Forget the cheesy stereotypes, there’s more to Amsterdam than weed, sex, and prostitution. I personally got caught up in the cliché. Amsterdam is packed with art, canals and a lively nightlife – and with so much to do the cost of your trip can soon creep up. Yet it is possible to enjoy the city on a budget, and “you won’t even need to go Dutch!”
Where To Stay – Jaz Amsterdam Hotel
Jaz Amsterdam is in the Zuidoost district of Amsterdam. One of the greatest benefits about this hotel is its proximity to event venue Ziggo Dome and the Amsterdam Arena. Amsterdam RAI Convention centre is at 3.1 miles distance, while Schiphol Airport is 7.5 miles away, with the city centre within 15 minutes. Zuidoost is a great choice for travelers interested in sightseeing, city trips, and atmosphere. Jaz Amsterdam was rated for best value & top 10 luxury hotel, I believe this because of its music theme which is one of a kind. So you know where to stay when you’re next in Amsterdam.
Get Your Bike On
Biking through the streets of Amsterdam without knowing our way around the city is probably one of the fun things to do. Bike rental costs vary but we got each bike for something around €10 per hour with a security deposit of €50 which you get back on returning the bikes. I’m from Oxford which is probably the bike city of the United Kingdom so I’ve always had a thing for bikes also Amsterdam roads are dedicated to bikes with a lot of bike lanes.
Take A Selfie With The Amsterdam Sign
The I Amsterdam sign is behind the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein and is a popular spot for holiday snaps. You can’t visit Amsterdam without taking a picture on this art piece.
Amsterdam is well known for its festivals and they’re actually very good with a multicultural audience and they don’t come much bigger than the annual Oh My Music Festival among others, which takes place at the Arena Park in the Oosterpark district of the city each July. Personally, I’d say forget your annual Wireless Festival, Nothing Hill Carnival or Ghana In The Park as all you get these days are fights and disputes, expensive tickets and a bait environment where you know nearly everyone and it feels like you’re being watched hence you tend to have less fun. Festivals in Amsterdam are a lot cheaper, not to say fights do not exist but from my experience at my last festival, there were just crazy fun vibes all through. I believe the only issue was an overweight guy who passed out from the happiness. I was told the festival was so great he passed out from enjoyment. Expect amazing production and elaborate staging, graffiti artists, delicious food and good vibes. Festicket is a website I use as they are very secure and offer great festival packages including hotels.
If you’re planning on visiting Amsterdam, it’s probably safe to accept that you haven’t chosen to visit this lovely country because of its food. Unlike Italy, France, or Greece, Netherlands isn’t exactly well known for its traditional dishes. With that being said, you’d be surprised at what I found in Amsterdam, a Nigerian restaurant called Obalade Suya Restaurant. As a normal practice, being Nigerian and having so much love for my traditional dishes, I make it a priority to find Nigerian restaurants in every country I visit. Everyone knows or have heard about Jollof rice so please don’t question my addiction, but it’s safe to also try the local dishes Holland has to offer like:
Oliebollen – similar to donuts, oliebollen are basically deep-fried balls of dough (it literally “oil balls”). Sold only in the fall and early winter, these delicious treats are served at stalls which pop up across the country as the temperatures start to drop. When you order one, make sure you request it warm and never turn down their offer to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. Yes, you will possibly end up with powdered sugar all down your front, but it’ll absolutely be worth it.
Poffertjes – are much more similar to American-style pancakes than pannenkoeken in terms of consistency and taste, however, they are much smaller than American pancakes. You can often find poffertjes being sold at street retailers where they are cooked right in front of your eyes Lekker! (Tasty)
Visit A’dam Look Out
A’DAM LOOKOUT is one of the experiences I intended to have but unfortunately, due to my limited stay on this holiday, I was unable to go. It’s said to be Europe’s highest swing as you can appreciate panoramic views of Amsterdam from A’DAM LOOKOUT. It offers you the finest 360-degree views of the city and beyond. On the observation deck you will enjoy views of the famous Amsterdam canals. You’ll feel free as a bird when you stand on the lookout platform. The Heavenly elevator will take you 20 floors up within 22 seconds. This futuristic elevator is equipped with sound and light effects for a spectacular start to your visit. At the top, you will be greeted by a fantastic 360˚ view of Amsterdam. There are an indoor deck and an open-air sky deck on which you can enjoy the sights. It costs €12 and on the plus side, there’s a free ferry that gets you there from Amsterdam Central Station.
Amsterdam is packed with artwork, monuments and graffiti, make sure you at least take a picture or two or do as we did and take a whole photo shoot.
5 Tips when Visiting Amsterdam
- Travel to Amsterdam via the Eurostar Train from London Euston, it’s a direct 3 hours 41 minutes journey. It’s not a short trip but I believe a vast majority of people are frightened of flying and the hassle of airports could be stressful at times. Taking the train will probably be the cheapest way to get to the Netherlands. If booked early you could secure a one-way ticket for £35, as the London to Amsterdam Direct Eurostar link is a new route, the Dutch government hasn’t yet set up passport control at Amsterdam station, so on your return, you’ll have to go through passport control in Brussels. According to Eurostar, direct returns will likely be available by the end of 2019, I’d suggest flying back to the UK instead via Easy Jet which you could get for as little as £25.
- Use the metro & Trams, all travel within Amsterdam requires an ‘OV-chipkaart’ – basically, a card that you tap in and out with, much like a London Oyster card. It works out cheaper than taking Ubers or Taxis.
- Architecture, Amsterdam is known for its architecture and they look great. Visit a few museums and explore the city so you could really see how great the architecture really is.
- Rent A Bike, they are a big deal in Amsterdam. If you want to explore the city like a local there really is no other way than to hire a bike. There are many bike hire companies you can use, which are easy to find and affordable.
- Visit The Canals, the canal isn’t just there for pretty pictures, there’s also a lot of buzz and activity around it. A canal cruise is one of the best ways to see the city and there are many you can try or perhaps try the free ferry around the city central.
Written by: Samson Olalekan
Photos from Going Places Blog