This city is full of amazing tourist attractions, great places to drink, lovely people and some wonderful eating establishments. If you went without a plan then you wouldn’t be stuck for things to do.
There are some fantastic places to eat in Amsterdam. You might be drawn to the scent of sweet waffles cooking on carts in the street or you might prefer a more fine dining approach.
Het Lunchcafe Dialoog Prinsengracht 261A, 1016 GV Amsterdam – This little café is just down the road from the impressive Westerkerk (which is also worth a visit). They do lovely sandwiches, snacks and drinks. I had my first ever Reuben sandwich here.
Cobra Café – Museumplein – I sheltered here after visiting the Rijksmuseum. It was tipping it down with rain and we needed somewhere nearby. We happened to find this wonderful café/bar that did some amazing food.
Werck – Prinsengracht 277, 1016 GW Amsterdam – This is another place nearby to the Westerkerk. It’s a busy bar in the evenings but they also serve some amazing burgers. There’s also a wide range of teas on offer too.
Raypenaer – Singel 182, Amsterdam – If you like your food to be a bit more interactive then you should take part in one of the Reypenaer cheese tastings. For €15 per person you get to taste some of the finest cheeses along with some white wine, red wine and port to complement the flavours. It’s not far from Dam Square.
Because there are so many amazing places to drink in Amsterdam it’s probably only worth telling you about the one place you might not find without a bit of direction.
The Vesper Bar is nestled away down a side street about 2km from the main train station.
It’s a tiny cocktail bar that has certainly raised my standards for cocktail establishments. It’s very intimate with just a few tables. We managed to sit at the bar and spent most of the time watching the very talented staff mix all sorts of wonderful cocktails.
Some of the drinks were on fire, others served in jars and some in tall, elegant glasses. Four of these beautiful drinks cost us €45, so it’s not the cheapest place to drink in the city. I’d still urge you to visit, it’s such an experience.
Vesper Bar – Vinkenstraat 57, 1013 JM Amsterdam.
It’s also best if you don’t stick to the touristy areas. Avoid places like Dam Square and the Leidseplein. Around these places you’ll be paying in the region of €8 for a pint of beer. Go and explore, there are plenty of lovely bars tucked away down the side streets.
There are a huge number of museums on offer and most of them around the Museumplein so they’re easy to find. If you want to see some Rembrandt then visit the Rijksmuseum, the huge The Night Watch sits proudly in this lovely museum. You might already know that it’s a large painting but I don’t think much can prepare your for its grandeur.
There’s also an entire museum dedicated to Van Gogh. It’s next on my list for places to visit in Amsterdam because when I last arrived there I was greeted with a huge queue. It was freezing cold so we decided to find something else to do. That led us to the House of Bols.
Opposite the Van Gogh museum is The House of Bols. It’s the home of the alcoholic drink and is a museum and bar in one. For the €12.50 entrance fee you get access to the museum, which is one of the best I’ve ever been in, as well as a free cocktail and two Bols shots when you get to the bar at the end.
House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience – Paulus Potterstraat 14, 1071 CZ Amsterdam.
The Red Light District
You can’t help but want to visit this area, even if it’s out of intrigue. You should definitely go just to see the women standing in the windows along the streets. Most of them are lit up by UV lights; this gives their teeth and eyes a really eerie glow so they end up looking more scary than sexy.
A strip club is probably the least threatening of venues in the Red Light District, you can sit right up by the dancers or you can sit at the bar and enjoy a few drinks.
If you are really brave then you can go to one of the many sex shows on offer. I don’t think anyone really finds theses sexy but they are certainly an experience. One piece of advice, though, go to one of the smaller ones. They are more intimate and you get a better view. With some of the larger venues it’s too much like being in a grand theatre.
The best way to see all the sights is by boat. Get yourself on one of the many dinner cruises around the city. You’ll be talked through some of the prettiest sights of the city and you’ll learn a lot about its history.
Along with all the museums you should also visit places like the flower market, Westerkerk, The Anne Frank House (book tickets in advance for this otherwise you’ll be queuing for hours), and a brown cafe.