When we are going on vacation, our excitement and happiness leads us to think that the weather will always be on our side, broadcasting our feelings to the universe. We are there so the sun will shine, the birds will sing, the picturesque famous places and things will have no crowds and the perfect lighting for all our pictures and moments smiling for each and every social media platform we are part of.
Unfortunately, mother nature is not so kind and many of my travels have involved rainy afternoons, thunderstorms that close places down and heat so smoldering you barely want to be anywhere but the sea. Our day in Amsterdam unfortunately was not blessed with our desired weather and we found ourselves with a day full of plans with biking as our chosen mode of transportation… and rain in the forecast.
BUT, we actually had an amazing day and with only a few changes to the original plan, it will still go down as an amazing day in Amsterdam:
5 Things we did on our Rainy day in Amsterdam
- Walked: Amsterdam has some pretty spectacular bike lanes, and for those living there travelling by bike is definitely the main type of transport – but for tourists, taking a bike can sometimes cause you to race past buildings and statues worth taking a second glance at. Especially on a rainy day, where your hood would be tightly on and the rain would be darting into your face.. walking was the way to go. We found ourselves an umbrella and got to really take in the beauty of everywhere we went. The canals scattered with bikes made for all the bike photos we could dream of, while avoiding the hazard the rain would cause. We actually walked over an hour to go from central station all the way down to the Van Gogh museum, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
- Amsterdam Central Station: We were staying just outside of Amsterdam in an adorable town named Leiden, so we took the train into Amsterdam, arriving in the beautiful building that is Amsterdam Central station. Immediately outside you are welcomed with the famous canals of Netherlands and the flat sided houses and beautiful detailed European buildings. From central station you can get just about everywhere in Amsterdam, as well as take the train to anywhere in Netherlands! A great starting point for the day.
- Anne Frank House: If you want to include some history in your trip, the Anne Frank House will provide you with a heartbreaking story of WWII and the life of a Jew while Hitler was in power. Being from Canada, with such a young country, we learn very little on the impacts of the war on the people living and breathing during that time. Museums like this throughout Europe give you a history lesson better than any classroom will. It was also conveniently on the way to the Van Gogh museum providing a great stop on the way. (On our particular trip the line up was insane and we did not go through it, however I have since visited similar ones in Berlin and had many friends inform me it’s worth the visit)
- Van Gogh Museum: For an outdoor adventurist like myself, a rainy day is the perfect thing to pull me into the museums, that perhaps would be lower down on my list if the weather was nicer. Spending 2-6 hours indoor on a beautiful day can sometimes be a shame, but on a rainy day, sign me up! The Van Gogh museum is not to be missed if you’re in Amsterdam. Such an interesting backstory as well as some very famous, extraordinary art. The museum is set up beautifully and I did not find it too long nor did it drag out – perfect blend of interesting history and beautiful art projecting the struggles Vincent Van Gogh encountered throughout his life. You can also find Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Musum Amsterdam adjacent to the Van Gogh museum, which I have heard are also amazing, however did not get to experience myself. We were able to snap a shot on the Iamsterdam sign behind the museum as well – but it has since been removed end of 2018.
- Restaurants and Cafe’s: It wouldn’t be a trip to Netherlands without some CHEESE. From the Brie in our morning sandwiches to the Gouda with.. everything? Europe has found a perfect blend of cheap alcohol prices mixed with inexpensive cheese to set us up with nothing but hangovers and lactose intolerance to worry about ! There’s not a processed – much too orange – cheese in sight, just smelly cheese with crackers and bread or fruit and marmalade to eat until you’re ill. Amsterdam is also not complete without a slightly sketchy, yet tourist filled and questionably acceptable visit to the Red Light District. I will warn you now, the cafes in Amsterdam.. are not selling your morning coffee and pastries. We actually struggled to find a Cafe where pastries could be bought, but yet passed many cafe’s full of more hash than I knew existed. It was sold similar to the way I would buy tea, with different strands and mixtures with varying smells and effects. The whole red light district was an interesting culture difference than our own and a place worth checking out… as long as you’re not with your kids or grandparents.
So don’t let bad weather stop you from doing what you want in Amsterdam! Alter plans slightly or change days if you need but take advantage of the indoor activities available as there are many.
Those who say only sunshine brings happiness have never danced in the rain