Amsterdam Backpacking Guide : Things To See and Do

Where to stay

Hostelworld is my go to for booking hostels, its convenient and easy to compare. I booked one nights stay at Geneorator Amsterdam. The bar/hangout area was unique, it was set up like a lecture style class room and had additional balconies with couches. Overall this hostel was super clean, lots of space to hangout and meet people. It was more on the expensive side and it was a long bus ride and walk from the terminal.

Genorator Hostel , Amsterdam, Netherlands
Genorator Hostel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I spent the next few nights at the Heart of Amsterdam  because of few of the friends I met at the Cannabis College were staying here. It was in a more central location and I enjoyed the small nature of the hostel. The staff were so friendly. I befriended the receptionist at the time, I was starving and he was ordering food so he ordered for me as well. It was nice to connect with someone who lives in Amsterdam and get to know a bit of the local culture.

I left Amsterdam to check out a town on the coast called Bergen, and check out Rotterdam. I came back to the city again to meet up with friends and found a third hostel to stay in.

This time I looked decided to wander around and find a hostel. I was told by a fellow backpacker that is how is got the best rates on a room for the night, especially towards the late afternoon as they just want to fill up thier beds. My friend Peter had come to join me on my journey so we had a private room. It was cheap, clean, had good wifi and a kitchen we could use. 

Must do things around Amsterdam:

Things I did :

There are so many thing to see and do in Amsterdam. Here are all the things I got to see and the ones I wish I had.

Sandemans Free Walking Tour in Amsterdam
Meeting up for the Sandemans free walking tour.

Sandemans Tour : Start your trip of with a Sandeman tour. These are tours offered all around Europe. They offer free tours as an introduction to the city. Of course it is courtesy to tip your tour guide as this is how they make an income. I always was very pleased with their service and tipped around 10 euros. It is a great way to learn about the history of the city and ask questions about all the things there are to do, in fact it is encouraged. We learned why all the buildings lean forward, how prostitution came to be and continues to thrive and has stuck around and of course all about cannabis. After the tour is finished they are also always down to write down some places for you, circle things on the map She recommended to us the best coffee shops and where to grab good food etc. They also offer other paid tours that you can check out which is another great way to connect and meet follow backpackers and tourists The tour took us to see different parts of the city, we learned a lot about the architecture and history. We went inside the Begijnhof which is the the best known secluded courtyards. It was a space for unmarried women to live in modesty.

Checking out some cannabis under the microscope at Cannabis Collage, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Checking out some cannabis under the microscope at Cannabis Collage, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Cannabis Collage : This is a place for free education about Cannabis. A non judgemental space providing you with everything you need to know. They have a library filled with information, basically every subject that you can think in relation to Cannabis. They have vaporizers you can use to smoke your own cannabis that you bring. They will check the THC content etc of cannabis the you bring. For a few euros you can pay to see the plants that they have growing in the basement. They also offer further in-depth training specifically for coffee shop directed at employees and owners, but I’m sure if you want to join it you can. This is also the place that I met two really cool people who I chilled with for a few days.

Red Light District Amsterdam
Checking out the Red Light District with friends from home.

The Red Light District : This I would say is a must. It is so cool to experience what seems so progressive as well as historical. You can view the women in the windows, there are also live sex shows that you can pay to go to. I didn’t indulge in this although we did spend a few euros to peek at a live ongoing sex show. It was in a cylinder kind of room and you paid two euros to view them for a minute. It was nothing I had ever seen before. I guess it was live porn, but the intimacy of being alone or with a single other person was taken out, so it was nothing I’ve ever experienced before. You can pay to see a sex show or pay a few euros to get a peek at a rotating sex show

Coffeeshop or Coffee Shop : It’s no secret that a huge part of the tourism industry in Amsterdam is surrounded around these. A place to purchase and smoke weed is not common for most of the world. I wrote another whole article dedicated to smoking weed and the Netherlands, check that out there.

Anne Frank House : Get tickets online to avoid waiting in the ridiculously long line.

Van Gogh Muesum :  They have the permanent collection and then different exhibitions, tours and workshops. When I had the opportunity to visit there was a special exhibition specifically about Van Gogh mental health called “On The Verge Of Insanity Van Gogh And His Illness”. The website is super easy to use and gives you all the information you need to plan a visit. We didn’t have to wait in line longer than 10 minutes to get a ticket.

Cannal Paddle Boat Ride Amsterdam
Cannal Paddle Boat Ride with Kate and Laura

Canal Boat Tour :  There are a few different options to getting a canal tour. Three of my friends and I got a paddle boat and spent an hour and a half going around the canals ourselves. You can also go in larger boats with a guide and private guided tours. This was a fun way to see the city and be on the water. Before hopping in the boat we bought some snacks and drinks to bring along for the ride.

Iamsterdam sign
Peter and I in front of the Amsterdam Sign Mid-Day, it was packed with people!

iAmsterdam Sign : We checked this out midday and it was totally packed, there was no use in trying to climb the letters or get a picture without anyone else in it. If you want to get a picture with no one else in it, it is suggested that you go early, I am talking before sunrise early to snag a people free picture.

Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum : Overall this was a very museum like space, lots of reading to do and lots of information to take in. I do find it can be boring at times but it was super cool to learn the history about Marijuana plants in Amsterdam and around the world.


Wander : Take the time to wander the streets, you are bound to find something interesting and not so touristy. It’s always a cool feeling to feel like you discovered somethingon your own.

Other Things On My Hit List :

I spent about 6 days in Amsterdam, I wish I had more time. Honestly I fell in love with city and after doing a lot of research there were so many things I wanted to do. Here are other things you must check out.

Canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Floating Flower Market : This is the only flower market in the world, and I thought it would be super cool to check out. Although I have read that it isn’t very obvious that you are floating. Anyways it would still be cool to visit and see the tulips which the Neatherlands is so famous for.

Floating Houseboat Museum : People live in house boats and dock them along the canals. This was opened to allow for curious tourists to experience what that might be like.

Bike Ride Tour : This would have been such a cool tour, getting to bike outside of the main city. I was lucky to visit a beach side city called, so I decided I would do this another time. The one I was interested in was again with Sandemans, although I’m sure there are other tours which do the same.

Hienekin Tour :  This was talked about so much! You get a tour, see how the beer is made, get a small sample of the grain used and free beer of course. At the time I was sober and wasn’t drinking so I wasn’t too keen to check it out.

To learn more about Katherine on The Road check out the About Me page and follow me on social media, my favourite is Instagram. To contact me through email head to the Contact page.

Much Love,

Katherine xx














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