Amsterdam is well known for its narrow canals, vibrant art scene, and very liberal view on drugs. This is a city that has been at the heart of the backpacker’s trail since the 60s, attracting visitors from around the world. It remains timeless; it’s both a journey back to the Dutch Golden Age and an unforgettable experience in the present. The original city has built outward from the Amstel River, and when the river was dammed, the city was born. It is often referred to as the Venice of the North owing to the canals that connect everything. The Amsterdam of today is trendy and hip, remaining one of the top spots on the continent.
Benefitting from its time as one of the wealthiest cities in the world, it still shines from the Golden Era of the 17th century. This was during the peak of the Dutch Empire, whose capital city benefitted from the trade routes which ran through here. The historic center of Amsterdam is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, and it is easy to see why, as many of the historic buildings have been preserved from this time. The city is a living, breathing experience. Walking the streets, riding a bike, or on the water is the best way to experience this mysterious city.
After three days here wandering around the canals and taking in the natural beauty of the city I have lots of great memories from my time here. There is a long list of museums and smaller art galleries located in town which will kept me busy during my adventures. This was my experience.
What makes Amsterdam so amazing?
I arrived in Amsterdam early in the morning, after a long sleepless trans-Atlantic flight. I resisted the urge to take a nap and pushed myself to begin exploring the city. It was late April; the sun was shining and the tulips were in full bloom. It really feels like the perfect place to begin or end a journey. Amsterdam does not disappoint.
This was the first stop on my tour of Europe in 2015 and it was the perfect place to stretch out those long-dormant travel muscles that need a few days to return to full form. In Amsterdam, there are plenty of ways to dust off the cobwebs.
In Amsterdam, the journey is the destination. There were a lot of incredible attractions and was something new to experience at every turn. Each corner produced a new and more incredible view that was ready be snapped up by my camera. It pretty quickly became one of my favourite cities on the continent. The people were friendly and the food is surprisingly amazing.
Amsterdam is one of the art capitals of Europe. There is an abundance of great museums and galleries to explore. There are too many to chose from. During my trip, I was able to visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Lionel Gallery, and Anne Frank House. A trip to the Museumplein is unavoidable and highly recommended. This massive green space has three museums around it and it’s close to the center, so it’s within easy walking distance. There is also one of the classic stops on the European tour – the Heineken Brewery Experience – which is can’t miss if you enjoy beer.
Where is Amsterdam and how do you get there?
If you time your trip right (which I did, almost by accident), you can also visit during the Tulip season. The Netherlands is known for being the place to grow flowers, and the city proudly displays the labour of the people throughout many parts of the city. There is plenty to see while wandering the streets. The city is pedestrian and bike-friendly, so make sure to watch where you’re standing while you’re snapping photos.
Transportation is a big theme in the city. The streetcars, bikes, and boats take priority here, navigating the strange layout of the city, defined by the incredible canals and the river.
Amsterdam is located in the top left corner of Europe. It is the capital city of the Netherlands and it is well connected to the rest of Europe by train, plane or boat. There are many flights here crossing the continent or further west over the Atlantic, making it a great gateway to Europe. It’s a good place to stop at any time while visiting the continent.
It really shouldn’t be difficult to convince you to explore the city, but i’m happy to share some more inspiration in the form of photography. I think these could help push you over the edge. I can’t wait to go back.