canal amsterdam netherlands

Exploring Amsterdam: A Free Canal Cruise & More

After wanting to go for so many years, I finally made it to Amsterdam. We had some friends visiting for two weeks and so we decided to go. It’s one of those quintessential European cities that is probably on a lot of bucket lists.

I wish I could have spent more time there and I can’t wait to be back soon, maybe even in the summer. But for now I’ll review our trip and give you a few tips for yours!

Amsterdam

amsterdam netherlands canal

It only took me a few seconds in the city to already know that I loved it. Walking down the canals and passing so many cute cafés and bars was exactly what I had hoped for. The city is very cosmopolitan and I was struck by how many of the people spoke English. And not just a few words for the tourists, it seemed like everyone could have a conversation and was happy to do so. That’s definitely not the norm for a lot of other cities I have visited recently and so it was a welcomed surprise.

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genval belgium lake

Dinant, Genval, and Lovain-la-Neuve, Belgium

On my recent trip, I got to check out a few Belgian small towns that aren’t necessarily at the top of everyone’s Belgium bucket list. It was fun to see some areas that showed me what life is like in a tiny Belgian town. I love to travel, but sometimes rather than seeing the top tourist destinations, I like to experience normal life. Maybe it’s a little strange, but I enjoy walking into a grocery store or observing a local neighborhood. I always picture what my life would be like if I lived there. I’ve written a little about each city and included my must-see places & restaurants.

Dinant

Dinant Belgium Citadel

Dinant, Belgium

Out of these three towns, you may have heard of Dinant. I found it on a few “Most Beautiful Destinations in Belgium” lists. It’s not too far outside of Brussels, so it’s perfect for a day trip. And I would recommend just doing a day trip there. While I fully enjoyed the gorgeous view of Dinant, from what I observed there isn’t too much to do in the city apart from the main tourist attractions.

Church Dinant Belgium

Notre Dame de Dinant

The church in the photo is the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame de Dinant, which dates back to 1277. The inside is beautiful and worth a look. The Citadel of Dinant, located at the top of the hill, is also available for touring. I sadly made it there after it closed. I will be honest and say that I only spent about two hours in Dinant. Totally worth it for the view, but not a lot of options in terms of restaurants or shopping.

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