Amsterdam! The place that some call ‘The City of Sin’…well, it isn’t that in our opinion. It is a city filled with beauty, from incredible listed houses that line the canals, to collections of art that will astound you. Let’s dig a little deeper…
When to Visit:
Is there a bad time to visit Amsterdam? Having visited in the warmer seasons, spring and summer, I would say probably not. It will always be beautiful, whether the canals are twinkling from the reflection of Christmas lights or the burning sun. It is probably always going to be busy, Amsterdam is a very popular place, and there will always be others crammed onto the tiny streets. Note: Summer can be extremely hot, so if you do not do too well with the heat, avoid the season.
How to Get Around:
Walk, bike, boat, tram – you have many options. Walking through Amsterdam is a wonderful experience, but be aware that though the city is small, it isn’t so small that you could walk the entire thing in one day without feeling exhausted.
Cycling is a great option, as there are specific bike paths for cyclists. Be aware of other cyclists, cars, and people though, because the volume of traffic is extremely high. People will walk into the cycle paths without warning, and cars will drive down small alley ways.
Travelling by boat is a dream, and gives you the opportunity for some beautiful water photography. You can hire a boat, or if you want to let someone else take over, it’s a great idea to get the Hop On Hop Off boat, which is valid for 24 hours. That way you can get off whenever you like and visit various interesting places.
Tram is easy and frequent, but make sure you ‘check in’ and out with your travel card!
Where to Stay:
Accommodation in Amsterdam is not cheap. Even Airbnb’s are a little pricey, and you may end up a little further outside the city centre than intended. If you are looking for a budget trip, check out the local hostels. Some are very well located and can provide you with a bed for the night. If you are interested in spending a little more, we had a great stay in the Room Mate Hotel Atiana, which is a short walk from the central station, has a bar and restaurant in, and beautiful views of the water.
Café Zilt! A small whiskey bar with some great live jazz. We happened to walk past and popped in for drop of 18 year old Deveron. Not to be missed (and advertised as a Bieber Free Zone – what more could you want?).
Where to Eat:
What are you in the mood for? Let’s break it down:
Breakfast? You want pancakes. There are plenty of places to choose from but if you are near the museum quarter, you have to pay a visit to De Vier Pilaren. This beautiful pancake house used to travel with a fun fair, and is now stationary – it has lost none of its fun fair charm and comes highly recommended from these pancake lovers!
Lunch? Look no further than Vegan Junk Food Bar. Guess what they serve? You got it, delicious vegan junk food. This was delightful, because it can be gutting not to get a good burger when you don’t eat meat. This place could be the reason we one day move to Amsterdam.
Dinner? If you don’t mind spending a bit more, or for a treat meal, it’s worth a visit to Choux. This restaurant has a tasting menu (though they may not tell you that at the door), and the food is experimental and very well presented.
Where to Drink Coffee:
Toki is where you should be heading to grab yourself a great cup of speciality coffee and a delicious slice of cake. (Note: If you search coffee shops in Amsterdam online you will get a list of results for somewhere to buy weed. That’s not what we are talking about here, and if you want to find actual coffee shops add the word ‘speciality’ into your search.)
The best day! For an interesting mix of items and some delicious food, visit Lindengrachtmarkt on a Saturday. This market isn’t as well advertised as the others, but is a genuine experience and doesn’t just sell tie dye clothing, like some of the others.
A Museum Not to Miss:
There are many museums to indulge in, the Van Gogh (tickets only available online), the Rijks Museum, and the House of Bols if you’re looking for something a little boozier. However, if you like cats and want to visit a museum that’s completely different, go to Katten Kabinet. It’s a little bit of fun and you may even meet a cat.