Amsterdam is famous for its legalised prostitution and tolerance of soft drugs but there is so much more to this city. Amsterdam is an exciting place to visit for the solo traveller. These were my 5 top things to do in Amsterdam on my recent trip…
1. Riverboat Cruise
I pre-booked an evening riverboat cruise online, through a company called Blue Boat. I am so glad I did. It is a super activity for the solo traveller. The cruise cost Euros 19.50 and snacks and drinks were available to purchase on board with debit or credit card. I boarded at 7:30pm and it sailed for 90 minutes, through the canals and Red Light District. The audio commentary was very informative and full of interesting facts. Other cruises operate during the day and evening, some which include dinner.
2. Trip to Pllek
This became the highlight of my trip to Amsterdam! Behind Centraal Station is a wharf where you can catch ferries that sail to North Holland. They run regularly and only take around 15/20 minutes. They are also free and many locals use them to commute to the city. On arrival at the NDSM wharf, turn right and walk for around 5 minutes to a place called Pllek. It is a cafe/restaurant/bar made from shipping containers and to the front is a beach area with tables and chairs. So, buy a drink, find a spot on the sea wall, a rock or a chair, relax and watch the stunning sunset. The atmosphere here is incredible. Live bands perform at times too so check the website for more information.
3. Avocado Show
I had heard about this restaurant before I went and as a foodie was intrigued. I just had to try it and I am so glad I did! Every dish at the Avocado Show is made with avocados in some way. It is a card only restaurant, no cash, serving interesting, colourful, well presented and super tasty dishes. Staff are friendly, knowledgeable and are happy to make recommendations. It gets very busy and you cannot reserve a table so I recommend arriving early. Click on the link for my full solo dining review of the Avocado Show.
4. Shopping in Amsterdam
Leidsestraat and Kalverstraat are the two main shopping streets in Amsterdam, with both High Street shops and those which are more exclusive. On a rainy day, the large shopping mall, Magna Plaza is worth a visit. The largest department store, de Bijenkorf, meaning ‘beehive’, has a prominent position in Dam Square. It is ideal for luxury shopping all under one roof.
The souvenir shops stock pretty much the same thing but, even so, they are interesting to browse. They are filled with clogs, windmill and tulip ornaments. You can also buy tulip bulbs in a variety of colours. I bought some black ones as I had never seen black tulips before. They are growing at home nicely!
Other shops include ‘Heinen Delfts Blauw’. Delft blue has been creating beautiful painted and glazed pottery from composite clay, a Dutch craft, since the late 16th Century.
5. Cheese Tasting
The Netherlands is famous for producing several different cheeses so it makes sense try them while in Amsterdam. The cheese shops dotted around the city have plenty for you to taste so you can try before you buy!
Suggested Further Reading:
Amsterdam Travel Tips – Things I wish I had known before I went!
Hotels in Amsterdam – Hotels in a good location for a solo traveller or where I have stayed and recommend