I took a random trip to Amsterdam to see a friend who I’ve only ever met once before in London. Having only previously landed in Dam to catch connecting flights I saw an opportunity to see a beautiful city at Christmas time and I took it…sue me! 😀 All I can say is OMG!! The canals are beautifully lit by the quaint streets. The streets themselves are filled with Christmas trees on almost every corner and the quirky sloping terrace houses are weaved with Christmas lights! I had 10 days to explore the heart of the city and I fell in love with it after day! So, of course it’s only natural that I post my top 10 things to do during Christmas/winter season.
Where I stayed
10. The red light district.
Of course, it would be on here! What is Amsterdam without its sex shops!? A walking tour of the Red light district is a must! Careful if you are filming around there, though. There are many signs telling you it is banned and if a bouncer catches you he will smash your camera to pieces and there’s nothing you can do about it. 🙁
9. Amsterdam Lights Festival
It is an absolute MUST! These beautiful light sculptures float magically along the canals! Some in the water some in the trees some dancing around the canal bridges. If you are in Dam around this time I highly recommend a little scavenger hunt to find as many light sculptures as you can. You won’t regret it!
8. Museums: Rijks, Van Gogh, Foam and of course Anne Frank house.
Not much to say about these because they speak for themselves. Just go and check them out for yourself.
7. “I Amsterdam” signs/ Panoramic views A’DAM lookout
Many people don’t know but there are two! The famous one near the Rijksmuseum which is ALWAYS covered with tourists and that’s a little less obvious near Amsterdam’s tallest building.
“Well go on then!” I hear you say…”Which one do I go?” Wellllll…It really depends on what aesthetic you want! Most people go to Rijks sign because you have the amazing museum in the background but a little bit of expectation vs reality management for you…the sign attracts tourists like moths to a flame! You will never get a clean photo your best change is to go in the morning on a weekday say Monday or Tuesday. If you want to avoid tourists altogether. Go to the 2nd sign it’s right next to the tallest building in Dam! Then you can go up there and have a coffee while enjoying the panoramic views of the city. You’re welcome.
6. Amsterdam Flower Market
The famous flower market! Tulips! Tulips Galore! And of course the biggest collection of magnets I have ever seen!
5. Day trip to Rotterdam.
It takes about 25 mins on the fast train from Amsterdam central and you’re in a completely different world! No canals no cobbled dutch streets and boutique shops but a metropolis of skyscrapers and the best food market around!
4. Coffee shops!
Coffee shop means something completely different to the locals. Don’t go in here expecting to pick up a cup of joe and a croissant lol. Strawberry haze, White widow and something called Element X are a few of the types of weed I tried. The space cakes didn’t do much for me but the jolly pops (THC filled Christmas lollipops) were the best thing ever!
The best coffee shops are the ones where you can sit and chat and really relax. Not the “takeaway” ones. Those are for when you’ve just ordered a pizza and want a little something to go along with it 😛
…If you Don’t know by now I’m talking about weed 😀
3. Eat Cheese!
If you don’t go to Holland and try the cheese there is something seriously wrong with you. Just walk into any Amsterdam cheese company (there are loads) and try the samples! Or if you are around on a weekend try the local farmers market! I guarantee you it will be the best cheese you have ever had in your life.
Lots of Cheese…
Of course, there are many large brand name department stores in the heart of the city but the independent boutique shops tucked away in hipster boroughs where the hotels are wrapped in red bows and adorned in lights are where it’s at! This, mixed with the modern hustle and bustle of the city life makes this one of the greatest cities to visit…ever.
And last but not least…
1. Take a bike and explore the city.
Now if you’ve watched my Amsterdam blog on youtube you know I actually can’t ride a bike to save my bloody life but I did give it a hell of a go ( until I almost went head first into a canal that is). Fortunately, I have a friend that can ride a bike and I’d just sit on the back of his back and cruise through the city. It’s the best way to see everything and do your own tour!