When it’s sunny, Amsterdam is (in my opinion) the most beautiful city in the world! Here’s my top 10 favourite places to visit when I am there! These highlights are probably not the ones that you typically read in travel guides, like Anne Frank’s house or the Heineken Experience, but the places I actually love to visit when I am home in Amsterdam.
Press on the READ MORE button to find out which places are my recommendations!
The houses on the canals are all different, but at the same time all canals look similar. I once randomly got out of the bus in one of the canals and had no clue which canal I was at. From the Central Station going outwards, the sequence is: Singel – Herengracht – Keizersgacht – Prinsengracht. All are equally beautiful to me and really characterise the city’s image.
Red light district
Not for what’s happening there, but for the atmosphere through the whole area. It’s an area that lives, day and night. It’s something special, disregarding my political or human views on what’s going on there. There are lots of restaurants from all over the world and it’s probably the most famous part of the whole city. One of my favourite Dutch police/detective series (Baantjer) was recorded there and I think that’s how I started to appreciate this neighbourhood. For its character and for the atmosphere all around.
Chinatown (He Hua Temple)
Not everybody knows that in the Red light district there is a little Chinatown, including a massive Chinese temple in a busy street (Zeedijk). It’s really a mustsee if you’re in town! The first time I saw it, I was about 17 years old and waiting for a friend. I saw the Chinese temple in the mirror of my scooter. I was so surprised as I did not expect to find new things in the city I’ve known for so many years!
What do people do in a busy city with traffic and buildings on a sunny summer day? They go and relax or workout in one of the many parks! While Vondelpark is the biggest and most known park, there are many other parks that may even have a nicer atmosphere. I personally like Westerpark a lot, as there is a lot of space for everyone, beautiful green fields and trees, lakes to cool off and some really nice pubs with local beer and snacks!
Free ferry crossing the IJ canal
Amsterdam Noord (North) is where I went to high school and I was very happy with the fact that it is connected to the city centre by free ferries. I actually love to be on the water and taking the 15 minute ferry from NDSM to the Central Station was not just a functional, but also a fun way to get from one place to the other.
Just on the other side of Central station, you find the ADAM tower.The tower itself has been there for many years, but it was recently renovated and now has on the top floor a platform that rotates (slowly). Inside there are restaurants, so when you go there for dinner, you will see the Amsterdam skyline in 360 degrees (if you stay there long enough)! Also, there is Europe’s highest swing which will make you totally feel like a kid again! Have a look on adamlookout.com for more information!
In the middle of the city, there is a zoo. When we were kids, my aunt and uncle would bring me, my sister and my cousins every year to Artis. It was always a fun experience, also because there is the Planetarium, a dome where you can watch movies that are fun and interesting for kids!
Last year my sister (Mara) and I wanted to do a pick-nick and Mara suggested we could go to Artis. I was a bit confused, but then I found out that she knew a place outside the zoo itself where you can see the animals resting in the evening. In the video below (VLOG #14) you can see the place. It was so cool to see the elephants whilst we were having a pick-nick!
Windmill Brouwerij het IJ
You know those lovely Dutch windmills, right? You’ve probably seen them on pictures of Holland. Now what if I tell you that in the city centre, there is a classical windmill that is used as a brewery for beer?! They make their own local beer and it’s a really cool place to sit on the terrace on a sunny day! In comparison to Heineken Experience, if you really want to go somewhere beer-related but not too crowded or touristic, I’d definitely recommend you to go to Brouwerij het IJ instead!
One of the biggest squares in Amsterdam is Museumplein. It starts from Rijksmuseum and continues all the way until the Concertgebouw. On national holidays such as Kingsday, but also on New Year’s Eve, you find great concerts on Museumplein from famous Dutch singers or DJ’s. On normal days, it’s (again) a nice place to relax, being in the middle of the city centre, but disconnect from the hectic life!
Once again a nice place to relax outdoors. Close to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, there is a big forest that gives the people space to practice their sports. There are facilities to go kayaking and climb in the trees with a whole parcours. It’s really fun for outdoor activities and is big enough to not be overloaded with people so you can really find a spot where it’s completely silent (except for the airplanes that fly overhead sometimes, but you won’t hear me complain about that!)
Have a look below at some of my VLOGs when I was in Amsterdam!