From Tulips to Coffee Shops: A Guide to Amsterdam

When I was studying in Paris, I took a two week trip around Europe, hitting some of the cities I’ve always wanted to visit. My friends, Adrienne and Caroline, and I hit 6 countries in about 15 days, and it was the trip of a lifetime. I’ll tell you about every city we visited during those two weeks in later posts! Our first stop was Amsterdam! We took the train from Paris, and we arrived in under 4 hours. One of my favorite things about Europe is the ease and speed of traveling by train – it makes international travel so accessible.

When deciding when to travel to the Netherlands, I would strongly recommend visiting in mid-April! We arrived in Amsterdam on April 15th, and enjoyed great weather and got to visit the TULIP FESTIVAL happening in a town about an hour away! Seeing the tulips in Holland was a dream come true for me, and I am so happy I got the chance to do this!

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Tulip fields!

When we arrived in Amsterdam, we settled in at our hostel and went straight to the Heineken Brewery. This was such a fun, interactive museum (and drinks are included in the price of admission!!). After that we wandered around the canals, exploring the city.


The next morning we woke up and went straight to the Anne Frank house. This attraction gets crowded EARLY, so I recommend getting there before it opens. We were there before it opened and had to stand in line for a while before getting admitted, but the line was wrapped around the block when we left. This was a really moving museum, and  I would highly recommend visiting it when in Amsterdam.


Looking for more beautiful places in the city? Check out this guide to Instagrammable Amsterdam

After that, we took a canal boat cruise, enjoying the picturesque city from the canal. This was a great way to learn more about the history of the city and the architecture that makes it so beautiful. Finally, we visited the Van Gogh museum, which I absolutely loved. This museum has so many fabulous works by the famous Dutch artist, and I love the way it chronologically takes you through his life as an artist, giving you a deeper understanding of the movements throughout this career.

The next morning, we woke up early and made our way towards the tulip festival. Getting there is a bit of a hassle, but the payoff is well worth it. We wandered through tulip gardens next to windmills, enjoying beautiful weather and gorgeous scenery. The festival also had amazing food- hot ham sandwiches, fresh strawberries and cream, and crispy, sweet waffles.


All in all, Amsterdam is a beautiful, enchanting city. A lot of people get caught up in the parts of Amsterdam that are portrayed in a negative light – like the red light district and recreational marijuana. Even though these are illegal in the US, the city is extremely safe and clean. When I was passing through the red light district, I was uncomfortable from the obvious prostitution, but I didn’t feel unsafe because this is a very tourist-y area, frequented by tour groups and other travelers.

Have you visited Amsterdam before? What did you love about this city/ look forward to seeing when you go?

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Enjoying a quiet evening by the canal!


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