Backpacking in Amsterdam

The Dutch capital is one of Europe’s top holiday locations, known for its many canals and even more bicycles. Here we give you the lowdown on this fascinating and historically significant city, so whether you are passing through as a backpacker or heading to the Dam for a weekend break, have a read.

What to do in Amsterdam

Art fans should find themselves very much at home in Amsterdam. The hugely impressive Rijksmuseum paints a picture of the Netherland’s eventful history with work stretching from the Middle Ages right up until the 20th Century. It’s a place where you can easily find yourself completely immersed for several hours and to best maximise your time there, ensure you pre-book tickets in advance. The Van Gogh Museum, situated close by, also boasts an impressive collection of artwork, no museum in the world has more painting by the Dutch artist.

Moving into the performance arts and it’s worth looking is the Dutch National Opera & Ballet have any events that coincide with your trip. Events here are often of an extremely high quality and students can enjoy last minute tickets at the bargain price of €15.

Pre-booking tickets online is a requirement for entry to the Anne Frank House while renovation work is underway. Although only a small museum, many find it to be both highly informative and deeply moving as you get to see the exact place the German diarist went into hiding.

Lastly, no guide for Amsterdam would be complete without mentioning the Red Light District. Many tours are available in the day time to allow you to familiarise yourself with the area (FreeDam Tours & City Free Tour Amsterdam are two we can recommend). Things are most vibrant around 2am and it’s certainly quite the unique experience as you walk alongside the brightly lit canals.

When to visit

Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination and you’ll find that things can tend to get rather busy in the summer months. Go between April and May or September and October to enjoy smaller crowds while still avoiding any unpleasantly cold temperatures.

Where to eat

Nam Kee has been in business since 1981 and now features in three locations across Amsterdam. Their selection of authentic Cantonese cuisine is absolutely delicious without breaking the bank. While on the go and looking for a quick snack, pop into one of the FEBO stores dotted around the city. Their bargain kaassoufflé is not to be missed for any cheese lovers out there. For something that will make you feel a little less guilty, Wok to Walk, located not too far from the central station offers a healthy selection of noodles, rice and veggies.

Where to stay

It is possible to visit Amsterdam without needing a hotel room. Both P&O and DFDS offer two night mini cruises from Hull and Newcastle respectively. You’ll arrive in the Netherlands in the morning, given a good chunk of the day to do your own thing before setting sail back to the UK.

For anyone looking to stick around longer, the Flying Pig provides you with a comfortable stay at a good price. A bed in a dorm can usually be booked for between £15-20 and the place is the conveniently located, close to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. If you are operating on an even tighter budget you may be able to save a few quid at the Hans Brinker Hostel. It’s a basic establishment but one that is well located, clean and has very helpful staff.

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