Written by: João Santos
Amsterdam, city of canals, city of contradictions. Famous for being the drug and sex capital of Europe, its many waterways offer so much more than that. Wild and energetic, yet peaceful and historical. If you are used to bet on sports, either on a physical or online sportsbook, you probably know them as the city of Ajax Amsterdam, 4 time Champions League winners.
Besides that, it’s a tourist hotspot without losing that local feel. As beautiful as Venice but cooler, somehow.
1. Getting to the city from the airport
Getting through the city from the airport is incredibly simple. Just take the train from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station in the northern part of the city center, and you’re there. The city is so small, if you’re staying in central Amsterdam you can pretty much just walk from the station to your hotel or hostel. Unless you’re staying outside the city center, in which case you can take the metro or a tram.
If you’re on a budget a hostel might be your only option, however, don’t fret, Amsterdam has great hostels. Our favorite is Coco Mama: super relaxed, friendly helpful staff, a great community with nightly group activities. This is easily one of my favorite hostels in Europe
2. Prepare for rainy days
Amsterdam is the San Francisco of Europe. No matter what time of year you look at the weather and you think “oh it’s going to be great”. Somehow it will surprise you.
It will rain or be windy at least one of the days you’re there, so just plan on that. Keep an umbrella or a raincoat in your backpack.
3. Bicycle City
Aside from walking, the best way to get around Amsterdam is to ride a bike. Seeing this city from a bike is wonderful. It’s also an incredibly bike friendly city: there’re designated bike lanes everywhere and even bike specific traffic lights. Our favorite bike rental place is called Donkey Republic: they have shops all over Europe and their system is super simple and very convenient.
Just download the app, find a bike, rent it and then you can unlock it and lock it right from your phone. It’s incredibly intuitive and the company is great, cannot recommend them enough. If you’re traveling with a friend and want to have some fun, make sure to grab a tandem bike. Plus, everyone just looks plain adorable on a tandem bike.
4. Red Light District
Explore the red-light district. Let’s just get this one out of the way: yes, the red-light district is home to the many prostitutes in Amsterdam and if you’re into that kind of thing there is no shortage of sexy time opportunities.
That being said, the red-light district is one of the oldest and most historic little sections of Amsterdam. Wander around and take in all it has to offer. Do not try and film the prostitutes in their windows, they do not appreciate it.
5. Food Gems
The Dutch pancake. If you eat nowhere else in Amsterdam, you must, I repeat, must eat at the Pancake Bakery. The pancakes here are a revelation, thin perfectly textured. Our favorite is the apple-bacon-butter, but they’re all great.
Try savory one like mushroom and cheese if you’re not into sweets. To top off the pancakes, Stroop. This will change your vision of the world gastronomy.
6. “Coffee Shops”
Amsterdam is euphemism for weed café and partake in one of the city’s most famous recreational activities: cannabis.
Katsu Coffee Shop and our personal favorite Galleria Coffee Shop Yo-Yo: a supervisee place to sit down, chill, get some work done, hang out with friends and of course, try the homegrown cannabis.
7. Amsterdam’s Neighbors
First up is the Jordaan: gorgeous, old crooked buildings lying quiet, beautiful canals full of charming cafes, quiet streets and quaint little alleys. Ride your bike around or just stroll the streets and take it all in.
Another of our favorite neighborhoods is slightly outside towards the center of the city called De Pijp: a nice mix of expats and locals. This is where we would want to live if we moved there. Get some of the best brunch in the city at Little Collins and don’t miss the Albert Cuyp Street Market known as the largest open-air market in Europe.