Most memorable four experiences when visiting Amsterdam first time


The capital city of Netherlands is pretty but intriguing, modern yet classic and quirky but quaint. If you’re planning a trip to the land of canals and clogs – let us take you to the 4 best experiences of Amsterdam which has absolutely swamped us in our first visit. Hence bookmark this if you are visiting Amsterdam first time.

So after spending 3 days in Svalbard, only 800 km from North Pole and doing a week-long road trip across Norway; we landed in the sin-capital of the world : The AMSTERDAM !!

Since we had only one full day before our flight to Bangalore next day, we explored from day to night.

Here listing our four best experiences which we feel you must not miss as a first timer :

Visiting Amsterdam first time

Zaanse Schans is a village in the Netherlands that is known for its well-preserved 18th and 19th century windmills and traditional Dutch houses. It is located in the province of North Holland, near Amsterdam, and is a popular tourist destination due to its picturesque setting and historical significance.

There are many things to do and see at Zaanse Schans,

  • Touring the windmills: Visitors can go inside several of the windmills and learn about how they were used in the past for tasks such as milling flour and sawing wood.
  • Seeing traditional crafts being made: Visitors can watch artisans at work in the traditional workshops, such as a clog maker, cheese farm, and a cooper.
  • Visiting the Zaanse Schans Museum: This museum provides an overview of the history of the area, including the role of the windmills in the local economy.
  • Walking or cycling around the village: The village is quite small, so it can be easily explored by foot or bike. Visitors can take in the picturesque views of the windmills and traditional houses and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
  • Tasting traditional Dutch food and drinks: The village has a small number of restaurants, where visitors can taste traditional Dutch food and drinks such as stroopwafels, cheese, and gin.
  • Visiting the Zaanse Schans park: This park is a great place for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, visitors can also have a picnic or have a walk, the park is quite big and has a playground for kids.
Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Shoe factory inside Zaanse Schans
Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Famous windmills of Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is located near Amsterdam, making it an easy day trip from the city, this allows visitors to experience the contrast between the vibrant city and the peaceful countryside. Overall, it is a unique destination that offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time and experience a traditional Dutch village. A must for people visiting Amsterdam first time.

Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Beautiful village of Zaanse Schans

Anne Frank House:

Book your tickets here

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is famous because it was the hiding place of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl whose diary became a worldwide bestseller after her death in a concentration camp. The diary, which she wrote while in hiding, provides a detailed and moving account of her life during the Holocaust and the lives of the other people in hiding with her. The diary has been translated into numerous languages and has become a powerful and enduring symbol of the Holocaust

The building, which was originally an office building, has been converted into a museum that showcases the history of the Frank family and their time in hiding during World War II.

The museum also has exhibits on the Holocaust and the history of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. It is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions and a powerful reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Outside Ann Frank House: Photos are not allowed inside

Canal ride around the city:

If you are visiting Amsterdam first time, a canal ride is a great way to experience the city’s unique and charming architecture, as well as its rich history. Amsterdam’s canals were built in the 17th century as part of a plan to expand the city and make it more livable. They were also used for transportation and commerce. Because of that, many of the city’s most historic and beautiful buildings are located along the canals, including merchants’ houses, warehouses, and churches.

The boat ride also offers a different perspective of the city, since Amsterdam is often referred to as the “Venice of the North”. You can see the city from a different angle, and it can be a very peaceful and relaxing experience to glide through the canals and take in the views.

Visiting Amsterdam for first time
View from the canal boat ride

There are various companies that offer canal boat tours, which typically last around an hour. The boats usually have an open-air deck or an enclosed cabin, and some provide audio guides or live commentary in multiple languages. The tour typically covers the main canals, such as the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht, and passes by famous landmarks like the Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk, and the Skinny Bridge.

Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Open boat canal rides in Amsterdam
Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Walking by the famous canals

Nightlife in Amsterdam:

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is famous for its legalized prostitution and sex-oriented businesses. It is a popular tourist destination known for its window brothels, sex shops, and coffee shops.

If you are visiting Amsterdam first time, take a note of below things to explore the red light lanes most effectively


  1. Start by taking a guided tour of the area. This will give you a good overview of the history and culture of the Red Light District, and will also provide some useful tips for navigating the area.

  2. After the tour, take a stroll through the streets to see the iconic, red-lit windows and the sex workers on display. Be respectful of the sex workers and the neighbourhood while you’re exploring.

  3. Visit a coffee shop to experience the famous Dutch “coffee shop” culture. You can try different strains of cannabis and enjoy a casual atmosphere. Don’t mistake a café with a coffee-shop. In the first you drink coffee and in the second one you light up a joint 😀
    We have tried The Bulldog coffee shop which is pretty old and famous. Though there are so many in the same lane.
  4. Take a break from walking and visit one of the many bars in the area. The Red Light District has a variety of bars to choose from, including traditional Dutch pubs, live music venues, and more.

  5. Visit the Prostitution Information Center. This museum provides information about the history of prostitution in Amsterdam and the current situation in the Red-Light District.


It is important to be respectful of the sex workers and the neighbourhood while visiting the Red-Light District

Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Bulldog Coffee Shop
Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Red light areas both side of the canal

Few things to avoid while exploring the vibrant and glamorous nightlife of Amsterdam:


  • Don’t use drugs or buy one from the street dealers
  • Don’t take a drink from strangers
  • Don’t drink alcohol in open
  • Be very cautious about your belongings
Visiting Amsterdam for first time
Walking by the lanes of Amsterdam Central

Before we wrap up, let us tell you about the stay:

The centre of Amsterdam is not very big (you can get to know all the major canals in a day or two) and is easy to get around quickly. But the centre can be very densely populated with astronomical hotel prices. 

With an excellent public transport network, you can catch trams, buses, and metro from almost anywhere in the city, we suggest you stay a little away from the city centre.

We stayed in Hotel New Kit which is 20 mins tram ride from the centre and very well connected with the airport as well. At almost half the price compared to the hotels in the central canal belt, we found the stay and the peaceful locality a perfect deal for us.

Also keep in mind, couple of things

  • Amsterdam weather can be tricky so prepare yourself for both sun and rain.
  • Depending on the length of your visit and how often you use public transport, we recommend purchasing a reusable train/metro/bus/tram card (so-called OV-chipkaart) from any machine at airport or major stations. We had one right outside our hotel. Buying separate hourly/daily tickets on the tram itself is considerably more expensive than topping up the card.
Visiting Amsterdam for first time

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The Exploring Eyes

To him it is his oxygen, to her it is the way of living. Travelling has helped us evolve so much as a person, giving us an entirely different perspective to see the world!

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