Woah. A new laughterandlauren post, its not like its been 6 months.. but yes, I am back from my exam hibernation and ready for a brand new blogging season.
So, recently I visited Amsterdam for the first time and whilst I was there I really wished I had read more travel tips posts as it is so easy to become a typical wandering, overspending tourist in this city. I have therefore gathered some wisdom that would have been incredibly useful had I read it a week ago..
Yes, Amsterdam is pricey AF. As a major European capital I can’t say I was surprised by this but I also didn’t expect to be paying €7 for a small beer.. I thought that, as a student this would be the perfect inexpensive break but I could not have been more wrong. I would recommend leaving Amsterdam on your ‘places to see’ list if you’re broke like me and visit when you have some cash. Don’t get me wrong I had a great time, it would just have been better if I could afford more than one beer on the entire trip. When it comes to food I would definitely make sure you have breakfast included at your hotel and when you do eat out avoid all the popular tourist-y places that will charge you a small fortune for a plain pancake and a beer. We found that Leidseplein in particular is brilliant for food, offering €5 pizza’s and if you fancy something different definitely try ‘Wok to Walk’. They have joints all over the city and offer tasty noodle dishes for a very reasonable €7. As for beer we never found anywhere that charged less than €3.50 so again, its always going to be pricey..
€7 for Froyo, totally not bitter at all.
Okay so as I mentioned before I’m a broke student. This meant that I was more than happy to walk 35 minutes across the city from the train station to my hotel if it saved me a €10 taxi fare. However, don’t do that. Its actually a lot simpler to just hop on the tram. Trams are everywhere in Amsterdam and they’ll take you anywhere you want to go however they can get a bit confusing when nothing is in English.. They offer one hour tickets for €3 and one day passes for €9 so if you know roughly where you’re going you should be fine listening to the announcements and fragmenting together stop names. If you’re taking one trip like we did (from Museumsplein to Centraal station) you only need an hour ticket as you can reach most places in the old town in 20 minutes. These tickets you’ll need to buy from the conductor on the tram as the machines will try to make you pay for a day pass at triple the price. Speaking of Centraal, this is your station for travelling to the airport and back and trams 2 and 5 run constantly to and from here so you’ll have no problem travelling in and out of the city. Getting to Amsterdam from Schipol airport is also very simple, we bought tickets for a discounted price online and just walked downstairs from arrivals into the airports own train station and hopped on a train to Centraal. All very simple.
3. Things to see
Amsterdam is a very pretty city so my first recommendation here has to be the canals. The canal belt sits around the edges of the old town and you’ll need to walk out of the main area of Dam square/Centraal to get to it. The canals all look very similar but in my opinion the prettiest areas are around Prinsengracht (The Anne Frank house)
Another hefty price tag in the city are the museums. Here in Scotland most museums are free but in Amsterdam you’ll pay €17 per person for most entry fees. I would therefore recommend looking into a city pass or discounted tickets online before you go if you want to see a lot of sights. Out of those I did see I can’t say I was really blown away by any either.. We visited the Sex museum first which was an experience but really it was just pictures of porn and some giant dicks.. After that we visited Ripley’s believe it or not museum which I actually really enjoyed. I think out of all the places we visited this was my favourite and they had such interesting and interactive exhibits. We also visited Body Worlds which was an exhibition of human bodies/body parts and how happiness affects health. Although really interesting this kind of felt like a regurgitation of my university anatomy lectures and although they have used real bodies they didn’t seem real at all. Not to mention the positioning of the bodies seemed very disrespectful as one had been cut open and their preserved intestines sat on a table in between the two halves… Although there was a machine to check your blood pressure so that was cool. After visiting these three we were too broke to afford another museum so I can’t say much about the others however we did try to get into the Anne Frank house without a ticket which was virtually impossible. So definitely book that a few months in advance if you want to go.
The sex museum (Minus giant penis)
Some interesting exhibits at Ripleys believe it or not
Red Light District
Is it really Amsterdam if you didn’t see a prostitute? Well the Red Light District is definitely worth a wander through even if you’re not remotely into that kind of stuff. During the day this is just a pretty area for some sunbathing next to the canal but at night the streets come alive. All you’ve heard about women in bikinis flaunting it in windows is true but hey at least they’re behind glass and not out being groped by the many, many creeps of the city. There are also an abundance of sex shops, the condom museum and special ‘coffee shops’ so a wander down here is never boring.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Amsterdam when the weather is nice, why not take a stroll through Vondelpark. This area is great for sunbathing, relaxing and even has an open air theatre perfect for wasting away an afternoon. It is also located conveniently next to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum.
Im one of those people who cannot live without the internet, I feel lost and confused without my phone and in Amsterdam you won’t have that problem. The city has free wifi hotspots everywhere, especially near the big attractions so you won’t have to spend extra on data add ons or any of that rubbish. Also make use of google maps, if you plan a route on wifi you can still load it without it and it will always track your location even without data so you’ll never be lost again (at least I hope it didn’t use data..)
So there are my tips for visiting Amsterdam, hopefully you had as much fun as we did and have enough of a budget to allow more than one pint of beer! Thanks for reading and leave a comment of your favourite things to do in the city! I’ll see you in the next one.