When people initially think of Amsterdam, I think the majority think it is just about having a good old puff on a ‘spliff’, but it certainly is not. I was lucky enough to visit Amsterdam twice last year and I haven’t stepped foot in a ‘coffee shop’, well plenty of actual cute coffee shops serving good coffee and cake (no hash cakes or space cakes), but non of the Dutch style coffee shops selling every kind of weed under the sun.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city made up of seven canal rings, it is so easy to get about either on foot, bikes or the trams. The best way to see Amsterdam is just to grab a map and explore on foot!
I’m no travel expert but I thought i’d share my favourite sights, must-do’s and some yummy eateries!
To get to your hotel from the airport, get the train. It is around 4 euros and only takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the city central train station. Both times I visited we stayed in the Double Tree Hilton Hotel. Its a great hotel and in a great central location, right next to the Amsterdam central train station The first time I went in Feb 2015, we got a bargain deal through British Airways, with flights and 3 nights accommodation for around £250 per person. For my Christmas present from my boyfriend was a couple of days in Amsterdam between Christmas and New Year, I think it was quite a bit more pricy but thats because of the time of year, if you can plan ahead there are some great deals to have! They also serve up a pretty darn good breakfast too!
- Anne Frank House – make sure you book your tickets before you go as the queue is always so long, sometimes up to 4 hours! You can book tickets here.
- Heineken experience – I’m not really a beer drinker, but its an interesting and fun couple of hours! Again, book your tickets before you go.
- Dam Square – Home to the Royal Palace, Madam Tussuards and street performers, great to have a walk around.
- Rijks Museum – I didn’t go in the museum but around the back of the museum are the famous I am Amsterdam letters which you have to have a photo with!
- Hire bikes and cycle around Vondel Park – Amsterdam is totally geared up for the cyclists, they have their own lanes on the road and it is really quick and easy to get around the city… and SO much fun. There are loads of places to hire bikes from in the city.
- Visit the Red Light District – You can’t really miss it with all of the red lights above windows and busy streets. Best to see it in the evening. It’s a very eye opening experience shall we say! I just wanted to have a nosey and see what really goes on down there. You aren’t supposed to take pictures down there and be careful of your bags/pockets as it is a busy area and pickpockets are around!
- Food Markets – Amsterdam is famous for its stroop waffles and gouda cheese, where else to try the local cuisine than on a local food market! We went to Albert Cuyp street market which was a very tasty morning.
- Get a map and get lost!… You won’t actually get lost but that is the best way to explore and see as much of the city as you can. It is very compact so you can see a lot in a short space of time
- Leidseplein – An area full of pubs and restaurants, a good little people watcher spot too!
Bars and Restaurants
Now time for my favourite bit! I LOVE food and cocktails, so whenever I go away I always have a good research on best places to eat and drink. These were my favourite places:
- The Skylounge – We discovered this as it was the bar at the top of our hotel. The bar overlooks the city and is a great place to sit back, have a drink and enjoy the views! It is quite pricy in here, 9 euros for a pint/glass of wine and the cocktails start at 13 euros, but it is worth it even if you just pop up for one drink!
- Tales and Spirits – An unusual cool little bar
- Snappers – Yummy food and great cocktails, good music too!
- The Butcher – I have to say, I know a good burger and can say this burger was incredible. If you are a burger fan, don’t miss this place! (Next to the Albery Cuyp food market – hire a bike and do both things at once!)
- The Uptown Meat Club – Again, another VERY good burger! (Next to Vondel Park)
- The Pancake bakery – Every pancake topping you can think of!
- The Grasshopper – Great steaks
- 5&33 – Fancy, Quirky cocktail bar
I hope you find this helpful, if you are off to Amsterdam soon I’m sure you’ll have a fab time!
Let me know if you check out any of my favourite places!