Put a new pin on your map, because you need to visit this gorgeous city! Alive with bike traffic, overflowing cheese shops and more canals than you could possibly count, this is one of my favorite destinations so far.
6 Things Unique To Amsterdam:
1.Cheese, Clogs and Tulips! These three things are absolutely everywhere in Amsterdam!
Cheese lovers, this city is a must for you, because there are countless shops that are just overflowing with cheese wheels of all sizes! The best part is they ALL offer you endless samples and a little lesson on each of the cheeses. Needless to say…I now feel like quite the cheese connoisseur!
I can guarantee you that you will never be able to travel to a place that has more clogs than Amsterdam. You can get all colours, styles and sorts from almost any store, from hand painted wooden clogs to fun clog slippers. Little tip: At the cheese farms, a little ways from the city, which have clogs, tulips and other goodies, if you are really kind to one of the ladies at the counter she will engrave your clogs for you for free!
There are tulips everywhere in Amsterdam! They have a huge annual Tulip Festival, from mid April to the beginning of May, with around 2,500 acres of colourful tulip fields. However, there are tulips everywhere all year round, with your choice of thousands of bulbs, flowers and handpainted wooden tulips, you will most definitely get your fill of tulips. Little tip: if you are wanting to bring bulbs home with you, but are concerned about customs, the bulbs are sealed and come with certificates so they are safe to bring across borders!
2. The Red Light District!
If you know anyone who has been to Amsterdam, you have heard of the large Red Light District. However, there are a few things that you may not have heard, such as:
- The oldest building in Amsterdam is The Old Church, which actually stands in the heart of the Red Light District! I found it a little funny that there is a beautiful church right amongst everything!
- The Dutch do not call the area the Red Light District, in Holland it is known as “De Wallen”.
- We found that in Amsterdam the saying “All roads lead to Rome”, should be changed to “All roads lead to the Red Light District”. If you are ever lost, of following the crowds, it seems that you always end up there!
- The Red Light District is much calmer than you think. Everything was really contained, safe and behind walls…or windows.
3. All buildings were slanted in different ways! Some leaning forwards, others tilted left or right. It is a leaning and slanted city, which adds so much character and beauty. Look back at some of my photos and you will see exactly what I mean.
4. There are more bicycles than people! Their love of bicycles is a serious thing, so much so that there are over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam, which is more bicycles than people! You must rent a bike while you are there, as it is a crucial Amsterdam experience, however read these must know tips first:
- Be mindful of the bike lanes at all times, as locals get really mad when pedestrians are unknowingly standing in their lanes.
- Crossing the road is easy…crossing a bike lane is not! Always watch out for bikes because they can fly out of no where and they will hit you if you are in their way.
- Families treat bikes like cars! We saw many mothers and fathers with 3 or 4 kids on their bikes with them, all strapped into rows of car seats, or out the front and back of the bike.
- Know the bike rules before hopping on your rental.
- You can get anywhere in Amsterdam on your bike, it is an incredibly bike friendly city, with an unbelievable network of bike paths and a flat landscape!
5. The unbelievably high number of canals! It seems as though every time you look down you are crossing over another small canal, admiring the long and low to the water, canal cruising boats. With all of these canals and similar looking scenes, it is VERY easy to get lost, so make sure you have a good map on you.
The best app that we used is called: Maps.Me we actually used this for our entire trip around Europe! It is amazing because it doesn’t need an internet connection, it is very detailed, you can zoom in and out and it shows your location on the map and moves with you, so that you know exactly where to go, stress free! Not to mention it is free to download!
6. The steepest stairs in the world! When admiring all of the beautiful apartments, offices and other buildings from the sidewalk you notice how tall and narrow they are, but might not think much more about it. Well, inside all of those buildings there are staircases that are incredibly steep, that lead up to apartments! We stayed at an Airbnb apartment whilst we were in Amsterdam and the first time the host opened the door we were greeted to a huge and incredibly steep staircase. You have to take each stair at a time, sort of rock climbing-like, since there are handles along the stairway that you can grab onto once you near the top of the staircases. Not to mention we had our huge backpacks on and were trying to not fall over backwards 🙂