1. Be aware of the bicycles! The streets of Amsterdam are filled with cyclists (who have the right of way). Many of them ride like they have recently indulged in some local delicacies if you get my drift.

The good news is that thankfully bikers have their own lanes, so they are less of a danger to drivers.

2. When choosing your hostel think about what you want the general tone of your trip to be. The central area of Amsterdam (near the train station) is a great location for those who want to indulge in nightlife and see the city’s wild side. Hostels near the more famous museums (the area by the Van Gogh museum and the Museumplein) seemed to have an atmosphere more centered around art and culture.

3. Pack light! Amsterdam is famous for its beautiful, tall buildings – the majority of which don’t have elevators. Now imagine lugging a gigantic suitcase up to the top floor.

4. Go on the “free” Sandeman’s tour of the city. It costs 3 Euros and you are expected to tip your guide an additional 11 Euros, but it will be worth it. Cross your fingers that you get Michael as your tour guide. You’re also expected to book it in advanced.

5. Be sure to try not only Dutch food, but also the cuisines of countries that the Dutch colonized, such as Indonesia and Suriname. You can check out a list of my favorite foods in Amsterdam here if you want some suggestions.

Interested in visiting Amsterdam? If you want more ideas, check out my 24 Things to do in Amsterdam post, which has a color-coded map that will help you organize what to do when, prices for various activities, and links to where you can buy your tickets.