Firstly, do not do this! You will be left sorely disappointed that you couldn’t have stayed longer to immerse yourself in this vibrant and extraordinary city.
The decision to drive to Amsterdam was a mixture of the fear of flying with the convenience of driving as the Channel Tunnel is my next door neighbour. I discovered that Amsterdam has a very cheap and useful park and ride system, you cannot go wrong with 1Euro a day for parking. Just make sure you buy the right travel card into the city centre, and as long as you check out with your travel card within the city centre border limits on your way back to the park and ride you are fine, cheap parking is at your (hostel) doorstep. http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/getting-around/parking/park-and-ride
Now to Amsterdam, a small city whose reputation is world widely known for its tolerance and diversity. Amsterdam’s stereotypical image of its single coloured lights and chilled out atmosphere is mainly viewed by those who only go to Amsterdam for those specific reasons. However, deep down the city is amazingly pretty with its strict co-ordinated canals and ridiculously steep beautiful canal-side buildings which makes it one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe.
Our hotel was on the very last outer canal ring of the city centre, so within a reasonable walking distance to the heart of the city, which is where we visited mostly due to lack of time. The best way to get your bearings in Amsterdam is to wander about, walk along the canals, over the bridges and through the tangled little streets. Due to the amount of canals there is very little traffic, apart from the authentic bicycle, which is never out of sight.
Amsterdam attracts a wide variety of people with different tastes. You’ll come across a variety of sights, including culturally interests such as, Dam Square, Canal Cruises, Museums – Anne Frank House, Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, plus the other 50 museums across Amsterdam. As well as the tulip fields and countless other suburbs of Amsterdam, undiscovered by myself so far.
Now onto the main attraction for most visiting Amsterdam, the red light district, although some may turn their noses up, it has to have a mention, for better or for worse. Despite the best efforts of the legislators, it remains a paradise for stoned backpackers and an endless pit of un-censored porn for stag parties. Interestingly, when you walk through, you’ll be amazed to see every age and style of person wandering through, from young couples to elderly couples and even groups of girls to the usual group of stags. It’s main strip is lined with red lit doors and dark bars below billowing out smoke, eventually you find yourself lost in a maze of red lit alleyways, where you can’t help but find yourself becoming a mere voyeur into this strange but curious world.