the Scheepvaart museum
(shipbuilding museum) is very nice if you're at all interested in boats & naval history; I mention it because it's not in the same area as most of the other museums (but it's close to theNemo
There are a lot of beautiful old towns close to Amsterdam that can be easily visited on a day trip, as a few others here have suggested. I believe the closest one is Haarlem, but Delft, Leiden, Utrect, etc, etc are all extremely picturesque. Most can be reached on a short train ride from Centraal Station. I also highly recommend renting a bike rather than trying to learn the tram or bus system; the city's small enough that you can get anywhere on a bike in about 20 minutes. If you're not used to a coaster ("retropedal") brake make sure you specify a bike with handbrakes or you will crash into someone like my girlfriend did!
A stroll through the flower market
is a great place for street shots.
My favorite place to get a drink in Amsterdam is the IJ brewery
. It's on the east side of the city, built inside a windmill. See also goodfoodgroup.nl.
I'd suggest staying in a rental apartment
or a B&B rather than a hotel. My experience in central Amsterdam is that there are two kinds of hotels:
- the expensive kind
- the dirty kind
whereas with every rental apartment we've stayed in the owners have been proud of their presentation and very kind & helpful people (though there are several fine boutique hotels in the smaller cities). The two B&B's I recommend the highest are Maes
, but they are usually fully booked months in advance. Do check them out though as it's the off-season & they do have cancellations from time to time. Staying in the city itsself is much nicer than staying in a business hotel outside the city as you can come and go as you please, and you can get everywhere you want on a bike.
Do make the effort of learning some basic Dutch
phrases (at the least: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, yes, no, count to 10). Pretty much everyone except very rural people speak very good English, but this is the main reason you want to learn some Dutch :-). They see *A LOT* of tourists and you will really stand out from the unwashed hordes if you put forth a little bit of effort, and you'll be rewarded with better service as a result.