Hundreds and hundreds of people dancing and splashing colors all over themselves and all over the place. In short, that is the description of Amsterdam during the Holi Festival of Colors. That is, certainly, one way of experiencing the many shades of this lovely city. However, if you want a more peaceful and a bit more insightful version of the Amsterdam palette, check out these wonderful sites and things to do and try there.
Two amazing castles in the proximity of Amsterdam are Breukelen and Muiderslot. Both of them are visible from the River Vecht, going from Amsterdam to Utrecht. There is a great bike path along the river which means that you can visit these castles cycling. Another very enjoyable option is to go on a boat trip along the Vecht. Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot will enchant you with its harbor, dungeon and impressive collection of artefacts from the period of the Dutch Renaissance.
There are over 40 parks all over Amsterdam. Vondelpark is the biggest one. It is great for jogging, relaxing and organizing picnics. There are many open air music events here. Besides this, the most famous parks are Beatrixpark, which is said to be the cleanest one, Museumplain that has an ice skating rink in the winter, and Oosterpark that is the home of Amsterdam Roots Festival.
It is hard to imagine Amsterdam without the tulips. If you happen to be there mid-April, and do not mind going a bit south to Lisse, you will witness the amazing tulip festival – Keukenhof. In the 17th century, tulips became the symbol of luxury. Their value grew rapidly. Amsterdam even had stock exchange markets for the tulip bulbs. People sold houses and valuable items to get hold of rare and exquisite bulbs. To the eye of a tourist, blue and black tulips seem exotic and interesting.
Red Light District
Leave your scruples at home, take a deep breath and head to the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Instead of banning or frowning upon prostitution, Amsterdam is wearing it on its sleeve. Wait for the later evening and stroll down the charming Red Light District. Girls of all races, colors and body frames will turn on their red lights and pose for you in their big windows. You can watch them all you like and even go inside for something more, but taking photos is strictly forbidden. You can also go shopping in some of the many sex shops here, as well.
Starry Night Bike Paths
Inspired by the wonderful work of Van Gogh and his painting Starry Night, people of Amsterdam combined two things that they are famous for – bikes and art. Daan Roosegaarde created a kilometer-long bike path, full of stones that glow in the dark, resembling the patterns from the painting Starry Night. They are solar powered and there are 50 000 of them. This amazing bike path was made as a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death.
Your museum tour would not be complete without the visit to the Van Gogh Museum, which contains the biggest collection of his work in the world. Quite near it are the Rijkmuseum and the Stedejilk Museum. Rijksmuseum is an amazing building itself. Inside it are the stunning works of art made by Rembrandt, Vermeer and many others. However, you can go there and visit Drawing Saturdays where you can make your own art. There are many more museums worth your while here: Rembrandt Museum, House of Anne Frank, Hermitage and many others.
Yellow Cheese and Clogs
Another museum that is worth your visit is Alkmaar Cheese Museum. It is not about art, unless you consider excellent cheese a masterpiece. It is a bit away from Amsterdam, but it will give you the insight into the more rural experience of Holland. You will learn about cheese production, windmills, clogs and traditional costumes. Honestly, clogs make excellent souvenirs.
Brown Weed Brownies
Another forbidden pleasure that is entirely free in Amsterdam is cannabis. Colorful coffee shops offer menus with different types of cannabis that they offer, together with the effects of each of the types. You can consume it in the coffee shop or you can get a take-away. Moreover, you can find cannabis in the form of brownies. Be careful – they are delicious and the effect kicks is a bit later, so pace yourself.
Another very good way to experience Amsterdam is to simply get lost in its lovely streets and winding canals. All the colors that you may crave for are to be found on the facades of its interesting homes and buildings. Cycling, walking or boating, take a day just to wander around this place.