Known as one of the greatest small cities in the world, Amsterdam is globally-famous for its canals, historical sites, and the sheer number of its museums. Easily one of the most romantic cities you could plan a vacation to, there is so much to do and see here that you will probably ending up coming here again and again. Though you might like to plan a long holiday at Amsterdam, the truth is that most of us do not have that much free time at hand. However, this does not mean that you cannot get an authentic taste of Amsterdam in the little time you have. Plan an Amsterdam city break over the next long weekend that you get, and we’ll tell you about the amazing things in Amsterdam that ought to make it your short itinerary. What’s more is that you do not need to spend an arm and a leg on your Amsterdam city break. There are a number of things that you can do completely free of charge when you are at Amsterdam, and these are the things we recommend that you add to your checklist right now.
Exploring the Canal Belt on Your Amsterdam City Break
The Grachtengordel or Canal Belt is pretty much synonymous with Amsterdam. One of the greatest pleasures that you could indulge in during your Amsterdam city break is to take a leisurely walk along the canals. In fact, this is something that even the locals do not get enough of. This is one of our top free things to do on your Amsterdam city break. Rent a bicycle or just go on foot. While you may find many other people on their cycles, this zone is almost entirely car-free. Make sure that you walk along the grand canals of Grachtengordel. This includes the Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht which were laid out in the 17th Century, and are an awe-inspiring sight. Head to one of the smaller canals for a nighttime leisurely walk – the gabled houses that are lit up look magical.
Shopping at De Jordaan
Plan your Amsterdam city break on a weekend, and spend the Saturday exploring De Jordaan neighborhood. Complete with beautiful canals, many galleries, spirited cafés, and shops that sell quirky wares, this is where you will find a unique culture ensconced in Amsterdam. Saturday is the day that the general market is held at Lindengracht, and Noorderkerk hosts a farmers’ market as well as a flea market. Stop by one of the quaint cafés to feel the convivial vibe that is unique to Amsterdam. We recommend the Rooie Nelis and De Twee Zwaantjes.
Indulge in More Shopping at Negen Straatjes
From Reestraat to Wijde Heisteeg, you will chance upon a crisscrossing net of nine little alleys that run through the main canals. These nine little streets are known as the Negen Straatjes, and this is where you will find every single thing that you never knew you wanted to buy from Amsterdam. From quirky specialty stores and designer boutiques, to one store that only sells toothbrushes, these streets offer retail therapy like no other. Shop for yourself as well as your near and dear ones when you are on your Amsterdam city break. When you need a break from all the shopping, walk into any one of the numerous cafés that are strategically located all through these streets.
Eat-out at De Pijp
Characterized by the narrow streets that give it its name, De Pijp or The Pipe is the area between Hobbemakade, Amsteldijk, Stadhouderskade, and Amstelkade. Formerly a working-class district, De Pijp is now the place to be at when you want to enjoy specialist food shops and eateries that sell some of the best Dutch dishes as well as international cuisine items. The alleys around the Albert Cuyp Market are a must-visit for every food-lover on an Amsterdam city break. This place is also close to the old Heineken Brewery if you want to do some exploring.
Explore the 500-year-old Red Light District
Not everything on display at the Red Light District in Amsterdam is seedy! Of course, there are plenty of live sex shows, lap-dancing, and windows with dancing women wearing barely-there clothes. This is one of the most historic parts of Amsterdam. Even if you do not want to be a part of the throngs of curious tourists who stop by here, head down De Waag which was the medieval city gate, and through China Town. Make your way to Zeedijk from here for a less in-your-face experience.
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