Hey guys and girls,
Back in January, we took a trip over to Amsterdam and I’ve finally set aside some time to work on this post for you. It’s been a LONG time coming!
A few recommendations:
- Maps: Download an offline map for the city and pin all the places you want to see. Google maps now supports this and so useful to plan your routes around the city. Also, most phone service suppliers now allow you to use your data in mainland Europe which I’m such a big fan of!
- Public transport: Public transport is reliable and fairly priced – I’d opt for a 1/2/3/7 GVB day pass depending on the duration of your stay as it’s much better value than single fares. If the weather is nice, you can also rent a bike and cycle like the locals!
- I amsterdam card: Unless you’re planning to squeeze in a lot of museums, I’d probably pass up on this. Oh, and I’d double check the listings because some of the main attractions aren’t covered.
- Walking: It’s reasonably small city and so it’s so easy to walk from place to place.
It’s particularly easy when it’s this gorgeous!
The canals are so picturesque when the sun shines…
And these incredible townhouses! ❤
And there are endless quirky little shops that are worth exploring:
I love how cute these fridge magnets are.
I can’t help myself, I love random street art!
Of course, it’s not actually free, rather, you pay your guide the amount you believe he/she deserves for their troubles. This 2hour long walking tour is hosted by a local individual. Starting at Dam Square, it winds through the red light district, Jewish quarter and various other tree-lined canal streets. Our guide was really knowledgeable and talked us through everything from coffee shops to the holocaust to the Dutch East India Trading Company (VOC).
^ The Royal Palace
Back in the 16th/17th century, taxes were calculated on the width of houses and so some cheeky individuals got creative and built houses like the red one above to avoid having to fork out as much.
A great way to see the city from a different perspective – we opted for a sunset tour but it ended up being a cold and grey day so sadly it wasn’t quite as pretty as I’d hoped. Our guide was friendly, funny and had tonnes of great recommendations up his sleeve.
Bloemenmarkt, Flower Market
There are loads of different markets in Amsterdam, one of my favourites was the floating flower market. They sell everything from seeds, to plants, to dried flowers…
It’s so pretty and colourful.
Look how cute these little cacti are. I definitely wanted to buy them all!
I bought a few packets of seeds – I’m not very green fingered so here’s hoping!
They also sell colourful wooden tulips – so even if the real flowers aren’t in season you can still get your fix!
This was such a moving experience. You quietly walk through the exhibit with an audioguide learning about the holocaust and WWII, before ascending to the secret annexe where Anne and her family hid out for two years. Having had read her diary when I was about 10/11, I found it almost surreal. Heads up, photography is prohibited.
If there’s only one museum you visit, I’d suggest this one.
Nearby there’s also a little monument dedicated to her:
The queues are always long so I can’t recommend booking tickets online in advance enough.
A huge collection of Van Gogh’s art is documented over three floors. There’s also an extensive collection of letters he wrote (mostly to his brother).
It’s so interesting to see how his style evolved over his lifetime…
So much detail.
And of course, I couldn’t not take a picture of what’s probably his most famous work – the vase of sunflowers:
I really loved this place – it’s currently exhibiting a collection of Banksy work with lots of originals too. It’s pretty accessible for all as opposed to most art installations in which I sometimes find myself stood around raising my eyebrows. (What can I say, I’m not very cultured…) It was small and packed out so apologies for the rubbish pictures in advance!
^ Probably the most impressive piece – I love that the church windows aren’t actually stained glass but rather street artist tags and works.
As you walk through the building, you find the various rooms are dedicated to different themes such as war:
^ Challenging the media’s depiction of war, which is often painted as positive, by humanising it through the contrast of an innocent child and a bomb.
^ Thought provoking.
^ I love this!
^ Di-faced tenner – apparently, back in 2004, he printed a million pounds worth of these di-faced (a play on defaced) notes, replacing the queen’s face with Princess Diana’s and dropped the lot into the crowd at Nottinghill Carnival.
^ “there is always hope”
^ Soaked in irony.
^ Challenging consumerism
^ Ain’t that the truth.
This is one of the museums we passed up on as we’d pretty much maxed out on the art for the weekend – however there are pieces by Rembrandt and Van Gogh that might be worth checking out. I couldn’t help stopping by to admire the architecture and take a few pics.
You’ll also find the famous ‘Amsterdam’ letters here too.
This place is more of a cheesemonger with a small exhibition than an actual museum, but still worth a gander if you’re in the area.
You can learn about how cheese is made and have the option to dress up in traditional outfits for a picture – all whilst nibbling on the endless samples offered! What’s not to love?
And if not, there are plenty of cheese shops around the city so you can definitely get your fix elsewhere!
You can even get different flavours – everything from garlic to truffle.
I definitely came back with tonnes of cheese!
To be honest, I just stumbled into this church and fell in love with the interior so I thought I’d share. There’s a tower you can climb for a view over the city but sadly this was not open at the time.
And would you just look at this organ!
This is a great market, located in the De Pijp neighbourhood, selling everything from food to clothes. Sadly, quite a few stalls were closed up when we visited – probably best to opt for days other than Sundays and Mondays if you can.
Just look at how vast a variety of different tomatoes they had at this stall!
Definitely worth sampling (and also buying) some cheese.
Chris Chicken: probably would have walked past this place had it not have been for the staff offering free samples…
Unexpectedly good chicken sandwiches – sticky, sweet and spicy!
Grab some poffertjes (mini pancakes) which are made to order for dessert.
They’re soft and fluffy and basically, just really bloody good. Oh, and variety of different toppings are available too.
And because one type of dessert isn’t enough… You have to try the made to order stroopwafels! ❤
Food and Drink
There’s so much great food and drink to be had –
Sweet or savoury, you can’t come to the Netherlands and not have some pancakes! I opted for one with local cheese and mushrooms, and in the background, you can see Mr Man’s caramelised banana, caramel and sea salt one, served up with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream too. SO good!!
Such a cute and cosy pitstop! I absolutely adore the chilled vibe and decor in here.
I opted for poached eggs on a bed of mushrooms and leeks with hollandaise sauce and pretty much wolfed it down! Right up my street!
Mr Man’s brioche french toast with marmalade, soured cream, toasted almonds and a variety of fruit. Beautiful!
Good food, good coffee and good atmosphere!
This quirky little restaurant serves up Dutch classics. It’s really popular and always heaving so ensure you book in advance, especially if you’re planning to come for dinner!
Every inch of this place is covered in photos of mums. It’s all very sweet, until you nip to the bathroom…
They’re still collecting pictures if you want to bring a photo of your mum along.
I opted for the veggie stamppot, mashed potatoes and vegetables, cheese and topped with more grilled veg. In the background, Mr Man opted for the fish of the day, served up with fresh vegetables and a portion of fries, topped, ofc, with mayo. Yum!
For dessert, homemade, speculaas / speculoos ice cream (think lotus biscoff). So, so good!
This place is perfect for an afternoon snack and pick-me-up. They serve up SERIOUSLY good apple pie. We’re talking about a buttery crust, lots of apples, cinnamon and whipped cream! The only downside is the dried fruit – but don’t let that hold you back, you can easily pick it out.
The coffee isn’t too shabby either.
Worth a stop if you need a burger fix, this place serves up grass-fed beef patties, nestled in buttery brioche rolls with homemade sauces. When I saw the nacho waffle fries on the menu, I couldn’t help myself!
Incredible, incredible fries. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside. There are also a variety of different sauces available for dipping – from satay sauce through to applesauce. I opted for ketchup and garlic mayo. Perfection.
Culinary influences brought back after the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia. We opted for the rijsttafel, or rice table, which consists of a selection of different small plates served up with rice. Very, very spicy! Be warned!
OMG! This cute little bakery serves up the BEST chocolate cookies. You can smell them from down the street, I felt like Homer Simpson following my nose to this place!
They’re stuffed with a huge chunk of white chocolate:
I’ve already tried recreating them at home – needs some work, but once I’ve mastered it, I’ll be sure to share!
They’re served up warm and so the centre is still perfectly gooey. Gah. Seriously. You have to go.
We stumbled upon this cute little cafe and just had to pop in!
And we were not disappointed! The coffee is incredible. Definitely worth a visit.
If you’re big on coffee, I’d also pin this place on your map. Smooth. Creamy. Perfect!
And that’s more or less it. Here are a couple more pics of the beautiful canals…
Look how pretty they are by night too…