Amsterdam is ridiculously pretty city, where the individual’s freedom is at the core of its spirit. Every day I was there, I thought about what it would be like to live there (I still think about it…). Probably in my favorite 3 cities I’ve ever visited so far, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Here, I go through my top 5 things to do in the beautiful city.
First on this list is Amsterdam’s biggest park. Vondelpark, located close to the city’s museum quarter, is 45 hectares of park bliss. Loved by both tourists and locals, you can do just about anything in here; walk your dog, walk yourself, bike around, feed some ducks, jog, suntan, or just laze around and listen to music.
I’d highly recommend first going to Albert Cuyp market, which is about a 20 minute walk away, picking up some fresh Dutch cheese, olives, and baguette then heading over to Vondelpark and having a little picnic.
2. Van Gogh Museum
If you’re a fan of art, you should definitely visit the Van Gogh museum. The pieces are (not surprisingly) stunning, and way the museum is laid out makes it very easy to follow his life and work. The collection not only explores Van Gogh’s art work but his family, friends, and overall existence. You can see letters written between the Dutch painter and loved ones as well as work by other artists that he’s inspired over the years. A great experience for art lovers.
3. Canal tour
Instead of always walking above them, how about exploring through them? Amsterdam’s countless canals are a perfect way to view the city. As a tourist, there are multiple types of canal tours to pick from. You can do an all-you-can-drink tour, a closed boat tour, an open air boat tour, etc. I’d recommend going for a small open air boat so you can really see everything, and aren’t limited by ceilings or windows. If you’re out during a sunny summer day, like I was, you’ll see copious amounts of locals enjoying the sun on their private boats, get a little angry that you don’t live in this amazing city, and then get caught in a canal traffic jam. ⛵⛵⛵
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4. Brunch at Dignita Hoftuin
This restaurant was recommended to me by a friend who used to live in Amsterdam, so expectations were high before even going. Behold, expectations were met. This handsomely decorated place is the perfect summer brunch spot. It has a large garden with outdoor tables so you can enjoy the sun with your meal. The food is beautifully presented and the service is exceptional. I’d suggest getting there before 11am so you can try their “dutch and delicious” savoury breakfast board.
5. Have no plan
For me, the best day of exploring Amsterdam was when we didn’t have a plan. We had only a vague sense of the city’s orientation and no clue how to navigate it. It was lovely. Walk through any street you’re intrigued by, go into any shop you that attracts you. Let the city charm you… as it does so easily. And when you’re done, just open Google Maps, and find your way home.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list of what to do in the city. There is so much to discover, I’ve simply picked my top 5 here. If you’re visiting Amsterdam soon, or are thinking of adding it to your travel list in the coming years, I hope this list inspires your activities!
If you’ve already been to Amsterdam, is there anything you’d recommend I visit on my next trip? Let me know in the comments!