The sun’s glare falls uniquely below the low structured homes into the night. Street lamps light up the stoney, rigid streets along the canal while your shadow reflects off the surface of the water glistening beside the curb. A sign from a local restaurant catches your eye and pulls you in for a traditional Dutch meal. The nightlife is soon to burst and the Red Light District is beckoning for chaos. Casual whiffs of marijuana smoke pour out of the canal-side cafes as locals and travelers intertwine.
This is Amsterdam.
It is one of the most unique, exotic and beautiful destinations in the world. In the fall, the leaves begin to drop from the trees, crumbling and cracking from the locals walking by. If you’re not a fan of the brisk season, check out the Netherlands in the Spring, when the Tulips are at their peak mid-April.
Offseason travel to this capital city is highly suggested if you want to avoid the over-tourism that Amsterdam is beginning to be known for. You will be able to find better accommodation and flights for less—and who doesn’t like better travel for less.
A few tips and pointers for your next trip:
The best way to enter the city is to take a flight into Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol), then hop on the train you can find below the airport. The train has a line that runs to Amsterdam Central, just a short 20-minute ride for only10-14 Euros, depending on age and surcharges. Once in the city, you can rent a bike, take the trolly or simply walk as most of the city is available.
There is a plentiful selection of accommodations within the city, from cheap hostels to hotels to Airbnbs and more. Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it here. Keep in mind that with the over-tourism the city is currently experiencing, you can expect to see higher rates during the peak travel season and you may have a little more difficulty finding accommodations in general.
Many times, the nightlife scene—bars, clubs, and (Marijuana) cafes—will require cash to pay. Resturants or tourist attractions will usually be ok with a credit or debit card, but having a little bit of cash, just in case, never hurt.
It is very important to understand the regulations and laws about smoking cannabis. You may smoke cannabis outside—a regulated amount of no more than 5 grams—or inside coffee shops. Marijuana is classified under Dutch law as a “soft drug” and allows consumption under “personal use.”
What to Experience
There is an endless amount of things to do in the Dutch capital. Experience the café life (420 Haze or The Bull Dog), walk through the Anne Frank House, take a boat trip through the canals, find a local small book store, enjoy some Dutch Cuisine and grab a drink at a local bar in the Red Light District to people watch the chaos. The Red Light District is a unique experience you’ll find nowhere else in Europe, so it’s definitely worth a stop.
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