3 day itinerary for Amsterdam
Things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a perfect city to visit over a weekend – there are plenty of things to do and the city is pretty compact.
As you may have seen from my other blog posts, I love a Sandemans free walking tour. It is a perfect way to spend around 2.5 hours in a new city with a friendly local and find your bearings.
We met in the centre by the National Monument in Dam Square where the tours run every day at 10am, 11am and 2pm. Depending on popularity, you are normally in a group of around 20 people.
We were able to visit a number of sites and learn about then history of Amsterdam as well as getting an insight into future plans. Included in the walking tour were The Red Light District, the widest bridge and the smallest house in Amsterdam (so narrow!), the old church, the Royal Palace and the Jewish Quarter.
The tours are always informative and there is a break around half way to grab a drink. Just tip your guide what you like at the end – we normally go for €10.
After the free walking tour we decided to get a tram a few stops to Albert Cuypmarket in the De Pipj (number 16) which was €2.80 one-way. This market sells everything – arts and crafts, street food, clothes, household goods and loads more. It is based down one very long street so you can’t get lost – just follow the trail of stalls.
We stopped off for a hot stroop waffle and a waffle with white and milk chocolate – absolutely delicious! Sadly, nothing else really took my eye so if you don’t have time, I wouldn’t make the market a priority. Equally if you have some spare time, it was a good way to spend the afternoon.
http://albertcuyp-markt.amsterdam/?lang=en – open Monday – Saturdays 8am – 5pm.
Around the corner from the market is a small park called Sarphatipark which has a couple of nice fountains and a small lake with ducks. We stayed there for a while to bask in the sun which was lovely!
In the evening we booked a ride on a gondola through the numerous canals as a treat. The lady is the only person in Amsterdam that owns a gondola which she handmade (!) and it was such a nice way of sightseeing around the canals. You can even upgrade to champagne for your ride so definitely something special! www.rentaboatamsterdam.com
After that we obviously had to go and check out the Red Light District to see how much it had changed from the daytime. It was absolutely buzzing with people and there was a really lively atmosphere on the street and down the side roads. It is obviously quite different to be walking around with ladies in the windows but also rather intriguing – just make sure you do not take any pictures as your phone / cameras will be confiscated. There is no shortage of bars in the area (obviously more touristy) but you can actually get some decent deals on drinks (including five jager bombs for only €15!)
To fully embrace the Amsterdam spirit, we decided to check out a peep show where there are individuals or couples in the middle on a rotating stage. You have 8 private doors surrounding the stage that people can go into to watch ‘the show’. It costs 2 euros for 2 minutes and the screen blanks out after that time – it is certainly an experience watching people so close up (and not knowing what you are going to see!) but also watching the other people in different rooms also watching!
Finally, we also had to see what the fuss was over a sex show in Amsterdam. It seems that Casa Rosso has a bit of a monopoly on many bars and clubs in the Red District and was clearly the more popular venue. We went in around 12.30 and had read that you could try and negotiate a cheaper entry, but sadly the demand was high! We paid €55 for entrance including four drinks (decent selection including vodka and red bull) and some lovely guys gave us their leftover tickets too!!
You basically enter an auditorium which can seat around 180 people, find a seat, wait for the waiter to bring your drinks and watch the acts on the stage!! Again, an odd experience but just so intriguing again at the same time. You get to see all sorts and sometimes they invite audience members up! Some would say the acts are a little mechanical but it was certainly something different…!
We booked to see Anne Frank’s House before we went to Amsterdam. This is important as it is only open to the public in the afternoon and therefore there can be massive queues. For a weekend slot, I recommend booking at least a couple of weeks in advance as the slots disappear quickly. We had an 11.00-11.15 slot and just showed our tickets on arrival and were in pretty promptly.
I read Anne Frank’s Diary before we visited Amsterdam which made everything even more real – it truly is a heartbreaking but heroic story and you get to visit all the rooms including the attic. Definitely worth a visit and prices are very reasonable at only €11 with a 50c booking fee for advance tickets.
That took us to the afternoon so we did what all Amsterdammers love – riding a bike!! There are various bike shops around and it is around €10 for 3 hours (or more for 24 hours). Just leave a deposit and off you go!!
I was a little unsteady to begin with but then got the hang of it. We cycled around the canal belts and headed to Vondelpark. On the way we stopped off at the tourist “I Amsterdam” sign which is massive and obviously had a few selfies!!
Vondelpark is based in the south west side of Amsterdam and is definitely worth a visit, particularly if the sun is out. We did a full circle on the bike which is just so liberating and then stopped off by some lakes.
There is a café in the park called Vondelpark3 which is very reasonably priced and has stunning views of the park.
We stayed out until early evening and then made out way back to the centre. In the evening we had some drinks and dinner after our slightly crazy night the evening before… See separate blog post for bars and restaurants!
We took a long walk around the canals weaving in and out of the side streets and just enjoying the general hustle and bustle of Amsterdam – sometimes that is how you come across the gems!
We also went to the 5th floor of the NEMO Science Museum (free to access) which has some lovely viewpoints. I have read that the library (nearby) also has free views from the top floor but sadly it was closed when we visited.
As if we had not seen enough sex related things already, we also visited the sex museum in which was €5 Euros entrance. It essentially just has lots of different toy objects, pictures of pornography through the years and different anatomies!!
East London Girl Travels: Amsterdam