Amsterdam is a vibrant, exciting city full of adventure. I had never spent more than 24 hours in the city, so when I was offered the city pass to help my explorations over two whole days, I was thrilled to get to see the real Amsterdam.
I amsterdam Tourism is one of the best destination management organisations in the world, with a comprehensive and exciting list of activities for all kinds of travellers, it was my task to discover the undiscovered.
Not only did I have plans to see the Botanical Gardens (Hortus Botanicus) and Amsterdam Zoo (Artis Zoo), but I wanted to try the most random, out there attractions the city had to offer.
So what first? Well- get yourself a city card. These babies are priceless. You save big bucks, get free unlimited transport and a free canal tour, so it is already worth its cost, PLUS you get entry into, well… everything! All major and minor museums and attractions are covered (some with discounts, some free to enter), you can see the whole list here. Pick these up at the I amsterdam tourism office across from Centraal Station (the main station) for just €49 (24 hours), €59 (48 hours) or €69 (72 hours).
Pipes? Yes, I said Pipe Museum. A rather amusing collection of every kind of pipe on earth. Strange, yet interesting and the staff are more than happy to show you their personal favourites. The Diamond Museum is another classic find. A really cool building and some unique pieces inside, it is right in the main square of the Rijksmuseum so why not stop by for a quick peak- it is included in your card!
Foam is a must see and free with your pass, a dramatic and captivating selection of photography from the 60s and 70s, including some classic shots of my personal favourite female icon, Twiggy. Exhibitions change every few months but are always interesting!
The Tropenmuseum is a short walk from the Zoo and Ostpark so an ideal stopover. A large collection of native artifacts from the tropics and some great history from colonial Netherlands! A really cool interactive section enhances the museum, so why not check it out!
The most important attraction however, cannot be overlooked. The Artis Zoo is one of a kind, with various sections for all walks of life. 6,100 animals in all, the huge garden is perfect for lunchtime picnicking, plus there are areas in which the animals (including my favourite animal on earth- the sloth!) roam free so you can get very close and see them in their natural habitats.
Close by is the stunning Hortus Botanicus (botanical gardens) which are home to a thousands of flora and fauna. Not only are the gardens spectacular, but the large butterfly house is an awesome escape from the city, with the butterflies landing on you left right and center!
Last, but not least, is the Canal Cruise. We chose the Grey Line Cruises, however you do have a number of options. Everyone has their own audio guides with information in sync with the tour so you could really understand the canal lifestyle in Amsterdam.
Overall, the I amsterdam City Card is a great buy for those wanting to experience more than just the nightlife and red lights of Amsterdam!
Until next time Amsterdam, vaarwel!