Unusual Destinations Reviews from Not Ordinary People

A backpackers trip to europe: Amsterdam

Author Richard Summers
Sun 14 Oct 12
/ 5
Backpacker Trip Europe Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a really cool city. There are something to be aware of so I will discuss that and give you some great things to see and enjoy.

Amsterdam isn't terribly expensive, so you'll be okay with your budget. Amsterdam is not a hard city to walk around in, so keep that in mind, from your location you are probably no more than 15 minutes walking to ANY of the places I'm going to mention.

Schiphol airport can be a madhouse at times. I would prep early to arrive.

General safety - Just be careful. There are a lot of temptations to experience, so do what you want and of course have fun. Most of the dangers are no different from any other big city in the world, but just be smart and you'll be perfectly fine. You mentioned smoking, so I wanted to give you a few tips about some things of that nature.

Drugs - Marijuana is legal, but you cannot smoke in public or on trains. You can smoke legally in "coffee shops" which will sell you legal and good weed. Shrooms although are not legal, are tolerated. Hard Drugs are NOT tolerated anywhere. People will offer to sell you them, do not buy, it is a scam and you can be in danger. Just say no thank you or ignore them politely and that is all, don't get into a conversation, just be polite.

Red Light District - Use your imagination here. DO NOT TAKE PICTURES AT ALL. Seriously DO NOT. You'll regret it. In this area there are a lot of police around on foot, bikes, cars, so you will be very safe.

Bikes - Do not walk in the bike path, you will get hit and it will be your fault. Walk in the walking area. There will be more bikes than people. Do not buy bikes from people on the street, it is illegal and you will get fined. Bikes have a right of way to go before people AND cars. Remember this.


Botanical Gardens - I've been here several times. The botanical gardens (aka Hortus Botanicus) are just a beautiful collection of flowers and plants from Netherlands and around Europe. It is very misty inside and is very pleasant and not always busy. Tickets are €7
Rembrandt Hauis - This was my favorite museum in Amsterdam and one of my favorite I've seen. Here isRembrandts actual study while he lived in Amsterdam. The cool thing is they let you take pictures inside of the place which is very rare. It is a small loft and not far away on foot. There is an exhibit there right now! When I went it was free, but they ask for a donation. I haven't see a price for it.
Van Gogh Museum - Personally, I'm not a big Van Gogh van, but it is a very interesting museum to visit. If you ask for directions, you'll notice with a lot of Dutch, they say the words differently, so think when you say "Van Gogh" as "VUN GAHHCH". This museum has the most of his works in one places.  I did not see prices for it but I would imagine between €5-10
Rijksmuseum - Rated very highly there is a huge collection of Dutch paintings as well as art from around the world. You'll see Rembrandt of course and Vermeer pieces, lots of Asian art as well. €12.50
Houseboat Museum - Pretty straight forward.. Museum of a houseboat, it's the only one in the world so they claim, not the most amazing thing ever but pretty cool. €3
Dam Square - You'll go here. It's a big square in the center of the city where you can see a lot of cool shops and restaurants, hang out and have a good time. Remember you cannot drink in public in Amsterdam.
Canal Ride - If you buy the pass I mentioned earlier, you'll get one for free. Your hostel will likely recommend a canal tour.. the fewer the people on it, the better. It is a really cool experience. Highly recommended
Vondelpark - Huge park, it's awesome. Its near the Jewish Historical museum and the Zoo.
Oude Kerk - Little and old church, you can see it from Dam Square or train station.
Heineken Museum - I had a lot of fun here.. There is a tour, you get a couple free drinks, a free glass with entry and you get to have the freshest beer ever. I had fun, and I drank a lot. I asked them if I could pour my own beer and they let me! Around €15



Amsterdam doesn't have a particular "cuisine" really, they tend to focus on meat and fish but in an American term of cooking. But I researched a couple options for you.

Brasserie Vlaming - One of the best grills (they import  a lot of USA Beef) in Amsterdam. Great service with outdoor seating so it'll be nice to take in the city life.
Max Restaurant - Asian/Mediterranean feel. It is pretty loud, but great service, chic design and a nice combination of dishes.



Couple options here, one good and cheap and one slightly better but more expensive.

St. Christophers Inn- The Winston $12-20 a night - Younger crowd, bar built-in, smoking allowed, good location as in the Red Light District, you are central to much of the city. 

Bulldogs - $26-35 a night.  I've stayed here before. Literally in the middle of the Red Light District, there is more clout to this place because of some internal hype about why this place is so amazing. The security here is pretty good, the bar, is cheap and good, the staff is pretty good from what I recall. The location is what most people like, mixed crowd, but safe. Just be smart.



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