We spent 2 days in Amsterdam and we knew even though it was one of the first cities on our tour it was going to remain a favourite.
For starters we had an awesome place to stay. The Student Hotel (Amsterdam West) while not particularly central had an awesome vibe. The hotel is student accommodation during the term and opened up to tourist during the summer/term breaks. Because of this the place is set up like an upmarket hostel with all the conveniences of hostel life (washing machines, gym, bike hire etc.) but each room has its own bathroom and there is a strangely eclectic group of guests.
Even though our hotel was not right in town the tram system in Amsterdam is really easy with either 24, 48 or 72 hour tickets easy to purchase at most tram stops (not a given in most cities unfortunately). We grabbed a 48 hour one for our stay and it was only 12.50 euro each (go here for more info).
The whole city is flat which makes it perfect for walking and biking. Prepare yourself to see more bikes than you have ever seen in your life. Bikes definitely come first on the roads round here so be careful and don’t walk in the cycle ways unless you want angry bike bells to follow you everywhere! We hired bikes to visit Vondelpark and it was a great way to see the area and experience biking in the city of bikes. The park is beautiful and a great place to visit to feel the grass and soak up some sun. There is also an amazing vegan cafe nearby called ‘Alchemist Garden’. They made us fresh coconut yoghurt and gave us advice of where else to go in town. In regards to walking – make sure you head into town at night and visit the red light district. Amsterdam comes alive at nighttime and puts on a show for it visitors which you don’t have to have be high to appreciate (though nearly everyone around you will be). This place is like a more classy Vegas – a party atmosphere with fewer drunk people, better scenery and no one trying to sell you stuff on the street.
While there we also did a canal cruise which is not a must do but was a really cool way to see the whole city (including the parts a bit further out of town) from a different and unique experience.
The Rijksmuseum was sadly a little overrated and exceptionally hard to navigate your way around. This potentially contributed to our overall experience there as nothing was simple to find or easily accessible. But it is worth checking out the area nearby as it borders a gorgeous park and the iconic ‘iamsterdam’ sign – get ready to jostle with some pushy Americans and Instagram sweethearts to get your turn posing!