Things to do in Amsterdam Netherlands for 3 days

Friday, October 06, 2017

#WalkwithChaMikeinAmsterdam



Another city that I was so excited to visit was Amsterdam. Hearing the stories from other travelers made me very curious about this place. Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city in the Netherlands. It is famous for its magnificent canals, one-of-a-kind museums, colorful tulip fields, and bicycle friendly roads, but not only that, I think you will all agree with me that Amsterdam is more famous for two very unique attractions  - its vibrant Red Light District and Cannabis Coffeeshops.

It is the second to the last city we visited in Europe and we spent 4 days (2 full) here so we could maximize all the best attractions in Amsterdam. So from Nice, we flew to Amsterdam via Easyjet and we spent our days having the best time of our lives in the City of Freedom.


Amsterdam #OOTD
Black long sleeves top | Uniqlo
White coat | H&M (bought in Nice)
Scarf | Uniqlo
Leggings | Mint
Boots | H&M
Bag | Kate Spade
Shades | georginasasha.com

I've compiled all the attractions we visited and the activities we did. Below is the list of things that you could also do on your visit to Amsterdam.

Go on a Romantic Candlelight Canal Cruise
A great way to enjoy Amsterdam is by taking a cruise along the 300-year-old waterways. Because it's one of the best attractions in Amsterdam, there are numerous types of cruises to choose from - day cruise or night cruise, sightseeing cruise, hop-on-hop-off boat tour, pizza cruise, burger cruise, dinner cruise, small boat cruise, semi-open boat cruise but what we availed was something romantic, a Candlelight Cruise. The Candlelight Cruise is a tour of Amsterdam's historic canal district by night, accompanied by a selection of Dutch cheese, charcuterie, wine, beer and other drinks. It's perfect for honeymooners like us!

Lovers Canal Cruise
Lovers Canal Cruise
From all the tours that was being offered online, I was convinced that booking a Candlelight Cruise was the best option, aside from celebrating our honeymoon, it was also April's birthday plus it is fairly cheaper than the dinner cruise. I booked our cruise in advance HERE. Upon booking, we printed the voucher as it needs to be presented at the tour desk then they will exchange it for the actual ticket. 

Rate
€ 39

Departure Schedule
Daily | 9:00 pm
*Check in should be 20 minutes before the departure time

Duration
1 hour 

Pickup location
Prins Hendrikkade 25 (located above the P1 parking garage of the Central Station)


We were just in time for the cutoff. We were slightly lost but good thing we made it!
Our actual tickets
Lovers Canal Cruise vessel
The ambience was so romantic! There were lighted candles on each table while soft music played as we glided through the sparkling night time landscape of Amsterdam. We were offered a selection of drinks - the girls ordered white wine while the boys preferred red. 
White wine for me
#ChaMike's drinks
After a few minutes, we were served a plate full of traditional Dutch cheeses and charcuterie.
This pleasant young lad was our server for the night
Cheese and Charcuterie 
Unlimited wine and cheese anyone?
Wine & Cheese in Amsterdam while cruising along the canals is 💞
Happy Birthday, GF!
While enjoying our wine and cheese, we were mesmerized by the picturesque canals of Amsterdam under the cloak of darkness. We discovered the fascinating history of Amsterdam while our tour guide showed us the famous sites along the way.

Famous Amsterdam houses at night
Nemo Science Museum
Bimhuis Jazz Amsterdam
Enjoyed our first night in Amsterdam
It was truly an unforgettable night! The perfect way to start our Amsterdam trip as we enjoyed a unique and romantic evening at the magical canal cruise.

Visit the Rijksmuseum or Take a photo of I Amsterdam Letters
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam located in Museumplein. It is said to be the most important museum in Amsterdam, but sadly we skipped this museum because of all the sights that we had lined up in our itinerary. 

The Rijkmuseum
How to go:
From Central Station | trams 2 and 16 (Rijksmuseum tram stop)
From Zuid Station | tram 5 (Rijksmuseum tram stop)
From Sloterdijk Station | tram 12 (Museumplein tram stop)
From Amstel Station | tram 12 (Museumplein tram stop), or metro to Weesperplein, then tram 7 or 10 (Spiegelgracht tram stop)

Opening Time:

Daily | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Ticket Fee
€ 17.50

#ChaMike at the most famous spot in Amsterdam
However, it is a must to take photos with the I Amsterdam slogan just in front of the museum. This iconic sign is a bustling place for photo opportunities thus you can't have the whole signage all to yourself, however a friend, who was here weeks ahead of us, gave a pretty good tip, a trick shot which I was able to use. 

The trick is to take a photo behind the signage and flip the photo vertically to achieve this look.
How clever!
Gloomy day today
#ChaMike at I Amsterdam
Just a few walks from the slogan, we saw cherry blossom trees, lots of it! Of course we took so many shots. 

Cherry blossoms will always be my favorite flower
Been seeing cherry blossoms for four straight spring now 🌸

Can't believe I was able to see one in Europe

Visit Van Gogh Museum
Still located at the Museumplein, a few walks from the Rijksmuseum is Van Gogh Museum. Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous painters in the world and this museum houses the largest collection of works from the Dutch painter. The museum has 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters from Van Gogh himself. 

Van Gogh Museum
Opening Time:
Open daily | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fridays | 9:00 am - 10:00 pm

*Busiest times are from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Ticket Fee:
€ 17

It is very important that you book your ticket ahead of time HERE as it will most likely sell out because during our visit the tickets were sold out until the next day! That's how crowded the museum could get. Good thing I listened to other travelers' advice and followed my instincts to book in advance. When you book your tickets you should indicate the time of our visit so take note of that because they can only allow visitors to enter 30 minutes after the reserved starting time. If you will enter the museum before the reserved time, you will not be allowed to go through. 

Our online ticket where we had direct access to the museum
Inside the museum upon entering
Van Gogh Returns - The two stolen paintings were back again at the museum after 14 years
Because no picture taking is allowed inside the main museum, we had our photo taken here instead
To tell you honestly, I was not really a fan of Van Gogh until I visited this museum. Upon seeing his brilliant masterpieces I was instantly converted. We've been to numerous art museums around Europe but his works impressed me most. His tragic story and interesting personality added factor to my admiration. I must admit, I love impressionist artworks, his works are characterized by bold colors, dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushworks which contributed to the foundations of modern art. If you are a lover of impressionism and modern art, you should visit this museum. I even became teary eyed just by looking at his self portraits. 

The museum has three floors
Because I can't take a photo of the actual self portrait, took a photo here instead
A part of the museum that you can take photos of
A replica of the famous Sunflower painting
The replica allowed us to touch the painting itself
There was also a photo op session in the middle of the gallery

Writing down my email address
Our Van Gogh souvenir sent from my e-mail address
As I've said, picture taking is not allowed in this museum but I saw so many people who tried to take photos of it, so I snapped a few using my camera phone. Of course, photos will not do justice to the actual painting but glad I was able to get a few souvenir shots.

The Bedroom

Almond Blossom
Before leaving we bought souvenirs for our future home, a mandatory shot glass collection and a coffee table book. 

Souvenir Shop
Coffee Table book
Be moved by Anne's story at Anne Frank Museum
One of Amsterdam's must see attractions is the Anne Frank Museum. Anne Frank is a young German diarist who lived during World War II in Amsterdam. Her family was one of the Jewish victims who went into hiding from the Nazis in a canal-side house. Anne Frank was able to document their journey through her personal diary which later became one of the most widely known books about World War II.

Anne Frank Museum
How to go:
Walk | 20 minutes from Central Station to the museum 
Tram | 13, 14 and 17 Westermarkt stop
Buses | 170, 172 and 174 Westermarkt stop

Opening Time:
April - October | Open everyday from 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
November - March | Open everyday from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm (until 9:00 pm on Saturdays)



Last Admittance | Last entry to the museum is 30 mins before closing time, but the queue for the Anne Frank House closes earlier. Depending on how busy it is, this can be as much as 2 hours before closing time.

Ticket Fee:
Adults | € 9
Age 10-17 | € 4.50
Age 0 -9 | FREE
Online ticket surcharge | € .50 surcharge

*for more information kindly check this SITE

A welcome signage in different language just beside the museum
When booking a ticket, it is ideal that you purchase online HERE, but take note that when you book a ticket on the website you have to book two months in advance. Failing to book in advance will result you to queue for so looooong! Like what we encountered. Boo.

Online ticket schedule
9:00 am - 3:30 pm | the museum is only open to visitors with an online ticket for a specific time slot. 

Museum ticket schedule
3:00 pm - closing time | you can buy a ticket at the museum entrance. 
But visitors line up earlier so they can be first in line

Long queue for visitors without online tickets

It was so COLD!
We really wanted to purchase our tickets in advance but we didn't make the 2 month cutoff
Lined up for almost 2 hours!
When it was finally our turn, we were asked to pay the regular rate and we were given audio guides. Too bad picture taking isn't allowed but it was also a good thing as we were very much focused on the museum tour.  

Ticket and audioguide
The whole tour brought me in so much pain and goosebumps. We were able to enter inside the actual residence of the Franks years 1942-1944 where they hid in concealed rooms behind a bookcase in a building where Anne's father worked. Later on they were arrested by the Nazis and were transferred to a concentration camp where they died. It was only Anne's father who survived the Holocaust and he was also the one who published the diary. The Diary of a Young Girl has since been translated over 60 languages. 
A souvenir shop after the museum tour
Checking out what to buy as a souvenir
Left this place with a heavy heart but glad to be able to get to know a young girl who touched so many hearts including mine thru her writing. It made me appreciate my life and our current condition more because of her stories. Yes, we are beyond blessed.

Thanks, Anne, you will always have a special place in my heart and our living room. 💛
A picture at the facade, but didn't like my photo... so...
Had another photo the next day
Better lighting
Red Light District
It is known that prostitution is legal in Netherlands. A big factor why Amsterdam has been one of the most visited cities in Europe is because of the lively and unique Red Light District. De Wallen is the largest and best known red light district in Amsterdam, it is the ultimate destination for international sex tourism. De Wellen is a whole strip full of sex live shows, hookers on window display, sex stores even a sex museum. Picture taking isn't allowed and it might get you into serious trouble if you were caught taking photos of the girls. 

Literally, Red Light District!
How to go:
Trams |  1, 2, 5, 13, 14 and 17 at the Dam to et to the second Red Light District in the area located between the Single and Radhuisstraat. The third Red Light Area can be found in de Pijp behind Rijksmuseum
*Walking distance from Amsterdam Central Station

Opening Time:
The Red Light District is always open as it is a residential area. It can be visited 24/7. However the window brothels are closed for 2 hours a day between 6:00 am to 8:00 am. Most bars and clubs close at 3:00 or 4:00 pm in the weekends.

Walking along this street was so SURREAL! It's as if I'm in an alternate universe, seeing all these bikini-clad women in every glass window strutting their stuff, trying to impress bystanders, just waiting for someone to avail of their service was so unbelievably entertaining. Most of the crowd (like us) visit this place just to people watch.
Casa Rosso is the most famous live show at the strip. Notice the red lighted windows at the right? A hooker is standing there

Moulin Rouge
But aside from people watching we dared ourselves to watch a Live Show for € 40 each, it comes with an entrance fee to a live sex show and a drink of your choice. We were accompanied by backpackers and groups of young tourists who wanted to have a fun night. Definitely, that was one exhilarating and unique night we had!

Moulin Rouge, another live show. We availed this one instead.
Our ticket and drink
Cannabis Coffeeshop and Cannabis Stores
Along the red light district and its neighboring areas you can also encounter "Coffeeshops" and Cannabis Stores. In Amsterdam, the word coffeeshop has a different meaning. No, these are not the usual cafes we visit if we want to have coffee. People go here if they want to try weed. If you haven't heard, soft drugs are legal in the Netherlands and one of the reasons why Amsterdam is very popular among tourists is because of this legal privilege. 
One of the Coffeeshops in Amsterdam
Weed
Different Cannabis items in a Cannabis store
Rent a Bike and Go Cycling Around the City
If you've been following #ChaMike for years, you probably know that we love riding bikes whenever we travel like in Sydney, Seoul, Kyoto, Siem Reap, we even rode a motorbike in Rome! Of course we didn't leave Amsterdam without riding a bicycle. Amsterdam is one of the cities that has a bike friendly environment, in fact, there are more bicycles than cars in Amsterdam so there are ample bike parking areas, dedicated bike paths and was even awarded the most bicycle friendly city in the world! 

Bike for Rent
So riding a bike in Amsterdam was truly a must for us! Good thing the hotel we stayed here offers bike rentals so on our last day in Amsterdam we allotted 3 hours in the morning biking around. 

Rental Fee:
1st Day | € 15
First 3 hours | € 9
2nd Day | + € 12.5 
3rd Day or more | + € 10 
*Includes insurance, hand brakes and gears

Because of time constraints, we availed the 3 hours only.

Ready to bike!
We made the most out of the three hours by exploring some parts of the neighborhood we didn't get to visit. We also went to a recommended breakfast place a couple of blocks from our hotel via bike. 

Bike signals
Biking along the neighborhood
Almost all roads in Amsterdam are accessible via bike
We can see why Amsterdam is the safest city to ride a bike
Yes, no helmets needed when riding a bike in Amsterdam
Glad we were able to bicycle even for just 3 hours
On our way to go breakfast
Parking our bikes
Recommended breakfast place a few blocks from our hotel 
Kuekenhof Tulip Garden
During spring there are more than 7 million bulbs in this garden! Good thing our honeymoon was on April, perfect time visit . Tulips are well known in Netherlands and because I've been wanting to visit a tulip field we went to the biggest tulip garden near Amsterdam. More of our experience on a separate post soon.


Kuekenhof Tulip Fields
A surreal moment to be able to witness all these beautiful tulips around me!
a #ChaMikiss at the windmill 😚
Adore the Canals of Amsterdam
The 165 canals surrounding Amsterdam provided postcard worthy attraction in the city. The canal ring is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reason why we tried to take photos on almost all the canals we encountered.

Day 1
We arrived in Amsterdam in the afternoon (close to daybreak) but at least we were able to see the canals during daylight. We explored Amsterdam canals thru a river cruise at night. 


Canal near our hotel
It was almost daybreak and it was freezing cold!
Inside the boat while we cruise the canals
Day 2
We had a full day in Amsterdam on our second day so we were able to see many canals.


Canal in front of Anne Frank Museum
Caught this beautiful canal while walking around Jordaan
Lovely bridge along Jordaan
Another canal we saw near Red Light District
Wearing Georgina Sasha sunnies
I was 'Taken' by Amsterdam 💕
Day 3
Our 3rd day was more relaxed so we were able to walk around the city and appreciate the canals 


Saw this while we were lost in Amsterdam
Narrow but beautiful canal 💓
We saw a wisteria flowers while walking 💜
Canal at the Groenburgwal
One of the most famous canals in Amsterdam. Claude Monet even painted this canal
It has a great view of the tower of Zuiderkerk
At the other side of the bridge you can see love locks
The iconic houses of Amsterdam
This pretty backdrop deserved a photo op
Canal at Prinsengracht
Lovely canal at the Prinsengracht
Walk with Cham
#ChaMikiss at the canal
Almost night
Day 4
Our last day was dedicated for biking near our hotel. Of course we encountered so many canals along the way

Canal at De Pijp
Biking at the bridge in Sarphatistraat
Bike with Mike
Shop at Albert Cuypmarkt
Just a walking distance from our hotel is the Albert Cuypmarkt. Named after the dutch artist, Albert Cuypmarkt. This is the largest street market in Netherlands and has over 300 stalls.


Albert Cuypmarkt
How to go:
Tram | 16 (Albert Cuypstraat stop) & 4 (Stadhouderskade)

Opening Time:
Mondays - Saturdays | 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


It sells  food, flowers, clothing, even brands like Birkenstock
Walking along the market, looking for something to buy
Wasn't able to buy anything though
But Mike bought something to eat. Food stalls can be seen in every area.
Of course waffle!
More waffles!
Waffles are a big hit in Amsterdam!
Eat
We didn't try most of the Dutch cuisine as we ate food that we usually preferred. During this time, we had been craving for Filipino food or at least Asian food. But I still listed here the food we tried in Amsterdam. 

Waffles
Waffles are very much popular in Amsterdam and because we love eating waffles, we ate a lot of it during our stay. We even bought stroopwafels to take home.

Waffles for breakfast
Our first breakfast in Amsterdam before we went to Van Gogh Museum

Waffles we bought to take home

Pancakes
Aside from waffles, we ate a number of pancakes too. Dutch pancakes have a distinct, flat, fluffy pancakes making it a popular dish in Amsterdam.

Pancake Restaurant
Ordered a regular pancake with powdered sugar and syrup
The Pancake Bakery is a popular pancake restaurant in Amsterdam
We ordered savory pancakes for dinner
Dutch Fries
Mike's all time favorite snack! But its not just the usual fries. The thick cut fries are served in a piping hot paper cone with mayo. Yum yum!

Dutch Fries!
Cantarell Restaurant
Located near our hotel in Weesperplein, Cantarell serves traditional and non- traditional cuisine. We ordered burgers, spareribs and nasi goreng

Cantarell Restaurant
International Cuisine
I told you we craved for something Asian, good thing we saw a Chinese restaurant along the street near De Wallen. Mike ordered Chinese fried rice or Yang Chow while I ordered Wanton Mami.

Yang Chow for Mike
Wanton Mami for me
Bakers & Roasters
A popular breakfast restaurant near our hotel. It was recommended by the hotel's concierge so we biked a few blocks to experience their big breakfast meals. 

Bakers and Roasters
Amsterdam will always remain memorable to us. It's probably the most unique place in Europe we visited. It's actually Mike's top city in Europe, I'd probably say the same but during that time, the weather was so cold, sometimes I can't even tolerate it. But yes, Amsterdam is one DAMn good city!

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