About six weeks ago I came back from my second trip to Amsterdam and I have to admit it’s such a lovely city that I can’t wait to head back and explore even more. I did a little research before going on tips and tricks but a lot of these were learned through trial and error over the days of my trip so here are some of my top tips in order to maximize your trip to the Dutch capital.
Book Anne Franks’ house in advance
If you want to visit Anne Franks house – which is a must see – then book your ticket before you arrive in the city, preferably a month or more in advance. If you get there before 3pm you can only enter if you have a pre-booked time slot ticket, after that it’s just a case of waiting in a line and hoping not too many others have the same idea. I’ve heard stories of people waiting for 2+ hours just to get in and when you’re doing a weekend away you don’t want to waste your precious hours. I booked our tickets about 2 weeks’ in advance and a lot of time slots were already sold out so book as early as you can.
Get to the Amsterdam sign 830am or earlier
If you want to get a photo of the iconic I Amsterdam sign and don’t want hundreds of other tourists honing in on your photo then you need to be dedicated and get there early. We turned up during the afternoon on the first day and we might as well have not bothered as there were so many people you could barely see the sign again. The next day we arrived around 10am and this was still too late as tourists flocked over the letters, but on our final day we turned up at 8.30am and it was beautiful with limited people enabling us to take the photos we wanted to get.
Don’t bother with the sex museum
The Sex Museum was one of the things I had hyped up and I thought it would be really good because it is Amsterdam after all. I should have known better when I saw entrance was only 4 euro’s, but even at this price, it wasn’t worth it. It felt quite outdated, there was no logical layout to the museum and it just wasn’t interesting. Having been to the Sex Museum in New York as a comparison I can hands down say this was a disappointment and I wouldn’t bother queuing for it. Instead, head to the Red Light Secrets museum to find out more about prostitution in the city. If you need some ideas of more museusms to check out click here.
Get to the Pancake House for opening
The Pancake House is one of the most popular places to get pancakes in the city, so much so that it was printed on my map I took with me. It’s no surprise though as their pancakes were sensational (order the Dutch and thank me later). Due to it’s popularity and small premises chances are you’ll have to queue unless you turn up around opening. 10am is when the Pancake House opens so try to plan your day around getting here early on and you’ll get a table straight away.
Head to the Red Light District 930pm or later
When we headed to the Red Light District we didn’t want to leave until we had seen some ladies in the windows, because it is a huge part of Amsterdam. Turning up around 6pm on a Saturday we thought we’d see plenty of ladies but ended up confused as none of the windows were lit up and there wasn’t a prostitute to be seen. We decided to go to a museum then head for dinner before trying again and by 930pm the street was in full swing so if you want to see Amsterdam in this light head there at this kind of time or later, although I wouldn’t suggest too late unless you want to see drunken stag parties giving English people a bad name and some dodgy feeling characters.