A Complete Guide To Amsterdam

After my second visit to Amsterdam this month, it’s official. Amsterdam is up there with my favourite cities in Europe and if you haven’t yet been – it’s time you started planning your adventure there.

The city of Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, host to a 17th Century Canal ring that is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site and is simply a playground of activities for both adults and families.

I am lucky enough to have visited Amsterdam on two occasions already and I fell even more in love the second time round. The abundance of canals and arched bridges that you can wander aimlessly through and dine upon, the rows of stunning apartments and townhouses that line the canals, the variety of markets and shopping districts, the healthy cafes and rooftop cocktail bars – Amsterdam just seems to have it ALL.

If you happen to time your visit during the Spring, you will get to witness the ultimate landscapes as the Tulips blossom all over the city in a rainbow of colour.

Fun Fact: Amsterdam actually has more bridges than Venice. Venice has 409 and Amsterdam smashes that nearly 3 times over with 1281 bridges!

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Admittedly, if you head to Amsterdam unaware and without having done any research beforehand, you can be easily led into some tourist traps, some tacky bars and some seedy settings.

Like with any popular city, and particularly because the nightlife is a popular attraction here in Amsterdam, it does attract groups of stags and hens and you are likely to come across a few drunken backpackers BUT if you read this guide… you can easily avoid it all during your stay.

GETTING AROUND AMSTERDAM

From the airport, the train is the cheapest/easiest option i’ve found and will take a similar time to that of hopping in a taxi {and at a fraction of the cost}.

If you opt for a Train, as I have on both my visits, you will need to come out of arrivals at Schnipol Aiport {where you will find yourself already in the train station} and will then just need to purchase a ticket to Amsterdam Centrum for €5.20 {one way}.

Trains depart every 15 minutes-ish and take about 20 minutes.

When it comes to exploring Amsterdam, bikes are the go-to for most tourists and pretty much all of the locals. The whole city sits pretty flat and is simply a network of canals – making cycling a simple and effective way to get around. It’s such a popular option that, alongside the majority of the roads, there are bikes lanes assigned so that cyclists have their own territory to manoeuvre in.

Due to the popularity of cycling and therefore the volume of cyclists out and about, particularly in the summer, the bike lanes can get pretty hectic and you will need to be paying full attention when using them.

Walking is another popular and beautiful way to get around when exploring Amsterdam. A simple wander around the canals and shops will have you occupied for a few hours, if not the whole day {photographer heaven}. The city is pretty big though, so if you are tight on time or are looking to cover multiple attractions – consider hiring a bike.

{We hired our bikes, on the day of rental, from Yellow bikes which cost €12 for 24 hours. Be sure to check with your hostel / hotel for bike deals, some of them even have free bikes included in your stay.}

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

ACCOMMODATION

If you’re backpacking, or looking for the cheapest option…

I can speak from experience of absolutely LOVING these two hostels…

The Flying Pig Hostels

Uptown Hostel {next to VondelPark}, Downtown Hostel {Right in the centre} or Beach Hostel {an hour train from the centre}.

Read my review of The Flying Pig Downtown Hostel here

Book your stay here

 St Christopher’s Inn at the Winston 

Book your stay here

Browse more hostels here: HostelBookers

If you’re looking for something quirky, or if there’s a group of you it could work out cheaper this way…

– AirBnb {Click here to get £25 off your first booking}

If you’re looking for a hotel…

– Amsterdam hotels on booking.com 

Top Secret Hotels in Amsterdam {get luxury but save the pennies}

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

MY MUST DO’S IN AMSTERDAM

Exploring the canals is a must, whether it’s walking, cycling, on a group tour or, my favourite option for a unique experience… rent a boat with your friends!

– Enjoy a sunset cocktail at the Sky Lounge

– Head on a day trip to visit Keukenhof Gardens – one of the most beautiful flower gardens in the world. {seasonal} Read about my adventure to Keukenhof here

– Cycle through and spend the afternoon relaxing in Vondelpark

– Grab a waffle smothered in Nutella, swing your legs over the side of the canal and indulge!

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

MUSEUMS

– The Anne Frank House {Visit the actual place Anne and her family spent more than two years hiding in during World War 2 which has now been converted into a humbling museum.}

– The Van Gogh Museum

– The Heiniken Experience

– The Rijksmuseum

– Sex Museum

TIPS: Particularly during peak times and if you want to avoid the ticket queues – BOOK TICKETS ONLINE prior to your visit.

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

MARKETS + SHOPPING

Bloemenmarkt

{The only floating flower market in the world and a very colourful and fragrant experience}

Albert Cuypmarkt

{The largest and most popular market in the Netherlands with 260 stands operating 6 days a week. Must try: Freshly make stroopwafels.}

Foodhallen

{An indoor food market and social hangout. Open every day 11am – 11.30pm with later opening on weekends}

Nine Streets {De Negen Straatjes}

{A gorgeous neighbourhood bursting with boutique and designer shops, organic cafes and cosy eateries}

Kalverstraat

{Where you’ll find your highstreet stores like Zara + H&M}

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

FREE THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM

– Kick back and relax by the lake in Vondelpark

– Chill out and people watch at Museumplein

– Take a photo with the famous IAmsterdam letters

– Browse the worlds first Condom specialist shop located on Warmoesstraat {they have cartoon condoms, i mean, it’s worth the instagram snap right?}

– Browse one of the markets in Amsterdam {see above}

– Wander along the gorgeous canals

– Join a free walking tour of Amsterdam

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

NIGHTLIFE IN AMSTERDAM

– Coffee Shops

There is a large hash consumption and scene here in Amsterdam – you’re probably already aware. It’s one of the biggest attractions for tourists here as you can legally buy and smoke in the designated ‘Coffee Shops’, of which there is an abundance all over the city. You won’t wander long before you spot one or… smell one.

– The Red Light District

It’s a feature that Amsterdam is known for and whether you want to indulge in it or not, it’s worth a wander through. It’s best to wander with friends or in a group to avoid being on your own as the area can attract some seedy individuals. Remember: You cannot take photos of the ladys in the illuminated red doorways {it’s forbidden and strictly enforced}.

Bars and Nightclubs

If cocktails, rooftop bars, boogying or raving are more your kind of nightlife choice, head on over to my ‘Guide To Nightlife in Amsterdam’

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

TIPS + TRICKS FOR YOUR VISIT TO AMSTERDAM

– Book tickets in advance for museums

{this can save you valuable time}

– Don’t hire bikes under the influence of alcohol or drugs

{you WILL end up getting hurt}

– You don’t necessarily need to speak Dutch to travel here

{it’s always cultural to communicate in the local language and learn the common greetings, but pretty much everyone can speak English here in Amsterdam}

– Currency you will need: Euros

– Watch out for some of Amsterdams Epic Festivals during your stay!

{e.g. Gay Pride Festival. See a full list of festivals here}

The Best Things to Do When Exploring Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog-3

RESOURCES FOR YOUR VISIT:

Lonely planet {buy here}

My ‘Guide to Nightlife In Amsterdam’ {read here}

My ‘ Top 5 Best brunch Spots In Amsterdam’ {read here}

My Guide to ‘What to pack in your backpack?’ should you be backpacking! {watch here}

Thank you for reading <3

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Love as always + happy adventuring

Mollie x

A Complete Guide To Amsterdam | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog