Many people are under the misconception that The Hague is the capital of the Netherlands, this is understandable however as the city houses both the Queen’s Palace and Parliament, but the capital is in fact Amsterdam. The city is known the world over for its coffee shops, canals and of course it’s red light district.
Best Time to Travel to Amsterdam
The Netherlands is unfortunately, not renowned for having great weather, so that a visit to Amsterdam at any time of year can be interesting. Whatever the weather, it is always worth visiting during the months when all the flower shows are happening, and seeing the tulips that inspired the song is certainly a sight to behold.
If you can be in Amsterdam on the 30 April, then you are in for a real treat. This is the date of the Queen Mother’s birthday, and great celebrations take place throughout the Netherlands. Amsterdam holds a free market on this date, meaning that anyone is allowed to sell goods on the streets. You will be amazed at the inventive ways in which people make money, including the guy who comes every year and charges people to pet his dog.
Attractions to See in Amsterdam
There are so many things to see and do in the city of Amsterdam that you may have to prioritise. A trip to red light district is a must, not just for the significance of the trades that are plied there, but for the little shops, galleries and cafes that give you a real essence of Amsterdam and its culture.
Dam Square is also worth a visit. It is situated slap bang in the middle of central Amsterdam and is famed for the hundreds of pigeons who reside there. They are so used to people that if you enter the square carrying food, they will happily land on you.
Restaurants and Bars in Amsterdam
One thing you are guaranteed of in Amsterdam is never having to go far to find food or drink. There literally thousands of bars and restaurants where you can sample both local delicacies and international cuisine. Stopping off at Febo is an absolute must, this innovative take on a fast food restaurant has you putting money into a wall and then removing true Dutch snacks, such as Bitterballen and Frikadellen.
There is a large presence of Turkish immigrants in Amsterdam and they invariably run many take away restaurants, so if this is a favourite of yours why not grab a pitta bread with Schwarma and fresh garlic sauce. There are many fine restaurants too if you prefer healthier options, or some gourmet cuisine.
Transport in Amsterdam
The public transport is excellent with a modern tram system but hiring a bike is essential if you want to fit in with the locals. Car hire is available if you are brave enough, but public transport is the safest option.
Planning to visit Amsterdam?
Click here for a cheap ferry to Amsterdam