My little city break to the wonderful Amsterdam did not disappoint. I had never been before but knew people who had and loved it, as well as seeing so many lovely photos. Amsterdam is a magical place, everywhere you turn the architecture is stunning, the canals are so pretty with the beautiful homes with their tall slim architecture and hooks that they use to install furniture and the gorgeous canal boats. It creates this whimsical chocolate box aesthetic. Then all the bicycles locked up, and cyclists it’s like living in a magical reality like something you would have read as a child by Roald Dahl. The Dutch are so friendly and welcoming; they really want you to have an amazing time! And they give you the best advice on where to go around their beautiful city.
Getting around this wonderful place could not be easier; we got the train from the airport, and booked our return which came to £8.75 each fantastic! We were told to follow the escalator down to the platform, there are regular trains. They were right, the staff on the platform were super helpful and friendly guiding us onto our carriage, the trains were comfy cool and within 15 minutes we were disembarking at Central Station. From central station you can collect trams that travel all over the city! we bought a 24 hours pass which starts from the moment you swipe it on your first tram ride, it cost us about £6.15 which was great we could hop on and off all over the place. This is the easiest way to get around, and the one thing about transport in Amsterdam is it is all regular and on time! No wonder everyone is so happy they can all get to work and around with ease! If only it was like this in the UK!!
So what do I recommend seeing and doing, well first of all a great thing to do on your first day is go on a canal cruise, its relaxing, fun and you get to see so many places of interest and learn some history, these are great in the evening as you can get Pizza ones, burger ones and three course dinner ones. We did the family-friendly Pizza one. The staffs were so lovely and welcoming, the boat is so cute, our captain pointed out places of interest, history and such as we went around, we stopped and collected gorgeous fresh made pizzas; you get to choose what flavour you would like. There is also a choice of ice cream and lots of wine, Heineken or soft drinks, it’s not silly amounts but people leave “ happy” . They also play some eclectic music and as the weather was beautiful we had the glass roof pulled back! It was joyous and such a wonderful way to see spots of the city.
The House of Bols
I loved it here as well we all know I love cocktails, but it’s like this cool underground science lab, you get to smell all the flavours, see the distillation, the history of the house of Bols. There is a weird experience when you collect your pass and a vial of a liqueur. Now if you are claustrophobic, suffer from motion sickness or Anxiety, do not go into the box! I ran out as I couldn’t cope with it! Then at the end, you go upstairs to the cocktail bar and select a cocktail you fancy trying. They have the selection in a machine and it is split into fruity, indulgent etc. so you can narrow down the choices. We first went for the Red Negroni as I love, love Negroni, this was definitely the strongest one I have ever had but it was delicious! We then paid 5 Euros for another cocktail, this time I had a Pink Panther and Mum had a Strawberry Cheesecake, it’s fantastic watching your mixologist make these amazing cocktails up, they are such artists! It was baking hot outside as we had 28-degree weather when we were there, so in here with its fabulous air con, glass and cool vibe it was a perfect escape!
We then headed to the shop where we bought two liquors to bring home and add to my bar cart, we made use of these this weekend and actually made our own Strawberry Cheesecake cocktail and A Dolce Vita, you can see these on my IG stories. I will be sharing all about these on my summer themed series shortly. The tour costs around £16 per person but does include a cocktail and the vial experience.
By the House of Bols is the Rijksmuseum which we had a look around and its wonderful, it’s so grand with its vast collection of iconic art and a wide variety of artefacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history, including jaw-dropping paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and countless more Dutch greats. The grounds are also beautiful, with a large chess set and water features, and benches to sit and watch the world go by. Price wise it’s about £15.50 per adult.
We were so sad we didn’t get to go to the Ann Frank Museum, we went to book it just over a month before we went but was too late it was sold out for the whole of June, my advice is they release the tickets only 2 months in advance, so know your date and book dead on that release date, otherwise you will miss out or have to queue for at least 3 hours. We loved Amsterdam so we will do it when we return again to this beautiful city.
Now we never went to the red light district as sadly we were delayed 2 hours coming out ( typical EasyJet) so that did slightly mess with our plans! Though I have no regrets, it confirmed to me there is so much more to Amsterdam than just a red light district and coffee shops! You really need to get out and explore there is so much to see and do that 1 full day and 2nights and 2 half days just were not enough to cover it all. There was the diamond Museum also close by the House of Bols and Rijksmuseum. We didn’t go in as we did not have the time, but they had the most beautiful statue in their front garden. I would certainly visit this upon my return.
We did a little shopping and the shops are fabulous, my love of H&M has been reignited as you know Oxford street only seems to sell sizes 6-12 but here so much choice in colour and size, all of the shops are so tidy and clean and a real pleasure to shop around! We went to their version of Harrods and we loved it, the lovely lady from Guerlain (where we may have bought some perfumes) served us was just so lovely and knowledgeable. It’s a fantastic building with amazing designer items for sale.
Can I also take a moment to talk about the food, Amsterdam has everything you would love, Vegan, and three fantastic Turkish restaurants? Healthy food aplenty as well as all the naughty’s too from Hard rock café to the super cool and chic MaMa Kelly. And the Stroopwaffles and Egg Waffles with ice cream! OMG delish, IG is full of their images! All tastes are catered for in Amsterdam and a foodies heaven!
All in all, I fell In love with Amsterdam and it’s a place I could happily live in! Sadly not by or on the canal as I am not a millionaire, but a girl can dream can’t she!
If you have never considered it before because you thought it’s all Hens and stags, cannabis and red-light district, yes that is there in all its glory but it really is so much more and I really hope I have altered that surmise and made you want to explore this beautiful city.
And to show my love for the city I am giving away a fantastic Guidebook The 500 Hidden secrets of Amsterdam by Saskia Naafs & Guido Van Eijck. The details are on my IG
Do let me know if you have been, what was your favourite, or if you are going to Amsterdam what are you most looking forward to seeing or doing?