Amsterdam is the major tourist destination in the Netherlands. Half of all tourists who come to the country visit only this city. We must say that the city is really cool and manages to satisfy everyone. We decided to divide the interesting places by categories.
Find a map of the city center at the end of the article, it'll be quite enough for you. There's no need to prepare special routes, two days will be enough to see all marked places from the map and walk everywhere.
The historic center is quite compact and is limited by numerous canals, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The canals give the city an individual flavor. They are different from those in St. Petersburg or Venice, and their number is really great, hundreds of kilometers. A trip on the pleasure boat costs 8-10 euros.
And, of course, bicycles, because the Netherlands is a bicycle capital of the world. This is the only country in the world where bicycles outnumber the population. According to various estimates, from 40 to 60 percent of all trips in the country are bike trips.
At the end of the article there's a map with two great cycling routes in Amsterdam. Renting a bike is not a problem, it costs from €9 to €13 per day. The most famous bike rental is MacBike on the central station.
This is the most famous place in Amsterdam, which is visited by 20% of all tourists who come to the country. Prostitution is partially legalized in the Netherlands, that's why a few blocks in the old city turned into a huge brothel. The girls stand in the windows, and the rooms are located right behind them. Normally a session lasts 15 minutes. The entire area is very civilized, the vast majority of tourists come just to walk and see.
We hadn't been prepared for the trip, so it was a bit difficult to find the district, although it was in the downtown. Pay attention to the maps at the bottom of the page and find the location.
The country has partially legalized marijuana and it's well known among tourists who come here to smoke and eat mushrooms. We don't belong to them so we tried only chocolate with marijuana :)
On January 1, 2013, a law restricting the sale of marijuana to foreigners came into force. However, this decision has caused great controversy in the country, so everything can change during your visit.
Two of the most famous museums in Amsterdam are the National Museum (Rijksmuseum) and the Van Gogh Museum. As the first one was closed for restoration, we went to the second one.
The museums are located on the Museum Square where we went in the morning of the second day. There's no subway stations near the square, but there are many tram lines (##2 and 5 from the central station). One of several famous "I amsterdam" signs is located on the square.
Unfortunately, taking pictures with this symbol is not possible anymore, since it was removed at the beginning of 2019. Someone decided that it incorrectly represents the values of the city and makes individualists out of the mass tourists. I would not be surprised if, in reality, it was removed because tourists did not spend money here, since entertainment was free.
One of the interesting places in Amsterdam is the flower market. Netherlands is the world's largest exporter of flower bulbs. We purchased different tulip bulbs. The market is located on the Singel Canal, between the Koningsplein and Muntplein streets (map).
The Netherlands is one of the three largest exporters of cheese in the world. In the downtown you can find some great cheese shops, which cannnot be passed by. The names of the most famous cheeses Gouda, Masdamer, Edam, and Lerdamer were given by the name of the area where they were produced.
We should say that as well as the chocolate, Ukrainian cheeses are not worse then Dutch.
Besides cheese and flowers, the Netherlands is known as the birthplace of brands Amstel, Grolsch, and Heineken. The country belongs to the top 3 leading exporters of beer in the world. There's an intersting beer museum in Amsterdam - Heineken Experience (78 Stadhouderskade, schedule and tickets), it's quite modern with many interactive exhibits. Although we don't drink beer, we'll try to visit it next time.
We visited only one park in the city, Oosterpark. The most curious thing is that we don't remember why and how we got there. The last memory was a chocolate bar with marijuana :)
In general, there's a lot of parks in the city. The most popular one is Vondelpark. In 2008, people were allowed to have sex in this park (and in some others). Of course, away from children's play areas. We already saw the same in Sweden.
Getting there: The Schiphol Airport is located 20 km from the city center. Better go to Amsterdam (Amsterdam Centraal) by train. The local train runs every 15 minutes during day time (the ticket costs 4-5 euros, buy it in a yellow machine). Night trains run every hour. You can take buses ##197 and 370 from platform A7 to the Leidseplein (the ticket costs about 5 euros, can be bought in Holland Tourist Information). The taxi to the downtown costs about 45 euros.