Amsterdam is the glorious city in the Netherlands that millions of people visit every year. Also called “Venice of the North” and the “City of Bikes,” Amsterdam is known for its vast canal system and for its eco-conscious dedication to limit the number of fuels we’re emitting into the atmosphere. Amsterdam is also known for its incredible museums and let’s not forget about those Dutch pancakes.
In a city that’s home to over 820,000 people, there’s a charming energy that exudes from this city that can’t be ignored. There’s also a whole lot of rookie mistakes that can occur to travelers venturing there for the first time. To avoid unnecessary fees and energy, take a look at 10 things not to do when visiting this canal-based city.
Skip The Cab, Rent A Bike
Similar to New York City and Los Angelas, cabs are quite expensive in Amsterdam. You're not going to see bright yellow taxis whizzing around town either. These cars are normal-looking cars that you or your neighbor would be driving but some have the classic 'Taxi' sign on the roof of the car.
Taxis in Amsterdam charge by the meter and with the amount of traffic Amsterdam has, your ride can be more expensive even though you're just sitting in traffic. To be fair, most travelers can get to their destination quicker (and cheaper) by walking or riding a bike. There are plenty of spots to rent a bike in the Netherlands, which can enhance your exploration as well.
And Be Aware Of Where You're Walking
Did you know there are over 800,000 bikes in being driven around at any given time? That means almost every person who resides in Amsterdam owns and rides a bike throughout the city. However, with so many bikers commuting throughout this narrow city, being a walking pedestrian can seem intimidating.
Due to the number of bikes, there's a bike lane that is taken as seriously as a car lane. Bikers follow the same street rules as cars do and will stop and go as soon as the light changes color. This means that walkers need to be aware of where they're walking and when to cross the road. Walking in the bike lane will end in an accident or an angry biker. When in doubt: stay far away from the bike lane and look both ways before crossing the road.
Don't Sleep On Anne Frank
The history of Anne Frank is a dark one but it's a story that will live on forever thanks to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. Anne Frank's tale is told through her diary, where she and her family were hiding in a house for two years. Today, the house where she and her family hid has been transformed into a museum and visiting center. Travelers can see where Anne and her family hid for those depressing two years and learn more about the young writer.
Travelers may be surprised to see that tickets to the museum are affordable (around €10.50) however, they sell out quickly. In fact, the museum only sells tickets online and 80% of them are sold two months in advance. Twenty percent of the tickets are sold on the day of beginning at 9 am but you better be quick — people wait for these tickets to go on sale!
You'll Regret Missing A Canal Tour
Partaking in a canal tour should be on every traveler's itinerary. It's simply the best way to see Amsterdam and an interactive way to learn about the city before exploring it. There are oodles of tours to take part in, it just depends on your price range and what kind of experience you're searching for.
There are simple and affordable tours that give you a seat and headphones to learn more about the area you're sailing towards or there are canal tours that offer food, drinks, and history. Regardless of the tour, seeing Amsterdam from the canals is unmatched.
Don't Bother Looking For The #IAmsterdam Sign
When planning your Amsterdam trip, you're bound to see pictures of the 'I Amsterdam' sign that looks like a selfie haven. It's a great touristy shot for people to take pictures for Instagram or Pinterest. However, before you start running for Museumplein to take pictures in front of this famous sign, you should stop in your tracks.
Unbeknownst to many tourists, the sign had been taken down after the city council saw it as a hazard. Too many people were clogging the area and climbing the letters that it became too dangerous. So, it's safe you should explore this beautiful area without the hopes of seeing this selfie station.