AMSTERDAM

Itinerary



Suggested Duration: 4 Days, 3 Nights
BEST TIME TO VISIT AMSTERDAM:
March to June; September to November


My Thoughts on Amsterdam


Welcome to Amsterdam, the city of gazillion bicycles and the capital of the Netherlands. Cycling is key to the city’s character and there are numerous bike paths. This city is also known for being amongst the first to legalize recreational drugs; its narrow houses with gabled facades, its artistic heritage, its elaborate canal system and its legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk. It's held a special place in my heart for its history, my loved ones who reside there and for monumental sites such as the Anne Frank Huis that once arrested my soul many years ago.  She was the voice that cried out the loudest in my head and a true representation of all the children who were killed in the Jewish holocaust. I love visiting this city and it's near impossible to grow tired of it. There's a plethora to do and see and if you are up for the thrilI you can even venture out of Amsterdam to enchanting and fascinating locations such as Zaanse Schans where you'll discover colorful houses, light houses, wind mills, oil mills and a cute suburb on water. This destination had intrigued me for years. For the unruly, head to the Red Light District and have your thrill and fill of naked women displayed behind glass walls like Chanel shoes on Rodeo Drive (with silent voices that somewhat scream out for help). You can even go a step further and pay to play. Prostitution and marijuana are legal in this very dynamic city. If that does not tickle your fancy, then be a pot head and head to one of their infamous cafes strictly famous for one thing, and one thing only; and no, not coffee. Don't be as naive as I was. Lol. Be prepared to be blown away as the story only begins when you arrive. Amsterdam is a city that has it all. This is an absolute TE must visit. 

Airports to Fly Into


  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
  • (Distance from AMS airport to Amsterdam City Center and W Amsterdam: 20 minutes)

Where to Stay


W AMSTERDAM 
Spuistraat 175 Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 VN +31 20 811 2500

My number one pick for where to stay in Amsterdam is the W Hotel. The hotel that's down for whatever, whenever, wherever. This hotel is in the center of all your adventures and is located 0.5 miles from the city center. You are walking distance of cool restaurants, shopping, and a few iconic streets. Mix and mingle in modern luxury and enjoy BLISS Spa VIP bath amenities, in their WOW Bank one-bedroom studio suite, or just settle in whatever room you're given as they are all pleasers in their own right. Highly recommended.

OTHER SUGGESTED PLACES TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM:

Amsterdam Marriott Hotel
Stadhouderskade 12 Amsterdam, Netherlands 1054 ES +31 20 607 5555 
This hotel is only 0.7 miles from the city center. It's where brilliant travel converges with curated experiences. 

Rennaissance Amsterdam Hotel
Kattengat 1 Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 SZ +31 20 621 2223
This hotel is  is only 0.8 miles from the city center and offers easy access to Anne Frank's House, Dam Square, etc. Adequate for budget conscious Travel Enthusiasts.  

Art'otel Amsterdam
Prins Hendrikkade 33, 1012 TM Amsterdam, Netherlands +31 207 197 200

This hotel has amassed a ton of rave reviews for its artistic splendor. Art lovers who want to be re-inspired should consider staying at this centrally located hotel. 

(Side Bar Tips: Airline: Easy Jet. Currency: Euros. Currency Exchange: $1 = .88 Euros. Distance from airport to city center: 18 minutes. Approximate Taxi Cost:  €39 or $46 depending on where you are staying. For more hotels in Amsterdam, please visit the world wide web).

Where and What to Eat


RESTAURANT CASA DI DAVID

For great Italian food, wood-fired pizza, outstanding charcuterie and delicious home-made pastas, head to Casa Di David located on Singel 426, 1017 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands. This cozy restaurant hums with life and vitality and overlooks teh canal. It is only a 4 minute walk from the Amsterdam Museum and opens its doors at 5pm. Try their wood-fired pizza and homemade pasta. Absolutely divine. 

The Silver Mirror Restaurant

When in Amsterdam, go Dutch! Well, not literally, but with their food. For one of the best Dutch restaurants with amazing and traditional cuisines, scurry along to the Silver Restaurant (de Silveren Spiegel) located on Kattengat 4-6, 1012 SZ Amsterdam, Netherlands. View their menu here: https://www.desilverenspiegel.com. Their rich Dutch cuisines and dishes are inspired by sustainability, creativity and good health. They employ both modern and classic techniques while preparing dishes that are ultimately displayed like pure food art when they arrive. Give them a try. 

RESTAURANT ZAZAS

For awesome duck, cooked to near perfectiion, head to Zazas Restaurant located on Daniël Stalpertstraat 103, 1072 XD Amsterdam, Netherlands. They are open from 6pm and serve great food, drinks and a side of amazing waiters and waitresses who are so nice, you'd want to order more items from their menu. Service is above par at Zazas. Try their duck, bread and butter pudding, or their game beef dish. A MUST VISIT. Another honorable mention is the Grasshopper located on Oudebrugsteeg 16 Ground floor, 1012 JP Amsterdam The Netherlands. Great burgers and steaks. 

What to See and Do


Amsterdam Centraal Station & its Million Bicycles


Amsterdam's main form of transportation are bicycles and they are a sight to see in and of themselves because they are everywhere, by the millions perhaps. I'd never seen that many bicycles in my entire life. How do they know which one is theirs? That's the million dollar question for me. 

Anne Frank Huis


The Anne Frank House is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht in central Amsterdam. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex. She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Ten years later the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, as well as an exhibition space.  "The hiding place was located in Father's office building. That's a little hard for outsiders to understand, so I'll explain." - Anne Frank, July 9th, 1942.

Dam Square


Dam Square or Dam is a town square in Amsterdam. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city and the country.

Royal Palace


The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk. The palace was built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House.

Rijksmuseum


The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. Founded in The Hague on November 19th, 1798 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost € 375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. 

Van Gogh Museum


For Van Gogh lovers like myself, a visit to this museum dedicated to his life's work is a must. Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in the Museum Square in Amsterdam are close to the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw. This is a true Dutch art museum and phenomensal dedication to the late Vincent van Gogh.

Nieuwe Kerk


The Nieuwe Kerk a.k.a. New Church is a 15th-century church in Amsterdam located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. Formerly a Dutch Reformed Church parish, it now belongs to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Nieuwe Kerk is no longer used for church services but rather for Dutch royal weddings, exhibitions, and organ recitals. There is a café in one of the buildings with an entrance to the church and a museum store at its entrance that sells souvenirs.

Red Light District


The Red Light District is known for its prime prostitution rings; and yes, it's legal here. Girls of all ages and men of all types (married, single and otherwise) come here to service their dubious and mischievous needs. It was so heart breaking for me to see the depth of inhumanity present here as women posed naked behind glass windows as the world watched, all in the name of making a living or in the name of money to fend for themselves. Be ready and be forewarned, it's a completely different world here at the RLD. Pictures were never allowed back then. Red Light Secrets - Musuem of Prostitution, a quirky museum offering exhibits on the history of Amsterdam's sex-work industry.

Vondelpark


The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named Nieuwe Park, but later renamed Vondelpark, after the 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. The park has around 10 million visitors annually. Within the park is an open-air theatre, a playground and several food service facilities.

Zaanse Schans


Zaanse Schans is one of Netherland's top tourist destinations. This town is known for its Wind Mills, Oil Mills and Light Houses that take your breath away. 


There happens to be so many more sites to see in Amsterdam, the above are a mere fraction of what's available to indulge in. For an expanded list of other things to do such as The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Rembrandt House Museum, Leidseplein (cool square with tons of bars), Oude Kerk (Amsterdam’s oldest building and youngest art institutes), Bloemenmarkt (the world's only floating flower market), Begijnhof (one of the oldest hofjes and women's regious community in Amsterdam), Albert Cuyp Market (a street market that's open 6 days a weeks), to mention only a few, visit the web. My itinerary of top places to see are usually designed or strictly based on the significance of each site mentioned above, what I was able to see and the recommended length of visit.

My Favorite Quotes


Amsterdam is a city that holds a special place in my heart. It's near impossible to grow tired of it. Monumental sites such as the Anne Frank Huis arrested my soul. She was the voice that cried out the loudest in my head and a true representation of all the children who were killed in the Jewish holocaust.

- Lynda 'Kechy

Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from fleecing the tourist.

- Julie Burchill

The many cultures in Amsterdam contribute to the city’s high level of craziness – something which every interesting city should offer.

- Charles Landry

Amsterdam lives and breathes creativity. One moment you walk into a building from the 17th century, and the next you find yourself in a hub of creative start-up companies.

- Marcel Wanders

Amsterdam is like the rings of a tree: It gets older as you get closer to the center.

- John Green

I love Amsterdam. The city is vibrant and alive. It's fresh and so open. It's definitely one of my favorite places.

- Stefon Harris

In Amsterdam, the water is the mistress and the land the vassal.

- Felix Marti-Ibanez

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.

- John Green

TIPS TO REMEMBER WHILE VISITING AMSTERDAM

1. VAT Refund - One of the most overlooked things while traveling for shoppers like me are the VAT refunds. Millions of pounds, euros, and dollars are forfeited each year just for this huge oversight, and it's never in the travelers favor. It's imperative that while you shop anywhere in Europe, you collect your tax forms so you get a full refund of the taxes paid on items bought. Visitors of foreign countries are charged the tax % on items purchased. Only residents of a country are privy to its taxes. So on your way out, at the airport, head to the VAT office and claim your cash $$$$.

2. Buy a SIM card - For international travelers like me, who have to keep in touch with the outside world, a SIM card will be your very best friend. It limits the exorbitant costs being charged by your service provider by day, and keeps you connected for the duration of your trip. In Stockholm, unlike every other country I visited in Scandinavia, WiFi was hard to get for free.

3. Utilize Hop On Hop Off city sightseeing buses - Long before UBER, the train stations, buses, and other modes of transportation were IT. 'Get on the citys HOP ON HOP OFF bus to explore at your own pace and speed, without the pressures and confines of a prearranged tour.

4. Always remember to have your passport or a photocopy of your passport with you, wherever you go. This helps with the implementation of your VAT forms, and it also helps with sites that require a copy of your ID to enter.

5. Download maps.me to offer directions in and around the city without WIFI or network connection.

6. Amsterdam has the strangest and longest street names. I'd advise you ditch any ideas of driving and indulge in public transportation instead. 

7. When in Amsterdam, cafe's are not really 'cafes', don't expect Cafe Au Lait, Green Tea or a cup of Hot Chocolate like I naively asked for. Cafe's are strictly marijuana joints.

8. If visiting Anne Frank House, be ready for extremely long lines. To avoid them, ditch the day tours and come back in PM (evening) like I did. This is bound to save you minutes or hours.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS:

Amsterdam is a dynamic city jam packed with a lot to see and do. To see it all, I would advice increasing the recommended length of stay to 8 days and 7nights. All in all, it is a sight for sore eyes and a city ready to entertain the young and old alike.