I recently went on a football tour with my football club to the lovely city of Amsterdam and contrary to what you might think, theres alot more to the city than "coffeeshops" and the red light district haha.
Well for a starters we all know "coffeeshops" in the city of Amsterdam are not really coffee shops, they sell Hash and Weed and yes it is 100% legal. There wont be sneeky policeman hiding round the corner just waiting for you to hand over your money and collect the goods! These can be taken in an assortment of un-luxurious / un-flattering ways, either by eating a hash cake, smoking a spliff or.........well eating just about anything else with the drug sprinkled on top.
For the Amsterdam virgin this can be a real blast! However believe me when I say smoking or eating yourself into a coma all day is'nt quite the best way to spend your time in Amsterdam. If you reach the coma stage you'll know what im talking about ;) when I say "you wont be doing that again for a few months or years depending on your experience haha!".
With the Euro becoming stronger against the pound, your unlikely to pick up any bargains in Amsterdam, infact your actually likely to be paying more for a pint than you would back home in the Great Britania. Shots and spirits unfortunately are no better! The average was € 4.50 but paid anything up to €6.50 in some bars at night. Id suggest finding somewhere that does some decent drink deals early on and watering yourself to hell there moving on, and just topping up everywhere else.
Moving onto the things you should definitely check out in Amsterdam.
1. Drink Up
With more than 1200 different pubs to crawl you’ll have more than your fill.
Start at the Heineken brewery (Stadshouderkade 78) to see how famous beer is produced. Check out Café Belgique to taste smooth Belgian brews like La Chouffe and La Trappe Dubbel.
Other standouts: In De Wildeman, Suzies Bar for you english people .
2. Night Bike it Up
One thing youll notice when you get to Amsterdam is EVERYONE is push bike NUTS! Its incredible there are even multi storey car parks for bikes. This in mind theres plenty of places to rent yourself one for a day or so.
Amsterdam is most romantic at night, when the city is aglow from lit up bridges and canals.
Start at Leidseplein and bike down Kerkstraat to the Amstel River, where you’ll find the Skinny Bridge in all its glory.
3. Club it Up
Clubbing in Amsterdam has a reputation for being very good, however only IF you can find them! Amongst all the bars and copius coffee shops it can sometimes be quite hard to come accross a club.
For pre-partying, head to Lux (Marnixstraat 403) Bitterzoet (Spuistraat 2), or Seymour Likely (Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 250) for live DJs.
Join the dance crowd at Mazzo (Rozengracht 114), Club More (Rozengracht 133), and Paradiso (Weteringschans 6-8). For a laid-back vibe, check out Café Alto (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115) for local jazz acts.
4. Shop it Up
Walk the famous 9 streets (theninestreets.com), to pick up cutting edge fashion and eclectic wares.
Don’t miss Lady Day, which sells vintage and secondhand European fashion for a steal. Browse for a designer fragrance like Creed at Skins Cosmetics, investigate the Paul Frank Store , and get pampered at Spoiled, where you’ll be custom matched to a designer pair of jeans.
5. Do it Dutch
Nothing says typically Dutch better than a hunk of 'Gouda' stuffed in a fresh bread roll.
Savor this ritual by picking up a sandwich at Broodje van Kootje (Spui 28).
For another Dutch favorite, visit the Pannekoekenhuis, a tiny upstairs restaurant on the second floor of a narrow canal house. Dive into big pancakes, served sweet or savory.
6. CoffeeShops Not to Miss
At Café Zeezicht (Hoofdweg 456), people watch on the outdoor terrace, sipping a Dutch style latte and nibbling on the best apple tart in town. Brown cafes, named for their wooden interiors, are good for mingling with the locals.
You should pay a visit to the famous Grasshopper coffeeshop as well which has an outdoor terrace on the canal, and serves everything you can imagine a good old fashion amsterdam coffee shop should.
Cafes not to miss: De Balie, Café De Tuin (Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 13), and Café ‘t Smalle (Egelantiersgracht 12).
7. To The Market
Start at the eastern end of the Albert Cuyp street market in the ethnically diverse neighborhood De Pijp.
Peruse Dutch treats like fish, cheese, and chocolate among 300 stalls. Take a right on Ferdinand Bolstraat, then a left on Stadshouderkade.
Take a right at Spiegelgracht for a stroll in the antique district. Turn left onto Herengracht to see splendid 17th century canal houses. Make a right at Leidsestraat and go up to Singel.
Hit the Singel lunch Café (Singel 404) for homemade soups and baguette sandwiches.
8. Relish In Art
View Van Gogh’s life through art, from the Potato Eaters up through the last two months of his life in France.
Holland’s Golden Age is the highlight of the Rijksmuseum. Don’t miss Vermeer’s Milkmaid.
9. The Red Light District
Contraversial I might hear you say! Entirely down to taste but eye opening none the less, plus always teaming with life. If your an avid fan, the going rate according to some contacts I will not name.........is 50 euros.
10. The Dam Square
Pretty much the central of Amsterdam and an old square. Much of the cities life is in around the small streets leading off of it so its not to be missed! Watch out for trams and mad cyclists though!