Amsterdam was definitely one of the coolest and most unique cities I have visited on this trip. The city has beautiful architecture, a lovely canal system, and overall a very cool vibe.
I spent 3 days in Amsterdam which I found to be a good amount of time.
We were lucky enough to be visiting during the last weekend of the tulip festival at Keukenhof Tulip Festival. This is where the massive tulip fields and gardens are located about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam. It was absolutely beautiful to see all of the different colours and types of flowers and different types of gardens and even a petting zoo. We walked around for about half a day here because there was so much to see. Earlier in the season (April), the fields are still filled with tulips so I hope to have the chance to go back then!
The city is also full of local flower markets which are lovely to see. The local markets in general are very nice to visit and offer lots of good food options for snacks, lunch and groceries! We ended up grabbing everything we needed for a picnic lunch from one of these markets.
A flower market in Amsterdam:
The city has absolutely beautiful architecture with buildings dating back hundreds of years. We learned on a tour that the city was built on a swamp and that’s why the canals were built. Some of the buildings are even slanting forward because of the uneven soft foundation.
Amsterdam is very well known for its bicycle culture. Everyone is on bikes all the time, they are definitely more prominent than cars or even pedestrians. We did a 3 hour bike tour which was by far the best way to see the city and learn about the history of the city. As a planner it was amazing to see a place where cyclists are the priority on the streets. Think bike lanes on steroids, with cyclist signals and bike racks everywhere! No one even wears helmets when cycling because it’s so safe, and people carry all kinds of things while biking including their children in baskets on the front of their bikes!
It’s also worth noting that the city also has a great metro and tram system. We bought two day passes when we were there and got a lot of use out of them!
We decided when we were in Amsterdam that we wanted to do a Canal tour. Luckily after some research we realized we could actually rent our own boat! We rented a boat for two hours which was surprisingly affordable for a group of five. This was a great way to explore the canals on our own, have a “picnic”, and learn how to drive a boat!
Amsterdam has a ton of museums as well, which I will definitely check out on my next visit! The Van Gogh museum would be first on my list!