13 things i learned in the 5 days i spent in amsterdam

  1. The trams are very convenient. You can pretty much make connections to wherever you need to go. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use. They generally run between 6 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. Depending on how many days you’ll be in Amsterdam and how often you’re planning to use their public transportation, you should definitely consider getting one of their unlimited GVB cards

    Central Station 9

    Central Station

  2. Amsterdam is a biking city. They have separate lanes for bikes everywhere. If you’re walking, be mindful to the lanes, or else you’ll get run overDay 6 City Centre 15
  3. That being said, don’t rent a car. You will instantly regret it. There’s nowhere to park and I would imagine it being very hard to maneuver since bikes and bike lanes dominate the city
  4. Cell service sucks. Check with your mobile carrier – a lot of them have free international data nowadays. I have Sprint and was able to use 2G. Don’t expect lightning speeds though. Think dial-up modem speeds, circa 1999
  5. Marijuana is legal. They have coffeeshops, or weed cafes all over the city where you can buy a joint and smoke it there. Or you can buy it and take it home. Or you can buy it and smoke it on the streets. Whatever your heart desires. You’ll quickly learn the difference between a coffeeshop and a coffee shop
    Paradox Coffeeshop 3

    Paradox Coffeeshop

    Day 5 City Centre 25

    The first coffeeshop in Amsterdam

  6. Shrooms are legal too. If it’s your first time, make sure you take it in a place you’d feel safe

    Amsterdam 189

    Magic truffles

  7. Prostitution is legal. If you go to the Red Light District, they have women wearing skimpy lingerie, standing in windows literally selling their bodies. It’s pretty odd (just refrain from taking any photos). If that’s not your thing, you can pop in for a live peep show from a booth, for two euros. And if that’s not your thing either, it’s cool to just walk around – but leave the kids at home, for obvious reasons
    Red Light District 7

    Red Light District

    Amsterdam 191

    Just as abundant as coffeeshops in Amsterdam, you’ll find just as many sex shops

  8. Hotels are expensive. So are Airbnbs. As with any city, the rule of thumb is, the further away you are from the city center, the cheaper it will be. If you’re willing to travel by tram at least half an hour each way, you can find some pretty nice Airbnb options at a reasonable price. The one we stayed at came out to about $134 USD/night in the Osdorp neighborhood, which felt pretty safe
    Airbnb 1

    Our home for the week, about a half an hour tram outside the city centre

    Airbnb 5Airbnb 6Airbnb 7

  9. Cabs are expensive. If you’re coming in from Schiphol, make sure you look up directions beforehand for the bus you need to take to get into the city. The people there are pretty clueless about surrounding neighborhoods
  10. Try a Heineken – I know. It goes against every fiber of my being. I don’t even like Heineken in the States, but the ones in Amsterdam just taste crisper and more refreshing

    Cafe in de Waag 5

    Not a great pour but tasted good, so that’s all that counts

  11. Eat some cheese. The Dutch love their cheese. You’ll learn this when you see a cheese shop at every corner in the city center. Pop in and try some free samples – they encourage it. You’ll find all types of cheese you never even knew existed

    Amsterdam Cheese Museum 4

    That “blue cheese” was made with blueberries

  12. Hop on a canal cruise – DO IT! If you have your heart set on this, make sure to do the cruise on the first sunny day you’re there. The weather in Amsterdam can be temperamental (or at least it was in the April that I visited)Amsterdam 84
  13. Look into discount passes – one is the Museumkaart. You can use this at over 400 museums in Amsterdam over a period of 31 days (or one year for Dutch residents). Since most tourists probably aren’t visiting for an entire month, the more feasible option would be the iAmsterdam card. You can buy a one, two, three, or four day pass, which also scores you unlimited rides on public transportation. So the two main things to take into consideration here are 1. How long will you be in Amsterdam? 2. How many of the museums on that list actually interest you? Plus, it includes a free canal cruise. We didn’t go for this option because we were strapped for time but If I stayed longer, I definitely would have opted for this passiAmsterdam 16

    AMS-MAD-JFK 1

    Schipol Airport

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