Our second stop was Amsterdam (spoiler alert: we did not go for the drugs)! We both had never been to this city (or The Netherlands in general), and I’m so so so glad that we did. The appeal of this city was obviously 1.) everyone bikes and bikes are everywhere and 2.) canal cities are magical.
Check out below for more from our Amsterdam adventures and learn why this city was my favorite of our trip and might be my new favorite city ever (sorry London)! This was also my most “Sporty Spice” outfit for exploring the city on rented bikes (and eating too many Dutch cheese samples)!
Top Ten Things to Do in Amsterdam (in the order we did them):
- Anne Frank House – This (beyond renting bikes) was my most important “stop” in Amsterdam. We got to Amsterdam around 5:00pm and unloaded our bags at our AirBnB and went for a walk. We just happened to find our way to the Anne Frank House and the line was only a 30-minute wait to get into the building (some tour books said that at the busiest time, it might be a three hour wait), so we got in line. I had reread most of Anne’s diary on the plane ride over to Europe, and it was really moving and special to be there.
- Walking Along the Canals – We found out that the best (and prettiest) way to explore the city of Amsterdam was to pick a canal and walk/bike along it. It’s crazy to see that nearly all the homes have a canal view and most of the canals were lined with bikes and houseboats! Just a really pretty scene!
- Sample Dutch Cheese – Sign me up! Cheese is a top food group for me (jokes…but really), so I was excited to sample all the different varieties of Dutch cheeses. Right next to the Tulip Museum (see below) is a store hilariously called the Cheese Museum that offers samples of EVERY SINGLE ONE of their cheese. So of course, I tried nearly all of them. Heaven, I tell ya!
- Visit the Tulip Museum – Because we’re too cheap to pay the admission price (a constant theme on our travels if you haven’t figured out yet), we just ducked into the gift shop where they had 100s of tulip bulbs for sale. Tulips are my favorite flower of all time, so I was excited to see all the different varieties (some I didn’t even know existed – like the ice cream tulip here)!
- Eat a Stroopwafel – The Husband and I would agree that this was the best thing that we ate during the entire 14-day trip. It’s hard to explain, but basically imagine the thinnest, crispiest waffle cookie and layer that with a warm caramel syrup and another thin and crispy waffle cookie. Delicious when made fresh by a street vendor and still good when store bought! Someone on Instagram mentioned that you may be able to buy them at Trader Joe’s so I know what I’ll be adding to my basket next time I’m there!
- Rent a Bike – There was NO way that this bike-loving-gal wasn’t going to bike in Amsterdam (aka City of Bikes)! The city has the nicest bike streets (over 2,480 miles of them), and nearly everyone bikes (there are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people!). I had heard horror stories of people being yelled at in Dutch and nearly run over, but we didn’t experience any of that (though The Husband’s rented bike did have a chain come loose/off).
- Take a Day Trip to Bruges – We’re obsessed with checking new countries off our list AND a restaurant here in Indianapolis called Brugge (that serves Belgium food, including mussels and frites – my fav!), so we knew we had to take a day trip to Bruges, Belgium, since it is so close to The Netherlands. We didn’t end up having a ton of time to explore the city, but it’s frequently referred to “the Venice of the North”, so imagine lots of beautiful waterways and a maze of roads and lots of mussels and frites. A very fun trip!
- Visit a Windmill – Amsterdam is known for tulips and windmills, and since we had already seen the Tulip Museum, we had to take a day trip to see a full-working windmill in the Dutch countryside. It was a great trip – super informative and a reminder of a really idyllic lifestyle!
- Try on Some Wooden Shoes – The ultimate fashion accessory in The Netherlands (kidding…slightly)! We saw how they were made, and it’s a pretty neat process, plus they’re apparently perfect for farmers and super wet climates!
- Evening Canal Cruise – We booked this right before leaving for Europe for our last night in Amsterdam, and I’m so glad that we did! We love being on the water and seeing the city in a new way, and this evening cruise featured a cheese plate (#somuchcheese) and unlimited wine. Sign me up! The captain drove us around for roughly 90 minutes and provided some facts when passing various landmarks. It was a magical way to end our wonderful time in Amsterdam!
Windmills, bikes, tulips, and cheese? What more could anyone want? Stay tuned for The Husband’s favorite stop! There will be two more Europe posts next week on Wednesday/Thursday!
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? More importantly, did you ride bikes or try stroopwafel?