some, there will be only one way to travel around Amsterdam, on bike. There are many places to rent a bike around the city and the roads are geared to give even the lesser-experienced cyclist a safe environment in which to ride. We’re not much of a cycling couple so didn’t partake in that particular mode of transport; instead we stuck to the metro and train system, a very fast and efficient way of getting around the city.
Whether visiting the city for a day or a fortnight, we highly recommend purchasing the ‘I amsterdam’ card from the city’s official tourism board. Offering discount and priority entrance for many attractions plus a travel pass, the card will certainly save you money and time during your stay in Amsterdam. To purchase one, head to http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/, where you can also keep up to date with what’s happening in this lively, fun filled city.