The irrefutable daddy of European stag destinations, Amsterdam offers a cosmopolitan playground where you can indulge your every vice. However you decide to dress it up, the lady in your life will suspect that you’re not drawn to the capital of the Netherlands for its architectural beauty. But we can assure you that there is more to this unique city than legal use of cannabis and late night ‘window shopping’? Read on and we’ll explain...
Flying to Amsterdam from the UK is a fairly economical exercise with many budget airlines serving the main airport (Schiphol). You can expect to spend around £60 for a return flight from any of the major UK airports and flight time is about 1 hour 20 minutes.
You’ll get the best weather from May to August, though there is a risk of rain pretty much throughout the year. If you don’t want to endure snow and freezing temperatures then avoid February to December.
Although there is a good range of accommodation in the touristy areas, even the most basic accommodation can be costly. Most hostels are situated in the city centre and the prices vary from €17 to €30 per person. The most basic hotels charge around €40 at off-peak times and up to €100 on summer weekends. Three and four star hotels range from €100 to €200 per night.
A 2012 proposal to ban the sale of cannabis to tourists was rejected, so you can still opt to spend your trip ‘on a high’ should you wish. Coffee shops (not be confused with cafés!!) in Holland can legally sell small amounts of cannabis to residents and visitors over the age of 18. There are plenty of chain coffee shops around the city with enough variety to keep you entertained for a good part of the day although remember to pace yourself or your trip could end very suddenly! Also, it is wise and recommended to respect the locals and other tourists by keeping the smoking within the vicinity of the coffee shops.
For those seeking the standard stag activities; paint balling, shooting and go-karting are all available. Hiring a beer bike is also a pretty cool way to see the city; you just peddle yourselves around while enjoying a cold beer or two. Alternatively, you can educate yourselves in the art of beer-making with a tour of the Heineken brewery.
Rembrandtplein is lined with pubs, restaurants, cafés and hotels and is the ideal place to grab some munch before a night out. The Leidseplein or Leidse-square is home to some of the best clubs in Amsterdam, and also offers many restaurants. For a budget meal, check out the various falafel and shoarma restaurants around the Damstraat and Muntplein. Lange Leidsedwarsstraat (just off Leidseplein) has plenty of reasonable Italian options.
For Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants, Nieuwmarkt and Damstraat are your best bet. A further range of restaurants offering various cuisines can be found in Haarlemmer.
Drink & Party
Jimmy Woo, just off Leidseplein at Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18, has a reputation as one of the most hip clubs in Amsterdam. It’s very much the place ‘to be seen’ which means VIP events, beautiful people and the odd celebrity are all part and parcel of this classy night spot. Escape, located right of the Rembrantplein square, is another well-known club with a number of different rooms to keep you entertained for a whole night. While Rain, also inRembrantplein, offers a high-end clubbing experience in luxury inspired surroundings.
When you’re in between clubs, the Leidseplein square has a great vibe for you to soak up on summer nights. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters and other performers liven up the square, often till the early hours.
The world famous red light district can be aptly described as a sexual amusement park, where you’ll find stores full of hardcore videos, magazines and sex toys. The main attractions are the rows of red window lights where women to suit all tastes display themselves (and their ‘services’) for potential customers. The ‘Rossebuurt’ has been a centre for prostitution since 1413, though technically the trade has only been legal in the Netherlands since 2000. Remember, photography of the women is not allowed and the security at these places adopt a zero tolerance policy.
As always, keep your wits about you in crowded areas where pick-pockets may operate. The red light district tends to be a hub for rowdy groups on a night out, though this is said to be the safest area because of the heavy police presence. So don't do anything stupid...