Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, and is a creative, historic, and quite liberal city. It is the largest and most famous city in the Netherlands, despite the fact that it is not the capital. Amsterdam has a rich history which can be seen not only in the museums and cathedrals around town, but also in the architecture of the townhouses and the general layout of the city. It's best known for the canals that intertwine the city. Houseboats line the canals offering a great and unique experience when you're in the city. If you're particularly interested in the houseboats, there is a houseboat museum you can visit, housed in an actual houseboat. If you plan ahead, and book well in advance, it is also possible to stay in a houseboat during your visit. Amsterdam is also famous for its red light district, which is surprisingly located in close proximity to a large church. During the early evening, tourists feel the streets around the red light district, but as night falls, it becomes less of a tourist attraction and more functional. Other popular sights around town include Anne Franks House, which is now a museum, the Maritime Museum, and Rijksmuseum.
You can easily travel around Amsterdam by tram or on foot, but you'll also see most of the locals on bicycles. This only adds to the charm of the city and you you're looking to rent a bicycle and enjoy the full experience there are a few options available to you such as Star Bikes Rental, MacBike Bicycle Rental, and Orangebike, Rentals & Tours.
Part of the charm of Amsterdam is exploring the streets that line the canals and cross the many quaint bridges around town. The houses almost seem like something out of a story book the way they sit precariously on the side leaning left or right based on the shifting ground beneath them.
Prices are quite high in Amsterdam and you can expect to pay dearly for a meal or a hotel room. You'll get the best rates on hotels if you book well in advance. Restaurants outside of the main touristy areas also tend to be slightly cheaper, although they can still be surprisingly expensive.
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Hotels or Hostels?
If you're traveling with another person it's often the same price (or sometimes cheaper) to go ahead and get a double instead of staying in a hostel. Unless you're looking for the hostel atmosphere, you're likely to get more bang for your buck with a small, basic double room.
Pot is No Longer Legal for Foreigners
on Nov 21, 2011 in Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps
Just a heads up that one draw for many tourists to Amsterdam is no more. It is know longer legal for foreigners to smoke pot, even in the bars you'll find around Amsterdam. While locals can still legally get high, foreigners are no longer allowed to. Keep this in mine when planning your trip. The new law is being taken seriously, so don't let any surprises ruin your vacation.