Amsterdam is probably one of my favourite cities in Europe. The casual, chilled vibes that encompass the city make it a great spot to escape from a hectic home life. Further, don’t let the stag and hen party tradition turn you off. If you know where to go, and exactly what areas to avoid, you can wander the city without so much as a glimpse of an L plate or man in a dress.
We went in early November time, and the weather was pretty cold. Luckily enough we managed to avoid any sign of rain, which I believe is quite unusual for that time of the year.
Where to stay?
I have stayed in the NH Amsterdam Noord and the CitizenM Amsterdam. Both hotels were lovely but I preferred the CitizenM. The rooms are known for the quirkiness. The shower is in the centre of the room, there is funky mood lighting and they are just really modern. The bed is also MASSIVE.
If you’re looking for something in the city centre, that’s a bit more luxurious, I have heard great things about the Hotel NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace, however I haven’t actually stayed here myself.
Where to eat/drink?
Two of my absolute favourite brunch spots in Amsterdam are Bakers & Roasters and Coffee & Coconuts (number 5 tram goes right to the door!). Both offer your standard brunch menu and are, of course, prone to long queues during peak times.
For dinner, I’d recommend The Lobby Nesplein Restaurant & Bar. We went here at lunch time and it was so good. I think we all got the burger and wow – it was delicious!
Another place we went to, and had booked a good few weeks before we arrived was Guts & Glory, a five course surprise tasting menu that changes every 3 months to a different theme inspired by an ingredient or culture. I’d 100% recommend this to anyone visiting Amsterdam with a bit more budget. Especially any foodies.
If you like wine, you need to go to Bubbles & Wine. It is a tiny little wine bar right next door to The Lobby Nesplein. Its super quaint and they have every single type of wine you could imagine. Highly recommend this spot.
T’s teabar was one of my favourite places to sit and just watch the world go by. Although, it is hard to find due to the location in the middle of a random neighbourhood (reached by the 13 tram). Basically it is a tea shop, where they have barrels of every type of flavoured tea you could imagine from Popcorn to Lemon Sherbet. They also had a selection of cakes and pastries and it was just a really nice place to chill out for a bit.
- Ivy & Bros
- Cannibale Royale
- House of Bols
What to see & do?
One thing that I would really recommend for anyone visiting Amsterdam, is the We Bike Amsterdam 3 hr City Tour. I normally am not a fan of historical tours etc. but this one was really interesting. We went with another couple who are friends of ours and had so much fun cycling around and visiting places we never would have known about if it wasn’t for our tour guide. Note: Cyclists are insane in Amsterdam!
Visit the I Amsterdam sign and get your infamous photo with the giant letters. It’s a must for those Instagram pictures!
If you are into art, I recommend visiting the Van Gogh museum. It is GIGANTIC and has some really cool exhibitions at various times during the year. Queues outside can be crazy. My first time visiting, I didn’t have a ticket and waited around for about 2 hours to get inside. The second time I visit, I booked in advance and just strolled straight in. Definitely book in advance if this is something you want to see.
Anne Frank’s House is one of these must see places in Amsterdam. I really enjoyed learning more about her story, and the details of what happened. It is such a sad story. One thing to keep in mind is the large volume of visitors that visit Anne Frank’s house each day. Again, if you want to avoid disappointment, book your tickets online months in advance of your trip. They book out very quickly and you do not want to spend your morning queueing for 2-3 hours outside.
Other things to do around Amsterdam include:
- Visiting the Riijks Museum
- Venturing into the infamous Cafés
- Escaping from a room – I hear Sherlocked is pretty fun
- Stroll through the red light district
- Pay a visit to Vondelpark
- Do the Heineken Experience Tour
All in all Amsterdam a beautiful city. Not only are there so many things to see and do, the relaxed culture is something that many of us could take inspiration from. I hope this helps anyone who is already planning to visit, but moreover, I hope I have helped convinced anyone who may be on the fence.