Let me start this post by saying that I loved this beautiful city of canals. Amsterdam was very lively, beautiful and never slept and that’s what I loved about this city. Even though I had taken a very long flight from Australia to Europe, I did not for once stay back at the hostel when I was in Amsterdam. I absolutely loved walking around and exploring all small little corners of the city.
Note: Almost everyone speaks English in Amsterdam and there is absolutely no language problems.
PIN for later reference
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. It is the most populated city in the country as well. The city is known by many names, but it is adorably known as the Venice of the North. The name Amsterdam derives from Amstelredamme, which indicates that the city originated around the dam in the River Amstel.
Transportation in Amsterdam
There is good connectivity of trains around the city and even from the airport to the city. The OV-Chipkaart smart card is used for the public transport in Amsterdam. The 3 days pass cost me 28 Euros and I could use them on trains, buses, ferries, and trams.
Note: The tickets must be checked in and out before entering and exiting the platforms.
Where did I stay?
I stayed at a hostel called Shelter city in the Red Light District. The hostel was decent and the staff were friendly. However, the hostel does not have a lift and is in one of the old buildings. My room was on the third floor and I had to carry my luggage by myself. My detailed views of all the hostels I stayed around Europe are in the post here.
Must eat in Amsterdam
Apart from the cannabis, Amsterdam is famous for its waffles. The waffles are freshly made and are delicious. I recommend trying:
- Hot chocolate.
- Mannekenpis fries – I personally did not like it but it is one of the must-eats in Amsterdam and the fries are really ranked high. Note: These fries are fried in animal fat, so vegetarians beware.
For a detailed guide on where to go for dining while traveling alone, refer Solo dining in Amsterdam.
Things to do
There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam. These are some of the things that I did in the three days I was there. For detailed information on the day trips from Amsterdam, refer Best day trips from Amsterdam.
Tip: Ensure to book the museum tickets well in advance to avoid long queues.
Canal boat ride
Amsterdam is a city of canals. It has more than 160 canals and over 1700 bridges over these canals. It is an absolute must to take a boat ride around these canals. The skipper and the hostess of the canal boat ride provide great insights about the city’s past and present. They talk about the history of the houses and the canals themselves.
I took a tour with Flagship Amsterdam. The canal boat ride tour is generally about Euros 16 for a one-hour boat ride. I got the ride for Euros 11 since I booked the tour with that Social deal website. The Social deal website is great for discounts on activities.
The tour started in front of Anne Frank house. The skipper ‘Christoph’ and the hostess ‘Aga’ were very good. They were fun and friendly. They knew what they were talking about and answered all of our questions about the city. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and I would recommend going with Flagship Amsterdam for the boat rides around the canals.
Amsterdam has plenty of museums and they cater to everyone. To be precise, there are around 75 museums in Amsterdam. They have unique museums like the Museum of torture and a museum of bags. I have written a separate post regarding the 5 best and different museums to visit while in Amsterdam.
Guided tour at Westerkerk Church
I have always been fascinated by old churches. I have always felt they have a lot of history and mystery. They portray some of the best stories of a city or a town. And some of the churches are so huge that they provide amazing views from the top of the towers. Similarly, the best views of Amsterdam city can be seen from the viewpoint of Westerkerk church.
About Westerkerk Church
The Westerkerk church is a reformed church in central Amsterdam. The church was built between 1620 and 1631. And it is the biggest church in Amsterdam. The tower of the church is 85 metres high and can be seen from most parts of the city.
There are guided tours to the viewpoint of the tower where a guide takes you up the stairs (note: there are spiral stairs and can be intimidating for anyone afraid of heights) providing details on the history of the church and the various bells in the tower. The guided tours can be purchased at the entrance and it lasts about 30 minutes. The cost of the guided tour is 9 Euros.
Additional and detailed information can be found on Westerkerk church’s official website.
Address of the church
- Prinsengracht 281
- 1016 GW Amsterdam
- The Netherlands
Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken Tour
Take a day tour to see the beautiful windmills and the countryside cities and towns of the Netherlands. I have written a detailed post on my tour.
Over the edge swing at A’DAM
Every time I plan to travel to a country, I always search for adventurous activities as part of travel. And when I was doing one such search about Amsterdam, I found the ‘Over the Edge Swing’ adventure. I was curious to find out more about this adventure. I visited the A’DAM website and found that this is a Swing on top of the tallest tower in Amsterdam and one can swing on that swing 😀. I thought it was pretty cool, so I decided to book it.
The booking process is very simple online. The regular ticket costing Euros 12.5 need to be bought first before adding the Swing experience which is an additional Euros 5. The date and time of the activity can be selected.
The swing takes about 20 minutes and it is sufficient to get the adrenaline rush. Also, it is a great spot to get a panoramic view of the entire city of Amsterdam.
I had met these two girls – Shakeela from Kuwait and Mariana from Brazil on a bus tour. We decided to do this activity together. I had booked this experience for the next day, but I had no problems with shifting the booking. Since we were three of us, we had to do the swing twice in two pairs, so I decided to do the swing twice. And I enjoyed this amazing experience – it was super awesome!
Walk around Red Light District
This is a very interesting thing to do in Amsterdam. My hostel was in the Red Light District so it helped that I stayed closer and I could a stroll at night.
Note: You cannot take any pictures or videos of the people in the Red Light District.
As I mentioned earlier, I was in Amsterdam only for three days. As I had little time, I had to ensure that I make good use of the time. Below is the itinerary that I followed:
I started the day with the Canal boat ride. And then I headed straight to the Cannabis museum. After lunch, I took a guided tour at Westerkerk church and I then ended the day at the Anne Frank museum.
I took a tour to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken, and then at the drop off point, I straight away headed to the A’DAM to do the Over the Edge swing. At night, I strolled around the Red Light District and visited the Museum of Prostitution.
On day 3, I took it very relaxed and visited only the Rijksmuseum. Note: This museum is huge and you need more than half a day to see all the artifacts.
- Flight tickets = (AUD 712.71) 437.53 Euros
- Train Tickets 3 days pass = 28 Euros
- Train ticket 1-hour pass = 3.95 Euros
- Taxi = 22.5 Euros
- Hostel = 97.30 Euros
- Advance for hostel = (AUD 26) 15.95 Euros
Things to do
- Anne Frank museum = 15.5 Euros
- Canal boat ride = 11 Euros
- Guided tour for the church = 9 Euros
- Cannabis museum = 9 Euros
- Museum of Prostitution = 12.5 Euros
- A’DAM Swing with the regular ticket = 17.5 Euros
- Bus tour = (AUD 48.16) 29.57 Euros
- Magic Show = 22 Euros (I did not end up going, unfortunately)
- Red light district walking tour = (AUD 5.81) 3.57 Euros
- Chocolate cake = 6.70 Euros
- Dinner and breakfast at an Indian restaurant (Ganesha Indian) = 21.50 Euros
- Coffee = 3 Euros
- Lunch = 12.5 Euros
- Waffle * 2 = 8 Euros
- Hot chocolate = 2 Euros
- Pasta = 23 Euros
- Dinner at 29 Spices Indian restaurant = 25 Euros
- Fries = 2.5 Euros
- Waffle and cake = 11.5 Euros
- Tips = 2 Euros
- Souvenirs = 20 Euros
- Lock = 4 Euros
- SIM card = 60 Euros
Total Expenses = 936.57 Euros (AUD 1525.61)
Is it safe for solo female travelers?
I would say Yes, Yes, and Yes. The city is absolutely safe for solo female travelers. I traveled solo and I did not face any such issues while I was there. However, like any other place, trust your instincts and be cautious especially at nights.
Amsterdam is truly an amazing city to visit. I had a fabulous time and I am sure everyone will have a great time in this city as there are so many things to do and see. So enjoy!