Amsterdam Travel Guide

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Hi Fellow Travelers,

Hope you all have been good. I have been insanely busy with my new job responsibilities and haven’t been able to post in a while. However, since a number of my friends were asking me about my euro trip, I decided to spend some time and write about my visit to Amsterdam. Needless to say, I loved the city. It has everything you need in a small parameter and you can bike to pretty much everywhere. The quaint suburban dutch towns within a small driving distance are each unique and beautiful in their own way. All in all, Amsterdam is a place I would move to in a heartbeat given a choice.

Transportation:

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  • The taxi ride from the Airport to the center of the city cost us about €35. You can also use the Abel app to book a taxi (this provides shared rides).
  • In order to use the trams and trains within the city, you can get a GVB day ticket or multi-day ticket (Here are the costs: €7.50 -24 hours, €12.50 – 48 hours, €17.00 – 72 hours). You can buy this on the train itself.
  • Rent a bike from a number of bike shops in the city. I rented mine from Mike’s bikes.

Food:

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Here are the most famous dutch favorites:

  • Croquettes: Amsterdammers swear by Van Dobben for these fried snacks
  • Stroopwafels: 2 waffles with caramel in between. I wasn’t a big fan, but hey gotto try it while in the Netherlands.
  • Poffertjies: Tiny, fluffy pancakes and can be smothered in any type of delicious topping Herring: Try it plain or with pickles and onions
  • Friet: You can’t go wrong with a portion of piping-hot, Belgian-style chips
  • Coffee Shop: Most famous coffee shop – The Bulldog. So while in Amsterdam, do not go to a coffee shop expecting to get coffee there. Those are called cafe’s. If you’re looking for something to smoke or eat, then head to the coffeshops 🙂

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Here is what I did on my trip:

Day 1:

1)Bike Tour

There are more bikes in Amsterdam, than the number of people. The best way to explore this wonderful city is on one. I reached Amsterdam early in the morning and after dropping off my luggage at my AirBnB, immediately took off to explore this city with a guided bike tour.  My guide was wonderful and I made a lot of friends on the tour. Here is the link to the detailed blog post with Mike’s Bike Tour.

2) Canal Tour

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My bike tour ended at a brewery, where we hung out for a bit, got some food and beer before heading back to Mike’s. Once I was done exploring the city on a bike, the next best thing was to do a Canal tour which is such a fun way to explore the town and take some gorgeous pictures.

3) Heineken Experience

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The Beer Queen on her Throne :p

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Learning the basics of beer making

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All the Heineken bottle types from the 90’s to now

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Beer on the rooftop

I highly recommend taking this tour while in Amsterdam. It was a lot of fun. You get to see how the Heineken beer is made. Try various rides and simulations and then in the end enjoy your beer on the rooftop with a beautiful view of the city.

4) Leiden Square

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This is a fun and lively square with a lot of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. If you’re here in summer do sit outdoors and enjoy the ambience with a nice beer and some food.

Day 2

1) Volendam

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I did a day trip via a tour company and visited the 3 gorgeous suburban dutch towns – Zaanse Schans, Edam and Volendam. Since, I did not want to spend time in taking trains and figuring out routes, taking a tour was the fastest way to explore these towns. Our bus picked us up from a spot in Amsterdam and after one hour or so, our first stop was the pretty fishing town of Volendam. Since we reached here really early in the morning, I had the chance to take some gorgeous pictures of the town without the tourists. We walked around admiring the pretty houses and enjoying the scenery by the water.

2) Edam

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With a Dutch woman dressed in the traditional outfit

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All kinds of unique flavors of cheese

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A cheese shop in Edam

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I can only imagine how nice it would be having coffee by the window in those houses

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Another pretty lane

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This is how Chemists were recognized back in the day. Their shops had these figures with medicines in their mouth. Interesting, right..!!

Our next stop was another countryside town named Edam. It’s famous for its cheese covered in red or yellow wax. We even stopped at a cheese making factory and checked out how it’s made. I could buy some awesome spreads, stroopwaffels and cheese for back home from here.

3) Zaanse Schans

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The windmill town

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This was my favorite town out of the three. Its a beautiful windmill village full of European charm. After reaching here, we first stopped at a shoe making factory to see how those wooden shoes are made and it was so much fun watching the craftsmen at work. I even brought some small shoes to hang in my house by the door :). After that it was a lot of exploring, walking around the town, admiring the windmills, taking a peek inside the small and cute dutch houses. You can also go on top of the windmill and see the view of the town from there.

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After exploring these towns, we headed back to Amsterdam and reached back in about an hour or so. It takes me that long to drive from one street to another in San Francisco :(. Since, I din’t get a chance to eat much since morning, I was starving once I reached back. I went to the Pancakes house and tried some traditional dutch chocolate pancakes with coffee and man were those delicious.  I highly recommend you try them while here.

4) Red Light District

The next stop is optional depending on whether you’re traveling to Holland with kids or not. I would not suggest taking kids here. But if you’re adults exploring the city, do check this out. It’s completely touristy, but something very unique. There are also a number of shows, if you’re interested in watching any depending on your preference.

Day 3

1) Rijksmuseum

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The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. I was not interested in exploring many mueseums in this trip, so I skipped this. Although, I did go here to take pictures with the “Iamsterdam” sign.. haha. My recommendation is to go here early in the morning, so that you can get the pictures without too many tourists. The museum in the background makes for the perfect backdrop to get those touristy shots.

2) Vondelpark

This is a fun park in the middle of the city. A smaller version of the central park in New York. You will see people walking, biking or staring here. I later realized the staring is due to the after effects of the smoking and brownie eating. haha. All in all a fun place to hangout.

3) Bloemenmarkt

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This is a floating flower market. It’s pretty much one lane you can walk through and buy tulips or so if you’re interested. There are souvenir shops on the street-side selling  a multitude of things.

4) Anne Frank House

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This was my last stop of the day. Do not forget to buy tickets for these online as this gets booked much in advance. I had read the novel as a kid and was very interested in seeing how the family lived in hiding during WWII. It was a great experience actually walking back in history and seeing it in reality.

So that was it. After that I walked around in the city by the canals, got something to eat, sat by the canals, talked to a few people and headed back to my AirBnB to head back to the airport. Hope you enjoyed reading my blogpost. Happy to answer any questions you have. Here are a few more pictures I took 🙂

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The only shot by the windmills where my hair isn’t all over the place 🙂

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Pretty Dutch Houses

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Cute bridge in the town of Zaanse Schans

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Another view of the houseboats, canals and houses by the water

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Thank you for stopping by.

Love,

Ankita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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