Amsterdam is probably one of my favourite city breaks I’ve done so far. The food was amazing, the architecture and canals stunning, and I absolutely loved the bike culture. I didn’t take many photos from our trip, I concentrated mainly on the video below which was so much fun to put together.
Without further ado, here’s what we got up to/what we’d recommend.
WHAT TO DO //
- Heineken Experience – I’m not going to lie, this didn’t really sound like my cup of tea, but it had excellent reviews and most of the group really wanted to visit. I’m SO glad we went because it was brilliant. I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I’d highly recommend buying your tickets online otherwise you’ll face a monster queue once you get there.
- Bike Ride in Vondel Park – We spent a good 4 hours cycling around the main park in Amsterdam. I believe it’s Amsterdam equivalent to Hyde Park. There are a few different bike rental businesses dotted around the edges of the park – ask a local and they’ll point you in the right direction. There’s also a cafe that you’ll spot if you do a few laps around the outer edges which is well worth a visit for a cold drink and some nibbles.
- Red Light District – We had to visit out of curiosity. It’s so bizarre. We went on the first night, and we’re glad we did it, but we didn’t go back. I think once you’ve seen it once, there’s really no need to go back, unless, well, you know…
- Ice Bar – A little bit cheesy, but you know what, it was actually really fun. The staff there were hilarious and let us basically take over at one point. It’s about £12 to go in, but you get two drinks included. Like I said, a little bit cheesy and absolutely no different to any other ice bar in any other country, but still very fun.
- General wandering – Amsterdam is a great place to discover by foot (as with most places). We didn’t get a single metro/bus. I’ll be honest and say that we spent most of our time drinking in lovely looking bars we stumbled across when wandering up and down the canals.
WHAT/WHERE TO EAT //
- TED’s – We LOVED this place. We very nearly broke our rule about not eating in the same place twice because of this little spot. It’s a lovely, healthy breakfast joint and most of us ended up ordering the Triple Omega – smoked salmon, avocado, poached eggs and sourdough. Delicious.
- Envy – I mentioned this in my what & where I’ve been eating post, but it definitely deserves a second mention. We did the 6-course chef’s tasting menu, which was both fantastic and faultless.
- Buffet Van Odette – A really lovely bistro type place. I ordered the Onglet (one of my favourite cuts of meat) and it was absolutely perfect. We had lots of sharing dishes to start, all of which was SO GOOD. Very reasonable too.
- Getto – This is a bar/burger place where each burger is named after a drag queen, so totally up my street. The burgers were good, but not amazing. I’d come back to Getto for drinks, but maybe not food.
- Ecole – This was a place we stumbled upon when we couldn’t get a table in Bakers & Roasters (sadly we didn’t get a chance to visit, as it was always packed) so we ended up at Ecole. The staff were so friendly in here. The food was lovely (we had the best bittenballen in here) although the waiting time was a little slow.
- Bitterballen – Deep-fried deliciousness served in most places. An absolute must try!
- Waffles – When in Holland and all that…
- Stroopwaffles – Two biscuit type waffles stuck together with delicious caramel.
WHERE TO STAY //
We stayed in the City Park Apartments in the Helmersbuurt area. It’s a little bit of a walk into the main center (you’re talking 20 minutes) but I actually preferred this. The surrounding neighbourhood was more authentic and less touristy than other parts we visited. There was also a great little cafe across from the road from us called Cafe Bosco which we all really rated for drinks and nibbles.
As for the apartment itself, it was a little bit difficult to find at first, but we figured it out eventually. The apartment was big, roomy and we each had a bed (there was 6 of us) which was the main criteria when we were looking (we didn’t want anyone on a sofa/sofa bed). It was a little bit style over substance, but on the whole, it was really clean, the beds were super comfortable and they even left us a little welcome present of stroopwafels!
Next up when it comes to travel is Brussels, we’re visiting there on the second May bank holiday so if you have any tips/recommendations please do shoot them over!