I’ve always wanted to go to Amsterdam. Looking at all those photos of people posing by the famous canals or cycling around town would make me really envy them. It’s not that couldn’t go- it’s just the opportunity and time never arose until… I turned 30!! *shock* *horror* THE BIG 3 0! 😱😱😱😱
But who am I kidding? I still act like a 3 year old so that extra 0 can do one ☝🏼 in the nicest way possible 😬
I’d heard you could easily do Amsterdam in a couple of days- there’s the museums, the canals, the cycling and food wasn’t too bad either 🤤 obviously any place I visit has a minimum criteria of good food.
I’m sure most of you have already been here so if there are any newbies like me who have never went and want to visit- then read on 😌
We traveled via Luton airport. Can I just say? I always thought Luton was like the end of the world- I mean if you ever travel from there you realise how grim it really is but hey- there was light at the end of the tunnel so all was good! (However it’s still my least favourable airport to travel from after Stansted 👀)
Tip: If you’re traveling via Kings Cross make sure you buy a ticket to Luton Airport (not Luton Parkway) as that will cover you for the shuttle bus going to the airport. Otherwise you would have to pay additional charges for using the shuttle bus.
To make it easy for whoever reads this blog post, I’ll structure this in order of things you need to know or will be helpful to you!
⌚️ How long did it take us to get to Amsterdam: 50 mins which seemed more like 30!
🏡 Where did we stay? Dutch Design Hotel Artemis. Good ranking and not too far from the city centre.
🚗 How did we get around town:
- On the day of arrival and for times we weren’t cycling- we mainly used Uber but also their local cab service.
- Caution when taking Uber: if you’ve used Uber you would know they’re notorious for their surcharge pricing especially when it flippin rains!! At one point I ended up paying around £45 for a one way trip to the hotel from the city centre. £45!! I’ve never paid that much traveling within London. 🙄
- Use the fare estimate feature on the Uber app and compare the price with a local cab company (get your hotel to call one and check the price or they generally know rough cost). Chances are the local cab company will offer you a better and cheaper rate!
- For sight seeing I would definitely recommend hiring a bike 🚴 If you are staying at a hotel then they would have bikes for hire. Alternatively if you’re getting an Airbnb, some even come with bicycles as part of the accommodation. If all else fails you will find a local place to hire a bike from but the first two options are preferable!
- Amsterdam is a town run by cyclists 😆 I feel like they come out of the womb knowing how to cycle- I saw a mother carrying a newborn while she was cycling, a girl eating a sandwich in one hand and manouvering the bike with another, a guy cycling through the park and effortlessly zig zagging around people. I was obviously jealous as all I could manage was ensure I didn’t get killed!! 😩🤣
- Bicycles come with their individual locks. Just watch the locals and take their lead. They lock up their bicycles pretty much every where!
📝 Where did we go / what did we do?
Day 1: We got lucky on our first proper full day in town. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was out- sadly no 💪🏼 in sight (sorry I can’t help slipping in one or two really bad jokes!! 🤣)
Hired a bike from the hotel and asked them to show us on the map 🗺 how we could get to the town centre. We tried to go via a picturesque route. It was pretty straight forward, but we did get lost and eventually found our way.
Best thing about getting lost in a new city 🌃 is that we didn’t mind it- it was fun exploring and cycling through the town; looking at houses, different neighbourhoods, people watching. In short, we were kept very busy! 😄
- Vondelpark 🌲:
Our first pitstop was the beautiful Vondelpark. I do think it gives Hyde Park a run for its money. It is beautiful and very well designed.
A kitchen and bar located inside the park. The food was delicious- absolutely worth every euro 😆
I was surprised to find how gluten and vegan friendly the menu was. Restaurants and cafes in London are just starting to get their head around it now but in Amsterdam it seemed quite normal! 🙌🏼 (I eat everything so I would’ve eaten regardless 🐷)
👨🎤 Culture fix:
By the time we got to the area with all the museums we were just an hour short of them closing. It wasn’t going to be worth for just an hour.
We were given mixed suggestions but if you’re short on time then visit the Van Gogh museum instead of the Rijksmuseum.
We did get lucky as just next to the Rijksmuseum is the MOCO Museum and they were showcasing Banksy and Dali. That exhibition served as a great alternative and had been organised/laid out in a really cool way! I would definitely recommend it.
Cycling around town and eventually getting back to the hotel later than anticipated meant all our plans got pushed later.
We missed our original dinner booking, tried to get to the Eye Restaurant (great views of Amsterdam and located inside the Eye Film Institute) on a friend’s suggestion but we got there at 10pm – just when most of the restaurants close their kitchens ☹️😩 #ytho
I have to give a shout out to the ladies who man the reception at the Eye Film Institute Netherlands. They tried their absolute best trying to recommend places we should go to for dinner, how to get there and back to our hotel! They were awesome 👏🏼 I have to say people in Amsterdam were super friendly and helpful 😃
Luckily, another friend had recommended Mr Porter which is a restaurant and part of the W Hotel in Amsterdam. Their kitchen was open late till 11:30pm so we were in luck!!
Super snazzy decor (as you would expect from anything the W hotel chain owns and operates)
Verdict: One of the best dinners I’ve had in a while 👌🏼
Rain, rain and more godforesaken rain ☔️🙄
We were quite limited in what we could do as the rain was more bordering on thunderous showers 🚿. Walking around in that weather wasn’t going to be pleasant.
This was also the day we were going to fly back so I definitely had a good brunch on the agenda.
I was given some really good suggestions from friend who had lived in Amsterdam and two main contenders were Coffee and Coconuts, and Bakers and Roasters.
After scouring the menu the winner was Bakers and Roasters. Run by a Kiwi (meant coffee was gonna be lit 👌🏼) and Brazilian meant the menu was eclectic, wholesome and hit the right notes that miserable morning.
Bakers and Roasters have two locations. The first location we went to was shut down as the rain had caused a short circuit and they had to shut down the premises.
And so we asked the kind cab driver to take us to their second location (yep, I was quite determined to eat only at this joint!) in Kadijksplein.
Luckily we didn’t have to wait long and were seated pretty much straight away. Super nice staff, great interior, a good mix of people and mouthwatering food- perfect combo! 😃
P.S: we did have a quick wander through the Red Light District. Really surreal and frankly just made me sad 😕 we left for the hotel within 15 mins to pick up our bags and head off to the airport ✈️
Hope this post on a quick 1.5 day tour of Amsterdam was helpful! I definitely want to go back and spend some more time in the museums, eat a lot more and check out Anne Frank’s house.