Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Amsterdam Travel Tips: What You NEED To Know

If only I prepared...

If anyone knows me, they know that I love to organise anything in my life, I have got a to do list that keeps growing and I have to do these things or I wont sleep. 

When I went to Rome, I planned everyday and everything that I wanted to do. For Amsterdam, we did not plan a thing, we knew where we wanted to go but we didn't plan when to do it or what to expect. 

I think, by not preparing, we weren't ready for the things that we were shocked by. 


I found that I wasn't settled in Amsterdam until the last day because I didn't know what to expect. So read more if you want to know vital info and the myths that I was told! 

1. If you LOVE steak you'll be fine

However, if you are a student/on a budget/hate steak, you may be in for trouble if you don't know where else to go. I am a massive foodie and the first day, myself and Mikaela found ourselves walking for AGES trying to find a place to eat.

All we found were Argentinian Steakhouses... I get that there is history with them, but my goodness, we were HANGRY and sick of seeing Steakhouses. We spent that evening trying to find somewhere to eat for the rest of the time in Amsterdam. 

Because we didn't know about the amount of steakhouses, we decided to eat the most touristy foods in Amsterdam ... AKA ... McDonalds. 

We went to this Italian restaurant which had the most amazing Carbonara I have had (except the one in Rome), it is called The Alley! 

So before you go, research restaurants and where to eat in Amsterdam, because its my most important Amsterdam Travel Tip. Check out Time Out's article!

2. The Layout is Unique

Okay...so I nearly used the word weird instead of unique, but that's because every city I've been to the layout is usually the same. 

When I mean layout, I mean in cities there are usually shops, attractions and restaurants in the same place surrounding each other. We did not find this in Amsterdam, the clothes shops were all in one place, attractions were all in one place and so were the bars and restaurants. 

This meant walking in the shopping district trying to find restaurants and 30 minutes later, we finally stumbled across the right district. 

To be honest, once I got used to the layout I think its actually quite authentic and a nice change to the usual tourist cities. It makes you want to explore more of the city, by accident but for a good reason. 

When you read about Amsterdam, you are told about the different districts, so my main Amsterdam Tip is to research the districts. For example read the official Amsterdam Tourism article!

3. Seriously... Watch out for Bikes

Its well known that Amsterdam is known for it's bikes, I'm no stranger to bikes, however nothing prepares you for how many bikes and how different the rules are when it comes to traffic. 

In England, you find that pedestrians and bikes will stop, wait and see what cars do before they make a move. In Amsterdam, it's the bikes way or the highway, they literally will just cross the road without a second thought. 

They have their own lane on the pavement which is normal. but motorbikes (yes I was surprised to) are allowed on the pavements. I've been to Rome where its Vespa central and I didn't see one on a pavement. People on bikes will be on their phones, its actually unreal. 

The first day, I was so scared, it was like learning to cross the road again when you are 5 years old... after a while it became quite funny and being back in England I crave being near a bike. 

And it doesn't stop there! Watch out for trams too! I couldn't hear them, I swear they are silent, watch out because any type of transport won't beep a horn or say get out the way! Be careful! 

4. Walking and Transport

Just like Barcelona, the transport is cashless and you have to buy a ticket from a machine to get on the transport. In  Barcelona, you can buy these tickets from metro stations and its pretty simple. Trying to find any information about transport on Amsterdam was pretty difficult, so we ended up walking everywhere. 

I believe we walked around over 15 miles in the three days that we were there, amazingly I didn't get a blister! Sometimes when you walk places, you will see things that you may not see on transport. 

If you don't fancy walking far, I would recommend getting accommodation right in the centre, we stayed by the Museumplein - around a 30 minute walk to the centre - we didn't mind walking. 

My Amsterdam Travel Advice for this is to decide if ya fancy walking till you can't anymore or want minimal walking. 

If you don't like planning these things, go for a walking tour, check out New Europe Tours for a free walking tour of the city! 

5. Nightlife Prices

Unless you know where the cheap bars are, the nightlife will be expensive. The clubs will have an entrance fee ranging from 5 Euro to big prices like 20 euro. That is the same in Rome, London and Barcelona. 

They are exclusive clubs so it's normal. The bars however will be expensive still, for example (I will say before -- drink responsibly), in Bournemouth the average price for a vodka and coke is £5, in Amsterdam I paid 13.50 euro for the same drink. 

My main Amsterdam travel tip for Nightlife, is be aware of the sneaky ways they make money out of you, this one bar showed prices to request a song (5 euro). We requested songs and the DJ didn't mind but we made good friends with him, but who knows if he was just in a good mood. 

In Ibiza Lounge Club, you need to spare 1 euro to go to the toilet, yes 1 euro to go to the toilet, so just be wary of other ways they can make money out of tourists! 

But still have a good time! 

6. It's a Cashless City Myth

When I told my family about going to Amsterdam, my mum warned me about it being a cashless city and sent me TONS of articles about how cash isn't allowed or accepted. 

I start to freak out because, all I saved is cash in hand, and I was wary to take my card out with me. So organisational me contacted I Amsterdam tourist board facebook page and they reassured me it was only Transport that was cashless. 

Its true, as well as a worrier, I freak out about everything that could go wrong. However, during our whole time in Amsterdam we were able to pay in cash everywhere, I soon ran out of cash and used my card. There was a charge for the currency but that's normal and hey.. I was on holiday! 

A short blog today but I couldn't not tell you guys the things that just threw me off guard and if I knew about these tips then I wouldn't have been so freaked out. 

Here are a few pictures of my time in Amsterdam too! 

If you haven't already please check out my previous blog on the Top Things to do in Amsterdam. I also want to acknowledge a few bloggers with articles I wish I read before I went to this beautiful city! 

Nomadic Matt - Amsterdam Travel Guide

I really want to connect with other travellers, so you can find me on Twitter @Molly_Wooders or Instagram @mollywooders

Bye xo


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