Five things you HAVE to do, the next time you’re in Amsterdam

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I traveled to Amsterdam, I was only there for three days but these are my top 5 things to do in this beautiful city.

1. Do a free walking tour:

Despite the name, these tours are not free. You need to book in advance and you need to tip your tour guide as this is how they make a living. The advised price is 10 – 15 Euro’s per person. These guides are Amsterdam locals who know the city inside and out. They can give you the full history of all the buildings which I found most interesting. You develop a respect for the people and their culture when you go on these tours. You also get to see all the touristy stuff and you get the inside scoop on where the locals eat and drink.

2. Visit the red-light district:

The red-light district was an eye-opening experience for me. I realised that there’s loads of fetish prostitution in Amsterdam – people wanting to feed bigger women, people wanting to be with older women, trans prostitutes and then you also see the most magnificent girls in the windows too. It’s important to treat these women with respect and not to stare/gawk/try to take photos of them, or do anything to make them feel uncomfortable. It was eye-opening to see the creche’s right next to the red-light district too. There are also peep-shows, sex museums, 5D porn cinema’s and so much more.

3. Smoke some weed:

While this isn’t something I do back home, if you’re ever going to try it, then Amsterdam would be the place to do it. While cannabis and truffles are de-criminalised in Amsterdam, there are still parameters you need to follow. You can only buy these items from a coffee shop, you cannot buy more than 5g a day and they have a zero-tolerance policy to all hard drugs. So, mushrooms, cocaine etc are strictly illegal. The coffee shop experience was interesting, there’s a whole bunch of mellow oaks, sitting in a coffee shop watching TV. It was something to experience and tick off my bucket list, but it’s not something I’ll do again in a hurry.

4. Take a cruise on the canal:

These cruises teach you all about the history and buildings of the city, it’s a relaxing experience and it’s something you can do even if it’s raining or a little miserable outside. It was fascinating to learn that the buildings look like they’re leaning because they were built on clay foundations that move. The buildings have since been renovated to include wooden pillars under-ground and all unsafe buildings have been taken down. Afterward you should treat yourself to a stroop waffle, Amsterdam is famous for them.

5. Visit Anne Frank’s House:

It’s important to book this in advance. I left this too late and could not experience this bucket list item, however, I saw it from the outside. After reading the book, it would’ve been an incredible experience to see where these acts actually took place.

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