Sunday, 10 April 2016

Amsterdam Travel Guide 2016

Travelling to a new city is always stressful when you do not know what to see/do and expect. I recently went to Amsterdam thinking the city was going to be infested with weed and other legal drugs, thankfully, it was the opposite. Amsterdam is a  petite city with the famous tall, unique houses running alongside the many canal banks, parked with numerous bikes. Cafes, bars and restaurants appeared frequently on all streets in the old town Amsterdam with vast amounts of tourist shops. So here are my must see's if you are visiting Amsterdam for culture, sights and history.

Anne Franks House| Old Town Amsterdam
Best Time: 5pm onwards
Closing Time: Last let in's are 9pm
Price: Children 10-17| 4.50 euro
Adults| 9 euro
Cafe and shop inside

Of course a Amsterdam Travel Guide would not be complete without the main feature in the city, Anne Frank House. This important landmark is situated on the canal bank :Prinsengracht 263-267, Amsterdam 1016 GV. 
If you cross the nearby bridges onto the opposite side of the canal bank, you will capture the house in full view. If you wish to enter the museum, you need to be prepared for a long wait, when I visited, we went at 4:30pm, thankfully the line had slimmed down at lot to previous times like 11am and 1pm, however we still had a 45 minute wait. If you are planning a trip months in advanced it would be ideal for you to book tickets online, however tickets sell out pronto on the official website, so keep checking! Once inside, the atmosphere is very quiet, videos talking about the Franks lifestyle are played, pictures are hung up on the walls and in each room of the house is detailed information of what the room was used for. Lastly, her actual diaries and short stories are preserved in the museum and history of how her diary became world famous.
  It is a must too see!

Van Gogh Museum 
Best Time: Any Time
Closing Time: 9pm
Price: Under 17 FREE
Adults: 20 euro
Cafe and shop inside

The Van Gogh Museum is placed in the new part of Amsterdam, which has a completely different feel to the Old Town Amsterdam as there is fewer canals and lobsided houses are replaced with lavish, large buildings. The popular I AMsterdam sign is also by the museum. The Van Gogh Museum is different to what I expected, I thought it would be like any other art gallery. It was not. It captured his life before, during and the effect of his work after he died in mass detail. A large collections of paintings set out on each of the three floors in the building, explaining what he experience at the time of the paintings and further paintings from a artists who inspired Gogh, With each painting came an in depth description of why he created the painting and what of. You get to see how his painting techniques and use of colours change as he experiences new things. A collection of his final artwork pieces he painted before he died along with personal information about his life, relationships with friends, his brother and sister in law and how his paintings and himself actually became the fame it is today. I really enjoyed this museum, so unique and perfectly laid out, even the famous sunflowers painting was proudly hung in the first floor gallery!

Boat Tour Around the Canals
Duration: 1 Hour
Best Time: Any time
Price: euro 12 pp

As Amsterdam is made up of numerous canals with landmarks stretched out alongside them, going on a boat tour is a fantastic way of travelling around the city for a sightseeing trip. You get to go past the train station which is an impressive building, parliament, Anne Franks House, monuments and other quirky museums which you may be interested in later for exploring. I would recommend sitting on the right hand side as that is the side where Anne Franks House and the famous church is placed. Furthermore, sit on a bench where the window can open and close so you can quickly open it if you fancy taking a clearer photograph. Other boat tours are alongside the canal bank which includes fine dining, pizza or burger cruise, hop on hop off boat and the 1 hour boat tour, all at varied prices and times!

Vondel Park
Best Time: Mid Morning/ Afternoon
Price: FREE
Vondel Park is the biggest park in Amsterdam, it contains lots of lakes, water features, grass and woodland area, suited for everyone. The park is friendly to dogs, bikes and children. You can even hire bikes if you like for just euro 10 an hour. Also hidden in the park is a restaurant on a small lake and numerous cafes. A good place to go for some peace and quiet from the hustle of the city. 

Additional Information 
Weather | Like in all countries the weather in Amsterdam changes repeatable. When I went at the beginning of April, it gave out warm temperatures of 18 degrees, however it turned out to be bitterly cold and windy on all days with temperatures lower than 10 degrees. I would definitely recommended taking a thick coat along with a jacker if you are planning on going in Spring. Make sure you take an umbrella!
Food | The price range of meals and dining in the city can range from dirt cheap to expensive. Typically alcohol like beer and wine is the most costly thing on the menu! Across the old town there are numerous places to eat for cheap from burger and hot dog vans too cafes in landmarks like Anne Frank Museum which is surprisingly not costly. For further dining, evening meals can be consumed at the variety of restaurants and pubs across the city, Irish bars and Italian cuisine are hugely popular! 

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