Home Tips&Tricks Is Amsterdam a Good Place To Visit?

Is Amsterdam a Good Place To Visit?

by Rafal Sulowski

I’ve been living in Amsterdam for 5 years and I often get a question if Amsterdam is a good place to visit or is it a good place to live. Of course as many people as many opinions but most people have a very similar opinion about the capital of the Netherlands. Is Amsterdam A Good Place To Visit?

Of course, it is! If you’ve never been here you definitely should give it a try. Architecture is breathtaking, social life is very interesting and the Amsterdam underground scene is one of a kind. There are plenty of meetups, concerts, standups, events.  

In this article, I tell you about interesting things you can do in Amsterdam, how many days are enough to visit Amsterdam. I am also going to mention my favorite Dutch food, the best ways of transportation and how I spend free time in Amsterdam.

Is Amsterdam a Good Place To Visit?

Amsterdam is such a beautiful city, with its canals and narrow houses, amazing museums and unique shops. People of Amsterdam follow their passions and there is a lot of artists, freelancers, performers. This city never sleeps, and everyone creates here its own unique world.

Amsterdam is a City of liberty. You can be yourself and no one judges you. There has never been a time in my life when I could feel more of myself then in Amsterdam. You can wear whatever you want, no one is staring at you. I’ve been always struggling to express myself to the fullest, as where I come from you have to fit in. When others accept you, it is game-changing, and eventually, you realize that you don’t need anyone’s acceptance.

Amsterdam has always been a city of freedom. If you wanna smoke joint it’s your private choice, if you drink wine, it’s your choice and your own responsibility.

There are almost 200 nationalities in Amsterdam and you won’t be a victim of racism whenever you are black, white or yellow. It’s a free country, with many religions, many beliefs, and various people. I’m not saying you won’t ever experience racism. It’s everywhere, but Holland is very tolerant in general.

Bicycle Lovers Paradise

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of bike parking in Amsterdam. It’s a cycling heart of Europe and I encourage you to rent a bike. Watch a video of me riding a bike in Amsterdam. First of all, it’s the cheapest way of transportation and second of all, you will enjoy riding a bike in this city like never before. Learn more about the biking culture in Amsterdam from this article.

80% of Amsterdamers own a bike and 60% of them cycle daily. There are 900 000 bikes in Amsterdam and altogether people cycle 2 million kilometers daily!! There are plenty of bike lanes and you can get literally everywhere on your bike without any effort as The Netherlands is flat as a pancake. Cycling becomes challenging only in the wintertime because it rains a lot. It’s a good cardio exercise though.

If you don’t feel like cycling, don’t worry, you can use public transport. It’s very well organized.

How Many Days Are Enough To Visit Amsterdam??

If you want to quickly run through the town and see famous spots, museums etc. 3 days are enough, but If you want to really feel this town, join some cool events happening here daily and live your little Amsterdam adventure then I would suggest at least 7 days.

Some people may say 7 days are too much. But in my opinion, 10 days are not enough if you do your homework, and you know what you want to do. I am telling you there are many events happening daily. Go for meetups, storytelling clubs, standups, enjoy time with locals, meet some expats or other tourists. If you want to go on a trip I recommend you this website.

You may also ask when it’s the best time to visit Amsterdam. I would suggest April or May because of tulips. Or September to November – because prices are lower and you avoid crowds but the weather is nice. High season in Amsterdam is from April to August and at the end of the year – December – January ( New Year’s eve )

Where to Stay in Amsterdam??

In Amsterdam I would personally recommend checking out these hotels for the quality-price relationship and the walkable distance to the most important attractions in Amsterdam:

Is Amsterdam a Safe Place To Visit?

Amsterdam is very safe. I have never had any problems here and I live in The Netherlands for 6 years. As far as I know, in 2015, Amsterdam was ranked 5th in the global ranking of the safest cities in the world.

The only thing you have to be careful about is your bike. Keep in mind to lock it properly each and every time. You should connect it to some firm metal so no one can pick it up and carry it on with him.

Food in Amsterdam

Food in Amsterdam is very versatile. You can find here dishes from all over the world. The Netherlands was a colonizer for a very long time, and that’s the reason for this multicultural society. In The Netherlands live almost 200 nationalities.

Micaela in De Drie Graefjes 🙂

You should be aware that Dutch cuisine isn’t the most subtle in the world. They serve a lot of processed deep-fried snacks. They taste good, but they aren’t very healthy.

Talking about typical Dutch food there are some gems. You should definitely try Stroopwafels. They are one of the sweetest bites in Holland and they taste just like heaven. There are also little pancakes called Poffertjes. Definitely worth trying 😉

Don’t Make Mistake of Staying Only in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an amazing city, but I am telling you that this is not the only one in The Netherlands. There is much more to see in the country of tulips. If you stay in Amsterdam I suggest you visit: Volendam, Spaarndam, Haarlem!! Zandvoort -> seaside and Utrecht. Delft is also a little cute Town.

Haarlem, Windmill Adriaan

Volendam – It’s one of my favorite towns, full of colorful wooden houses, narrow streets, lazy cats and some aged fishing boats in the harbor. You can eat here seafood and watch boats.

Spaarndam – It’s a very small village, just near the city I live – Haarlem. There are barely 2 restaurants and I didn’t see any supermarket. It’s lovely and romantic. It’s a great place for couples.

Haarlem – I was living in Haarlem for 5 years and I can tell you: Go There. I suggest you get a bike and cycle along canals. There are some marvelous spots in this city. You can start with Windmill Adriaan restaurant. It’s a restaurant with a view of the canal. On a sunny day, you can seat outside. (Try their cheesecake… with whipped cream, of course)

Zandvoort – That is your place to go if you like the sea. Near the beach, there are some food trucks selling seafood. Make sure you try some kibbeling with knoflok sauce.

What is Amsterdam Famous for?

Amsterdam is famous for many things, but most often you can hear about:

  • Rijksmuseum – It’s Dutch national museum, where you see Amsterdam art and learn about history from the Middle Ages to the present day.
  • Tulips – The Netherland is famous for its Tulips and there are multiple ways to enjoy them: Keukenhof, Tulip Museum or Flower Market. I recommend you to go to Keukenhof but it’s open only from 21.03 – 19.05
  • Anne Frank House – Anne Frank was a little Jewish girl writing a diary during the Holocaust. This museum is dedicated to her life. You learn about her biography and about the second world war from point of view of a young girl.
  • Red Light District – almost anyone visiting Amsterdam go to this famous part of the town. It’s located in the city center and you can find there brothels, museums, sex shops but also pubs, clubs, and restaurants.
  • Coffeeshops – In The Netherlands, weed is legalized but you need to follow some rules. You can get marihuana in Coffeeshops and smoke it in coffeeshops or in your private place. It’s forbidden to smoke on the streets and it’s illegal to own more than 5 grams of weed. There you’ll find information about cannabis culture in The Netherlands. If you are planning to visit Amsterdam for the first time you also need to read about my tips and tricks.
  • Van Gogh Museum – Museum with the largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh art. There are many in The Netherlands, so Amsterdam isn’t the only art gallery.
  • Banksy art gallery – must go when in Amsterdam, the gallery is only temporary. Get a ticket here if you don’t want to wait in the line.

See my video about things to know before coming to Amsterdam below 😉

In Amsterdam, you can find more canals than in Venice. All together they measure 65 miles and they are a great way of transportation and recreation. You won’t believe that more than 15 000 boats are registered in Amsterdam itself. You will notice also some canalside terraces and houseboats.

Amsterdam Canal

Here are some typical Dutch products you can get in Amsterdam as a souvenir:

  • Dutch Clogs – Very typical, traditional Dutch Clogs. You can find them in any souvenir shop, but I recommend homemade clogs if you really want to use them. Sometimes you can find homemade clogs being sold in houses on the roadside.
  • Licorice – In my opinion the most horrible sweets on earth ;P but yeah… some people like it.
  • Gin Jenever – Gin, in the beginning, was sold only in pharmacies as a medicine. My grandma used to say that one shot a day keeps you healthy. I trust her ^^
  • Guillotine Cheese Slicer – very special Cheese Slicers which I haven’t seen in any other place than The Netherlands. You can get it here.
  • Brouwerij ‘t Ij – It’s a local brewery. They make a very good beer, but now it’s getting more and more famous. They even started selling their beer in supermarkets. If you are really into beer, you can find little noncommercial breweries in the city center. There are also a few old school pubs where you can go for a beer tasting. Some of these pubs offer a very wide variety of beers.
  • Tulips – You can find tulip bulbs in souvenir shops, on flower markets, even in the airport. They make a perfect souvenir from Amsterdam.

How Do I See Amsterdam?

Of course, everyone has its own image of Amsterdam. Some people see it as a party paradise, city of evil, weed and big events. Some people love Dutch culture, clogs, cheese, stroopwafels 😀 haring, canals and narrow beautiful houses.

I see Amsterdam as a bit different. I almost never go to tourist places. Of course, the city center is amazing and there is a lot to see but most of the places you can find in tourist leaflets are just well marketed and not that interesting. Instead, I prefer little cafes, underground venues, meetups and events where you can bond with people and that’s the most interesting for me.

If you would like to go for a tour you should try withlocals.com It’s a website where you go for a trip organized by locals, enjoy a dinner cooked in someone’s house or go for a canal cruise on a private boat. Don’t go for big agency’s trips because you aren’t treated personally. Instead go for a private, personalized tour. You won’t regret. Withlocals is my favorite site where you can find some entertainment while traveling.

CONS of Amsterdam

I can’t give an honest opinion without saying about the cons of Amsterdam. Of course there are some things I don’t like.

For example, I don’t like food in the city center. It’s typically tourist food. If you want to eat some good food, you should research where locals eat. There is plenty of great, decent price restaurant in Amsterdam, so do not buy warmed-over Pizza on your way to Rembrandtplein. If you are hungry in the city center I suggest you get some fries.

I also don’t like Bachelor Parties and drunk people acting like idiots. Some people come here only for the party and they miss this beautiful part of this city.

My Recommendations for Amsterdam Visitors

If I were you visiting Amsterdam just for a few days I would choose carefully how to spend my time. I don’t really like to run from one tour to another, just relax and have a good time. Let me know what would you recommend to others. Below you can find some tips, my favorite places and important information.

  1. Unfortunately, you won’t take a photo with the IAmsterdam sign as it’s permanently removed. (that’s changing all the time and now you can find it in Amsterdam Noord)
  2. Enjoy some time walking around 9 streets and Jordan.
  3. Drink a Coffee in one of the coffee bars. There are plenty of good ones. Don’t search for any particular. Just walk around, explore the city and drink your little black one.
  4. Rent a Bike – a Must Do, but keep in mind cycling rules in the Netherlands.
  5. Go for a Canal Cruise. Choose one organized by locals, not by agencies. You will enjoy a personalized tour much more and the price is the same. I always recommend withlocals.com
  6. If you like storytelling, live music, standup your place to go is MEZRAB
  7. My favorite bar is Irish Bar The Mulligans
  8. Give a try to stroopwafel
  9. Enjoy Foodhallen. Just don’t go on the weekend, because it’s crowded as hell.
  10. Get a free ferry to NDSM preferably on the weekend when the flea market is there. Check beforehand if there is a flea market this weekend.
  11. Visit Artis ZOO

Sum Up

On this website, you will find a lot of information about cool things happening in Amsterdam, Tips&Tricks for newcomers and much much more! Enjoy and if you have any questions please contact me r.sulowski@gmail.com

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More