By Melissa Moreno
Traveling to Amsterdam this past October was probably the highlight of 2015 for me. Amsterdam remains one of my top 3 places to visit in Europe along with Paris and London. It’s a unique small city with a lot of personality that makes it so appealing and entertaining to travelers. Travelers are able to see so many things in just one day! Everything is within walking or biking distance and easy to get around. An educational tour that starts off at the Van Gogh Museum can very well end up in the red light district to unwind.
The first step in planning a vacation is deciding where to go ( this may actually be the hardest part) . Amsterdam has something for every type of traveler from the art aficionado to the traveler that is into the wild night life. If lounging around and relaxing is the type of vacation you want Amsterdam is not a place to relax. In fact, you will be so inspired to walk around and explore that getting a break in this beautiful locations is very hard to even think about.
Think of Amsterdam as a classier, European version of Las Vegas. As soon as you walk off the train, you see stores selling joints, edibles and sex toys. There are lights everywhere as well as old-looking homes right next to other glitzier parts of the city. People walk around town in a very laid back and relaxed mood, I mean anything goes in Amsterdam , why wouldn’t you feel relaxed. Amsterdam is an old city with a modern twist. The buildings look completely old; however, right smack in the middle of the city you’ll find lights and a small carnival atmosphere. As you get closer to the red light district you’ll see porn shows and strippers modeling their bodies on full body size windows. These women wink at you and try and lure you in for a fun time. I was intrigued at this lifestyle from the moment I set for here, anything that is of shock value to me immediately draws my attention. The interesting part is that you don’t get a feeling of indiscretion in Amsterdam. Everything is done in a very fashionable and legal way.
Here are a few reasons why Amsterdam remains one of my favorite places to visit:
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam maintains the world’s largest collection of works by this very famous artist. The museum is three stories and it does a good job of illustrating his life through his art. The price to get into the museum is about 10 euros which is only about 13 dollars and can be purchased in the following website, http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en. It is located in Amsterdam’s museum district and getting there is rather easy. I walked about 30 beautiful minutes to get there from where I was staying downtown. The Van Gogh Museum is a must see if you are a lover of art!
The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam is a must see! Most of us had the chance of reading Anne Frank’s diary when we were growing up if not , I recommend picking up this book. This diary documents Anne Franks life while hiding during WWII with her family . The museum depicts an educational and devastating story about what life was like in hiding during the Holocaust. I have to admit, certain moments were completely sad and hard to read and or watch but definitely something that was worth the experience. The museum is very strict and has a lot of security and we were actually asked to leave the line because we had our luggage with us (now that I think of it , that does look kind of suspicious). The good thing about getting there is that it is centrally located to many other things. We literally walked off the train and went straight in to buy our tickets. We tried to purchase tickets online but it is better to purchase them in person. To purchase tickets online you have to do it a couple of months in advance. The line to get in is rather long, but you get to meet other travelers while waiting in line and may be able to get a travel tip or two from them.
Traveling by car is unnecessary in Amsterdam. Roads are made especially for bikes. You will actually see more bikes than cars in this small town. I don’t think I had to take the bus or taxi at all while I was there—I was able to walk to most of my destinations. Not only do you get to lessen the pollution and save money on bus fare but, you are also able to maintain your fitness while on vacation.
The canals in Amsterdam were in my perspective one of the best tours I have been on. Most boat rides last from 1-2 hours and tickets can be purchased in combination with another museum tour for a discounted price. I recommend purchasing tickets when you are in Amsterdam. The unique boat houses lying on top of the water are also an extra unique aspect of these beautiful canals! Taking a tour on a boat through the canals is a great way of getting good pictures of Amsterdam as well as having a romantic time with your partner.
Getting to Amsterdam on the Train-Traveling to Amsterdam from Paris was easiest by the Thalys train line. Tickets can be purchased on eurorailways.com. If you are traveling on a budget it is never good to wait for the last minute to buy train tickets. The further in advance you purchase the tickets the better. We only had to be at the train station 30 minutes before departure my ticket was only about $125 and it took less than 3 hours to get there.
I was only able to stay in Amsterdam for a day and a half. This was a very short trip of 5 countries in 10 days and I feel so lucky I was able to experience this much in Amsterdam on such a short amount of time.When traveling to Europe make sure the city or country fit your personality. The small town, laid back and easy to get along aspect of Amsterdam completely fit my laid back attitude.
The other countries I visited on this trip were Sweden, France, Denmark and Portugal. More reviews to follow! I hope to visit Amsterdam again and stay for a longer time. The perfect amount of time to go to Amsterdam I would say is 3 days. I hope to visit again and be able to lounge around at one of the bars while drinking a beer by the canals.
Feature photo credit: follow Juan Pablo de Miguel’s website 1x.com or Instagram @1x