6 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam may be my favourite city in Europe, it's the perfect blend of metropolis chaos & country chill with enough to do to keep everyone happy. Whatever the weather, there's truly something for everyone, so if you're considering a city break or a solo trip, here's six things to keep you busy:

1. Hop on a Canal Boat

A canal ride is the best way to experience the history of Amsterdam. The experience very much depends on the driver (captain? tour guide?) but the ones I've had, have always been friendly and hilarious and have made the trip interesting & interactive. As you will see from the lack of museums on this list, I'm not usually interested in History but learning about how the city came to be, why the houses are shaped as they are and snippets of what has happened, is fascinating. Also, this is the perfect opportunity to relax and take pictures. Definitely one for a warmer day though as even with the blankets on board, it's not pleasant in the cold. For the brave, you could always hire a boat & discover the city on your own terms.

2. Cycle Around Amsterdam North

Just outside Amsterdam Central Station, there are free ferries that will take you across the water to Amsterdam North. You can have a wander around the EYE museum, stop for a bite to eat and overlook the stunning view from the top of the EYE steps. Alternatively, hire a bike & follow the cycle path along the river, through a beautiful market town to a quiet park. If like me, you're not the most confident cyclist, this is perfect place to while away a sunny day. The views are stunning and it's far less chaotic than the city. I would suggest taking water & snacks if you intend to cycle further up.

3. Take a Trip to Zaanse Schans

Although not technically Amsterdam, a train ride to Zaanse Schans, a neighbourhood in Zaandam, is worth a visit. A beautiful village of historic houses and windmills can be found on the other side of the bridge. There's plenty of things to do including a ferry trip, a chocolate shop, a cheese making workshop and even a demonstration on how clogs are made. There's easy to navigate cycle paths, quaint shops and endless scenic countryside. We happened to get caught in the rain but I still managed to sample the ice cream (of course!). On your way back to Amsterdam, hop off the train in Zaandam, the market and Inntel hotel are worth a look. Better yet, stay at the Inntel & travel into Amsterdam, it's a beautiful hotel & the perfect spot for a relaxing stay.

4. Visit the Sex Museum

The Sexmuseum is a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station, shoehorned between a row of souvenir shops & restaurants. Crass & slightly ridiculous, the sex museum makes for a funny visit. More gimmicky than informative, the mix of display cases with interactive displays is amusing enough that even the most reserved among us will be sure to have a giggle. If, unlike me, your tastes are much more refined, the famous Rijksmuseum is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Open & modern, the museum is a stunning space filled with historical artefacts, art & exhibitions. Unfortunately, all lost on me as I was in & out within the space of 20 minutes.

5. Shop in the Museum District

Shopping in Amsterdam is incredible (as long as you're not looking for plus-size clothes), there are plenty of independent boutiques, interspersed with high street and high end stores so you'll be sure to find something to spend your Euros on. If you're looking to treat yourself, head to P.C. Hooftstraat Amsterdam's best luxury shopping street. It has everything from Cartier to Gucci to Rolex, the streets are lined with expensive cars and doormen that glare at you disdainfully, but that's half the fun. Even if you're not there to spend, this is the perfect place to go window shopping.

6. Get Lost in the Cobbled Streets

Whilst an itinerary is a great way to cram in lots of activity, the ideal way to explore the city is to just get lost in the chaos. Wander down the cobbled streets, people watch at one of the many outside bars, jump on a tram & get off wherever takes your fancy. There's so much to get involved in & the best places are the unexpected ones you stumble across. People are friendly and the trains run 'til late so there's plenty of time to experience everything before heading back to your hotel

What's your favourite thing to do in Amsterdam?

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