A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the museums that I visited during my stay in Amsterdam and the Hague. This post outlined everything about the museums, from cost to whether I thought that they were worth it. For this post, I’m going to go a bit beyond that and tell you six things which you shouldn’t miss when visiting Amsterdam (which aren’t just museums/galleries). The following are in no particular order…
Number 1: Vondelpark
I wrote a little about Vondelpark in another post (so much to write, so little time) about Amsterdam but you should definitely go and check it out. It’s easy to rent a bike nearby and I rented one for two hours from A-Bike which is a block away from the “main” entrance to Vondelpark. There are children’s playgrounds, cafes, lakes and just generally lots of green space. Take a picnic and your friends and go and take a minute to relax in Vondelpark.
Number 2: The Heineken Experience
This was ace. I could only describe the Heineken Experience as partway between a museum and a party. But you don’t generally get to drink beer in a museum! My friend and I spent a fun few hours here playing with the interactive exhibits and taking in all of the information. At one part of the tour, you get taught how to taste a beer and at the end you end up in a bar with music pumping and get to claim your free beers. Well worth it, we had a ball! You can also pre-buy your tickets either online or at places around the city and save a couple of Euros.
Number 3: Pancake Bakery
Granted, this place costs a little more than I would normally pay for pancakes but I thought it was definitely worth it as their poffertjes (tiny, Dutch-style, cushion-y pancakes) are AMAZING! Of course, they also have regular pancakes/crepes in sweet and savoury styles with too many flavours to choose from. Me being me though, i went back and ordered the same thing second time because it was just so delicious (the Spring Special poffertjes if you’re interested, which had chocolate shavings, coconut, mango, pistachio icecream and whipped cream…heaven!). Check the Pancake Bakery out. It’s very central for location and just down the street from the Anne Frank House, the Tulip Museum and the Cheese Museum.
Number 4: Canal Cruise
There are lots of different experiences that you can get with a canal cruise. There are basic ones, like the one we did which cost us about 10 Euros. Or you can do more expensive ones which provides food and alcohol or a romantic atmosphere depending on what you’re after. It’s a great way to see the highlights of the city without having to try and cover everything on foot and the information (on our one at least) was really informative.
Number 5: Hannekes Boom Bar
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of how cool this places was but you’re just going to have to take my word for it. The slats on the roof were painted rainbow and so were the tables. This bar was blasting music and everyone was relaxing beside the water. It was a Monday evening and this place was perfect for evening drinks. It’s right beside the water opposite the Nemo Science Centre and probably not a place that tourists would normally go to, but believe me – it’s worth it! They sell a number of typically Dutch beers (and others I’m sure) and it’s just a great place to pass a few hours.
Number 6: Stay the night in a working watermill
Do you think you’ve done and seen everything in Amsterdam? Why not stay the night in possibly one of the coolest Airbnb’s ever – a working watermill! This watermill is just a short, 20 minute bus ride away from the centre of town but it feels like you’re suddenly out in the countryside. Roel lives in the watermill and runs it when necessary and rents out one of the bedrooms on Airbnb. Airbnb is obviously about the experience, and what is more Dutch than staying the night in a watermill? I can’t really think of anything! Roel is the most gracious host and gave us a full tour of the watermill and how it works and prepared an amazing breakfast for us the next day. Definitely an experience that I won’t forget for quite a while! If you’re after the peacefulness of the countryside combined with close proximity to the city, a friendly host and a Dutch experience – this is your stop!
Bonus: The Fault in Our Stars Bench
If you’re a super fan of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green like I am, you’ll know that many places in Amsterdam were used in the movie recreation of the awesome book. One of those places is on Leidsegracht outside the number 4, which is where Augustus and Hazel sat on that infamous bench (*cries*). It was actually really cool because our hostel was on this street and we didn’t even realise at first, so when we began our search for the bench we didn’t have to go far at all! Fans have etched famous phrases from the book only it and hung locks with more phrases. I fangirled a little. Not sorry though, except I feel bad for the poor people who own the house behind it since they must get so many random tourists like us standing outside their house taking photos of a bench.