Amsterdam (population: 811,000) is where the whole world wants to be. Few cities even think about competing with Amsterdam when it comes to offering a fun-filled vibe, a modern flair and an urban escape where just about everything is possible. The city somehow has it all. It is never dull and you get to ride a bike on your way to work. There is always an event or a festival to become a part of and those quiet canals and beautiful bridges give it a traditional European feel. It also has some of the best museums, art galleries, opera houses and orchestras. Despite all this, the city is famous for its comfort factor. The best place to experience the real Amsterdam is in its cafes or in one of those popular restaurants after dinner, for that’s when the locals truly open up.
The Van Gogh museum hosts the largest collection of arts made by the master. The Rijksmuseum located within walking distance introduces you to other European greats such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Pay your respects at the Anne Frank House, the very place where she lived and wrote her diary. Explore medieval architecture at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Buy a tulip or two in Bloemenmarkt, the world famous flower market. Enjoy the Heineken Experience. No it’s an attraction. Promise! And whatever you do, don’t forget to visit the Red Light District. Even if it’s just to see what the hype is all about.
Getting Around Amsterdam
The city presents a comprehensive and efficient public transportation system that includes trains, trams, metros, buses, ferries and taxis. However, the best way to explore the city is on a bike.
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With its progressive and liberal policies, Amsterdam has earned quite the reputation as a pioneering city in many aspects. It is also a relatively diverse city with people from all races, ethnicity and religions living together in harmony and peace.
Top 3 attractions in Amsterdam:
- Rijksmuseum: This recently-renovated, internationally-renowned museum hosts an immense collection of Dutch art from the Old Masters as well as art from the former Dutch colonies in South East Asia.
- Vondelpark: The largest park in Amsterdam is popular among locals and visitors alike where people relax, play sports on the grass, bike along pathways, eat and drink
- Bloemenmarkt: The only floating flower market in the world where flower-stalls float on the Singel canal
Other things to do and see in Amsterdam:
- Take a boat tour of the city that boasts of an extensive canal network which is more than 100 kms in length and encompasses 1500 bridges.
- Rent a bike and see Amsterdam, the bicycle capital of Europe with its many bike paths and parks.
- Visit the dozens of museums and art galleries in the city including Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Schutters Gallery, Rembrandt House Museum and Anne Frank House.
- Enjoy the beauty and elegance of classic buildings of Amsterdam like the Royal Palace, Stadsschouwburg (City Theater), Central Station, Concertgebouw (City Philharmonic), Post Office or the Magna Plaza, and St. Nicolaaskerk. Amsterdam also has a reputation for having weirdly-shaped modern buildings like the EYE, Silodam, Muziekgebouw, Arcam and NEMO.
- Spend your time amidst greenery and peace in one of the many parks that adorn this beautiful city like Vondelpark, Beatrixpark, Museumplein, Sarphatipark and Oosterpark.
- Spend your evenings in one of the many craft beer bars in Amsterdam, which has lately seen a surge in new brew-pubs. Some popular choices include Cafe Gollem, ‘t Arendsnest, Cafe Belgique and In De Wildeman.
The climate of Amsterdam:
- Amsterdam is a port city that is strongly influenced by the North Sea and the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream which creates a cool oceanic climate.
- The best time to visit Amsterdam is during the summer months from late May to early September. Amsterdam has average highs in the lower twenties and average lows around 12° C. The city gets a lot of sunshine throughout the summer
- Winters are chilly with average highs around 5-9° C and average lows about 1-3° C. Amsterdam get a very poor level of sunshine during the winters
- Amsterdam remains wet for most of the year with an average rainfall of 63.8 mm per month and 217 wet days per year. The driest month is March and the wettest is August.
- The official currency of the Netherlands is the Euro and most businesses will not accept US Dollars or GB Pounds.
- It is advisable that you change currency beforehand or carry a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) that can be used in the Netherlands.
Whether you are a travel-junkie or a casual tourist, you will find something that you love and like in Amsterdam. No matter what background you come from, you are sure to enjoy one or more aspects of this vibrant city.