Impressive buildings looking like they were designed by some great painter, by the many who were inspired by this city, colorful tulips, picturesque canals reflecting the lights of the city when the night falls. These are just a few of the reasons why Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world.

There is another point of view though, since Amsterdam is considered by many to be the "sin" city. The free use of cannabis, the smell of which wanders in the city's air and the Red Light District, one of the world's most taboo attractions, make Amsterdam the most alternative city in Europe.

Although Amsterdam is a relatively small city, there are so many things to do that it is very difficult to get bored! It’s a great city for a weekend getaway or for a longer stay for those loving art, history, food and nightlife. We visited Amsterdam for 3 days and what we did was to choose a centrally located hotel in order to be able to explore tho majority of city's sights in our limited time (read more about my stay in Hotel Dwars, here).

Take a canal ride

Amsterdam's beautiful canals are one of the reasons why the city is so famous worldwide but also one of the main reasons of the incredible charm of the capital of the Netherlands. One of the things you have to do if you find yourself in Amsterdam is to choose among the many cruise companies offering canal rides so you can explore and admire the city from another perspective!

Iamsterdam Sign

Iamsterdam is a sign that, in just a few years, has managed to become the landmark of the city, with tourists crowding to take pictures in front, above and next to it! The whole area around the "famous" sign is very beautiful, with lots of museums, while if you visit the city during winter you will have the chance to skating on the ice rink that stands in front of the Iamsterdam sign, which during the spring turns into a beautiful lake with colorful tulips.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum, located on the Square of the Museums, is one of the most famous museums in the world and of course one of the most popular in the city of Amsterdam. Here, the lovers of Impressionism and the famous Dutch painter, have the opportunity to admire the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings including the famous sunflower painting, and to learn a lot about his life.


Just next to the Van Gogh Museum, there is another great museum, the National Museum of the Netherlands, the imposing and impressive Rijksmuseum. This is the building every one of us has observed behind the Iamsterdam sign. In Rijksmuseum, there are more than one million exhibits, including works from the famous Dutch painters Rembrandt, Stein and Vermeer.

Ride a bike

As you probably already know, Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly capitals of the world, with 60% of city trips being made by bike. What you may not know is the fact that although cycling is a great experience and a great way to see the city, cycling in Amsterdam's city center can be quite a difficult task, especially if you are a first timer! A wonderful place to ride a bike without leaving the city center while avoiding bike traffic on the streets is the huge and beautiful Vondelpark.

House of Anna Frank

Anna's Frank house is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. Here, in a secret room at the back of the house, during the Second World War, Anna Frank tried to hide from the Nazis with her family and four other people. Anna Frank did not survive the war, but in 1947 her diary was published and became one of the most widely read books in the world. What you have to do if you plan to visit Anna's Frank house is to go early in the morning and to get your ticket electronically from the official site of the museum in order to avoid the queues.

Albert Cuypmarket

One of the things I love while traveling is to visit open-air markets and try some local street food. Albert Cuyp market is located in De Pijp area and is open every day except Sundays. In fact, this is a road along which there are hundreds of stalls in which anyone can find everything from clothes and shoes to flowers and excellent street food. It is worth a visit to try out, among other things, the delicious stroopwafels and the fluffy poffertjes (read more about what to eat in Amsterdam, here).

Red Light District

Apart from one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amsterdam, the area with the windows and red curtains, known worldwide as the Red Light District, hosts some of the most unique brothels in the world, which are one of the city's main tourist attractions. If you want to walk in the area and see this special sight, start from Oude Kerk (Old Church) and wander around.

Iamsterdam City Card

During my trip to Amsterdam, I purchased the 72 hours, Iamsterdam, City Card. Why? Amsterdam has many interesting museums and attractions, but their entrance fees are quite expensive in proportion to the rest of Europe. For this reason, if you plan to visit some of the city's most important museums as I did, I would recommend you to buy an IAmsterdam City Card. This card includes free admission to the city's most popular museums and attractions (e.g. the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House, NEMO Museum, Amsterdam's Zoo etc), free public transport, free canal cruises and many discounts in restaurants, cafes and shops. You can choose the card that suits you best depending on the days you are going to stay in the city, as there are 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours cards.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Iamsterdam. As always, all the opinions listed in this article are mine!

Daphne Giannouli

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