Be aware of the time you choose to visit Amsterdam (and any city for that matter) for price differences. My friends and I planned our trip before researching what was happening at the same time. The hostel where we stayed was nice and included breakfast but was roughly $150 a night per person. We did not think that was accurate being a hostel, which are usually the best rates around, but it was. The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) and the Amsterdam Marathon were both happening when we were there. The city was bustling with life, however, and there was never a dull moment. We met two girls from Northern Ireland and I still talk with them over a year later. You never know who you will meet or the connections you will make.
Amsterdam was one of my favorite cities I was able to explore. I think almost every person from my CEA French Riviera group went there at some point throughout the semester. There is so much to see during the day and at night. We went to some high-trafficked tourist destinations and some that were off the beaten path. So much of this city goes undiscovered by most. There are canal rides to go on, street food to try, and buildings to gaze at. We actually found a super nice grocery store close to our hostel and shopped there to save money so we could do more activities.
We went to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, and plenty of fun and hip coffee shops. Our favorite one was Bagels and Beans. These are all over the city. Other top things to do include; the Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Experience, the Rembrandt Museum, the Royal Palace, and Damrak Avenue (the famous gingerbread houses are located here). There is so much to do here! One of my favorite artists, Martin Garrix, is originally from the Netherlands and was in town for the ADE festival. He opened a pop-up shop so of course we went to this and I bought a shirt. We also rented bikes for an hour and rode around like the natives do, or at least tried to keep up with them. Biking for them is part of their lifestyle and I had troubles going across the bumpy roads and bike paths. Overall, I would definitely recommend this city and country to everyone! There is so much to do and you need a good few days to do it all.
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Andrew Monk is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in the French Riviera during the Fall 2018 semester. He is currently a student at the University of Northwestern - St. Paul.
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