If you would have told me before I left for spring break that I would love Amsterdam, I would have probably quickly disagreed. But after a few hours in this amazing city, where bikes outnumber people, I found myself wishing I had more than a day and a half to explore. I know what you’re probably thinking… Who only plans for a day and a half in such a big city? Between searching for the cheaper flights and trying to maximize our time traveling, Amsterdam fell in the middle with less time. However, we were able to pack at least two full days of activities into our short time there!
When we landed, we hit the ground running! After dropping our luggage at our hotel/hostel, we headed straight for the Heineken Experience Tour. Personally, I am not a beer drinker, but I really enjoyed this tour. We purchased our tickets online before we arrived, so we were able to walk right in.
The first thing you get to see is the history of Heineken and how it got started so many years before. You also get to see the evolution of the Heineken beer, how the logos have changed, how the bottles have changed, and how they perfected the recipe.
The next section of the tour was designated to how they make the perfect beer, with the best ingredients available. You also get to see their beautiful horses that were the backbone to Heineken delivery many years ago.
The next part of the experience included a tour of production, which was a 4D video/ride simulated ride. If you’ve ever been to Disney and have ridden the Soaring ride, that is very similar to this experience.
The last part of our tour included learning the proper way to taste Heineken beer, several interactive games, photo booths, etc., and even becoming a certified pourer. In case you were wondering, I aced it on the first try! Ok, not exactly, but I was close. Even if you are not an avid beer drinker, I would still recommend this experience. It’s very unique and gives you a glimpse into the history of the product. Also, it’s very hard to go to Amsterdam and not try a Heineken Beer at least once.
After we finished the Heineken Experience, we headed straight for the iconic Amsterdam letters. Luckily we weren’t too far away and they’re pretty easy to find. I mean they are huge letters! Of course we had to take some time for a small photo shoot as huge letters sitting outside are great for the perfect Instagram.
At this point it’s only been about three or four hours in this city and we had checked off two major things on our list, so we decided dinner was a good idea. For dinner, we decided early on that we had to try Bulls and Dogs. They are famous for their delicious milkshakes and hotdogs, and they did not disappoint! They were delicious! I would go back today.
One of the first things most people think about when they hear Amsterdam is the Red Light District. So after dinner, that is where we headed. I don’t really have much to say on this section of town, but it was an experience you could say. At this point it was getting late and we were already exhausted, so we headed back to our hotel so we could start our next day bright and early with a bike tour.
We booked our bike tour through Yellow Bike Tours and Rentals. We did the small city tour that lasts about two hours. With this bike tour, we were able to see most of the city the way the locals do in Amsterdam, by bike. It was also great to have someone who knows the city telling us about the things we were seeing. I’ve found you can often find a free or really cheap walking or biking tour in most cities and it makes a huge difference when you know what you are looking at.
After our bike tour, our next adventure was to find a Stroopwaffle. It is a traditional dutch cookie, mine was caramel. It was delicious! We snagged this delicious cookie on our way to the Anne Frank house. We went to the Anne Frank house fairly early to get in the general admission line. They start letting this line in around 3 p.m. We had not looked into buying tickets until they were all sold out. These tickets sell out weeks in advance, so unless you want to wait in line, I would buy them very early on.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures in the Anne Frank house, but you really don’t need to. The Nazis took everything out of this house when Anne Frank and her family were discovered. It is a very simplistic museum, but it really puts into perspective what families like Anne Frank’s had to go through during this horrible time. I think if anyone ever gets the chance to visit Amsterdam, this should be one of their first stops.
Our final stop of our time in Amsterdam was at “Pancakes.Amsterdam” for some Dutch Pancakes. I got bananas, almonds, and chocolate Dutch Pancakes. This was a delicious ending to our time in Amsterdam. I really hope I make it back to this amazing city, especially since I missed the tulips by one day.