It was exactly a year ago that I took a long weekend to Amsterdam for my friend’s 21st birthday. We had a right old laugh and I’d go back in a heartbeat if I had the chance.
Apart from the cool bars, incredible architecture and one of a kind attractions, there are a few things that still stand out to me about good old Amdam. These aren’t necessarily good or bad things but you should definitely consider all eight of them before heading off on your trip!
One of the most annoying things I noticed while we were out there was you need to book tickets for literally EVERYTHING. I don’t know why I was so unorganised not to look anything up in the first place (normally I spend like a week on Tripadvisor before a holiday) but for most attractions, you need to book in advance. We had an absolute shocker when we turned up to Anne Frank’s house to be greeted by a four-hour queue and no chance of getting in!
Keep an eye on your bag
I know this goes for most cities but seriously, keep an eye on your bag and pockets. There are pickpockets in busy areas so just keep your wits about you and keep your money, phone, camera and anything of value zipped up!
Shops open late on Mondays
If you plan on heading to the shops (which are amazing btw), just remember they open late on Mondays! We woke up bright and early on our final day, paced it over to the Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat just to find all the shops were closed! Don’t make the same mistake!
Wrap up warm
This is only relevant if you’re going in winter time as I’m surely it’s lovely in summer but just remember to bring a warm coat! It gets so bloody cold out there and even a scarf, beanie and Barbour jacket didn’t keep me toasty!
A lot of canals look the same
We definitely learnt this the hard way after getting lost a few times because most of the bridges and canals look exactly the same! So if your group splits up and decides to meet up at ‘this bridge’ then good luck finding each other (unless you have extremely good memories!)
Watch out for the bikes
I swear I almost got mowed down by at least twenty bikes in the space of four days. They’re so dangerous! Make sure you look both ways and any other way you can think of before crossing roads or pathways and whatever you do, don’t walk in the bike lane!
You can’t smoke tobacco in coffee shops
This is a bit of a bummer for any smokers as you can only smoke tobacco outside. Just remember while your chums are cosy inside smoking a joint, you’ll be outside in the freezing cold just to have a normal cigarette! I understand this isn’t relevant to everyone but if you’re a smoker, it’s worth remembering!
The Red Light District is overwhelming
I swear nothing could prepare me for the Red Light District. Nothing. I had no idea what to expect and for someone who struggles with anxiety, it was all a bit too much for me. I tried acting as if I had blinkers on but there’s so much going on, it can be hard to ignore it all!
Amsterdam really is one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to and I can’t recommend it enough! I’m hoping to go back next year and I will 100% be packing more warm clothes and pre-booking tickets to everything!
Have you been before? What are your favourite things about Amsterdam?