Amsterdam is by far one of my favorite cities. The shopping is great, the food is addicting, and there’s always a place to chill. But in my last trip to this happy place, I realized there are a few things you must know before you can tackle Amsterdam. Let me share…
1. Watch out for the bikes!
Seriously! This is the most important tip I can give to you. These people do not play about their bikes. Anywhere you go, you will see massive amounts of bikes on the road. It’s easy to miss them or to even step into the bike lane by accident. Be extra careful to check for cars AND bikes when you are crossing the road and stay out of the way. (They are not shy to yell at you either.)
2. Use public transport
The public transportation system is very affordable and simple to use. It’s easy to get to the city center or to most of the attractions you’ll want to visit. At the beginning of your stay, buy a GVB card which will give you access to the metro, tram, and bus. Pro-tip: Spend all the money you save on taxis when you’re shopping on Kalverstraat.
3. Eat a Stroop Waffle
Don’t just eat a stroop waffle but also eat pancakes, apple tarts, chocolate, and any other sweet you can get your hands on! In Amsterdam, I always go overboard with the sweets. They are absolutely amazing, and the perfect thing to snack on while you’re exploring the streets and canals. My favorite, the stroop waffle, is an Amsterdam original. Although it can be found elsewhere, it’s never as good as it is in Amsterdam! Warning: you may get addicted.
4. Carry Cash
A lot of restaurants and shops do not accept foreign bank cards. Be prepared with cash, and be ready to go back to the ATM if necessary. If you’re low on cash, make sure to check that the establishment will accept another form of payment before you start ordering.
5. Bring an Umbrella
Always be prepared for rain in Amsterdam; it can happen at any time. When I stepped out in the morning, the weather was gorgeous and I was so excited for the day. Within two hours the sky turned gray and started pouring down rain. All of the sudden there were umbrellas everywhere, but somehow I missed that memo and I was forced to make a run for it. Don’t be like me… bring your umbrella!