I’m back today to give you a rundown of my trip to Amsterdam, it was my first time visiting the Capital and I only had a few days. I wanted a mix of doing things and having a nice chilled time. I didn’t want to come home too knackered.
We booked with Love Holidays which was really simple and easy – we did initially use travel compare sites for our flights but we decided to go straight to the KLM site to find the exact flight times we wanted that didn’t include any stops we ended up only paying around £30 more so we were pretty happy.
Unfortunately, we were denied boarding on our outbound flight due to a change of aircraft which meant there wasn’t enough space for us. We were booked on the next available flight but this meant flying to Manchester first… so we ended up landing in Schiphol airport at 7.50pm instead of 4.00pm as originally planned which was really annoying and also meant us missing an evening activity we had booked. KLM did get in touch before the flight to apologise and assured that we would be compensated for this.
From Schiphol airport, we grabbed a train right into Amsterdam Central Station this cost around 4 euros each. Right outside the train station, we hopped on a Tram to Museumplein where our hotel was situated. You buy your ticket on board the tram – you can purchase an hour ticket for 3 euros or you can also get a 24-hour ticket for 7.50. The hotel we stayed in wasn’t the best, it was cheap admittedly, but it wasn’t much better than a hostel.
Due to our flight disruptions, we didn’t get to our hotel to almost 10 pm and by that point, we were ready to jump into bed. We had had a Red Light District guided tour booked but we missed it, I did email asking if it was possible for us to switch it for another time but sadly I didn’t get a response.
By morning we were beyond excited to get out of the hotel room and explore, we were also thrilled to see the weather was glorious and by Scotland standards, it was summer temperatures. Our plan was to walk in the direction of the city centre but stopped off for brunch at a lovely cafe called Vlaamsch Broodhuys – it has a very cool trendy vibe to it with the most delicious selection of pastries on display. We both ordered Tuna Melts and I had the most refreshing lemonade. The food was deliciously fresh and the portions were very generous. Look at that lemon meringue!
The best way to really explore any new place is walking and that’s what we did, we just walked and hoped we were going in the direction of the city centre and thankfully we were and we got to see so many cute little bridges and more of the residential areas.
We really didn’t have a plan, once we made into the centre we wandered around and had a nosy in the shops, Simone was desperate to try some Frites that she had heard about so our next port of call was to find somewhere that did them and I totally got the hype. They were so crispy and light and totally delicious. I got a small and that was too much so these would be perfect if you’re looking for a quick lunch.
On our list was to visit Polaberry for an ice-cream, google maps helped navigate our way to the shop and it meant we got to see even more of the city, the insta-friendly shop was beautiful with the most amazing chocolate covered fruit and of course we were so ready for our ice cream. After lots of walking we were beyond thrilled to sit by the canal and eat our ice cream, it was so lovely and warm too and the area although quiet was buzzing with people going past on bikes and other happy tourists and locals enjoying the unusual October weather. Probably the most random part of our trip was whilst we were sitting by the canal watching the small boats go past Jedward also went past us in a boat, as it turned out they were celebrating their birthday.
For the evening we had booked the Anne Frank House and Museum tour, this, as you can imagine is a very popular attraction and tickets usually sellout 2 months in advance – there are limited tickets available each day so it is best to book before you go which is what we did. We were a little bit early for our time slot so we popped into the Pancake house next door for some refreshing drinks, we had eaten so much that we couldn’t possibly eat pancakes too but they looked delicious, whether you’re looking for sweet or savoury.
You aren’t allowed any big bags inside the museum but there is a cloakroom to leave things, you then take a little audio speaker and you link it your language and as you go around the museum you are told the story of Anne Frank and her family. Audio Tours are often charged as an extra in museums however, it is included in the price of the ticket. It is so sad to think of the lives that were lost and what the families involved had to do, had to sacrifice because of the Nazi’s. If you’re ever in Amsterdam I would highly recommend adding it to your itinerary.
Back to our good friend Google Maps we headed off in search for the Amsterdam Ice Bar, this is something that was on my friends Amsterdam wishlist so we made sure to book in advance – our tickets were €19.50 which included 3 drink tokens, one token for the bar and 2 tokens for the ice bar.
Inside there is a bit of pirate theme and with your token, you get a choice of drink which includes beers and cocktails, we went for a cocktail which was delicious and we bopped in our bar seats to the music whilst we waited to be called for our slot into the ice bar.
Before heading in you are given a jacket and gloves to wear, which to be honest, gave me the no feeling, the jackets felt a little dingy and unwashed and not to mention sticky as well as the gloves.
Inside the ice bar there was only beer available and your third token is for a shot which they do have an okay selection to choose from. I’m not a fan of beer so I was a little disappointed.
The ice-bar itself was also disappointing, it was quite a small room with not much imagination, combined with the fact there wasn’t any alcohol that I liked I found the whole experience underwhelming. It is such a cool idea and with a little thought and imagination, it could be have been done so much better. We’re glad we did it but it’s not going to be the most memorable part of our trip.
Another day, another place to have some brunch and today we had our eyes on the Breakfast Club, a really cute and hipster-like cafe. We sat outside in the glorious sunshine (we were so thrilled at how lucky we were with the weather). After sitting watching many people eating pancakes the day before they were definitely on our minds as we both decided to go for a stack of pancakes with fruit and a cheeky bit of syrup. The portions were hearty and so light and fluffy and paired with a strawberry lemonade it was the perfect start to the day.
We started off to the centre and from there we decided to go in search for the Red Light District, we had originally booked a walking tour which we felt more comfortable doing but since we missed it due to our flight we decided to have a quick nosey ourselves. I really enjoyed the walk and we found a really nice ice-cream shop on the way (the sugar-high was gonna hit hard.) Dolce and Gelato have a few parlours scattered around I noticed, they do so many different flavours of ice cream as well as delicious looking doughnuts. I really couldn’t justify a doughnut too but man do I regret it now. I chose kinder and Nutella scoops on a cone and the wafer is sooo thick! Really delicious, highly recommend.
The Red Light District is situated along a canal, each building has an air of mystery to it, there is also a few pubs, and the oldest coffee shop is situated here too. We came across the Museum of Prostitution and decided to go inside. Once again included in the ticket price was an audio tour, which is narrated by a sex worker. It was interesting listening to the history of this district that Amsterdam is so famous for and just the right amount of humour. It’s a fun tour to do – I’m sure something many a stag do will enjoy.
After that we decided that was enough for us, we opened our minds but it was time to leave the infamous area.
A drink by the canal was very much needed before our next excursion.
A canal tour is obviously a must when visiting Amsterdam and there are many to choose from. We went with the Pizza Cruise – I have to admit this was the thing I was excited to do. Starting off at the docks right across from Central Station we hopped on board. Included in the trip are a pizza, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and unlimited drinks. I was really impressed with the variety of pizza’s and you choose your choices of toppings and ice cream flavour before getting on board.
The whole vibe is very laid back and the hostess gave us a great tour of the amazing city – halfway through we stopped to wait on our pizza’s being delivered and then off we went again filling our bellies and taking in our surroundings.
It was honestly one of my favourite parts of the trip and if you’re looking for a cruise to do I would definitely recommend this.
We had booked a late flight so we had some part of the day to do the last wee bits that we wanted to do. We mooched around the shops and then when we were starting to get hangry decided to go off in search of The Hard Rock Cafe. The food and cocktail were delicious as usual but the actual cafe wasn’t as exciting as other Hard Rock Cafes I’ve visited with very little memorabilia on show – but our lunch was delicious and I was glad to tick another HRC off my list.
We then went in search for different souvenirs to take home for family and there are souvenir shops everywhere so you’re spoiled for choice. We headed towards the A’dam Lookout, we headed for the ferry port next to the Central Station where we took a free ferry (they depart every 3 minutes) over to where the building is. If you haven’t heard of the A’dam Lookout, it’s a building with a bar that has panoramic views of the city as well as a rooftop bar and swing! There are all different packages to choose from we bought a regular ticket and then added the swing ticket on.
We headed right up to the bar where we sat and had one last drink, toasting the end of our lovely trip. The bar is lovely with lots of comfy seats and sofa’s – I could have sat for hours.
When it was time we went to the rooftop so we could have our turn on the Lookout Swing… To do this it only costs an extra €5 and we pre-booked.
It looked quite daunting swinging right over the building but it was perfectly safe and just enough of an adrenaline rush for timid old me.
So we’ve reached the end of my travel diary – Amsterdam is such a cool city and I love the laid back vibe I got from it. My main tip is to watch out for the cycle paths, they are everywhere and cyclists come out of nowhere!
I hope I’ve given you some insight or inspiration for your trip if there is anything I haven’t covered please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on any of my socials.