Here, on Amsterdamian, I’m always writing about places that I have visited and enjoy in this beautiful city, in quite a random order. Now I think it’s time for me to start collecting all the information I have gathered in a few condensed articles, for the people who don’t have time to browse the entire blog and put it all together.
I’ll start with the first five places that I would recommend seeing when visiting Amsterdam:
The Canal Belt — every trip to Amsterdam should include a walk through these beautiful canals: Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. This central part of the city is the architectural heritage from old Amsterdam and it will offer you a glimpse into how the people used to live in the city, combined simultaneously with how they live now. The beauty of the canals will charm you for sure, and you’ll spend plenty of time admiring this area, but don’t forget that it’s also the part of the city where you’ll find interesting places to visit like Anne Frank Museum, Westerkerk, Foam Photography Museum and more, as well as many good restaurants, bars, and shops.
Museumplein (Museum Square) and the museum trio: Van Gogh, Stedelijk, Rijkmuseum. This is the place to be for an art lover. The museums here are the most visited in the Netherlands and that’s because they exhibit great art collections, both old and new, and permanently organise different art events. You can spend a whole day in this area visiting the different museums, attending a concert at the Concertgebouw, maybe an open air concert in the square, skating on the ice-skating rink at Rijkmuseum, and taking the mandatory photo with the I Amsterdam letters next to Rijkmuseum.
Vondelpark — situated only a few meters away from Museumplein, Vondelpark is perfect for a well deserved rest after an exhausting day visiting different points of interest in the city. Go there, enjoy the green colours, the water and the birds, lay down on the grass and look at the sky (if you’re lucky and it’s not raining), have a picnic or just an ice cream, watch people reading books, running and playing. Amsterdam has plenty of great parks (Flevopark, Westerpark, Frankendael, Rembrandtpark) and all of them are worth a visit, but I’m recommending this one in particular because the location is more convenient for someone with less time to spend in the city (and that’s always the case when you are a tourist, isn’t it?).
The Red Light District — also known as De Wallen, is the controversial neighbourhood of Amsterdam made famous by the women parading semi-naked in the red lit windows. The streets are busy, especially during the night, but they are generally safe and can be visited without fear (just watch out the pickpockets). No one will interrogate you, or make you do anything you don’t want to do. But this area has more to offer than just the ladies in the windows. The Oude Kerk, the oldest building in the city, is right in the heart of this district and often hosts art exhibitions or events (the most famous being the World Press Photo award ceremony). The architecture of the surrounding buildings is interesting and definitely worth a look.
Jordaan neighbourhood — is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Amsterdam, in my opinion. Bordered by the Lijnbaansgracht canal to the west, the Prinsengracht to the east, the Brouwersgracht to the north and the Leidsegracht to the south, this neighbourhood is famous for its beautiful, romantic small streets, chic and vintage shops, good cafés and restaurants, and the sound of Westerkerk bells. Originally built to house poor workers, today Jordaan is the home of students, artists and young professionals, and a continuous source of inspiration. Just walk around the green streets, take some pictures, browse the unique shops and have a beer in a brown bar, and soon you’ll start dreaming of owning a house in this neighbourhood!
I hope I have given you some ideas. I’ll be back in the following parts with more recommendations, some not always mentioned in the tourist guides.