The DOs and DONT’s of Amsterdam

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When you are a tourist visiting a place like Amsterdam for the first time, there are always things about the city that you may not have thought. Hopefully this article will help pull back the veil on some of those things and give you some insights into what are “must see’s”, while you are there.

DON’T go to coffee shops for coffee, they actually rarely sell coffee them. What you will find there is marijuana (although I am sure you knew that already). These shops were introduced in the 1970s in order to keep the soft and hard drugs separated. The most popular one, The Bulldog is a chain placed around the streets of Amsterdam, as much as a McDonalds is in New York. So if you are looking for a cup of coffee, you might just want to go to a Starbucks!


DO go on a bike riding tour to see more of the countryside. I wanted to spend some time away from the hustle of the city and check out some of its natural beauty. This is a great option, because you have someone leading you around the outskirts of the city who can teach you something about the place as you ride around. An even bigger plus is that you wont have to worry about getting lost! If you are not into tours and are good with maps (unlike myself) you can rent a bike and venture out on your own. On my tour, I saw residential towns, canals and of course windmills! The scenery is at times spectacular and it certainly made my trip feel more authentic.


DON’T take pictures in the Red Light District. The area is exactly what you picture from movies and stories. Narrow streets lined with glass doors allowing you to see half naked women standing around waiting for someone to come into their room. It is obviously not something you see often, so many tourist try to take photos but I am warning you.. don’t!! Not only are there signs everywhere, you are being watched. The men that work with these women (also known as pimps) stand on the rooftops and walk through the streets making sure you don’t take any photos. If they spot you, they will approach you. You might not see them but they are around and I promise, you wouldn’t want that happening to you. I saw some of these men and they are pretty intimidating looking!


DO take a cruise on the canal. This is a great, relaxing way to see different parts of the city. We also had a guide that told us a lot of interesting facts and pointed out specific landmarks such as the Anne Frank House. When I started my tour it was still light and as we went on I got to see the awe inspiring sight of the sun setting over the city and turn to night. In addition to this I also received two drinks, so I observed everything while relaxing with a lovely glass of wine. Bliss!


23 thoughts on “The DOs and DONT’s of Amsterdam

  1. I remember hearing a story there about a guy taking photos in the Red Light District… I guess one of the ladies was extremely upset, ran out to him, took his camera and threw it in the canal. After I heard this I specifically left my camera in the hostel to avoid the temptation!


  2. Oh, this is a great do/don’t list. I was just in Amsterdam in September, and it was so beautiful. The funny thing is that I spent almost an entire day in the Red Light District and didn’t even realize it until the sun went down! It honestly just looked to me like any other area, except with some trashy advertising, haha. Luckily I didn’t try to take any pictures, I didn’t know they weren’t allowed and that it is so strictly enforced! I didn’t go on a canal ride or ride bikes, either, but I really wish I did. Great tips!

    You can check out my post about Amsterdam here if you’re so inclined 🙂



  3. Very sage advice, especially for coffee lovers that want to be engulfed by the smells of a dark roast instead of something else. I missed out on doing the countryside bike ride when I was there, but am definitely planning on doing that the next time I’m in Amsterdam.


  4. Very valid Do’s and Don’ts! Nice reminder about the coffee shops and pictures in the Red Light District…. I would add the women are probably degraded enough as it is…respect for the women who are working would be one more reason to not take photos. I haven’t been to Amsterdam, but I too would very much enjoy a view of the countryside- especially on a bike! A cruise on the canal with wine sounds equally fabulous!


  5. thanks for the tip! my boyfriend and I are definitely coffee addicts so we’d have definitely wandered into a coffee shop without knowing hahah


  6. This is such a great idea, this post. You should considering doing a series like this for every place you’ve visited! On the other hand, I was most intrigued about the coffee shops, so thanks for setting that straight!


  7. Great Post! I would add “DO” Rent a bike for the day from Mac Bike, and “DO” grab a bottle of wine or a couple beers and ride to a park. That was one of the best days I’ve ever had during my travels.


  8. Thanks for this great post and tips. We are headed to Amsterdam in March – can’t wait 🙂 Hope to do some bike riding if it will not be to cold.


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