Well .. thanks for coming back. If you’re reading this it’s probably because a) You are considering going to the beaut place that is Amsterdam, b) You have just come back and are having serious Dam withdrawal symptoms (ahem.. moi) or c) You love my blog and want to read every post I put up (LOL, I’m kidding.. but if so I love you lots & you da best). Recently, Amsterdam has become THE place to visit for a short city break, and it is definitely not hard to see why. There is SO much to do (seriously), it can be hard to cram everything in if you are only visiting for a few days. Now… I did plenty of research before I went and picked out the places I really wanted to see. Of course … I had a list as long as my arm of the things I wanted to do.. but because I was only there for 3 days, had to cut down. BUT… I thought it would be a fab (and very helpful) idea if I shared some of these things too. Also – to give a few general tips that could help some of you who are going there. So .. grab yourself a cuppa and let’s talk all about Amsterdam !
There are SO many museums to visit in Amsterdam, if you wanted you could spend your entire trip wandering through all the museums. There is one for everyone .. if you fancy a giggle, try the Sex Museum (I never went in there myself but every single person who has been in recommends it highly!). It only costs around 5 euros to get in and is a good way to pass some time! It’s right next to the train station too so very easy to reach. Whilst I was there, I went to the Body Works Museum.. which is definitely not for the faint hearted. It has actual bodies that people have donated to that museum for their exhibitions and is FASCINATING to see .. especially if you love creepy things (me hahaha). It cost us 16 euros each to get in but it’s a pretty decent size and has so much to see! Next .. if you really want to get a feel of Amsterdam, you have to visit the Amsterdam Museum .. it has all the history of the city and so many things to see. If you want to learn all about the two things that Amsterdam is notoriously known for (ahem.. weed & prostituion), there are specific museums for that too, both of which cost a couple of euros to get in. There are also museums for the art/culture lovers, such as the Van Gogh Museum & the Rijksmuseum (find proper spelling), which are both a tram ride away from the city centre. All in all.. there is a museum for every single person in Amsterdam, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.
Anne Frank House
I thought I would talk about this separately as unlike the regular museums, you will most likely have to queue for a few hours if you want to visit on the day without booking, and even then you can only go in after 3pm. SO – best thing to do if you want to go? Book in advance. Literally like 2 months in advance – as tickets go live online for 2 months ahead and they DO fill up. It costs exactly the same to book online (9 euros), and you have to select a time slot of when you are visiting. When I visit Amsterdam again, I will definitely book the trip & the Anne Frank House at the same time. I suggest you do the same, as even though I booked my trip a month before, there were still some slots available (which I stupidly didn’t book at the time, gahhh).
I could honestly babble on about the food for SO LONG because honestly whatever type of food you want, there is something for you. They have restaurants, takeaways, street food, breakfast places, a whole China Town, and SO many dessert places too. It really depends on what you want, but I am going to tell you about my favourite places we visited.
Amsterdam is so well known for its pancakes, and if you love them you have visit Pancakes. Prepare to queue, but you shouldn’t be waiting that long! It is definitely worth the wait – I had probably the best pancakes EVER from here. They have every option too, crepe, Dutch, American.. and all the toppings you could want. Also – try their homemade lemonade, it’s DELICIOUS. The staff were amazing, the food was fab and I highly reccomend planning a visit there. It is pretty reasonably priced too, which is always a plus. You get a little clog keyring when you pay which made me happy – it’s the little things ey.
If you are a lover of omelettes (let’s be real, who isn’t), then a trip to Omelegg is definitely on the cards. Again, probably the best omelettes I had and there is literally every single type of omelette you could ever want. It’s reasonably priced too, and again the staff are just amazing.
You HAVE to try fries from Amsterdam, and trust me you will see these little street food shops everywhere in central, and there WILL be queues, but it’s fast food so you won’t be waiting long. Basically you get some fries in paper with literally any sauce imaginable, and they will be the nicest fries you will have EVER. I’m thinking about them now wishing I could have them *cries*.
For dinner, we had no issues finding halal/vegatarian friendly food too which was a massive plus. It really depends of what type of thing you want for dinner, as I mentioned you can find ANY type of food there, so it’s always good to have a wander during the day to see where you want to dine in the evening!
Sights to see
I had to include this as it really is one of the most beautiful parks ever. Think of it has a Hyde Park or Central Park of Amsterdam. It’s absolutely HUGE, was FULL of cherry blossom when I went (blogger goals), and if you want, you can rent a bike and just spend a whole afternoon cycling around. Also – it is pretty close to LOTS of restaurants/pancake places so you can make a day trip out of it!
This is basically a courtyard in the middle of Amsterdam where you can visit if you want some peace for an hour or so. It is about 15 minutes on tram from central and is definitely worth seeing. You honestly feel like you have stepped into a whole new city when you go inside. It is also pretty close to the Amsterdam museum so you could fit in both of these in one afternoon.
Red Light District
Honestly? It’s not as notorious as you might think – it’s a pretty interesting sight to see. We went there during the day and night, and it’s amazing to see the difference! During the day, it’s just like any other of the canals, but by night it literally comes alive. If you really want, you can book a tour where you can have entry to one of the museums I mentioned earlier, or you can just take a stroll at your own pace. Also – do NOT take pictures of the ladies – there was a specific place at the top of the discrict near a bridge where people seemed to gather to take some pictures …. but you should avoid taking them anywhere else.
If you visit Amsterdam during the months of late March – May, you should definitely plan a visit to Keukenhof. This is where the famous tulip gardens are and its around 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam. You can easily get a train out or there are tours that you can book. If I had an extra day, I would have definitely gone because it really is a breath taking, beautiful site to see!
If you want a pretty chilled tour of Amsterdam, canal cruises are the way to go. We didn’t get a chance to go on one as the weather wasn’t the nicest, and we just had so many other things planned! You can get tours where you have dinner, romantic tours during the sunset, or just standard tours … whatever you are after you’ll find something. They do get quite busy though, but as there are so many to choose from you shouldn’t be waiting too long.
So – now some general tips for Amsterdam .. things that I found helpful and that could help you too!
Get a Travel Ticket
These are so handy and something that you can pick up from the airport. It basically allows you to get on any train, tram, bus & ferry in central Amsterdam (including ferries to North Amsterdam which we used it for) and it cost us 26 euros for 3 days. You can also get one for 1 or 2 days (obviously cheaper depending on the days you need). It is so much easier and cheaper having one ticket for your whole trip rather than purchasing a new one each day.
Beware of cyclists
As Amsterdam use the opposite side of the road to the UK, looking to one side of the road can usually mean you miss a cyclist on the opposite side (or is that just me LOL). Basically look left, right then left again. Amsterdam locals are so so lovely, but they can get pretty annoyed if you rush into a bike lane (anybody would to be honest), so just watch where you walk. Also – only rent out a bike in the city if you are a confident cyclist. I personally would not because I wouldn’t be quick enough to cycle on roads – save the bike hire for Vondelpark.
Trust me… you will not forgive yourself if you leave Amsterdam without trying one of the above. They just taste SO GOOD.. and I had so many whilst I was out there. Calories don’t count on holidays guys.
Visit the SIX FLOOR PRIMARK
Yes you read right – 6 floor Primark. It’s amazing and I wish wish we had a Primark that big. Every single thing you’ve seen in a Primark is there… and if I had some extra space in my luggage I would have stocked up on some goodies!
Be prepared for the smell of weed everywhere
Although smoking weed is preferred in coffee shops, it’s not illegal to smoke it in public places, so you will continuously smell it whilst wandering round Amsterdam. Just be prepared. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Try the cheese
There are SO many cheese shops in central and more or less all of them offer testers of their cheese. It is SO worth trying because it was probably some of the best cheese I’d tried. If you have some space in your suitcase, bring some back. You won’t regret it.
You don’t have to stay in Central
I know so many people say you should find a hotel in Central as you are closer to all the attractions .. but this doesn’t have to be the case. We stayed at the Mercure Sloterdijk Station Hotel, and it was SO handy as the train station was a 2 minute walk away. Trains from there to Central were every 5 minutes. I would highly recommend the hotel too as it was really quiet, affordable and had great connections to the city.
Phew … I think that’s everything on my list!? I loved Amsterdam so so much and definitely HIGHLY RECOMMEND going as I know you will love it too! It’s a pretty affordable place to visit and you will find so much to do!
If you have ANY questions, just let me know and I will be happy to help!