A Weekend in Amsterdam: Places to See and Skip

Amsterdam

So, Amsterdam: the city of freedom, marijuana coffee shops and love in the Red Lights District. I did not know much about it, I heard only about Vondelpark, its famous district and Keukenhof. After doing our diligent research on top things to do in the city, me and my friend decided to give it a try and spend a weekend in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam was partly a disappointment to me, so I made a list of places to see and things to do and what to skip. Now, prepare your eggs and rotten tomatoes because I am sure I will shake someone with my opinions on places to visit in Amsterdam 🙂

So, let’s start with the negative part.

Amsterdam weekend getaway: places to skip

Vondelpark

Vondelpark
Vondelpark

This was a real disappointment! You know, it is just a park, quite ordinary one: you see parks like this in every city. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of it. I thought there must be something special about it, if it is so famous, but there was nothing that wowed me. Well, there is something special about it: visitors are officially allowed to have sex in the park as long as no one sees them. And that’s all, I am afraid. Anyway, I didn’t find it worth a visit, especially if you come for 2-3 days only. It is better to have a stroll around the area as there some really amazing canals and buildings around.

Flower market – Bloemenmarkt

Flower Market
A typical shop at the Flower Market

We went to Amsterdam in the beginning of June, so it was late for Keukenhof, but we hoped to see a part of its grandeur in the flower market. In my country a flower market is a place to sell flowers but it is not the case of Amsterdam. First of all, the market is very small: just several shops. And they sell seeds and bulbs! In every shop! And there are no actual flowers! Just the last shop in the row sold flowers. I don’t know if it is always like this, and probably shops in the market are not supposed to sell flowers, but I was disappointed. So, unless you want to buy bulbs, there is no much sense in going there.

The Nine Streets

These are the streets with fancy shops that sell books, jewelry, antiquities, vintage things, and are just perfect for window shopping: if you are like me and don’t have money 🙂 Well, hear me now: the pavements are narrow, and there always are people on bicycles so you can’t just stay outside and glance at windows: you will most likely be hit by a bicycle. Of course, you can go inside, but it is very tiring to enter every shop you liked.

Do you still have those rotten tomatoes? 🙂 Throw them now, because I am finished with the places to skip 🙂 Let’s get to the positive part.

Amsterdam in a weekend: top things to do

Boat tour

boat tour
A typical tour boat at the pier

This one is a must! Actually, I try to get a boat tour in every place where it is possible: after all, this is the best way to see the city from the water. You will see the bridges, dancing houses, some really amazing buildings. The tours are guided, so you can combine the pleasant with the useful and learn something about the history of Amsterdam. A tip: choose a longer tour which includes smaller canals.

Red Lights District

red lights district
Those famous windows in the Red Lights District

Of course, this one isn’t to miss. The area is very pleasant, the canals are very picturesque and just wait to be photographed. The district itself is mainly around the church De Oude Kerk (a paradox to me), so wander around and have a look at the ladies. The red curtains go away closer to the evening, so you might want to stay till late, if you want to see the real Red Lights District.

Sex museum

Well, you can’t come to Amsterdam without visiting one of its sex museums. We went to the one on Damrak close to the station, and it was a lot of fun. Well, I would have skipped some parts of it: there are some things I don’t really want to know 🙂

Station area

waterfront
The waterfront near the Central Station

Have a stroll around the Central station area: this is the place to get some amazing views of the waterfront and one of the most beautiful churches – St. Nicholas’s – in Amsterdam.

Artis Zoo

artis zoo
A smiling iguana at the zoo

My opinion: instead of going to Vondelpark better spend several hours at the zoo. I know what lots of people think: don’t encourage it, it is bad for animals, but a visit to the zoo for me is like becoming a child again and I always enjoy it. In many cases animals aren’t in cages in this zoo, they wander in open space. In addition, the zoo is full of lush greenery and there is a small aquarium as well.

Foodhallen

meatballs
Meatballs from De BallenBar

People come here to try all cuisines in one place. There are all kinds of food and juices everywhere. Japanese was extremely popular: people were queuing for sushi. While you can eat sushi everywhere these days, I advice you to taste the dutch meatballs, which come with 5 different fillings: order a set and enjoy it!

Madame Tussauds

madame tussauds
Me and Dali at Madame Tussauds 🙂

While the museum is smaller than the one in London and offers less than expected to see, I really enjoyed our visit there! At least, I got a picture of myself with Thor, James Bond and Dali, so I can’t really complain 🙂

Museums

The Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum

I will be honest here: we didn’t visit any except the one I mentioned above, but I heard some nice reviews of Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Allard Pierson Museum, so you might want to give them a try.

Iamsterdam Sign

iamsterdam
The Iamsterdam Sign

I thought I should put it to places to skip, but it was a great experience even if it was crowded and we didn’t get a chance to come closer to the letters. But the atmosphere of happiness is worth it.

That’s it! I just want to point out that it is my opinion only and you might still enjoy the places I put to skip.

Anyway, what are the places you liked and didn’t like? What would you prefer to do during your weekend in Amsterdam?

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A weekend in Amsterdam, Netherlands: places to see and skip

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