Exploring Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam is compact and most things can be reached on foot quite easily – especially with a bit of planning. Planning begins with choosing a hotel that is within the city proper. It might cost a little more but what value do you put on the time saved by being able to step out your door and begin exploring? Walking gives a different perspective to a canal boat. Take the time to stop in the centre of each bridge and take in the canal, the houses, the houseboats and the unique living environment created by each canal.

The easiest way to navigate is to count the number of canals that you have crossed and compare with a map – much easier than reading Dutch street names! However, beware of bikes that come up silently behind you or approach from your left when you are looking right. In this town bicycles rule! So much so that if a driver hits a bike he will quickly offer a cash settlement because no matter whose fault it is, the motorist is automatically in the wrong.

Be sure to explore the Jordaan district. This used to be the working class area but has now become the up and coming area and the place where some of the most expensive houses in Amsterdam can be found. Hop off a canal boat at Anne Frank House to start waking the Jordaan district. Also home to some nice restaurants, cafes and markets. We tried unsuccessfully to buy skip the line tickets online to see the Anne Frank House and were not prepared to spend three hours of our vacation standing in a queue.

From Jordaan we worked our way through to Nieuwendijk which is a pedestrian shopping strip that meanders down to Amsterdam Centraal railway station. When you arrive at the station, take in the incredible multi-story bicycle parking lot! From Centraal you can easily rejoin your canal boat back to the stop most convenient for your hotel – or you may choose to walk.