Let’s continue our tour of the world’s greatest cities – places like Paris, Berlin, Sydney, New York City, Brussels, Dublin and many more have already been covered – with a visit to Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands.
I’ve been to the city once and I loved it. Honestly, I don’t think that many people visit Amsterdam and leave with a feeling of disappointment. Amsterdam is not a city of sin and debauchery, by the way, although that is in fact sometimes how it is portrayed abroad. Of course, there are coffee shops and brothels. And a lot of them for that matter. But that doesn’t mean that the level of criminality is soaring. Amsterdam is safe, fun, green and fun.
Have I said that Amsterdam is fun?
Top 10 Attractions in Amsterdam
10. Brown Cafés
Nope, no coffee shops on this list. Instead, I absolutely wanted to include the typical brown cafés of Amsterdam. They essentially are tiny old-looking bars with wooden stools, wooden tables and bar games. And usually with a smoke-stained ceiling.
9. Old Church
Built in the mid-13th century, the Old Church is in fact Amsterdam’s oldest church. This ancient religious building houses exhibitions and is surprisingly enough located in the middle of the Red Light District.
8. Waterloo Square
If you’re in the mood for some shopping and browsing, you should definitely head to Waterloo Square, home to a permanent open-air market. There you’ll find things like hippie jewelry, art, souvenirs, second-hand stuff and clothes.
This small tranquil enclosed area used to be a convent. This is one of the (almost literally) hidden Amsterdam highlights that really shouldn’t be missed. Dating back to the 14th century, it still is a religious center of silence.
6. Dam Square
Arguably Amsterdam’s most well-known square, Dam Square is located in the very heart of the city. Although there are prettier squares to be found – examples are the Leidse Square and Rembrandt Square – this one is the most historic. This is where the Historical Museum and Royal Palace are situated.
5. Anne Frank House
Probably the most famous of the top 10 attractions in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House should be on everyone’s list when visiting Amsterdam. Just be prepared to queue; it is visited by about a million people every year.
4. Red Light District
Sex, beer, bars, soft drugs, explicit stores and hordes of tourists is what make up the Red Light District, absolutely one of the major attractions in the city. Walking through this area kind of feels like visiting an adult amusement park. It’s fun. Did I say that already?
The complete opposite of the previous highlight, the Vondelpark is located a short distance south of the city center and is a huge green oasis. It is located in close proximity of great museums like the Van Gogh Museum, the City Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Visited by ten million people annually, this is without question the most famous and popular park in the Netherlands.
It focuses mainly on the painters of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Rembrandt, Steen and Vermeer.
There’s no arguing that the one true highlight of the is the sheer number of canals that crisscross the city. Seriously, there are more than 150 canals and 1,200 bridges. Most canals are lined with historic row houses, warehouses and/or trees. A visit of Amsterdam is not complete if you haven’t explored the canals by boat tour or by renting a bicycle and cycling along them.