Amsterdam – tourist attractions, what’s worth the queue & what to avoid

I went to Amsterdam recently, and I did something that I would not usually do, and hit as many of the tourist attractions as possible.

I tried and tested a whole bunch of stuff from a plethora of “Top 5 things to do in Amsterdam” and “Top 10 attractions” so that you don’t have to.

We got the tram everywhere without a hitch and walked an average of 10,000 – 15,000 steps a day. I would recommend getting a tram ticket that lasts for a few days and just using this as your main mode of transportation. It’s inexpensive and easy to navigate.

So most of the lists I came across went featured the following:

Bodyworlds exhibit – Less creepy and more factual than I thought it would be. I found it interesting but if you are squeamish or potentially triggered by various things such as tumours or foetuses then do not go.
Madam Tussauds – I didn’t even bother going because I feel like a Madam Tussauds anywhere in the world is a waste of time and I don’t understand the enjoyment of it at all.
Amsterdam Dungeon – Looked ridiculously tacky from the outside but turned out to be quite good, with live actors and sets.
Torture Museum – Incredibly anti climatic if you go to Amsterdam dungeons first, so if you’re interested in going, I would suggest going to this first and then the Amsterdam Dungeon.
The Ice bar – This was so tacky. It felt like something that was part of a kid’s theme park, the entry bar was made to look like a pirate ship and they played a cringey pirate video on loup before embarking down a mouldy smelling corridor in wet/used gloves and coats, to sit in the ice bar and sip from ice cups. While the drinks were quite nice and it was a bit of laugh, there is no way I would say this was worth the money.

The Red light district – Was actually smaller than I had imagined and much tamer than things I had seen in Southeast Asia! In a nut shell, you can stroll through the streets in the evening and stare at ladies behind glass windows in their pants and if you’re drunk enough or just that way inclined, there are live sex show venues dotted around.

The Erotic museum – Not to be confused with the Sex museum which is in an entirely different location. Apparently the sex museum is quite good, the erotic museum on the other hand was not amazing and other than one or two things to pose with for a laugh, was a waste of time and money.

“Coffee” shops – I ended up in one that kind of looked like a cave, with turkish cushions everywhere. It’s all really fun and chilled, until you have to find your way home! Worth the experience, mostly inexpensive.

Heineken Experience – The experience through the brewery and various interactive sections was quite good. However, we paid there instead of online and it was charged at a like for like currency exchange, so was paid double the money we thought we had paid for it! I would recomend to book tickets beforehand online.

Flower market – I had wrongly assumed this would be a market full of actual flowers, not store after store of bulbs and seeds. Perhaps it was the wrong time of year?

The zoo – This was recommended to me by loads of people but I had no intention of going, I personally don’t enjoy staring at animals in captivity for enjoyment.

The Anne Frank house – I was a little surprised to find that the rooms were empty. The furniture was taken away after the arrests were made, but never restored. So you have to rely on reading and looking at photos of reconstructions, with very few things apart from the bookcase that obscured the entry and the bathroom still intact. Nether the less, it was still a poignant visit and one I would recommend.

Canal tours – We had meant to do this but the weather wasn’t on our side most days for an open top boat ride!

The Rijksmuseum – We ran out of time unfortunately, but I will check it out on my next trip in the not so distant future.

C-Taste restaurant – We desperately wanted to go here but when we tried to book a table we were advised they were doing a re-furb that week!

Needless to say, I’ll definitely be returning to explore the nooks and crannies and less touristy sights next time!

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Freelance writer who loves reading, cooking & travelling. Rarely spotted without red lipstick. Penchant for whiskey on the rocks.

4 thoughts on “Amsterdam – tourist attractions, what’s worth the queue & what to avoid

  1. As a Dutch girl it was really nice to read this article. Really too bad you did not have time for the Rijksmusuem, as together with the Van Gogh museum (basically next door), this only is already worth a trip to Amsterdam. For the “flower” market, I agree that it is so overrated! Instead I would highly recommend the flower auction which is absolutely impressive and interesting as you can see: https://bestregardsfromfar.com/2016/06/15/biggest-flower-auction/ have a good next one! Looking forward to reading the sequel 😄

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    1. Hi! Thanks so much! I was hoping it didn’t sound like I was complaining haha, because I still had a great time which will hopefully show in the next post! It is a shame but I’m coming back again soon, so hopefully I’ll squeeze them in! Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check it out 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

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