Amsterdam Tours that you should definitely try

Visiting Amsterdam

I visited Amsterdam last year in May and I was a bit embarrassed that all I knew about it was somehow related to coffee shops, ladies in windows, canals that all look the same and people using bikes as a means of transportation.

I know now that my impressions of a city before visiting it are sometimes superficial. That’s why when I visit a place, I try to forget everything I’ve known about it till then and let it surprise me. I let the architecture, the culture, the people and the food create a more accurate image of the city. And this is what we did in Amsterdam too. And in order to do so, we took four tours that helped us get a real sense of Amsterdam.

1. Amsterdam by (free) walking tour

Where to find it: New Europe Tours – Sandemans

Cost: tip at the end of the tour; 15 euros + how much you find appropriate to tip

 

Free Walking Tour

What the tour covers

Being a big fan of walking tours, we couldn’t help but go on one in Amsterdam too. Our first time there, we signed up for this tour and we began our lesson in the heart of Amsterdam.

Our nice and funny guide, Sam, took us on a hike into the past, into the history of Amsterdam, so that we could understand how the city was built, what the name of the city means and why the architecture is the way it is.

If you never asked yourself why the houses in Amsterdam are so narrow and tall, you’ll find out during the tour. We also discovered a lot about history – how the rise of medicine and education happened there. Spoiler alert! You’ll find out how medicine was practised on criminals.  References to the culture and education were made throughout the tour. Rembrandt and Van Gogh are some other highlights of the tour.

The tour ends on an emotional note with the story of Anne Frank. The timing was so good that afterwards I almost felt the urge to dismiss all the biases I have about other people and let only peace and understanding rule the world.

 

Free Walking Tour

Other details about this tour

The tour included a short coffee break, but all the details will be communicated by your tour guide before you start off.

I recommend taking this tour on your first day because it gives you such a good sense of Amsterdam. You then get to see the city as it is, removing all the biases and faulty information that you might possess. It also tells you everything you need to know about the city in a short and interactive period of time.

 

Tipping on this tour

The recommended tip for this tour is 15 euros, but based on how much you enjoyed it, you can tip more or less. I always say this: tip the guide the exact amount of money that you find appropriate.

 

2. Amsterdam by bike

Where to find it: New Europe Tours – Sandemans

Cost20 euros (including the bike that you are going to use during the tour)

 

Amsterdam Bike Tour

 

Amsterdam is known for overwhelmingly using bikes as means of transportation. You’ll constantly see people moving around on bikes with amazing ease.  When I visit a place, I always try to pass on as a local. That’s why we decided to experience the city the way locals do. By bike.

I usually find it hard to bike around a city I’m not familiar with, so we searched for a bike tour and booked our places in advance.

 

What the tour covers

The bike tour was really amazing and I enjoyed it at its best. We took the bike tour on our second day, so we got the chance get a richer taste of the city. The way I look at it, the bike tour helped us find and properly place the remaining pieces of the puzzle called Amsterdam.

The tour lasted for more than 2 and a half hours. We had one guide tour and a person who was last in line to make sure no one gets lost. I felt safe knowing that I was with someone that is paying attention to the road, the traffic signs and so on. This way, I could enjoy the beautiful city without worrying about my female driver skills.

The bike tour takes you to see places in the city that you might not necessarily see if you go by foot.

We stopped at landmarks so that the guide could tell us some stories and even personal experiences about how other tourists saw some statues and so on.

 

Amsterdam Bike Tour

 

I recommend this tour if you really wanna see the whole city and if you enjoy biking.

The price for this tour is 20 euros. (this includes the rental of the bike for the tour)

 

3. Amsterdam by boat

 

 

You’ll be mesmerized by all the canals. They might look the same at first glance, but each actually has something special about it.

I recommend taking a boat tour as it offers a different perspective on Amsterdam. You will see that there are a lot of boat tours on the canals, so you can definitely find one that matches your timetable and budget.

We chose one that started near the train station. We took it on our second day around evening because we were quite tired of walking and we wanted to rest a little, while still discovering the city.

When signing up for the tour you also get audio guides that help you get all the info you need. We had heard most of the info by then, but a small recap is always welcome.

 

Amsterdam Boat Tour

4. Red Light District Tour

Link: http://www.neweuropetours.eu/Amsterdam/en/sandemans-tours/tour-view/Red-Light-District-Tour?date=10/01/2018

Price: 12 euros

 

Red Light District Tour

 

The biggest curiosities that tourists have when they get to Amsterdam are why and how marijuana is legal and how the ladies from the Red Light District work.

We too had these curiosities in mind, but we knew that there’s more to these facts than meets the eye.

That’s why we took the Red Light district tour, a tour that dives into the history of what this district is. We booked it and paid in advance.

What the tour covers

During the tour, we got to see this side of the red light district and the guide answered all the questions we had in mind, but sometimes we were embarrassed to ask.

We were explained how this started in Amsterdam, how and why this was possible and legal in Amsterdam, what the ladies need to do to get a spot in the windows, how other people living in Amsterdam react to this and so on. We also found out about how many types of windows there are and even some life stories of some of the ladies who used to work in Red Light District.

Understanding how the oldest profession in the world has developed and how it was made possible in Amsterdam that the ladies who practice this be safe helps you realize that you have to get rid of all the prejudice, start being open-minded and try to see things for what they really are.

 

The respect that the guide had for the ladies was enormous. “Don’t take pictures and respect the ladies”.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, you will get the answers you need to make a fair judgement.

 

Red Light District Tour

 

 

We also recommend visiting the Museum of Prostitution (Red Light Secrets) afterwards, as it will settle all your remaining questions.

 

After taking these tours

After having taken these tours, I know that Amsterdam is more than legal marijuana. More than ladies that wink at the passersby from windows. Or people biking around. Amsterdam is a city full of culture. A city of people who changed the face of humanity forever. A city with people who show you the true meaning of understanding and toleration. And with some luck, you’ll get nice weather too!

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