What to see and visit in Amsterdam in 2023

Picturesque canals but also wild nightlife. This is how the capital of the Netherlands could be summed up. Amsterdam is not quite a typical metropolis like Paris or London, where there are enough sights for several days. Instead, the city will captivate you with its unique atmosphere, which you will hardly find anywhere else. So don’t hesitate and read what to see and visit in Amsterdam.

The main sights of Amsterdam

The sights worth seeing are really few and far between in Amsterdam. Probably the most famous of them is the Royal Palace on Dam Square . The royal family uses it for visits, special events, ceremonies, but it also officially houses the parliament in The Hague. If you would like to take a look inside, you can buy a ticket online at the > official website <. The entrance fee is around 12 euros. Basically right next to the palace we find the Nieuwe Kerk church , where the weddings of the royal family take place. However, it is not the only interesting church in the city. The old Oude Kerk or the Basilica of St. Nicholas with a neo-baroque dome reaching a height of 58 meters.

The Oude Kerk, the Royal Palace and the Basilica of St. Nicholas

In addition to the royal palace and churches, make a stop at the Nieuwmarkt square, where the markets are held around the city gate Waag . Flowers and tulips are also inherent to Holland. At the Bloemenmarkt flower market you can find everything from seedlings to cut flowers to typical wooden souvenirs. We will move to the south-western part of the city, where we can admire the Stadsschouwburg theater building on the Leidseplein square, and we will take a break from the busy streets in the pleasant Vondelpark.

The city gate Waag, the flower market, the theater building and the pleasant Vondelpark

Varied offer of museums

What really sets Amsterdam apart from other major cities is its high concentration of museums. The aptly named Museumplein is an ideal starting point . The most important museum of the Netherlands -> Rijksmuseum will appear right in front of you , offering an overview of Dutch art and history. Modern art is then hidden in the museums  Moco  or  Stedelijk  and  Van Gogh Museum  there is no need to describe it. The Diamond Museum  or the  Anne Frank House , which is a little further from the Museumplein, may also be interesting. The museum there brings closer to the life of Anne Frank and the difficult times in which she lived.

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Varied offer of museums in Amsterdam

Picturesque canals

The museums will no doubt be interesting, but it would be a shame to spend time indoors when one can explore Amsterdam’s outdoor beauty. The canals are among the most beautiful things you can see in the city. The entire city is built on a network of up to 165 navigation channels, which together measure over 100 km. Each of them is unique and will surprise you with its width, shape or interesting buildings in the vicinity. Of course, this includes bridges, of which there are around 1,500 in the city, and again, every bridge is unique. Supposedly the most beautiful of them is the Magere Brug drawbridge .

It’s up to you whether you decide to cruise the canals by boat or walk along them. For us, it is best to surrender to the spirit of the city and get lost in the narrow streets. That’s the only way you’ll come across wonderful corners that you won’t find in any articles or brochures. If you are interested in what is happening on the other side of the city, outside the main center, take advantage of the ferries across the arm of the IJ Bay. The blue and white boats run every now and then and the cruise is free.

The blue and white ferries transport you across the IJ Bay for free

Marijuana on every corner

We are slowly getting to the topic that every reader is waiting for, which is the “dark” side of Amsterdam. In Holland, a certain amount (5 g) of marijuana and its products are legal. The so-called Coffee shops (places where one sits down and legally consumes cannabis products) can be found on every corner and the familiar “smell” permeates the entire city. Whatever we think about it, the policy was intended to differentiate soft drugs from hard drugs, and the Dutch reportedly succeeded. For visitors, this means that they can look forward to relaxing, or they have to mentally prepare for the fact that they will feel “grass” around every corner.

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You can find marijuana products on every corner in Amsterdam

Red Light District

Another such vice is prostitution, which is legal again in Amsterdam. There are three areas in the city called the Red Light District, where there is a high concentration of prostitutes and row houses . However, the girls cannot be sold on the street, so each one has its own glass display case in which it offers itself, and most of the time the windows have red backlights or there is a small red lantern above them. You would think that such places are hidden somewhere in the darkest alleys, but the opposite is true. The main area can be found right in the center, around the Oude Kerk. But it’s not just about the ladies. In this area there are also a lot of sex shops, museums associated with the world’s oldest craft and erotic performances. In short, here you can find everything related to sex .

Tip: the approximate price of visiting the red showcase is 50 euros for 20 minutes.

Even if you’re not going for an erotic adventure, it’s definitely worth a visit to the Red Light District . Especially at night, it’s a unique atmosphere and experience that you won’t see anywhere else in Europe. However, it is necessary to remember the safety principles when visiting. Although Amsterdam has less than a million inhabitants, the entire Randstad conurbation includes around 8 million people and countless tourists, so the narrow streets can sometimes be cramped. But there is no need to worry if one behaves sensibly and also respects the privacy of the workers (do not take pictures or film).

Visiting the Red Light District will be one of your top experiences

Tips for trips in the area

A tour of Amsterdam can easily be done in one + night, so tips for trips in the area are also useful. When you think of Holland, you think of windmills. Just a few of them can be found in the open-air museum Zaanse Schans , north of Amsterdam. Several windmills stand along the Zaan canal, each with its own name and historical purpose. You can look inside for a small fee, otherwise the open-air museum is free. In addition to the mills, there is a museum of clogs, a souvenir shop or a store of different types of cheese with the possibility of free tasting . It would be a sin not to try lavender cheese, basil cheese, with chili spices, etc.

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The second such mill center is the UNESCO-listed Kinderdijk open-air museum . The 19 windmills from the 18th century will definitely excite you and you will definitely appreciate that compared to Zaanse Schans, it is not as crowded here. The advantage is that the walk around the mills is again free, the entrance fee of 16 euros is only payable if you want to look inside. The last tip is the Keukenhof flower park , which is the largest in Europe. Walking among the beautiful flowers is certainly a great experience, but the entrance fee of around 20 euros is quite high and, for understandable reasons, the garden is only open in the spring.

Tip: you can find free parking at the Kinderdijk mills here – GPS: 51°53’9.443″N, 4°37’49.206″E, at the Zaanse Schans open-air museum here – GPS: 52°27’53.459″N, 4°49’23.887″ E

The Kinderjik Windmills Open-Air Museum, listed on the UNESCO list

Transport and parking

Amsterdam is not so far from the Czech Republic, so it is not a problem to travel by car. As in all big cities, parking can be tricky and we can definitely recommend using the Park and Ride parking garage . A garage called RAI has proven itself for us, which is right next to the highway and it’s a short walk to the center. In addition, all-day parking during the weekend costs only 1 euro (8 on weekdays) if one complies with the following conditions. After parking, buy a GVB P+R public transport ticket for 5.5 euros for two people. This is valid for the trip from Europaplein to Amsterdam Centraal and back (blue metro line). Don’t forget to mark your ticket when entering and exiting the subway in both directions.

After returning to your car, enter your license plate number in the parking machine, load your public transport ticket, pay the parking fee with your card, and you can leave happily. The automatic system will automatically read your license plate number and open the gate. You don’t have to attach a parking ticket anywhere (you won’t even get one). It sounds complicated and out of this world, but the system works well if you follow all the conditions. Otherwise, he would have to pay around 28 euros for all-day parking. Complete information is available > here <.

Parking and public transport travel in Amsterdam
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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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