Amsterdam, Netherlands exceeded my expectations in what it had to offer.
It’s more than just smoking marijuana that comes to mind when some people think of Amsterdam. This city is unexpectedly rich in history and quite the liberal city.
Amsterdam gave me chilled student vibes. The locals are friendly and it’s quite the budget-friendly city for the conscious spender. It’s great for a weekend getaway to go solo or with a group of friends. I literally went straight from work to the airport on a Friday and caught up with my sister and friends who got an early flight in the morning. I haven’t done a girls trip in a long while, but I had a good time and enjoyed exploring the canal city. I’m sure the girls would agree too! The canal ring area of Amsterdam is actually UNESCO listed because the three canals form a horseshoe shape around the old centre. Interesting right?
DIYWITHJOY TRAVEL TIP: Book a weekend flight from Friday and catch a return flight home in the evening/night to maximize your weekend getaway without having to take any holidays off work.
In this blog post, I’ll share where we stayed, some tips on how to get around, things we did during our weekend getaway and food recommendations.
We had a pleasant stay at Hotel Casa Amsterdam, which had a welcoming feel, quirky but modern vibe to it. The service and hospitality were great. The location is really good, with only a few minutes walk to the metro.
All rooms are light and spacious and are equipped with free Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, a refrigerator and an en-suite bathroom.
If you’re planning on using the trams or buses a lot, it’s worth investing in a public transport pass such as a GVB pass as this is will be cost-effective for you. This gives you unlimited travel on all GVB trams, buses and the metro for varying periods which range from one day (€7.50) up to seven days (€34.50). Another option is purchasing an Amsterdam Travel Ticket which includes train travel to and from Schipol Airport as well as unlimited public transport within the city (1-day €16, 2-day €21, 3-day €26).
Inter-Sprint and sprinter are two rail trains that you can’t use your GVB passes on. Try not to get on one with the wrong pass or you may find yourself in trouble with getting out of the station. If this happens to you just pretend you had no idea and speak to a transport officer to tap you out and reset your pass.
Another cost-effective way of getting around is by bike. Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Check out this guide to renting a bike.
DIYWITHJOY SAFETY TIP: As a pedestrian walking around and crossing the streets of Amsterdam, watch out for bikes. There are roads markings, bike paths, and sidewalks everywhere but the sidewalks and bike paths do appear similar on some roads. I witnessed a person who riding a bike at a fast speed knock into my sister which was quite scary.
1.Van Wonderen Stroopwafels – Stroopwafels are really yummy! If you’re a sweet tooth like me then this is a must-try. This bakery is amazing because they make them fresh and offer a variety of toppings. Very instagrammable too!
2. Amigo Argentijns Restaurant – Loved the food in this Argentinian restaurant, the staff were soo friendly and the customer service was great.
3.Moak Pancakes– I’ve heard soo many people rave about this place when it comes to pancakes. Didn’t get to try this but definitely give it a try and let me know what you think.
4.il palio – We discovered this place by accident. Serves good Italian food for low prices. They have a €5 menu.
Things to do and see:
1. Try a free walking tour! Free Dam Tours was one of the best tours I’ve ever been on! It was a small group tour and was a great way to learn interesting facts and history about Amsterdam.
2. Anne Franks House This is such an important part of history and if you have read the book you would definitely want to make your way here. If you want to get tickets, I highly suggest you book as soon as possible. Tickets sell fast like hot pancakes, from even months in advance people book their tickets. Cost = €10
3. Canal cruise This was a lovely way to see the city, enjoy the views and learn a bit of history. Cost = £12
- Canal Cruise and Heineken Experience
4. The Tulip museum There are many museums in Amsterdam but we opted to visit this one which tells you the story of the tulip. Tulips are pretty flowers and happen to be the national flowers of the Netherlands. Cost = €5 (Students), €5 (Adults), €10 (Family). Ps. we got a family ticket which worked out to be cheaper for than a student ticket. I would recommend visiting the keukenhof gardens which is open 60 days a year (2019 – 21 March to 19 May 2019).
5. A’dam Lookout – This is a great chill-out spot with lots of things to do. This was actually recommended to us by two lovely women we met in McDonald’s in Amsterdam (You can meet locals anywhere haha). A’dam Lookout observation deck with a 360 panoramic view of Amsterdam.
It reminded me of the shard. This place also has Europe’s highest swing which offers you the chance to be adventurous and swing edge of the tower. While enjoying the view, you can have a drink or bite at Panorama Restaurant & Rooftop Bar. Besides, if you’re quite the photogenic person, you’ll have the chance to pose in front of the green screen and capture some digital memories. Cost = €13.50 (Adult)
Hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post. I’m looking forward to my next trip to Amsterdam in the future.
Have you been to Amsterdam before? I would love to hear your recommendations and things to do!