Connecting canals and more Amsterdam attractions

July 15, 2019
Girl in front of canal bridge in Amsterdam

Going to Amsterdam is inspirational! Everyone bicycles to work and looks happy and healthy. The canals are beautiful and it’s a very picturesque place. We stayed in an airbnb near the museumplein, which was a charming area that is easy to walk around. The airbnb was adorable, full of colorful design and very quiet. Read on for my favorite Amsterdam attractions.

Canal in Amsterdam

Cute house in Amsterdam

We flew to Amsterdam from Barcelona, it was only two hours away. But it’s also easy to get to Amsterdam from London.

Girl under cherry blossom trees in Amsterdam

There are a lot of fun restaurants and shops and it was fun to just explore and browse. I highly recommend the vegan restaurant Deer Mama. They serve delicious burgers and have awesome libations. I loved the Bloesem Blond by Gebrouwen door Vrouwen brewery (means made by women) or a glass of “Fucking Good Wine” (I saved my receipt!). Make sure to get the artichoke appetizer it is to die for! For lunch we picked up some hearty lentil stew from Soup En Zo that was so tasty and fairly cheap.

Vegan burger from Deer Mama in Amsterdam

Burger from Deer Mama

There are a lot of museums in Amsterdam but the lines are still long for each (expect to wait 30-45 min to purchase tickets). The Van Gogh museum had a special exhibit for David Hockney while we were there but it was sold out for an entire week. Additionally, the Rijksmuseum had a special Rembrandt show that required a separate ticket and a scheduled time slot. However, the master’s most famous work, The Night Watch was still in the permanent collection.

Crowds around the Night Watch painting in Amsterdam

The crowds surrounding Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

Dutch print of ships done in ink

Work by Willem van de Velde I

Overall, the Rijksmuseum wasn’t my favorite but there are definitely some interesting paintings. In the same room as The Night Watch is a work titled Militia Company of District XI under the Command of Captain Reynier Reael, Known as ‘The Meager Company.’ It lists two different artists (Frans Hals and Pieter Codde) because the first artist didn’t get along with the Captain and it had to be finished by someone else. It’s really fun to spot the two different styles in the painting.

Street with cyclists in Amsterdam

View of canal from boat in Amsterdam

Small tea shop in Amsterdam

Historic tea room Het Kleinste Huis

View of canal from boat in Amsterdam

When in Amsterdam, you take a bike tour. It’s the best way to see a lot of Amsterdam attractions and get the feel of being a local. However, it can be intimidating! I used to ride my bicycle to work and thought I would have no problem, but I was probably the most scared out of the group. It can be very nervewracking to have a lot of other cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles passing you. You definitely need to be alert. This can make it hard to pay attention to your surroundings, so thankfully we made a lot of stops. On our particular tour we also got to have tea at a historic tea room right down the street from the Dutch East India Company! Afterward, we enjoyed a boat cruise through the canals that is a must-do!

Canal in Amsterdam

Street in Amsterdam

Girl in front of canal bridge in Amsterdam

View of canals from boat in Amsterdam

To get to the meeting location for the tour we took a tram across the city. It was a little confusing which line to take and where each train was stopping on the street. After asking several people we figured out where to go. The ticket collector on board also helped a lot. There are a lot of great day trips from Amsterdam as well that you can access by train.

Cute retail shop in Amsterdam

Park in Amsterdam

The Begijnhof courtyard

In early April it is still pretty cold in Amsterdam so prepare for windy days. I didn’t bring a warm enough jacket or enough sweaters and I regretted it. Expect that you may have temperatures of 20F, although it is more likely to be around 40F. Despite the chill, the sun was shining and cherry blossoms were in full bloom, so Amsterdam had a definite spring feeling. The one thing I missed on this trip was visiting the tulip fields and plan to see them on my next visit!

  • Reply
    Paul Healy
    August 9, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve only been to Amsterdam once briefly, but I loved it. Definitely, like to go back again and see a bit more. I think a bike tour as you suggest sounds like a great way to see the city. I did a canal tour which was fun, but probably a bit touristy.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Your burger from Dear Mama is so perfect that it almost doesn’t even look real. Sounds like you definitely found some good food spots there and caught some good views. Sorry to hear it was colder than you expected, but I imagine the crowds were lighter in April than in the summer, so that’s a plus.

  • Reply
    Yukti Agrawal
    August 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Amsterdam is on my wishlist since long as it has beautiful canals and colorful houses besides it. Thanks for sharing vegan restaurant as I am vegetarian and sometimes it is difficult to find good vegan restaurants in a new city. I would definitely go for Deer Mama as per your suggestion. Biking around the canals would be my way to explore this city.

  • Reply
    August 11, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    I was able to visit Amsterdam when I was still studying and we have always planned to visit again. I would love to try the burgers at Deer Mama during our next trip. It looks good and delicious. Took note of your tips re: weather.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2019 at 5:13 am

    I absolutely love Amsterdam. I can’t wait to bring my fiancé there! Deer Mama sounds delicious and will definitely be on my list of restaurants to try on my next trip. I think a bike tour is a great way to see the city, but it’s so intimidating! Especially since I’m not that great at riding a bike haha.

  • Reply
    Vanessa Ball
    August 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    The vegan restaurant Deer Mama looks like a stunning recommendation, the food looks delicious. I’m a big fan of David Hockney, would’ve loved to have caught this exhibition. Surprisingly, when I was in the Dam I never rode a bike so I think it would be cool to do a bike tour. Some fab ideas in this blog!

  • Reply
    Bhushavali N
    August 12, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Amsterdam is a quirky, interesting city! I didn’t get to spend too much time there, I really do have visit again.
    Thanks for introducing the vegan restaurant! I’m a veggie and its always pleasant to find vegan restaurants that don’t cost a bomb.
    I had very less time there, so I decided to skip Rijksmuseum, but I had pre-booked tickets for Anne Frank House. Did you go there?
    Btw, you didn’t manage to get a cliche pic with the IAmsterdam sign???

    • Reply
      August 12, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Haha no I didn’t get that photo! Did you? Also, no we had little time and really wanted to see the museums so we skipped the Anne Frank House unfortunately.

  • Reply
    Arnav Mathur
    August 12, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    I so need to visit Amsterdam now. Have been seeing pictures of the canals of Amsterdam and reading bogs about Amsterdam for quiet some time now, but have not been able to materialise a trip till now. But now after reading this, and seeing the pictures, I so want to head there in October, once am done with my studies here in UK. I am definitely taking the bike tour, as Ive had some really amazing experiences in Rome and Ninh Binh with bike tours.

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    August 14, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Amsterdam has been calling me for a while. The brief time I spent here made me want to get here again. The bike tours were something I wanted to do back then but could not. Hopefully on my next visit am gonna hit that and also the museum. Good advice on booking them in advance

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