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First time visit to the Netherlands/Amsterdam

Evening, I'm traveling to Amsterdam in about 18 days, Im in my late 30's and super excited and nervous at the same time. I'll be traveling solo, so I've booked a hostel in hopes to find some acquaintances. Got a few museum tickets and i'm currently looking up canal and bike tours. I'm here a whole 14 days. I'm thinking the first day i might just sleep. because of travel from Texas.
I'll be staying at an Airbnb the last few days at the beach, before leaving back home on June 25.

Any other suggestions, can't miss things to see, eat or explore?

Posted by
4579 posts

14 days is quite a long time to spend in Amsterdam/The Netherlands so I would look at visiting a few other places particularly if this is your first time in Europe. Flights within Europe can be incredibly cheap.

Posted by
9493 posts

You’ll get differing opinions on how to handle jet lag. When I travel solo I usually need to take a short nap of 1.5 hours or less. Do try to get your face out in the sunshine as it will help you adjust to local time.

Others try to stay awake and push through until evening to get on a local sleep schedule.

Posted by
14773 posts

My guess is that if you are chatty with your hostel mates, you'll get lots of suggestions and recommendations for tours, places to see and other cities to explore. You could rent a bike for several days in A'dam - it's a good way to get around the city (once you get used to the traffic) and you'll feel like a local. The bike shops around the Central Station are the most expensive.

Have some plans for what to do besides lie on the beach. The water will be icy cold and the weather could well be too cold or windy to enjoy lolling on the sand.

Posted by
3 posts

I’m have some friends stationed in Germany hopes to make it there, via train.
I hope to see other places of Europe, while there, during my time. I have a music festival first weekend I’m there in Amsterdam. Hence why I’m kinda staying local. I did book an Airbnb about and hour south in Schijndel. Have a friend who lives out there and hope to catch up with them. Just looking for suggestions.

Also, I’m pretty chatty, so hope the hostel helps with finding some people to tag with. Looking at some tours too, so I’m filling mytime.
I figured the beaches wouldn’t be like Texas beaches. But getting out there, is a must for me.
Yeah, the jet lag has me concerned. 10 hr non stop flight from Texas to there. Hope to sleep the flight as much as possible.
Thank you for the tips thus far.

Posted by
1175 posts

I am sure by now you have bought a Rick Steves guide book. But I thought I would list some things to see while in Amsterdam. I was supposed to go on the RS Belgium/Holland tour last year but it was cancelled. I still have my notes.

Sites and Museums to see:

Rikiksmuseum —
buy a ticket before going to Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Royal Palace - city hall

Amstelkring Amsterdam museum
catholic church hidden in the attic of a 17th century merchant’s house

Bag and Purse museum - have afternoon tea there.

Museum Van Loon

Beginforf - 14th Century Courtyard

De Hortus Botanitical Garden

nine little streets to go shopping
Lidsestraat canals Delft shop nearby

Brouwersgracht Brewer’s canal borders on the Jordan district
No 188-194 houses to see

Eglantiersgracht canal (pretty canal to see)
between Lignbaansgracht & Prinsengrache

Portuges Israleitisch Synagogue

New Church — New Kerk
Old Church - Oude Kerk

Hermitage Museum


Houten Huis - Wooden House

Willet-Holthuysen - 17th century house

Stedelick Museum

Canal House
De Dolfijin
De gecroonde Praep - The Crowned Turnip

Houseboat museum - Closed Mondays

Boat ride

Four main city center canals:

Smaller canals:

Vondelstraat 26

I hope this helps.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1175 posts

Here are some suggestions on day trips from Amsterdam:
Day Trips from Amsterdam:

Haarlem (city)

about a 15 minute train ride

A. Corrie Ten Boom House
(hiding place for Jews)

B. Teylers Museum

C. Grote Markt

D. Grote Kerk ( church)

Leiden ( city)
35 minutes on the train

Zaanse Schans
( 15 minutes from Amsterdam)

Posted by
1175 posts

If your able, you could see if you could find a hotel room in Paris and take the train to Paris and stay three or four days in Paris. Just a suggestion if you get bored with Amsterdam. There are many day trips from Amsterdam to consider.

Posted by
1175 posts

I did not include any of the sites or museums that are included in the Belgium/Holland tour and there are several including the Anne Frank house as I was planning on doing the tour and then staying in Amsterdam for about 4 or 5 days. So be sure to check out the tour which will provide you with more sites and museums than what I listed. You may also want to check out the on line Rick Steve scrapbooks people posted for the scrapbook contest every year. Some people did their scrapbooks on the Belgium/Holland tour and I found it to be a wealth of information on Holland.

Posted by
1175 posts

I found more notes I made during my researching of Amsterdam, I have not been to Amsterdam in many years. I did not eat at the places I am listing but here is what I gathered from other people's comments and suggestions:
Amsterdam - where to eat:

Cheap eats:
The Original California Burrito Co. - The taco dinner and beef burrito are very good but the chicken burrito is awesome!!! The only problem was our second visit included waiting for Uber drivers to pick up their orders before ours could be made. I'd still go there again.

Winkel's 43 - Snack foods and apple pie. On Monday or Saturday mornings you can also enjoy the Noordermarkt across the street.

Cafe Wheels in Nine Streets on Wolvenstraat - nice bar for beer and a fantastic hamburger!

Greenwoods on Singel Canal - good English breakfast. Last year we ate at Greenwoods on the Keizergracht canal and it had a very nice lunch menu.

Mid range -
Loetje at Centraal downstairs below the Visitor's Center - slow service but worth the wait. A 200g steak is sufficient for most people. I LOVED the spicy Bali sauce on my steak while hubby had his with chicken livers and bacon. We split an order of fries and were too full for dessert.

Reynder's in Leidseplein - great Guinness beef stew and fish and chips. Servings were more than generous.

Haesje Claes near Dam Square - very good menu. We opted for choosing from three pre-set menus at 25E each. This included soup, main, and dessert. I enjoyed tomato soup, kale stampott, and a delicious lemony dessert with raspberry sauce. Hubby loved his pea soup, salmon with bernaise, and apple pie.

Cafe Bern in Nieuwmarkt - My favorite restaurant as I love, love, love cheese fondue! We also ordered steaks to go with the fondue and they were excellent. You really need a reservation here if you want a table. We ate at the bar. I didn't hear anyone else in the bar speaking English other than ourselves and our bartender.