In the fall of 2014 we decided to go on a trip to Morocco. Coming from the states there’s no direct flight, so our best way was to make a stop over in Europe. Without thinking too much we both agree on Amsterdam and we totally fell in love with the city.
It definitely made our long-haul flight easier and much more enjoyable when we got first class seats with Delta. That’s one of the best perks of flying standby internationally on a buddy pass if you can. The lie-flat seats with direct aisle access and outstanding service helped us getting there rested and ready to explore the city without being jet lagged.
As you all know by now we are more of a nature, beach, and surf type of travelers but we truly enjoy spending few days in a city that we’ve never been to. Although we visited Amsterdam in November when the weather was mostly cloudy and cold, we loved our stay. We spent only three quick days, but that was enough for us to tell you that if you haven’t been there yet, you absolutely must go. There’s plenty to see and do for everyone and we promise you won’t get bored.
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most diverse cities, full of artistic heritage and world-class museums. They have the most amazing bicycle infrastructure, charming 17-th century architecture, very friendly people, great nightlife and numerous great places to eat, even for us vegans. It’s called ‘Venice of the North’ for an obvious reason – the endless picturesque canals where you can enjoy a peaceful boat ride or getting lost walking around.
If you can stay longer than 3 days, you won’t regret. But if your time to visit is limited like our was, don’t worry you can still see most of the city and experience it’s lifestyle.
Here are tips and things to do while you are in Amsterdam:
1. Walk around the city, it’s free. Walking is good for you and one of the best ways to explore the city, we saw a lot mostly by foot. There’s free guided companies that you can use to show you the city highlights, but make sure you tip your guide. Or simply do like we did – walk on your own, even if you get lost, you may end up finding things that are not on the tourist map but worth seeing.
One thing to be mindful of is where you walk. You will be amazed haw many bikers there are, and they bike fast. So make sure you learn the difference between a bike lane and a footpath, don’t just stop in theirs taking photos or wondering around.
2. Rent a bike and feel like a local. Biking is another great way to explore the city even if you are not a fitness enthusiast, you will most likely enjoy the ride. There’s plenty of place to rent a bike, just watch out for those tourist walking around.
3. Take a boat ride through the canals. One of the must do things, either during the day or night you will enjoy the ride. We recommend some of the smaller boats or a gondola with less tourist on board.
4. Take a photo with the “I amsterdam” letters. One of the most popular tourist spots for taking pictures and kind of tricky to be by yourself only.
6. The coffee shops. The most famous coffee shops where you won’t get your vanilla late but instead buying marijuana is legal. Coming from Colorado, it wasn’t that exciting as it would be coming from other parts of the world. Still worth the visit.
7. The Red Light District. Even if you haven’t been to Amsterdam you probably have heard about the Red Light District and it’s reputation. It’s one of the oldest parts in the city, it’s nothing glamorous but with charming buildings, canals, number of pubs, restaurants, shops and lot’s of tourist walking around. Mostly famous for it’s many brothels with girls on display in floor-to-ceiling windows, sex shops, strip clubs and prostitutes of course.
8. Shopping. Great local markets, little boutiques and the big shopping stores, either way there’s unique european style and brands for all of the shopping lovers.
9. Great food. Being vegans traveling the world has some challenges sometimes, but that wasn’t the case in Amsterdam. Not only that we found plenty of places and options to eat but also at very reasonable and affordable prices. Here some of the places for the vegan fellas: Juice & Salad Cafe, Wok to Walk and Falafel Place we found.