A wonderful city full of friendly people, Amsterdam holds the promise of adventure and intrigue, with an almost endless list of things to do and see.
But just like anywhere in the world, despite its liberal and inviting reputation – which is fully justified – there are some things which you should avoid in order to get the most out of your trip.
This insider guide runs through some of the most important do’s and don’ts of enjoying your visit to Amsterdam.
Don’t…take pictures in the red light district
The Red Light District in Amsterdam has an almost irresistible draw for many tourists, as a unique attraction which has become a world-famous enterprise.
Be careful about taking photos in the red light district
The area is perfectly safe to visit and there will be plenty of people whatever time of day or night you decide to take a wander. But whilst it’s fine to take a snapshot of the beautiful cobbled streets or some of the fine architecture you will see in this historic part of the city, don’t be tempted to take a souvenir picture of any of the near-naked ladies you might see in the windows.
Any attempt to photograph the women could well end up in both you and your camera being covered with a bucket of water laced with bleach!
Do…take care over which taxis you use
Hailing a cab is a frequent occurrence in Amsterdam but if you do, make sure that you don’t get stung by one of the scammers in the town.
There are lots of runners for unlicensed taxis who will approach you even as you walk through the airport but don’t be tempted by their super-low prices. There are many horror stories of unlicensed cabbies charging a small fortune and even driving off before you can get your luggage out of the boot. To be certain you won’t get ripped off make sure you use a licensed firm.
An alternative to the roulette of hailing a cab is chauffeur hire whilst in Amsterdam to take you on your travels around the city. A surprisingly economical luxury, you can see all your chosen destinations without wasting time queuing or getting lost and you won’t have to set aside a large chunk of your holiday budget on taxi fares.
Do…keep an eye out for bikes and trams
Amsterdam is a very active city and its residents use all kinds of transport, not just cars.
Bikes are a very popular way to get around in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam is no exception. However, the bike lanes are a busy and dangerous place to walk and some particularly kamikaze cyclists will not slow down or swerve for pedestrians! Make sure you don’t risk serious injury by wandering into bike lanes; they will be in constant use.
Be careful to watch out for bikes and trams when in Amsterdam
Trams are another danger to an unwitting tourist and their speed can catch people out. Don’t be tempted to try and outrun them; there are a number of accidents reported each year involving tourists and trams. And if you cross behind one, don’t forget there is a good chance you might encounter one coming in the opposite direction at speed!
Don’t…get caught out by ‘freebies’
If you go into a shop to purchase a service, you may be handed goods such as a map which you may well assume is a freebie. Only later on you may find out that you have been charged for the goods, which are likely to be of little real value.
One example of this is the ruse operated by some independent money changers. You will be given a map during your transaction and unless you hand it back, you will find an extra charge of around 6-7 euros added onto your bill.
Do…enjoy local food
When you are in a foreign country, it can be tempting to simply head for the nearest restaurant that looks like it sells your home cuisine rather than sampling some of the local food.
However, you might never be in Amsterdam again so why not take the opportunity to enjoy some of the dishes which are native to the area? If you have hired a limousine service, you will find it easy to reach restaurants in regions which aren’t slap-bang in the middle of the tourist district and you might find it saves you some money too!
Amsterdam is a city full of exciting things to try, whether it’s the famous cafes or some of the fascinating museums. But just like any country, it can be helpful to have a few pointers on what to look for. Hopefully the above top tips will help you have an enjoyable stay and make the most of your visit to Amsterdam.
Image Credits: Sebastiano Rametta and Faungg’s Photo