boats in netherlands
Europe Travel,  World Travel

Alternative things to do in Amsterdam

When you enter the city you already feel the specific aroma which this city have and then you realize that this is the beginning of a new experience. Whether you like museums, hipster shops or food markets, it looks that Amsterdam have it all. Also, everywhere you look it looks that something is worth seeing, experiencing or photographing. Once you visit Amsterdam you never come back the same, this city touches your soul and heart.

I made a list of things you should definitely experience while visiting Amsterdam if you want to feel more local.


Let’s begin with the bikes, because cycling is a part of culture in Amsterdam. There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam and there is even saying about canals in Amsterdam that it is filled with mud, bicycles and water. Every year Amsterdam’s Water Authority, fishes out between 12,000 to 15,000 bicycles from the canals.

bicycles in Amsterdam

If you want to feel the local vibe you should definitely rent a bike. When you see the traffic of the streets it can make you wonder if you really want to ride a bike, but if you follow the instructions everything will be fine. Personally, I felt that it will be even safer, because cyclist really hate distracted tourists and they don’t even stop if they see that tourists are blocking their way. If you are a pedestrian sometimes you have to look more than three times before crossing the road.

There are a lot of rental shops around so there shouldn’t be any trouble finding it. I tried Donkey Republic bikes, because you can control your bike via app.

You may also like: Amsterdam 3 days Itinerary 

The Red Light District

Obviously, everybody is interested in the Red Light District, right?

Everything what you heard about this district is true. There are red lights and there are women in their lingerie standing near the window inviting men to come inside. If you did not know not only weed is legalized in Netherlands, but also prostitution. Of course, there are other entertainment in this district like live sex shows, prostitution museum, sex shops, tattoo salons, art galleries and of course coffee shops. Do not mistaken coffee shops with cafe, in coffee shops you can buy legal weed in cafe you’ll get coffee.

the red light district

Canal ride

Most of the people in Amsterdam spend their time by the water or in boats.

amsterdam canals

Boats which you can meet and which are buzzing in Amsterdam canals every day and night can be divided into 7 types.

Sightseeing boats.  Actually those boats looks a bit boring, you will never hear a laugh from there or see a person smiling. Usually, those boats are full of tourists who are listening about city’s history through the headphones.

Houseboats. If you want to have an extraordinary experience you can rent a houseboat and live in it. It is more expensive than a regular apartment, but it is worth it. Some of these alternative houses once were cargo vessels and now they are  converted into houseboats, other houseboats were already built for this purpose. You can find all types and styles of houseboats from scandinavian minimalism to hipsterish looking boats.


Taxi, ferry or public transport boats. Boats which goes from one location to another.

Alternative touristic boats. Touristic boats which have guides and some drinks, where you can chill and learn about the city from local people.

High speed boats. Those are a bit dangerous, because almost anybody can rent it and if they speed too much then accidents could happen.

amsterdam canals

Pedal boats. Pedalos allow to see Amsterdam at a slower pace and you also burn off some calories from all the Dutch beers and waffles.

Any kind of floating thing. It looks that every local have their own boat and it completely doesn’t matter how it looks. It can be just a rubber boat or canoe.

NEMO (science museum)

You can easily access the roof of the Science Museum NEMO which is the highest city square in the Netherlands. The view is incredible and if you catch the sunset it will be the highlight of your trip. In the summer sometimes there are exhibitions and all year round there is a café where you could have some drinks.

Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)

Bloemenmarkt is the only one floating flower market in the whole world. Isn’t it amazing? You will definitely find a variety of flowers, plants and if you travel on Spring you can buy a huge bouquet of tulips for almost nothing.


Jordaan is the main, trendy neighbourhood which is the part of Amsterdam. It has narrow canals, cosy pubs, stylish restaurants. Most of the canals and streets in this area are named after flowers and streets. Get lost in this neighbourhood and be ready to take pictures, because everything looks here astonishing.

Europe’s highest swing

If you are a thrillseeker you have to try these swings. You will swing in 100 meters high, back and forth on the edge of the tower. Enjoying the view of Amsterdam while adrenaline flows in you. I suggest you to book your ticket before.

About the writer:

A solo female traveller who travel the world and work remotely as a digital marketing specialist. Combining her two passions in life and sharing the experience of making dreams come true.

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