OFF THE BEATEN TRACK IN AMSTERDAM
Want to eat, drink and live like a local in Amsterdam? We're stepping off the beaten track in Amsterdam so you can explore everything this amazing city has to offer. Dotted with world-famous museums, quirky restaurants and beautiful winding canals, alongside a buzzing nightlife and some rather risqué entertainment, it's a great all-round destination. If fun-loving city breaks are what you're seeking, Amsterdam has it all.
Plus, if you want explore where to stay, discover Amsterdam's top five hotels.
When You’ve Browsed the Artwork at the Museumplein…. Try Something a Little Less High Brow!
The Museumplein is where you’ll find Amsterdam’s biggest collection of museums, including the vast Rijksmuseum (Netherland’s National Museum) and the Van Gogh Museum. If that’s a little too high brow for you, why try a culture hit that’s more niche and tailored to your interests? The Museum of Bags and Purses is a must for fashion-lovers, housed in a quaint canal house on Herengracht, while the Sex Museum at 18 Damrak (in the Red Light district) is good for a giggle!
Want to know the top European day trip destinations? We've rounded up a guide to all city breaks under two hours!
When You’ve Seen the Sights at Dam Platz… Try Somewhere the Locals Go
Dam Platz is a must-see square in Amsterdam as it’s where you’ll find the Royal Palace, the Old Church and the National Memorial Statue. Once you’ve ticked off the must-see landmarks though, why not head to NordMarkt to shop with the locals? After browsing the bustling market, you have to pop into Winkel for a slice of its famous apple pie. Expect to queue but it’s worth it!
When You’ve Done the Anne Frank House… Visit the Museum of the Resistance
If you read the Diary of Anne Frank at school then the Anne Frank House is likely to be on your must-visit list during Amsterdam holidays. Alternatively, you could skip the really long queues and head for the Museum of the Resistance (Verzetsmuseum) on Plantage Kerklaan instead, for a glimpse into life in Amsterdam when it was under Nazi occupation.
When You’ve Shopped Till you Dropped on Kalverstraaat… Browse Somewhere a Little Quirkier
Kalverstraat is the busiest shopping street in Amsterdam, and it’s where you’ll find all the high street favourites and some designer boutiques. For shops that you can’t find back home however, head to an area of the city known to locals as ‘The Nine Streets’ (9 straatjes in Dutch) where, you guessed it, nine streets criss-cross canals and each other to form Amsterdam’s most exciting and authentic shopping zone. Here you’ll find vintage shops, junk shops, little-known designers and some really quirky offerings like the toothbrush shop, Witte Tandenwinkel! You’ll find some great little pancake cafes here too!
When You’ve Wandered De Wallen… Wander cool Jordaan
The De Wallen area is probably Amsterdam’s most famous – and definitely its most notorious – as it’s where you’ll find the Red Light District and the sex shops (and sex museums…and sex shows…!). While it’s actually a historic, interesting and, surprisingly, exceptionally safe part of the city, it is undeniably touristy. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds then artist’s haven Jordaan shows a different side to Amsterdam. In leafy Jordaan, you’ll find tiny galleries and artist’s studios lining the canal banks, as well as hip little eateries and cool bars.
When You’ve Relaxed in the Coffee Shops… Refuel at a Bakery Instead
Another thing that Amsterdam is notorious for is its coffee shops, where you can purchase marijuana legally. While these are unable to advertise, they’re recognisable by a green and white sign in the window. If that’s not your cup of tea then how about a visit to an actual coffee shop instead? Amsterdam is famous for its amazing pastries and deserts, and De Bakkerswinkel is one of the best bakeries you’ll find. There are three city-wide, so you’ll never be too far from a scone, croissant or cake fix. Also good for breakfast and light lunches.
When You’ve Explored VondelPark… Stroll Back in Time in Begijnhof
VondelPark is Amsterdam’s vast public park – a must for any visit, but especially on a sunny spring or summer day. To mix things up, why not hire a bike or rollerskates to explore on wheels? If you fancy a total change however, but still want a breath of fresh air in the city, the historic Begijnhof, with its pretty courtyard, is a good alternative. Once home to a community of Beguine’s (similar to nuns) it’s a peaceful and historic place to relax.
When You’ve Seen the Floating Flower Market… Take a Trip to the Tulip Gardens
The Floating Flower Market on the Singel canal is the place to see the city’s most famous export in all their blooming multi-coloured glory. If, however, you’d prefer to see the flowers uncut, you can head out of the city centre to the Tulip Gardens at Keukenhof, one hour outside Amsterdam. Here you’ll find millions (literally – 7 million bulbs in 2015!) of tulips and other flowers, making a rainbow-coloured park that’s been described as the most beautiful spring garden in the world. A perfect day trip out of the busy city when the sun is shining.
When You’ve Partied in Leidseplein Square… Drink Somewhere More Traditional
Leidseplein Square is probably the most famous in Amsterdam, and it comes alive in a big way after dark. Here you’ll find bars, clubs, pubs and casinos lining a square strewn with outdoor tables and chairs – with the odd street performer doing the rounds! But if you want to step away from the tourist centre, head instead to De Engelse Reet (aka The Pilsener Club) on a hidden away sidestreet off popular Kalverstraat. This traditional bar is the only one of its kind in Amsterdam, and drinks are served from a back room, in authentic style. Despite its appeal, you’ll find more locals than tourists here.