By Griffin Smith
Over the years Amsterdam has remained a popular destination because of its impressive architecture, beautiful canals, and tolerant attitudes. For those who are on a budget and only have a few days to see the capital of the Netherlands, a popular way to explore Amsterdam is by diving into the different neighborhoods and immersing yourself in the culture. Here’s a travel plan for a weekend in Amsterdam.
Start in the Old Centre of the city
but beware of those shops and vendors that are obviously catering to tourists because these places are often overpriced. Outside of the tourist traps there are still many highlights of the historic Old Centre that should be seen before venturing deeper into the city. Start with the places that have given Amsterdam its reputation of religious tolerance including landmarks like the Nieuwe Kerk in Dam Square and the Jewish Historical Museum inside the Jewish Quarter. Continue with a boat tour of the canals that run through the city and surround the Old Centre.
Next, journey through the Jordaan district
Next venture into Jordaan district, which has become the home of Amsterdam’s artistic community. Take your time in exploring the small cafes and galleries that line the canals because the beauty that is both natural and created here is unlike any other part of the city. What this district lacks in grand landmarks it more than makes up for in its warm atmosphere and welcoming restaurants that often play host to local musicians. The Jordaan is a great spot for those on a budget because much of its beauty can be viewed and enjoyed for free as visitors window-shop their way around the district.
Then head south
to find where the locals spend their time relaxing when away from home. Home to both the Museum Quarter and Vondelpark, the area of south Amsterdam is the place to head to if you are looking to relax either inside or outside. Vondelpark is a great way to enjoy the city the way the locals do by taking in a show at the open-air theater in the park or just laying in the sun as the hours roll by. Or head to the Museum Quarter to wonder at the masterpieces of famous Dutch painters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. If you are headed to the Museum Quarter and are planning on seeing multiple museums during your time in Amsterdam it might be worth investing in a “Museumkaart,” a pass good for a year that will get you into 34 of the most popular museums in Amsterdam for free.
Onto the Red Light District
Last but not least a district that is technically part of the Old Centre but has carved out a place all its own in the minds of travelers, the Red Light District. Known for its tolerant attitude towards many things that would be considered illegal in other cities, including both prostitution and marijuana, the Red Light District takes on a hedonistic atmosphere unlike any other part of the city. One thing that officials are less tolerant of though is anyone taking pictures of those who sell their wares by dancing in windows. This is strictly illegal and can lead to you losing your camera for the rest of your trip. So wander into the Red Light District to make some memories, but be sure to be careful where you point your camera.