Don't believe everything you've heard about Amsterdam, it has a lot more to offer than you might think, and these descriptions just scratch the surface. The Dutch city does not take it lightly when women in red light districts and coffee shops sell unorthodox herbs to the clientele. We ate excellent Indonesian food and saw the twilight on the canal side of the walk, but that is only half the truth.
While the city's loose laws and vices seem to attract a dominant male crowd, there are also age-appropriate attractions - from cycling through a maze of canals to remembering the Holocaust through Anne Frank's eyes. Discover Vincent van Gogh's whirling expressionism, lounge in the sprawling Vondelpark or explore the world's largest museum of modern art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Amsterdam.
The city has a busy social calendar throughout the season - there are more than 300 festivals a year, and there is no doubt that the weather in the city is notoriously good. In some of the top locations, you'll find low hotel prices and exhausted crowds, and experience Amsterdam as a way to relax with the locals. The best time to visit Amsterdam is during the summer months when it is warm and sunny, but you will have fewer tourists and enjoy a little mild temperatures. If you are in business and don't care about temperatures of 30 - 40 degrees, you should plan your winter vacation early.
It's not known that bouncers and police confiscate your camera and even throw it into the canal (oop, oops, bebe, that's my stuff).
We all know that Amsterdam is child-friendly, but the city has a penchant for adult entertainment. You can only access this store during this time, you must purchase the card within 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours.
Crowds are lowest, as are queues at the main attractions, but the small towns are tremendously good on foot. Simply leaving a wide berth for cyclists on the bike paths and walking step by step saves significantly more than by taxi or public transport. Invest in a cosy coat for winter and visit one of the city's most popular tourist destinations, such as the Old Town. As an added bonus, you can come to Amsterdam in winter, where you stay warm and fuzzy at discounted hotel rates.
Amsterdam officially speaks Dutch, but most residents also speak English, and it is offensive to think otherwise. The Dutch are notorious for their frugality and have an enormous appetite for consumption, so they can enjoy it while shopping.
Amsterdam's official currency is the Euro (EUR), but you should check the current exchange rate, as exchange rates often vary between Euro and US Dollar.
Most restaurants and shops accept credit cards, but in 2016 Amsterdam introduced the following rules for its coffee shops. Alcohol may not be served, shops may not be within 350 metres of schools and no one under 18 years of age may be admitted. Marijuana use is not legal in Amsterdam, but is tolerated and consumption is limited to 0.5 grams per day.
Amsterdam is full of a variety of national and international cuisine, but take a look at this list of some of the most popular dishes in the restaurants of the city. Dutch pancake, filled and doused with all kinds of ingredients, from bacon to blueberries.
Raw herring is a speciality of the Netherlands and is eaten in whole grain form, so it is a must - try it. Dutch gin could be found at the idyllic t'Nieuwe Diep distillery, and Jenever's is the best place to enjoy it.
Indonesian restaurants are scattered throughout the city and Blauw, Sampurna or Restaurant Jun are recommended as the best restaurants. Indonesian cuisine and is very popular in Amsterdam, with restaurants such as Jokowi, Rijksmolen, Jogos, Bijl and Tangerine.
The food found in the Elandsgracht (canal ring) is also praised by travellers, and cheap ethnic food is collected mainly in the district of De Pijp.
Culinary tours are a great way to get to know the local restaurant scene while enjoying authentic Dutch specialties. Beware of partying - hearty areas of De Pijp, such as Elandsgracht, De Vlaanderen and De Klaas - van - Oost.
Since these areas tend to attract unruly groups of men, visitors, especially women, should be wary of wandering the red-light districts alone in the evening. The Dutch government considers the area a "red light district" with a high crime rate, and travelers should be careful in this area too.
Before you visit us, you should check the latest news on the rules and regulations, otherwise you may forget trouble with the authorities.
Fly to nearby Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and move to your hotel or fly to another city. The best way to reach Amsterdam is by bike, but we recommend you to get your own bike.
The narrow streets and canal belts that surround the city, enclosed by the canal belt, and the narrow streets make manoeuvring cars in and out of the city interesting, to say the least.
Amsterdam is also known for its bike tours and you will find that the city is lined with rental shops, but there are also several guided bike tours to help you navigate the traffic. Amsterdam is home to some of the most popular cycling routes in the world, such as the Amsterdam Cycle Tour, and there are also a number of metro, bus and tram services. Not everyone travels to unknown places, so if you have bought an amsterdam City Card, you will be covered for travel by public transport.
From the airport, you can reach the city centre by bus, train or taxi, but it usually costs between 10 and 20 euros for a single journey or 25 euros for a day ticket. Taxi rides from the airport to the city centre usually cost around 15 euros for the first half hour and around 30 to 40 euros for two hours.
Travellers are advised to go to the taxi rank near the airport exit and not to be driven by a driver who will ask you at the airport. It is a meeting place for officially recognised taxi drivers, but travellers can also take a bus, train or taxi from the city centre or train station.
US citizens travelling to or attempting to re-enter the Netherlands by plane or boat will need a valid travel document. A passport is the preferred form of identity card and must be valid for at least six months from the planned date of departure. Children must be accompanied by a passport, and children under 18 must also have a passport valid for at least three months, but for a recommended period of six months.
US citizens also need a visa if they plan to stay in the US for more than 90 days and at least six months after arrival.
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