Europe,  Netherlands,  Travel

Amsterdam – XXX

Amsterdam is one of the most iconic port cities in Europe!  Famous for its beautiful canals, red light district, and coffee shops, this city was at the top of my bucket list.  I visited Amsterdam while studying abroad in 2013, and I was happy to revisit the city in 2016!

Walking Tour

During my first visit to Amsterdam, I went on my first ever Free Walking Tour.  After enjoying it so much, I began seeking similar tours in other destinations.  It sounds like it’d be redundant, but I decided to start off my stay in Amsterdam with another walking tour!  I used the same company, but obviously I had a different tour guide.  I loved it!  Again! Although I vaguely remembered the tour, 24-year-old Shelby forgot most of what 21-year-old Shelby learned about this city!

Our guide was incredibly animated.  He had no qualms with discussing any questionable topics in front of the elderly tourists in our group.  🙂  It is Amsterdam after all!  He even shared a quick story about a 70-something couple who was visiting the city and asked him for advice in finding a good place to do mushrooms!  He was both hilarious and very informative.

Red Light District

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

Prostitution is legal and regulated in the Netherlands.  Amsterdam is home to De Wallen, the largest and most well-known red light district in the Netherlands.  The free walking tour begins with a brief walk through this district.  It is a little bizarre to take a stroll between full-length windows displaying scantily clad women – but that’s Amsterdam for you!  Tourists and locals alike can walk through the district openly, but there are strictly no photos allowed.  Locals will confirm that if you are caught taking a picture of one of the working ladies, they will swiftly exit their window and knock down your phone/camera.  

The below photo is from a bar in Amsterdam, with the layout mimicking the red lights atop the windows in the district.

Amsterdam Red Light District | Adventures with Shelby

Coffee Shops

Amsterdam is equally infamous for its coffee shops!  Some are more discrete than others, and the prices vary depending on the shop and the neighborhood.  The Bulldog is one of the more well-known coffee shop chains, with the original opening in 1974.  I recommend exploring other shops as the Bulldog seems to be a bit tourist-y. There certainly is a lot of options!

Museums

There are a lot of different museums to visit while in Amsterdam.  Some of the more cheeky options include the Erotic Museum, the Sex Museum, and the Hash, Marijuana, & Hemp Museum.  However, there are also a ton of art and history museums.  I made sure to visit the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum.  

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

Anne Frank Huis

During my first trip to Amsterdam, my friends and I visited the Anne Frank House.  It’s incredibly somber and humbling, and very much a Must-See.  Tickets are only sold online now.  They sell 80% of available tickets two months out, but they also release 20% of available tickets on the tour day itself beginning at 9:00am.  Tickets sell out – so plan accordingly!

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

Van Gogh Museum

I absolutely had to visit the Van Gogh Museum during my second visit as I had skipped it during my first visit!  Our walking tour guide informed us that if you buy your tickets online you can pick what time you want to tour and skip the line.  

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

The Van Gogh Museum is amazing.  They have a huge collection of his works (obviously) and the layout brings you from the beginning of his career to the end of his life.  I loved reading about his life and seeing how his style changed over time.  

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

The museum also had an amazing exhibition on ‘Impressions of Landscape‘ with Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh.  Monet is my favorite painter, so I was elated to get to see more of his work.  The exhibition had paintings by Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh of the same or similar landscapes all placed together so you could compare the different styles.  

Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

Amsterdam is such a fun destination!  Exploring the canals and taking in the sights will never get old.  It was such a pleasure to revisit, and I don’t doubt that I will be back again someday!

This weekend, I head to Lyon for the Fête des Lumières.  À tout!

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Amsterdam, Netherlands | Adventures with Shelby

Xoxo

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