Amsterdam was never somewhere I had on my list of places to visit, but being so close to London I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about and I am so glad I did. We took a quick plane ride over for a few days and I absolutely loved it. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, when you think of Amsterdam you could think of cannabis and of course the Red Light District, but what I found was great food, culture and so much more.
We managed to see quite a lot in just three short days as I wanted to make sure we made the most of our trip.
So I thought I’d share what we go up to on our city break in Amsterdam.
WHERE WE ATE
Eating is always top priority on a trip for me, I want to not just try the best restaurants but also food I’ve never tried before. A well-known Dutch snack is bitterballen, which are best described as a beef meatball, but I would say more of a croquette. They have a meat filling and are fried on the outside and are just delicious. I am so glad I got to try these, but now find myself craving them, so I’m also sad at the same time.
Here a few places we ate at and discovered on our time in Amsterdam.
I’d sourced Ted’s out from Instagram and it was brilliant. We went here for breakfast and there was loads to choose from, I had egg and soldiers and Danny had pancakes with Nutella and banana. We sat outside as it was still relatively warm, the street reminded me of the nicer streets in New York and it was a great quiet spot for breakfast. Albeit the wasps who also wanted my breakfast! So maybe sit inside during the warmer months.
Another Instagram spot, we went here for a drink and I of course had to have a freakshake which is a meal in itself. It comes with a doughnut, so no need for an additional cake and as you can see, everything else you can think of. Nope I couldn’t finish it!
This was a great casual bar where we stopped for lunch, we had pizza and bitterballen, the food was really good and inside was lovely and bright.
Sister venue to the famous Vlaams Friteshuis who are known for their fries with sauces. The restaurant serves rotisserie chicken which was delicious along with the fries from Vlaams Friteshuis. It was super quiet when we went here (aka the only people in there) which I’m not sure why, but none the less we enjoyed it on our first evening for a quick meal.
Lotti’s (Hoxton Hotel)
Lotti’s is the restaurant inside the Hoxton Hotel and they serve classic dishes. I had fish and chips and was an easy spot for dinner, similar to the Hoxton hotel in London.
De Bijenkorf Rooftop Bar
This was an unplanned visit, we decided to get a drink and a cake when shopping here and were surprised to find a great rooftop bar and restaurant.
Cafe De Prins
This is sort of an old school pub/cafe and served delicious ham and cheese toasties. You can sit outside and just watch the world go by.
I’d researched some cocktail bars to go to, however we ended up in our own hotel bar and just didn’t have time for the others. The ones I wanted to check out were Skylounge, the Pulitzer Hotel Bar and Hiding In Plain Sight.
WHAT WE DID
I had a few places I wanted to visit, but we mainly just walked around and got a feel for the place, it’s so easy to walk everywhere or take a bike and they also have Uber as well.
The A’DAM Lookout is a 360 degree look-out point across Amsterdam and also has a swing ride which you can swing from the top if your brave enough – I was not. It was really great to get a look out over the City, I love my viewpoints, I seem to locate one in every City I visit. From the moment I stepped in the elevator, which has its own music and lights show, I knew it was worth taking the ferry over the water for. To get there take the free ferry from Amsterdam Central Station, it’s one stop and is a short walk away.
What I loved about this was you can book a ticket for a day not a time and you can even change it online, we swapped days as we thought it was going to rain on the day we had a ticket for, turns out it was a sunnier day, but never mind we were glad we visited in the evening. As we went in the evening we actually had drinks in the bar and more bitterballen, it was nice to see Amsterdam in the light and then dark.
I wanted to visit the MOCO Museum as they had a Banksy exhibition running. There are three floors of Banksy’s famous works including one of the most recognisable Girl With Balloon. There is also a floor dedicated to Icy & Sot’s works and a Roy Lichtenstein 3D interior room, which was super cool and I just had to get a picture in. Outside in the garden there are works from Kaws, Dali and more Banksy including the Heartboy mural. If you like modern and contemporary art, this would be worth a visit.
Museum of Bags & Purses (Tassen Museum)
If you love fashion and handbags as much as me, then is quite an interesting museum. Over various floors is a private collection of handbags from designer to vintage pieces, with over 400 handbags dating back to the Middle Ages. I enjoyed looking at the history of these and seeing the development from various designers.
Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)
The flower market has all types of flowers, bulbs and cute gifts and floats along the water – don’t worry it’s tied down so it won’t be going anywhere, definitely worth a look.
Red Light District
We took a walk down here in the evening, but to be honest it was just a bit like Soho and wasn’t anything that shocking, kind of what you would expect really.
Things I wish we’d had time for Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank Museum (was fully booked so we weren’t able to go) and a boat tour.
WHERE TO SHOP
9 Streets (De Negen Straatjes)
This neighbourhood of Amsterdam has 9 streets, hence the name. Filled with shops, cafes and restaurants it’s the perfect area to just wander around.
This is where you will find all the designer shops, think of it as the equivalent to Bond Street in London.
Is a department store based in Dam square, sort of like a Selfridges. Inside is filled with designer goods all laid out rather nicely. I really liked this store and enjoyed the rooftop bar too.
This shopping centre was not far from our hotel, we stayed at Kimpton de Witt which was in a great central location and also near Dam Square where you will find the De Bijenkorf department store. Inside Magna Plaza are a few shops like MANGO and also a shop The Cool Collective I’d never heard of before which was quite cool.
We visited Amsterdam early September, which was a lovely time to visit, the weather was still warm and we were able to walk everywhere.
No matter what you do on your trip to Amsterdam, one thing is certain, there will be a bike in every picture.