Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. Many people believe The Hague to be its capital, because both Parliament and the Queen’s Palace are based here, but Amsterdam is the actual capital. It is best known the world over for its canals, coffee shops and the red light district.
Best Time to Travel to Amsterdam
The Netherlands is not well known for its weather, meaning that a visit to Amsterdam can be interesting at any time. Of course, it is nice to visit during the months when the flower shows are on, and you are able to enjoy another of the Netherlands finest: tulips.
Another very pleasurable visit is the 30th of April, the Queen Mother’s Birthday, which is celebrated all over the Netherlands. Amsterdam hosts a “free market” on this day, meaning anyone is able to sell items on the street. You will see a wealth of knick-knacks and inventive ways for people to make money. One young man has been coming for many years charging people to pet his dog, to name but one example.
Attractions to See in Amsterdam
There are many things to see and do in Amsterdam. The red light district should not be missed, but not just for its historic significance in relation to the trades that are practiced there. The red light district also offers many little shops, galleries and cafes that will truly allow you to flavor some of Amsterdam’s real culture.
Of course, the Dam Square is always worth a visit. Placed right in central Amsterdam, it is most known for its many, many pigeons, that have become so used to people that they will land on top of you if you are carrying food.
Other famous attractions in Amsterdam include the Sex Museum, the Torture Museum, the Anne Frank Museum, Madamme Tussaud’s and Artis Zoo.
Restaurants and Bars in Amsterdam
There are quite literally thousands of restaurants and bars in Amsterdam where you can sample international and local cuisine. A visit to Amsterdam should always include a stop at Febo, which is a fast food type of restaurant where you put some money in a wall and are able to remove truly Dutch snacks, such as Frikadellen and Bitterballen.
Of course, there are also many take-away style restaurants, dominated by Turkish immigrants, where you can enjoy a pita bread with Shwarma and garlic sauce.
Naturally, you are also able to enjoy healthier foods or fine cuisine in one of Amsterdam’s many better restaurants.
Nightlife in Amsterdam is fantastic, with its main bars and clubs centering around the Leidscheplein.
Transport in Amsterdam
If you are brave, you may want to hire a car to travel around Amsterdam, however this is more advisable if you were to visit some of the surrounding areas. All the main car hire companies offer car hire in Amsterdam, so you should not have any trouble finding a car.
However, most people choose to travel by public transport in Amsterdam, where the tram system in particular is very well developed. And of course, Amsterdam would not be part of the Netherlands if you could not travel by bicycle!
If you do decide to opt for car hire the Netherlands, it is a good idea to check out the rates and car hire companies before you travel.