Amsterdam is known to be a city full of iconic opportunities which travelers love to take advantage of, but there are certain things you should avoid and and things you should definitely do to make sure you’re tourist-ing wisely.
Don’t spend money tasting cheese
The Netherlands is known for its Gouda cheese, so of course you have to try it while you’re there. However, don’t spend money on any of the “professional cheese tasting” experiences. Instead, just go into the different cheese stores around the city. Almost all of them offer free samples, and you can do it throughout your time in Amsterdam rather than in one sitting.
Do go to the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House
These two museums were my absolute favorite in all of the city. There is remarkable history to them and are presented beautifully. I could feel the remnants of what Van Gogh and Anne Frank felt during their lifetimes; it was incredible. Just make sure to book tickets online to avoid waiting in excessively long lines.
Don’t bike around Amsterdam
While the cars are generally better at paying attention to bikers than we’re used to in America, it’s by no means overly safe. Unless you’re a pro at biking, I would recommend laying off at least until you get a feel for the city. Instead, take a canal ride around the city: it’s safe, comfortable, and a great way to view Amsterdam from what makes the city iconic (the canals).
Do go in the springtime
March through May is tulip season, and you don’t want to miss it. In the countryside there are fields upon fields of tulips, everywhere the eye can see. If you can, visit one of them and spend a morning, afternoon or whole day there. Stop for a great photo op, to smell them and to bask in one of country’s great assets. Bonus points for bike riding around the fields (it’s a lot safer where you can’t get hit).
Photo by Josie Sajbel