Hello everyone! Happy Easter as well, if you are reading this the day it was published. Today I’ll be writing about two similar yet very different cities – Amsterdam and Venice. They are both known for their charming canals and dozens of famous attractions. Both cities are extremely popular tourist destinations, and it can be hard to choose which of one of them you should visit (if you must only choose only one!) In this post I will be comparing both cities, and hopefully helping you decide which city to visit – Amsterdam or Venice. I’ve never seen any posts comparing both of the cities, and so I thought it’d be fun to do one myself. Laten we beginnen as you would as in Amsterdam, or Iniziamo as you would say in Venice!
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most visited cities in Europe. This city is home to dozens of famous museums, ranging from the impressive Rijksmuseum to the historic yet heart-breaking Anne Frank house. If you’re looking for a historic city, Amsterdam has over 800 years of history for you to discover. If you’re looking for something more modern, Amsterdam is famous for its nightlife. To sum it up, Amsterdam has pretty much everything!
Venice is one of the most unique cities in Europe. It is built on more than 100 small islands and it has no roads at all… instead it has canals! Most of the city’s main attractions relate to its canals, from the many famous bridges to the Grand Canal. Venice, like all other cities in Italy, has a ton of delicious food options. It is any photographer’s dream, as basically every single alleyway or canal you come across is extremely photogenic. Finally, you can’t forget the 1,500+ years of history that brought Venice from the fall of the Roman Empire to where it is today.
The biggest similarity between Amsterdam and Venice is that they are both canal cities.
Amsterdam is also centered around its canals. Unlike Venice, Amsterdam isn’t a collection of islands, it is just separated by its waterways. A fun activity to do while in Amsterdam is take a canal cruise! If you don’t have much time in the city, this is a great way to see some of its most famous sites in just an hour or so. The cruise my family went on even had an audio guide, which told us all about some of the sites we were passing by on our cruise. Above is a photo of the “seven bridges”, a famous site in Amsterdam known for its beautiful view through seven of Amsterdam’s bridges (sorry for the bad quality photo, as you can tell it was raining!).
Venice is quite possibly the most famous canal city in the world. As I already mentioned, Venice is actually a collection of 118 islands separated by its canals, the biggest one being the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is pretty much the heart of Venice – all of city’s smaller canals are connected to it. It is also the heart of Venice’s transportation systems, other than walking. There you will find gondolas, the most famous type of transportation in Venice, water taxis, and water buses (more on those later in this post!).
Both Amsterdam and Venice are famous for many tourist attractions, which are similar yet different in many ways.
Most of Amsterdam’s most famous sites are museums, as the city is home to dozens of them! Some of the most famous ones include Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Amsterdam Museum. A lesser known museum that I discovered in Amsterdam was Katten Kabinet, a museum that features a collection of art all about cats! If you’d like to read a bit more about it, check out my “Favourite Travel Memories of 2016” post where I talk about it a bit more in depth.
Venice’s main attractions, on the other hand, mostly relate to its canals. Above is the ever-so-famous Rialto Bridge, one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal (and the oldest). Another very famous spot in Venice is St. Mark’s Square, or Piazza San Marco in Italian. It is the only public square in the city, and it is “bordered” by some of Venice’s other well known sites. These include St. Mark’s Basilica, an important religious chapel; Doge’s Palace, a stunning palace right next to the Basilica; and the Campanile, the tall brick tower that rises above the square.
The types of food you will find in Amsterdam and Venice are quite different from one another, but both are very delicious!
Amsterdam has quite a large variety of food choices, and is not necessarily known for any specific type of food. Food prices in Amsterdam aren’t what I would consider cheap, but they are a bit less than what you would find in Venice. Shown above are a couple of the meals I had in Amsterdam. The first one was some type of cake and lemonade I had in the Rijksmuseum, which was really good yet kind of expensive (which is expected from a museum). The second photo shows a waffle/pancake pizza that I had at a random restaurant my family came across… surprisingly it was really tasty!
As you could probably guess, most of the food you will find in Venice is classic Italian food! I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Italian food, as there is pretty much something for everyone. The photo above is of a delicious Panna Cotta we had in Venice. Just to let you know, food prices in the city are very high. It is probably possible to find something for a reasonable price, but compared to other cities, restaurants in Venice are quite expensive. I would think this is because Venice is primarily a tourist city, whereas Amsterdam is also a city of business and has a large population of citizens.
All cities have main systems for transportation, and Amsterdam and Venice have quite unique transportation systems that both relate back to their canals!
As in any city, Amsterdam has a lot of options for transportation. It has roads, unlike Venice, so cars, buses, and metros are options. An interesting one is a canal cruise, which I mentioned earlier in this post. But, as many of you probably know, Amsterdam is famous for being very environmental friendly, as its main system of transportation is cycling! If you can ride a bike, then research somewhere in Amsterdam where you can rent a bicycle for a day (here’s one website!).
Venice has many very unique transportation systems, as the main city has absolutely no roads! As it has no streets, all of its non-pedestrian transportation goes on in its canals. This means that there are many variations of regular transportation, modified to be used on the water. There are water taxis, water buses, and the most famous, gondolas! Going on a gondola ride in Venice is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and although it is expensive, it is 100% worth it. You can get so close to the canals that you are actually able to touch the water and it gives you a view of the city from a whole different perspective.
So you’re probably wondering what the answer to this post’s title is.. which city should you visit? I would have to say both! Both Amsterdam and Venice are very beautiful cities, and they both deserve a visit from you.
But what if you can only visit one?
Well, it depends. If you really enjoy Italian culture in general, Venice is obviously a good choice for you. If you really enjoy museums, Amsterdam is probably best! As you can tell, it really depends on what you enjoy. But, if you can only visit one, at least right now, I would say you should visit Venice. Sadly, each year Venice’s collection of islands is slowing sinking. This means that sometime in the future, Venice may be underwater. So, make sure to visit the city before it disappears (although there is a lot of work happening now to prevent this tragedy from happening), and visit Amsterdam later in your life.
That’s it for my post today! I hope you enjoyed. Have any of you visited either Amsterdam or Venice? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. Thanks for reading.