Amsterdam – Travel Guide and Gluten Free Finds


I only spent a quick weekend in Amsterdam, but I quickly learned to love the city! Once you learn how to navigate the streets and not get hit by a bike, this “Venice of the North” is a charming destination. Discover the charm of Amsterdam in a weekend!

Need to Know for Amsterdam:

Currency: Euro 

Check conversion here

Language:  Dutch, English


AMS – Amsterdam Schiphol

Electrical Outlets: 230V supply voltage and 50Hz, Type C and E plugs

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation – I stayed in two different hotels while in Amsterdam. First, I stayed at the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel which is out of the downtown area in the Leidseplein neighborhood. Second, I stayed at a more budget hotel, Ciao Papa, right downtown by the central station.

I thought I would like staying downtown more, but I was completely wrong. Staying out of the busiest area of Amsterdam was by far preferred. When I stayed at Ciao Papa, it was noisy outside my window until 2 am and I could smell weed everywhere. If that’s your scene, then go for it! But I was traveling alone and wanted a little more peace.

Getting to Amsterdam:

By Train: If you’re coming from within Europe, a train is a great option to get into Amsterdam. These trains will likely come into the Amsterdam Centraal station.

By Plane: Since I was going back to the U.S., I flew out of AMS.

Getting Around:

Trains/Trams: The public transportation system in Amsterdam is fantastic and pretty easy to navigate. I didn’t really see any buses in Amsterdam, the above ground trams are much more common. You can get on and off the trains and trams by using a contactless credit card. On the trams, the doors don’t necessarily open at each stop so you need to tap your card to tag out and open the door.

Walking: Amsterdam is quite walkable so you can get pretty far just by walking around. Just be aware of bike lanes and keep an eye out.

Cycling: Amsterdam is famous for being extremely bike friendly and at all times and in all weather, you will see bikes filling the bike lanes and beyond. Make sure you know the traffic laws if you are going to bike in Amsterdam. Also, be prepared for your bike to get stolen as this is very common.

Boat: Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North” because of the extensive canal system that runs through the city. I did a boat canal tour but didn’t actually use a boat to get from point A to point B.

Uber: There are Ubers available, but there are less of them so you might have to wait a while and pay a little more.

Amsterdam neighborhood
Amsterdam Centraal Station
Amsterdam canal boats

Things to See and Do in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House: Probably the most famous museum in Amsterdam, I would highly recommend visiting the Anne Frank House. Unfortunately, I didn’t get tickets because my trip was last minute, but you buy tickets on this website. These sell out FAST – so you should buy your ticket exactly six weeks before you want to visit, on Tuesday of that week at 10am CEST. 

Canal Tour: I did the “Amsterdam Classic Boat Cruise with Live Guide, Drinks and Cheese” canal tour through Get Your Guide for $36pp. There’s an option to have wine and cheese on the tour and it goes for a little over an hour. A canal tour is a great way to see the city and learn about the history and culture of Amsterdam! The boat I was on did not look like the one in the photos (raining so windows weren’t open, no tablecloths or pillows) but I still enjoyed it! There are many companies that run canal tours and you can find them docked by Amsterdam Centraal.

Jordaan Neighborhood: This is a beautiful and quaint neighborhood that I highly recommend exploring. I just walked around the streets and stopped in to cute stores and a cafe here. 

Amsterdam Canals
Canal tour boat in Amsterdam
Jordaan neighborhood

Rijksmuseum: This national museum of the Netherlands was definitely a highlight. You have to buy tickets online ahead of time for ~$25pp and pick your entry time. You can use their app for a guided audio tour of the museum highlights! The museum is probably most famous for its collection of Rembrandts. 

Damrak: This is a pedestrian area and partially filled in canal at the centre of Amsterdam right in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station where you will see the iconic “Gingerbread Houses.” You will also find canal tours that start here and the streets lined with touristy attractions like souvenir shops, fries stands, and more! 

Red Light District: If you want to go participate in the iconic Red Light District culture – by all means go ahead! If you’re like me and are just curious to see what it’s all about, I recommend walking through the streets during the day. I just wandered through to see the various sex shops, museums, and, of course, the iconic windows. Make sure you are respectful of the workers and DO NOT take photos. If you are interested in the history and culture – you can book a tour of the red light district. 

National Museum Netherlands Amsterdam
Canals Amsterdam

Eat a Stroopwafel:  Everyone knows you have to try an iconic stroopwafel when in Amsterdam! Since I am gluten free, I bought a pack of gluten free stroopwafels at Croque Madame. For the gluten eaters – I heard Van Wonderen is the place to go! 

Vondelpark:  This is a giant park in Amsterdam with plenty to explore! I just grabbed a coffee and walked around the park to people watch and take in a quiet space in the city.

Dam Square: There’s not much to do here besides chase pigeons, people watch, and look at beautiful buildings – but it’s still worth a stop. In the square you will be able to see the Royal Palace Amsterdam, the New Church (often some paid exhibit inside), the National Monument, and the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Floating Flower Market: Stroll through the world’s only floating flower market. Depending on the season, this market is selling tulip bulbs, flowers, gardening supplies, and more! 

Gluten free stroopwafel Amsterdam
Dam Square Royal Palace Amsterdam
Floating Flower Market Amsterdam

Favorite Restaurants I Tried in Amsterdam (Gluten Free Options!):

Full disclosure, this was not a foodie centered stop for me. I was here for work so I did a lot of quick bites and room service. I still have some great gluten free finds you can check out!

Pancakes Amsterdam Best place to get a gluten free dutch pancake!! Can get busy and are small seating areas, so be prepared to wait a bit.
Craft Coffee and Pastry Amsterdam A fully gluten free bakery with tons of great options. They do sell out in the morning so be sure to come early.
De Biertuin Prinsengracht A fun and lively brewpub with plenty of gluten free beer options!
Pizza Amsterdam Not much for seating or vibe, but the gluten free pizza was phenomenal!
Croque Madame Cute little fully gluten free cafe!
Pancakes Amsterdam Gluten Free
De Biertuin Gluten Free Amsterdam
Pizza Amsterdam Gluten Free

This is just what I did during my short time in Amsterdam. There is so much more to explore! On my list for next time:

Van Gogh Museum: I didn’t get a chance to visit, but I would have loved to go to this museum. This is also a popular attraction so be sure to reserve tickets and entry time online ahead of time! Tickets are ~$25pp.

Heineken Experience 

Day trip out of Amsterdam to Leiden



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