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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

AMSTERDAM – How to fall in love in 72 hours

October 2019

EBMT, nursing study day, Amsterdam

I am back in Amsterdam for the second time, this year for work: our Institute sent us to participate in an EBMT (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation) nursing conference which was held on October 4th in the Dutch capital. I had already been here in 2017 for 3 days with one of my best friends, and we had already traveled a lot, so the goal of this hit and run in Amsterdam was to make the most of the time before and after the conference with my colleague who had never been there and show her as many things as possible. So let's see how to get around Amsterdam with a low budget and in the shortest time possible without missing the top thing of this wonderful capital.


To find out how I planned my trip to Amsterdam, find out how to get around the city and get other useful information click here.


Canali di Amsterdam

Day 1

Thanks to the departure at 6:20 a.m. from Bologna we were able to reach the center of Amsterdam early in the morning and we headed to the hotel by tram (line 17 departure in front of the Amsterdam Centraal station). Quick check-in, unpacked and we immediately headed downtown to have lunch and make the most of the first day, since the following day we would have the conference from early morning until late afternoon. We walked across the Canal Rings to Pancakes Amsterdam Negen Straatjes, a Dutch Pancake restaurant I ate at last time and loved it - to find out more about what and where to eat in Amsterdam click here and read the article about my favorite places.

Koninklijk Paleis, Amsterdam

Obviously I'm not a lucky girl and, even before arriving at the hotel, I dropped the Iqos by breaking it, so we had to stop at the official store to beg someone to have it replaced. Incredible but true, in less than 20 minutes we did it without paying anything. Solved this small inconvenience that could definitely ruin my stay (☺) we left again crossing the canals of the Jordaan district and passing by Kalverstraat, the shopping street and starting the shopping, until we reached Dam Square, the main square of Amsterdam, on overlooked by the Koninklijk Paleis, De Nieuwe Kerk, Madame Tussauds and the National Monument.

DAMRAK, Amsterdam

From here we continued on Damrak, the main street of Amsterdam, where you will find many souvenir shops and cafes to stop, including a huge Starbucks. We made a short, very short stop (2 hours) in Primark - forgive us, but we are women! Three low-budget shopping floors from which we obviously went out with bags full of useless things.

Quartiere a luci rosse, Amsterdam

From here we kept on towards Amsterdam Centraal station, which is really worth a look, and then we entered the Red Light District, now at dinner time. Strolling through the alleys we enjoyed street food, including the famous French fries that you absolutely must try. Along the canal, we headed back to the hotel, passing in front of the numerous Coffee Shops and Sexy Shops, which obviously we could not miss.


↠ MUST SEE :

AMSTERDAM CANALS

⤷ Jordaan: the bohemian quarter of Amsterdam, the most picturesque in the city. Here you will find rows of beautiful houses to die for and you will lose yourself between the trendy clubs, meeting place for many young people. If you happen to be on a Saturday or Monday morning have a go to Noordmarkt, where the homonymous market (North Market) is held, a truly characteristic organic market where you will find the best organic food products (on Saturdays), including fresh oysters and cakes, while On Monday, the stands exhibit fabrics, books, records, new and used clothing, memories of other times and modern objects.

⤷ Casa di Anna Frank: unfortunately I've never been there, the tickets were always sold out on the dates I was in the city. For this reason, if you are interested in going, remember that the entrance tickets are available exclusively online on the website for € 12.50: I recommend that you book the time slot ticket at least 2 months in advance to avoid the risk of overbooking.

Old Amsterdam Cheese Shop

⤷ Kalverstraat: the shopping street of Amsterdam, here you can find the best known brands such as Top Shop, Bershka, Urban Outfitters and many others, as well as more typical shops such as the Old Amsterdam Cheese Store.

Piazza Dam: the biggest square of Amsterdam, you cannot miss it and take a look at the magnificent buildings that overlook it.

Koninklijk Paleis: it's the royal palace and overlooks Dam Square; it is used by the Dutch ruler for official ceremonies and celebrations, but when there are no special occasions it can be visited in its baroque splendor. If you want to visit it inside, the price is € 10 and includes the audio guide.

⤷ De Nieuwe Kerk: the New Church of Amsterdam, although actually it is not that new since its construction dates back to 600 years ago! Entrance fee for € 12.50.

Madame Tussauds, Amsterdam

» Madame Tussauds: we didn't go, it's quite expensive (€ 19.50 online), to see some wax figures, and in any case we had already visited, me in London and Valentina in New York; if you only have a few days left, I honestly think you deserve to see other more characteristic things.

National Monument: it is located in Dam Square and is the place in front of which, every May 4th (last time I came to the city was on this day) the Remembrance of the Dead ceremony is held to commemorate the victims of the Second World War.

⤷ Amsterdam Centraal: Amsterdam Central Station, built in the Gothic-Renaissance style, is worth a visit regardless of public transport; it is the starting point for your walks in the city center.


Amsterdam Canals

Day 2

Body World, Amsterdam

Friday was spent at the EBMT conference but once it was over, in the middle of the afternoon, we went back to the center with a tram and we got off at the Amsterdam Dam stop, in front of Magna Plaza, a shopping center similar to La Rinascente or Harrods, a magnificent building absolutely worth seeing . Of here we returned to the Damrak to head to the Body World exhibition: I had already been there in Bologna years ago, but Valentina really wanted to see it, so we decided to go and enjoyed this interactive tour, ideal to stay in line with the professionalism of that day!


CONDOMERIE, Red Light District, Amsterdam

Once the visit was over, we crossed the Damrak and walked towards the Red Light District, went to the Condomerie, passing in front of de Oude Kerk and walking towards the hotel for a shower and a bit of rest before the evening. Fresh and charged for our first real Amsterdam night, we reached the Red Light District by tram, getting off at Amsterdam Centraal and then walking through the alleys of the District. Here we ate at The Grasshopper - to find out more about what and where to eat in Amsterdam click here and read the article on my favorite places - and then explored the area, passing by the famous windows of Amsterdam, where only in the evening you will see prostitutes in skimpy clothes waiting for customers from all over the world.

The Bulldog Amsterdam

Walking along the canal and entering the narrow streets, you cannot fail to feel the unmistakable aroma of marijuana from the famous coffee shops. Among the most famous of course, The Bulldog Amsterdam, which you cannot miss! There are more than one, including the hotel and the souvenir shop. It is always very crowded, especially in the evening, so if you can't find a place, there are many other coffee shops in the area! Do not be misled by the name of this magnificent district, because the Red Light District is truly one of the must-see stops in the capital: let yourself be conquered by the lights, colors and nightlife typical of this district that is divided between the old and the modern. Definitely worth a visit both day and night!


↠ MUST SEE :

⤷ Magna Plaza: it was the former central post office in Amsterdam, now converted into a majestic shopping center similar to Harrods or our Italian Rinascente. Inside you will find prestigious brands of accessories, cosmetics and clothing, as well as a food hall.

⤷ Body World: it is the famous museum of the human body where you can admire embalmed bodies donated to science and discover their secrets with many interactive spaces. It was fun, but if you have little time in the city I recommend that you opt for something else, you can also find this in other countries. I bought the ticket while on the tram ride, on booking.com for € 16 each (discounted price compared to the purchase on site). Duration of the visit: about 1 hour more or less.

Red Light District, Amsterdam

⤷ Red Light District: the neighborhood of perdition par excellence, to be seen at least once in a lifetime. During the day it looks like a normal central area of ​​Amsterdam, full of canals and old houses, but at night it transforms between red lights, prostitutes in the window, sex shops and coffe shops.

⤷ Condomerie: it is the first condom store in the world and inside you will find only condoms of every types. It is worth taking a tour and maybe buying some extravagant souvenirs! Remember that it is not allowed to take photos inside!

⤷ de Oude Kerk: the Old Church, is the oldest in Amsterdam and stands in the picturesque cobbled Oudekerksplein, next to the canal. Although religious services are still celebrated there, there is also a museum in the building. Entering will cost you € 5.50, while access to the tower costs € 4.50.

The Bulldog Amsterdam, Coffee Shop

⤷ The Bulldog Amsterdam: it is the first coffee shop in Amsterdam and it is very famous all over the world, as well as now a symbol of the Dutch capital. A must for every tourist, here you can smoke cannabis and enjoy a Space Cake (chocolate brownie and weed) or simply a beer. There are more location, one of which is a hotel, while another is a gadget shop.

⤷ XtraCold Icebar Amsterdam: we walked past it on foot going back home from the Red District, honestly I was never excited about the idea, if you try let me know! For those unfamiliar with it, it is a famous bar present in several cities in Europe, made entirely of ice inside that will cost you € 26 per person with 3 drinks included, as well as suitable clothing.

⤷ Red Light Secrets: extravagant museum in the Red Light District open until late at night (closes at midnight), it is the museum of prostitution, housed in the former city brothel. I went there one night last time and had a blast. If you want to spend an evening different from the others and fully immerse yourself in the mood the neighborhood, this is the right place. You can learn about the history of sex work in the Netherlands for € 12.50.


Red Light District by night, Amsterdam

Day 3

Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam

Last day of our stay in Amsterdam with return flight in the evening at 9 p.m., so we had all day to enjoy the city. Wake up early, check out and, leaving our suitcases at the reception, we headed to Bloemenmarkt, the flower market. You cannot go to Amsterdam without passing through here and getting lost among the rows and rows of colorful tulips. The market is small, in half an hour you can see it all, and walking around you will find numerous cafes where you can have breakfast. My favorite is T ’Singeltje Pancakes, I had already been there and I went back, and I will definitely be back. I love this little place - to find out more about what and where to eat in Amsterdam click here and read the article on my favorite places.

From here we kept on foot along the canals to get to Amsterdam Centraal, in front of which there is the starting point of the LOVERS Canal Cruises: a boat tour in the canals of Amsterdam that allows you to admire the main points of interest of the city comfortably seated.

RIJKSMUSEUM, Amsterdam

After the boat ride we headed to Museumplein, the museum district, with the idea of renting a bicycle near our hotel, so that we could take a tour of Vondelpark and the area a little faster, return the bike, retrieve the suitcases and reach the airport without running. Unfortunately, there was a lot of queuing to rent a bike so we gave up, but it is an experience that I highly recommend, so plan ahead! At this point we walked to the Rijksmuseum which we didn't enter, but we went through the splendid gallery thanks to which you will reach the wonderful garden that once housed the famous inscription: IAMsterdam. Do not look for it for half an hour, as I did: they considered it risky due to people who climbed on it and removed it, you will find it only in front of Schipol airport.

VAN GOGH MUSEUM, Amsterdam

It takes hours to visit the Rijksmuseum, which we didn't have, and we are honestly not lovers of that kind of art, so we decided to move on. A little further on the left is the Van Gogh Museum which exhibits over 200 of his works, including landscapes, still lifes as well as drawings and letters, along with the works of his contemporaries. I went there last time and it did not impress me, but I ram not an expert or an art lover, however it remains one of the most visited museums in the country and for those who have never visited it is definitely worth a stop. Along the park you will find some souvenir shops and little bars that sell street food to be consumed sitting in the park or walking, where we stopped taking advantage of the sunny day until the time for our visit to the MoCo which I booked in advance online on the official website Museum. This museum for me was a wonderful and very fun experience, with busy, modern and fascinating works. I absolutely recommend it!

MoCo Museum, Amsterdam

Leaving the MoCo we begun to go back to the hotel walking through Vondelpark, where you can also go by bicycle, to reach Max Euweplein where you will find the Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam from where you can enjoy your drink while observing the romantic comings and goings of the boats on the canal, or just buy some goodies from the famous chain,


↠ MUST SEE :

TULIPS IN Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam

⤷ Bloemenmarkt: it is a picturesque floating flower market on the Singel canal and it is the ideal destination for buying souvenirs, tulips and bulbs of all kinds. The flowers and plants are displayed on barges that from the outside look like real shops, colorful and fragrant. The barges are lined up one after the other as if to form a "normal" shopping street with one shop after another.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

⤷ Lovers Canal Cruises: you will find several agencies that offer this service, I have chosen LOVERS both times I went. I have always booked on Booking.com for € 20 for two people (discounted price compared to the purchase on site); solar-powered boats depart every 30 minutes and the tour lasts about an hour. There are several options for the tour, even in the evening, with dinner on board, we chose the one on the semi-open boat since the beautiful day; on board you will be given disposable headphones that you will plug in as soon as you take your seat and which will allow you to listen to a detailed explanation of all the places you will see and the history of Amsterdam in 19 languages ​​of your choice. It is a typical experience of the city, which you cannot miss, it allows you to see many places in a short time.

⤷ Rijksmuseum: it is the national art gallery and will allow you a journey into Dutch history - of art - from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century in an international context, along a chronological path set up on four floors of the museum in 80 rooms. Here you will find many works by Flemish artists, including Rembrandt. The museum is open every day from 09 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a cost of € 20 each, if purchased online you will spend less.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

⤷ Van Gogh Museum: among the pieace of arts here you can find the Potato Eaters, Vincent's Room in Arles and one of the various creations of I Girasoli. Tickets can be purchased at the museum or online by selecting the date and time, consider that you have half an hour to enter from the chosen time. The price is € 24 with the audio guide, € 19 without; I advise you to go early in the morning or in the middle of the afternoon so as not to run into hordes of tourists.

MoCo Museum, Amsterdam

⤷ MoCo Museum: it is a contemporary art museum located in Villa Alsberg that pays particular attention to radical characters and artists who influence the new movements of the art world such as Street Art and Pop Art. You will find artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons , Keith Haring, KAWS and JR. The collection includes works of modern and contemporary art, and boasts a unique series of street art by Banksy. By booking online you will avoid the queue at the ticket office and save by paying € 12.50 per person instead of € 15. Definitely worth a visit!

⤷ Vondelpark: the park is roughly rectangular in shape and designed in the English style; here you can find gardens, ponds, fountains, flower beds, playgrounds for children, some statues, many types of plants and trees, as well as animals. In the park there is also an open-air theater (Openluchttheater), various bars and restaurants where you can stop and rest or enjoy the outdoors.


Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam

↠ MUST SEE extra:

Two other destinations worth a visit are the Heiniken Experience and the A'DAM Lookout, where I was last time in 2017. Considering the day we were busy with the conference, you certainly manage to include them in your three days in the Dutch capital.

HEINIKEN EXPERIENCE, Amsterdam

⤷ Heiniken Experience: the old Heineken factory is an unmissable stop for lovers of the famous Dutch blonde. A must for all tourists, a multisensory experience that will allow you to smell, observe, touch and taste a Heineken at all stages of its manufacturing process. We had a lot of fun, if you are a beer lover, you can't miss it.

HEINIKEN EXPERIENCE, Amsterdam

Inside the museum you will find an interactive tour that takes place in different phases. Armed with a green bracelet, start your visit accompanied by a guide who will show you the brewing process, from the beginning to the final product. You will also find an entertainment room with numerous interactive games and 3D simulations, a shop where you can buy gadgets and accessories and finally, you will go up to the panoramic terrace where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole of Amsterdam. A bit of a queue at the entrance, so if you can, buy the ticket online for € 18; the visit lasts about an hour and a half, but a tip: avoid the early morning visit, the beers could be heard.

A'DAM Lookout, Amsterdam

⤷ A’DAM Lookout: this is the viewing platform located on the top floor of A'DAM Toren, the 22-story tower that stands out on the IJ River with its innovative personality. You go up to the top with an ultra-modern and very fast lift to enjoy the unique experience of admiring the city at 360 degrees and for the more adventurous I absolutely recommend a ride on the highest swing in Europe! You will be strapped to the seats with seat belts and swing back and forth over the edge of the platform to a thrilling height of nearly 100 meters! The feeling of flying and being catapulted over the city while swinging suspended in the air is an adrenaline-pumping experience worth doing once in a lifetime. I suffer from vertigo but I still went up and I would do it again a thousand times, do not be scared and try! To access the A'DAM Lookout you have tu buy a ticket that also includes access to an interesting interactive exhibition on the history and culture of Amsterdam (12.50 € online), the experience of the swings is also paid and will cost you 5 €. We had also paid for the interactive photographs, a nice memory of the experience!


AMSTERDAM BY NIGHT

To find out how I planned my trip to Amsterdam, find out how to get around the city and get other useful information click here.

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