The following is a guest post by Sujata Ghosh.
My friend Anna and I were planning a trip to Amsterdam for quite some time, but due to my work, our trip always postponed. Last month I decided to give myself a much needed break. So we booked our flight tickets and went to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Europe, and throughout the year, around 75 festivals are held here. We went to Amsterdam on the first week of March for seven days. Before going to Amsterdam, Anna booked our tickets for “5 days off” festival. “5 days off” festival is an electronic musical festival held for five days. As we were more interested in exploring the city, we only booked our tickets for one day.
We hired two bicycles, as this is the most convenient way to travel in Amsterdam. If you are not comfortable using a cycle, then the tram is also a good option. Cycle rentals are available throughout the city and they are not expensive. We hired our cycles at central station from a company named Mac Bike cycles for two days at a rate €6.50 per day. They generally provide their customers with a city map, but if you are not good with maps, most of the cycle rental companies offer guided tour of the city. But we decided not to take a guided tour and headed to explore one of Europe’s most famous cultural cities.
Half of all traffic comprises of cyclists, and cyclists are well respected on the road. All the major roads have cycle paths, so visitors won’t face any problem while cycling around the city. There are few things I would like to mention:
- Always lock your cycle; if possible, use multiple locks
- Follow traffic rules; do not jump any red lights
- Try to walk your cycle in a crowded street or pedestrian zone
- Use a light when cycling at night
Museums in Amsterdam are among the main tourist attractions. There are approximately 50 museums. Out of 50, Anna and I selected five museums that we wanted to visit.
We first went to Rijksmuseum, the largest museum in Netherlands. Every year, almost 1 million people visit this museum. The opening time is from 9 AM – 6 PM every day, and the ticket price is €12.50 for adults.
Our next destination was Van Gogh Museum. As the name suggests, the museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world. Van Gogh’s paintings have been arranged chronologically into five different periods, and each of these periods represents different phases of his life and work. The museum remains open from 10 AM – 6PM, and the entrance ticket costs €10. I would recommend you to buy your tickets online to avoid the long queues. This museum is very small compared to Rijksmuseum, but the admission fee is nearly same. So if you are not a big fan of Van Gogh, you might be disappointed.
Next day we visited Amsterdam Historical Museum. This collection of paintings, prints, sculptures and archeological finds shows us how Amsterdam grew from a small medieval town into a world famous city. The museum opens from 10AM – 5PM Monday to Friday and on weekends from 11 AM – 5 PM. The entry fee is €10 for adults.The front of the Anne Frank House
We next went to the famous Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam. Anne Frank was one of the most famous and widely discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She became famous posthumously when her diary was published. She wrote this diary while hiding in a small annex at Prinsengracht 263, where Anne’s father also had his business. They lived there for nearly two years before Nazis found them. This museum is all about Anne Frank; you can see where Anne Frank went into hiding, her early life, the situation of Germany at that time, and more. The opening hours are 9AM – 9PM from March 15 to September 14. From September 15 to March 14, it is open from 9 AM – 7PM. From July – August, it is open from 9AM – 10PM. The entry fee is €8.50 for an adult.
After we finished visiting our five museum tour, we hired a water bike to go around the canals in the city. I must admit that it is one of the most memorable experiences of my Amsterdam trip. You can hire a water bike near Rijksmuseum.
We took a walk through the “9 streets,” which is the most delightful shopping areas in Amsterdam. We explored jewelry shops, designer boutiques, art galleries, gift shops, and fashion shops. On our last day we went to Leidseplein Square, which is a like Oxford Street in London, where we had some local dishes, like Bitterballen, Bamiblok, Frikandel and Pannekoek (pancakes). If you are in Amsterdam, I would recommend that you try their most famous food, chips with mayonnaise.
The best time to visit Amsterdam is between mid-April to mid-September. But we went to Amsterdam in early March, so we were able book our hotel in Amsterdam at a low rate. March is off-peak period, so many hoteliers offer great hotel deals that you might not be able to find during the popular summer season.
Sujata Ghosh writes for Hotels.com. Hotels.com provides reviews on 307 Amsterdam hotels. Compare cheap Amsterdam hotels for your next trip at Hotels.com.
Anne Frank House photo by Rainer Ebert