Amsterdam, also called the Venice of the North, is a city of a remarkable beauty. The canals, full of boats parked at both sides and the typical architecture of the buildings give it a unique personality that you won’t be able to forget. Besides, Amsterdam centre has a very interesting history: Most of it was built during the 17th century, and it is one of the biggest in Europe.
Amsterdam was born as a little fishermen’s village in the 12th century. It takes its name from the Amstel river. In the period of the Dutch Golden Age (also in the 17th century), it would become one of the most important ports around the world, and this wonderful history can be found nowadays in its streets and its canals.
If you book one of the apartments in Amsterdam Centre, you will be able to experience first-hand how fun the capital of the Netherlands is! Among the Amsterdammers, which is how they call themselves, there are many young people, and many of them are expats. Amsterdam has one of the highest percentages of foreign residents in Europe, and the Dutch usually speak very good English, so you will have no problem communicating.
Amsterdam is also full of students, since the University of Amsterdam has campuses all around town. You will also see young couples, artists… and lots and lots of tourists like yourself!
If you’re staying in one of the apartments in Amsterdam centre and you want to do some shopping, you will have plenty of options to do so. Behind Dam Square, you will find the shopping centre The Bijenkorf, located in a beautiful building. Here, you will find many clothing shops and also shops where you can buy toys, make-up, stationery or souvenirs – and beautiful ones!
If you prefer to go shopping outside so you can enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam centre, you can find all the major clothing brands in Leidsestraat (around Leidseplein) and Kalverstraat, which starts in Dam Square. Don’t forget to go shopping for books in Spui and for flowers in the Bloemenmarkt (the Flower Market), located in the Singel canal!
But if you are in Amsterdam Centre, you should do some vintage shopping as well! Amsterdam is one of the capitals of vintage fashion, and there are plenty of wonderful second-hand and designer’s shops where you can find unique gems. In The Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets) you will find plenty of amazing little shops, and you can’t forget about the flea markets! Waterlooplein Markt opens every day, and on Mondays and Saturdays you need to pay a visit to the wonderful Noordermarkt, where you will be able to admire the beautiful location even if you end up not buying anything. It’s located next to the Noorderkerk.
The best way to move around Amsterdam is by bike – no question about it! It’s what the locals use, and the bike lanes at the rush hours can be as crowded as the roads – but without traffic jams! There are plenty of places where you can rent a bike, and there are different deals if you rent more than one or if you rent them for several days. Be careful with it, though, especially if you’re not used to cycling in a city. Amsterdam centre is easy to cycle because it’s very well prepared for it, but remember to do your best not to be a hassle for the locals. If you’re lost, get out of the bike lane until you know which way to go, and do the mandatory signs when you’re going to turn to avoid accidents.
If you’re travelling with small children, you can rent a special bike to carry them as well. It’s called the bakfiets, and it’s a bike with a trolley in the front so your children can sit there as you pedal. The locals use it too!
But if none of these options satisfy you, you can also walk. Amsterdam centre is quite reachable by foot, so you can use your own feet as means of transportation.
We recommend that you always check your map to see if you’re in the right direction. Amsterdam’s streets are arranged in a spider web shape, and it’s easy to get lost or confused.
There are tons of things to do in Amsterdam centre! The main one is walking around to enjoy the beauty of the buildings, something that will satisfy you by itself. However, you can do that while learning a lot about the city if you go on one of the several free tours organised by several companies. They usually start in Dam Square, next to the National Monument, and can be offered in different languages. The tour guides will walk you around many attractions of the city and will explain lots of interesting facts about its history. They’re very complete, since they can last up to three hours! They are free, but remember to tip your tour guide generously, since they tend to do a very good job and they make a living out of the tips!
Once you’ve done your free tour, there are plenty of other options: You can learn some more history by visiting Anne Frank House, visit the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum, or go relax in one of the beautiful parks of the city, like Vondelpark.
You can’t leave Amsterdam centre without trying one of the Dutch delicatessen, such as the bitterballen! They are a particular type of croquettes that are served in the bars and pubs of the city, together with other different snacks that you can order.
If you want to have a proper meal, Amsterdam centre offers a variety of wonderful restaurants, both in Dutch and International cuisine. But one of the nicest options to have lunch is to go to one of the local supermarkets (most of them from the Albert Heijn chain) and buy some of the ready-made sandwiches, pies and juices and to go enjoy a picnic in a park!
Nightlife is one of the most exciting parts of Amsterdam centre – there is plenty to do, and there are options that will satisfy all tastes! Of course, there are plenty of coffee shops if you want to try one of Amsterdam’s main attractions, but there are also lots of wonderful pubs and bars where you can try different kinds of beers. The Netherlands is not Belgium, but the typical bar still offers a wider variety of beers than the one in your hometown. You just need to walk around a bit and you’ll find plenty of nice bars, like The Minds, or coffee shops, like The Doors. If you like jazz, don’t forget to visit Café Alto, around Leidseplein!
If you want to go dancing, there are also many fantastic clubs, like Paradiso, Melkweg and Studio 80.
For those who want to continue sightseeing during the night, there are some companies that offer tours around the Red Light District at night.