Known as the erotic capital of the world, Amsterdam is unabashed in its celebration of human sexuality. This candidness, coupled with its unique smart shops and quirky sex museum, propels the city to the top of our honeymoon destination list. To discover this side of Amsterdam in a day by foot, Conde Nast Traveller whips up a titillating itinerary for lovers, honeymooners and the curious.
A day of carnal bingeing on the streets of Amsterdam begins at the Temple of Venus or the Sex Museum. Just ahead of Centraal Station, the Sex Museum is an unassuming little building on Damrak Street, and easy to miss on a crowded day. Inside you'll find life-size wax figures of legends like Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer who was accused of espionage during the First World War, and American sex goddess Marilyn Monroe. Meanwhile, kinky artefacts from ancient times, sections focused on sadomasochism and fetishes, and footage of old, black and white erotic films, offer a scintillating view into the world of human sexuality.
For an entrée, head to a “smart” coffee shop. Smart shops typically sell herbal drugs, weed seeds and artsy bongs, pipes and other such merchandise, and the ones in Holland also sell magic mushrooms. You might be tempted to try out baked products such as hash brownies and ‘space’ cakes, but unless you’re really feeling adventurous, it’s best to limit your experiments to coffee, kitschy souvenirs and window shopping.
If you have worked up an appetite with all the aspirational shopping, you are now ready to take a stroll down Amsterdam’s vibrant Red Light District. Keep your cameras tucked away, avoid direct eye contact and absorb the vivid sights of Amsterdam’s legendary tourist hotspot. Mostly for visitors, you will find people of all ages and from all over the world, along with sex workers behind glass windows. It is a perfectly safe and friendly place as long as you take your usual precautions. You are bound to bump into solicitors of drugs, and much more, but if you are unfamiliar with the terrain, it is advisable to refuse politely and walk away.
If all this indulgence has got you craving something a little more risqué, then Amsterdam’s erotic theatres, with their live sex acts, are the perfect ingredients to sweeten your multi-course experience. These are not sex clubs, or brothels. They are theatres with erotic shows integrating humour, art and a little bit of audience participation. Casa Rosso, Bananenbar and Amsterdam’s Moulin Rouge are the most famous of the lot, and tickets start at about 35 Euro (Rs. 2,269) per person.
Where to stay
InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam
Hotel Okura Amsterdam
NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
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