Several years back I had the opportunity to spend a brief amount of time in Amsterdam. It was actually a brilliant bit of planning on my part—if I do say so myself. I was flying from Kiev, Ukraine, to Newark, New Jersey, and I had a layover in Amsterdam.
With a bit of schedule maneuvering, I was able to turn my two hour layover into an 18 hour layover, giving me a chance to take in the wonderful city. While I don’t recommend this being how you see Amsterdam, I, personally, was not sure when I would have the opportunity to go back, so I made the most of the opportunity I had.
Whether flying in, taking a bus, or driving into Amsterdam, the scenery is absolutely breath-taking. Getting there is just as fun as the sights, sounds, and smells of Amsterdam itself. If you’re going from London to Amsterdam by bus or coach, you’re in for a real treat as the surrounding scenery is picturesque and breathtaking.
While the trip to Amsterdam can be adventurous, it is the traveling within the city that is most enjoyable. Obviously when you first arrive in Amsterdam, the first thing you’ll noticed is the overwhelming amount of bicycles parked outside the airport. As you venture further into the city, you’ll see the streets are packed with thousands of bicycles and bicyclists. It’s no surprise that 50% of Amsterdammers use their bicycles daily.
There is an entire bicycle industry in Amsterdam, so impressive, that it in itself is like a tourist attraction. If you notice that your bicycle is a little different that everyone else’s, do not fret. Bike rental companies intentionally made rental bikes different to notify the locals to be patient with you. (If you choose to see the city by bicycle, pick up an Amsterdam op de fiets map (“Amsterdam by Bicycle”). This specialised bike map is a valuable resource for first time Amsterdam bikers.
While four of TripAdvisor’s top five “Attractions in Amsterdam” involve bicycling or walking, they are those—like myself—that don’t care to spend my leisurely time exercising. I am fonder of the idea of a relaxing canal tour. As a visitor, you probably will not be captaining your own boat down Amsterdam’s historic canals; however, it is an excellent way to travel and see the city.
These guided tour canal rides are generally educational, both historically and culturally. With many options, a canal tour can be an inexpensive way to get an excellent grasp on the city or the perfectly-romantic way to propose to the love of your life. As the largest tourist industry in Holland, the types of canal cruises available could constitute your entire trip. With both cruises taking place both day and night, ranging from educational cruised to dinner cruises, there is a cruise-type out there for everyone. Quick tip. If you to do a lot of travelling around, the IAmsterdam tourism and travel cards are excellent value, and for a one off price give free travel, plus free or reduced entry to a large number of museums and exhibitions. One to visit is the newly refurbished Rijksmuseum, their priceless Rembrandt collection is worth it alone.
While many know Amsterdam for its Red Light District, the Coffee shops and the home of Anne Frank, it’s probably the transportation within the city that makes Amsterdam most unique.