In summer, Mum and I decided that it was time we went on a holiday together, because with me being at uni and her in London, we don’t get to see each other that often. After long debate, we finally decided on Amsterdam.
We only had three days in Amsterdam, and our flight being delayed by 5 hours definitely didn’t help the time constriction, but we still managed to see a lot in our short time there! We managed to find an Airbnb in the centre of the Jordaan, which was only about 5 minutes from the Anne Frank House.
The Jodaan is super central, and very trendy, covered in cafes, bars and restaurants so is definitely worth a visit!
When you arrive in Amsterdam, one of the first things you’ll realise is that everyone rides a bike! The city is completely filled with them, they even get right of way, over cars, on the road! I would have to say that the best way to navigate the huge system of canals and start to feel a bit more comfortable with the layout of the city, would have to be going on a bike tour. We ended up choosing Green Budget Bikes for our tour, but there are so many different companies you can choose from. You then have a couple of hours cycling around the city, with a tour guide who has a ridiculous historical knowledge, and will answer any questions you have.
Whilst I’m on the topic of tours, I might as well mention the canal tour too. We thought that it would be a nice way to see the city from a different perspective, but reality was that we didn’t really see anything at all. The torrential rain, not only meant that we sat in this canal boat completely soaked, but that the windows steamed up, and we couldn’t open them otherwise we would have drowned from the quantity of rain that would have poured in. If the weather was better, it would have been a great way to see lots of the city, but we just picked a bad day.
We also booked last minute, and ended up on a lovers cruise. Which was hilarious as the loving couples around us, we’re holding hands and occasionally making out, whilst my mum and I sat there awkwardly, standing out like a sore thumb.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is definitely something that needs to be visited if you’re ever in Amsterdam. Not only is it possible one of their most famous tourist destinations, but I do think it’s important to understand about the dark history of the city. My one tip,though, would be to get there incredibly early! Huge queues, winding all the way down the street, start forming from around the time it opens, so definitely get there early to avoid disappointment. One thing that I found slightly disappointing was that the huge queues outside, meant that the whole thing was a bit hurried; as they tried to get as many people through the building as possible.
Red Light District & Coffee Shops
Amsterdam has this reputation around Europe, for being a great place for stag nights and students, because marijuana and prostitution is legal. Despite this, when we were in Amsterdam, we were told by lots of different locals that the city is trying to get rid of this reputation, and try and attract a different type of tourist who goes for the culture and history.
Although a lot of ‘coffee shops’ have started to close down, there are still enough open that you will find one without having to look very hard – but this might start to change.
In terms of the red-light district, the canal cruise went through the district, but despite this we still only saw one window. I guess it kind of surprised me, because the way the city is portrayed I just assumed they would be everywhere… but the reality was very different.
It wouldn’t be right to leave this post without mentioning food once! We ate at some incredible places, but I would have to say that SLA was my favourite. The food was really healthy, and they had lots of different salads where you could pick your ingredients. It was completely delicious, and I couldn’t recommend it enough!