Red Lights and Drugs…all the way!
I traveled to Holland (The Netherlands is informally called Holland) during peak winters, in April 2015, to meet a friend and decided to visit Amsterdam, the capital city of Holland.

Owing to time constraint, I could manage to spend only 24 hours in Amsterdam, but, I was completely awestruck by its fascinating architecture style for brick houses on water, rich city history, wide network system of canals, coffee shops (with cool cannabis/marijuana culture) and much more. It is a fabulous city with so much to explore in only a day and it’s a must to visit if you plan to travel Europe; this is one of the most famous European cities.

Amsterdam, city of canals and famous for being the drug and sex capital of Europe is so much more than that. It is a wild and energetic city with loads of freedom to people, yet beautiful, historical and peaceful. This is as beautiful as Venice with canal streets, but much more chilled out I would say.

Just, don’t confuse coffee shops with cafes though. If you want to smoke up a joint, do visit a coffee shop (yes, selling and smoking weed (cannabis) is legal in Amsterdam!) and should you want to grab a cappuccino or latte, please visit a café parlor :). This city is definitely one of my favorite travel hotspot now and I would recommend to aspiring travellers to wander around this famous European city at least for once in their lifetime.

So, grab a joint (or don’t) and read below some key city attractions and touristy activities, which I explored during my short (yet fun) Amsterdam journey:

Travelling around
Amsterdam is very well-known for its bicycle culture and best way to get around the city is on two wheels. There are well constructed bicycle highways and you can easily travel around by using a rented bicycle. There are many shops which will rent bike out all over the city at cheaper prices (10 – 15 Euros to start with). YellowBike, BikeCity and MacBike rentals are good options to choose from.
Taking a canal cruise ride (hop on hop off canal boat rides usually begins from 10 Euros per person) is another great way to see Amsterdam. The scenic boat ride is very relaxing and you will be able to see a lot of Amsterdam in a very little time. Brick houses built on canals are spectacular and very appealing! I preferred walking and was able to see few top attractions in a short span of time. The city is so small that you can pretty much walk to your hotel from Amsterdam Central Station, once you arrive in the city.

Exploring City:
Van Gogh Museum: This is one of the most popular tourists’ attractions and you can see interesting art works and paintings of the great artist, Vincent Van Gogh and also of his contemporaries.

Jordaan: Explore this charming neighborhood in Amsterdam. Quiet beautiful canals, brick houses, cafes, quiet streets and much more. Just ride a bike or stroll around to admire the beauty of this urban suburb.

Rijksmuseum: Right next to Van Gogh is the Rijksmuseum and you can also get yourself clicked around I Amsterdam letters, which are placed behind the museum. This is a popular spot to click pictures.

Anne Frank House: This is another famous tourist attraction. Anne Frank House provides with one of the most fascinating, sobering and haunting museum experience, dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank who hid, along with her family, in this 17th Century house during the World War II.

Vondel Park: Explore this picturesque park, enjoy a picnic, bike around, take pictures, take a nap or just stroll around or even dance (just kidding); whatever floats your boat You can visit the Vondel Park to just chill and relax basically!

Red Light District (XXX):
Amsterdam is also widely known as the sex capital of Europe (besides selling drugs) and Red-Light District is famous for its legal prostitution business.
Red-Light District is one of the most-oldest and historical sections; it has been in existence since the 15th Century.

You will see a lot of women here, standing behind glass windows and making gestures towards potential customers. Photography is strictly not allowed at any of the red-light window place and women behind windows do not appreciate filming them or taking their pictures. With live sex shows, nights clubs and a lot of coffee shops around, this vintage district is one of the most interesting places to visit.

Eating and Drinking
While in Amsterdam, you must try Dutch pancakes (Delicious!) at the Pancake Bakery or you can also visit Lunchroom Downtown (which is also the first Gay Café in Amsterdam). Try from a varied range of apple, cheese or mushroom pancakes. These are delicious and I promise you will absolutely love binging on it.

Do also book a Heineken Experience tour if you find some time; this will take you to Heineken Beer museum and it’s a great experience to learn about the brewery process and Heineken history. Plus, one tour ticket will let you enjoy up to two pint drinks for free, along with a canal cruise ride. (Beer)Bliss!

My personal suggestion:
Just do not follow any fixed tour plan or itinerary, while you are in Amsterdam and enjoy the flow. This will be the best and most chilled out way to enjoy your trip to one of the coolest cities in Europe!

Much thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for more exciting travel stories! Happy Traveling!


Neha Rai

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