Amsterdam, Netherlands (December 2014)
Prior to this trip, I had already been to Amsterdam, so this trip was more laid-back. Since this time, we stayed in the gorgeous Double Tree by Hilton located right beside Centraal, we didn’t really go far into city and decided to stay within Amsterdam Centrum. Below, I’ll be listing my favorite things to see and do in this area – FOR FREE!
Walk along the Main Canals
The city has three main canals, which are all accessible from Centrum. Since they’re far grander than the smaller canals, they’re far more picturesque to walk by.
Amsterdam City Hall
Built in 1869, this complex stands out in the city centre, right by retail and restaurant strips, so it’ll be hard to miss. If you ever get to visit during the holiday season, you’ll be lucky to catch the setting up of the Christmas tree in front of it!
Though I’ve only seen photos of the inside (which is gorgeous) and would definitely give it a look the next time I visit, its exteriors are beautiful and provides a picturesque view of the city.
Mini “I amsterdam” sign
The main “I amsterdam” sign is a tram ride away, so if you’re only planning to stay within Centrum, right in front of the Public Library is a smaller version of it!
Dam Rak & Dam Square
Housing one of my favorite department stores to date, De Bijenkorf, together with a couple of the city’s iconic attractions is Dam Rak, the city’s main avenue.
Sunset-watching from one of the Canals
One of the best things to do in general when you’re abroad is watch the sunset; watching it right by the canals makes it even more special, as the sunlight beautifully touches the city’s Dutch buildings.
Enjoy the city’s Christmas lights & decors
Though you’ll only get this opportunity if you visit during the holiday season, the city charmingly lights up with all the Christmas lights and decors, making the Dutch city more festive.
Dine in one of the cafes along the canals
There’s nothing like enjoying a place as you’re seated in a cafe / restaurant indulging in local dishes with a cup of tea or coffee. Some cafes / restaurants even offer outside seating, which makes the experience more special! This doesn’t count as free, but having a cup of tea or coffee will only set you back a couple of Euros.
The Netherlands is known as biking country, and though I’ve only gone biking in Edam and not in Amsterdam, I suggest you go for it! Be wary, however, of local bikers as they’re always on-the-go and there’s a chance that if you’re not as experienced in biking, you’ll cause a rumble! Ask your hotel if they have free bike rentals; I believe a couple of hotels offer this.
Amsterdam is one of the cities wherein you don’t really have to spend money to truly enjoy the place.
Even only staying within Centrum will give you the best city experience that Amsterdam can offer. Walking along the canals is more than enough to make the most out of this city, this together with observing the locals, watching the tourists, going window-shopping will definitely make your trip worthwhile.
Though there are many other canal cities out there, Amsterdam truly stands out for its character and charm are like no other!