One more weekend in Amsterdam
January 1, 1970
by Katrin Savchenko
What to do and where to go in Amsterdam when it’s cold?
Obviously, people who love to travel are always trying to discover something new and that’s why they’re picking up a new destination every time. But there are some places you’d like to return to again and again. Amsterdam is one of those places.
Let’s say you’ve already been to Amsterdam and you’ve tried to visit as many sights as possible, to follow every advice of travel guides and to take a picture in front of every monument which is claimed to be famous. So what should I do you’d ask me if I return there for one more weekend? And plus this time it’s winter which means no sunny pictures on channels and no long walks in the beautiful parks. Somebody would say it’s not worth it. But I’ll try to prove you that it is.
To begin with, the Christmas atmosphere which saturates every European city starting from December will make your traveling experience unforgettable. The decorations, Christmas markets, festivals, and celebrations are everywhere. Amsterdam becomes even more beautiful during this period. But the most significant event you should definitely visit in your lifetime is Light Festival. This is an enormous art event which presents more than 200 art installations of artists from all over the world. You’ll like whether you’re interested in art or you just want to feel some fairy tale atmosphere during this cold winter time. You can discover it by walking, riding or taking a boat tour because the installations are all over the city.
Unusual attractions to visit
If you’ve already had a chance to take a tour through Amsterdam you’ve probably been to the most famous museums like Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s House, Van Gogh Museum, I’m pretty sure that you’ve even left some time for a Sex Museum and NEMO science and technology museum as well. But there are still so many places to discover.
I would like to present you my TOP-5 of extraordinary museums and attractions for those who have already been to all commonly known ones.
I’m 100% sure you’ve heard from somebody a statement:”I’m not into modern art, I prefer the Old Masters.” or maybe you even said it yourself. Let me reassure you that you won’t be disappointed by visiting this museum of modern art. It’s quite familiar to me the problem that we do not understand what modern artists mean, what they would like to tell us via their works. And humans are just like that — we don’t like things we don’t understand. But in the museum of Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein, we’re not only enjoying the beautiful images and skilled technics but we’re also getting some food for thought. We understand the message and it’s touching in so many ways! I know you’ve all seen the picture Girl and Ballon whether it was on the Internet or on the wall in your neighborhood but I don’t think that many of you know that the author of this piece of art is Banksy — the anonymous British street artist who works not for the commercial profit and not for the fame but to get people’s attention to the outrages problems of modern society.
Ripley’s Beleive it or Not!
The most outstanding museum I’ve ever seen. It’s literally a collection of extraordinary human and natural bizarrenesses from every corner of the world gathered by Robert Ripley, an American traveler, and anthropologist. It’s so difficult to describe what you should expect from this adventure because you will find all kind of stuff there – unbelievable stories about people who got into the Guinness World Records, unique artifacts you’d never ever even suppose that they existed, exotic pieces of flora and fauna and you’ll even have a chance to take part in some interactive experiments. The only thing you should expect for is fun and astonishment!
The Amsterdam Dungeon
I’d make it a must-see attraction for those who find walking through museums really boring. It’s a perfect chance to discover the history of Amsterdam in the form of incredible adventure which will make shivers run up and down your spine. It’s not really a terrifying attraction but it’s a fantastic show that is worth seeing. Decorations, plot, stories told to you — everything is diligently thought out and brought to life. But I’d like to put an accent on the actors’ play which really enchants you from the first second in the Amsterdam Dungeon.
Madame Tussauds is always a good idea wherever you are. What can be better than to take a selfie with Johnie Depp and David Beckham, to play some music with Armin Van Buuren or to shake a hand to Barak Obama? Just take your time, look into the eyes of each celebrity, imagine yourself being a friend of Nicolas Cage on the red carpet or a part of the royal family. Anyways it’s fun and inspiring.
Museum of Prostitution
The sex industry is an integral part of Amsterdam, so you can’t just avoid it pretending you’re not interested in how it works. Maybe you’ve taken a look at Sex or Erotic Museums and even walked through the Red Lights District, but you should give a chance to this one as well. This is the only cathouse you can enter and explore in this district just for 10 euros. You’ll find out how it works, what girls think and feel, how do they live and earn their money. You will even get a possibility to write your own erotic confession. Don’t be biased before you know something. Don’t judge — explore!
Where to eat while you’re picking up another sightseeing to go?
Actually, the variety of restaurants and cafes in Amsterdam makes you feel lost. So don’t try to really choose ‘the best’ place to eat because mostly it’s tasty everywhere same as the prices don’t tend to differ that much, so just decide which cuisine you prefer today and go to the place where you seem to like the interior. For example, I am a fan of steaks and fish, so we’ve visited like 5 steakhouses around our hotel and then I’ve found a nice seafood restaurant nearby which I highly recommend if you can’t live without nice fresh oysters. It’s just in front of Bulldog Palace on the Leidseplein street. There are also a couple of very cosy bars with friendly ambience near that restaurant. You can take a sit outside on a nice terrace and ask a waitress to bring you some wine and a blanket, so you will enjoy the atmosphere of night Amsterdam listening to music and watching people from all around the world discovering the capital of Freedom.
Frankly speaking, I prefer to be a typical tourist walking around the streets and enjoying the architecture than to do shopping anywhere I go. But even I couldn’t miss the Christmas sales in Amsterdam. First, it’s everywhere. Of course, it’s the capital and plus super popular tourist destination, so shops and different brands are making their best to get our attention. Second, it’s really incredible — 50-80% sale. Believe it or not, but I’ve bought Puma trainers for 30 euros! So if you’re in Amsterdam during winter break you’ve got a chance to renew your wardrobe a bit! The shops work on 24th December as well, but you should remember that everything is closed on 25th!
Some useful tips
What you should try:
French fries in some small eatery with plenty of sauce
Energy drink made by Bulldog
Which transport to use:
Of course a tram. It’s too cold for a bike, even though a lot of locals ride it even under the strong rain. You can buy a tram card for 24 or 48h which is quite cheap and you will really need sometimes to catch a train in the center to get to another sightseeing.
What clothes to take with you:
The temperature isn’t that low in Amsterdam, but it’s incredibly windy. That’s why it seems awfully cold sometimes. So be prepared — take waterproof shoes and jacket, a hat, a scarf and a pair of gloves. I would not recommend you to waste place in your luggage taking an umbrella as it makes no sense because of the wind. You almost can’t keep it open. You start to feel yourself Mary Poppins.