- History, nature, and immense culture in a small city. Lots of nightlife and social activities, great food, museums galore
Hostel: The Flying Pig Downtown Hostel, this is a great hostel with fun social hours. It is right next to the train station and in the city center. It’s not the most pristine hostel, but it is fun.
Activity Recommendations: Body Worlds Museum, Anne Frank House, Sex Museum, Red Light District, Flower shops
Critical Note: You need to book your Anne Frank tickets 3 months in advance. You can do so online.
Transportation: The city is walkable but to move outside of the city I recommend the train. It was very reliable and easy to navigate.
General Review: Overall a fairly underwhelming city if you stick to only the tourist activities. I highly recommend branching outside of Amsterdam and visiting the surrounding cities. I think 48 hours was too much time for what we had planned.
48 hours in Amsterdam—so much to do, so little time. We started the day off by going to the Body Worlds Museum. This was fascinating if you have any interest in science, neuroscience, how the body works, etc. This can be done in less than 2 hours and is one of the only permanent exhibits in the world. I highly recommend this museum. At the end of the museum there is a body scan that tell you what your body is comprised of (% water, weight of each limb, fat %, etc.). This is very cool science! After, we spent the first day exploring the city and just walking along the canals. That night we walked up and down the redlight district. We ended up going into a venue. It was a very unique artistic experience and I recommend it for mature audiences. Later, we headed to the Sex Museum. This, again, is for mature audiences but is fun and quirky. There is a lot to learn about the history of sexuality. We went into Amsterdam with the mindset that we are here for history + fun + relaxing.
The next day we toured the Anne Frank House. It will behoove you to freshen up on your WWII history and Anne Frank’s story. The house was absolutely moving. Pay for the audio tour as it is 100% worth it. We spent the rest of the day walking around town and exploring the different canals, historical sites, and sitting in cafes enjoying the local food and coffee. The fries and stroopwaffles are a must. We do not participate in smoking but nearly every corner is a coffeeshop that you can lounge in. A large part of our quick trip to Amsterdam also consisted of making friends at the hostel. We spent a lot of the evenings visiting with the travelers, drinking, and playing games.
The people I met at the hostel + the history is what I enjoyed most about Amsterdam, however I wish I would have spent more time outside of the city exploring other areas of the country.