So myself and Bryan have just returned from a city break in Amsterdam last night and while Bryan is off to work this morning I have an extra day off to relax. In this post we want to share our experience of the city with you and hope our tips are useful if you are heading to the Venice of the north.
So if you are flying from Dublin or anywhere for that matter, you would fly into Schiphol Airport. This is the biggest airport I have ever been in but it was also the easiest in terms of getting out of it and into the city! With a train station attached it gives you easy access for transport to Amsterdam Centraal which is the main station in the city of Amsterdam. The train journey costs about €4.20 for a single ticket and only takes about 15-20 minutes from the airport to the city. It’s great, I know!
Once you are in the city there are many types of transportation available however we walked to our hotel and it only took about 20 minutes.
We did arrive to snow in Amsterdam so keep in mind if you decide to go this time of year there is a huge possibility of snow and ice, but we actually enjoyed the weather and it was wonderful to see the snow in such a picturesque city.
We stayed at the wonderful Hoxton Hotel. The hotel is on a lovely street overlooking one of the canals and is within walking distance from everything. We got a cosy room which was big enough for the two of us and we found the service to be excellent throughout our stay. Plus the decor of the rooms was amazing and I am now seriously considering doing my bedroom like that!
The hotel was a decent price for the two nights and they have a restaurant and bar on site aswell as a shop at the reception/check in desk where you can get free bottled water and other drinks.
They cater for private parties from time to time so if you are a very light sleeper and have a room next to the upstairs bar you might hear a bit of noise but to be honest it did not really bother us.
On our first day, we got settled into the hotel and then headed out to have a look around in the snow. We checked out the bloom market where all of the flowers are sold which was very nice but also crowded at this time of day! After we had some food we went to the Heineken Factory which is such a great experience and we highly recommend it if you are going to Amsterdam. We queued for about an hour to get in and spent a couple of hours in there. We recommend booking your tickets beforehand so you do not have to queue for long.
That night we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner which was delicious and I also collected another glass so that’s another city ticked off the list!
We also passed the Rijksmuseum which is housed in a spectacular building. However we chose to opt out of this experience. There is an IAmsterdam sign here though so it’s worth heading here for a picture or two.
That morning we went straight to the Anne Frank Museum. We had previously got tickets online, I think you can book them three months in advance. This museum is so interesting and it’s definitely worth a visit. I had read the book a few years ago so it was eye opening to see the real house where the family had hidden during World War Two.
We then headed back to the hotel to the restaurant called Lotti’s for some brunch. If you decide not to stay at the hoxton you can still visit the restaurant, the food is delicious!
Afterwards, we headed to Maddam Tussauds. We have never been to one and we did have a great time as they have lots of props for pictures. We went on a Sunday so the queue was not long at all. You can also combine your ticket with a trip to the Amsterdam Dungeons for an extra price but we decided not to do that as I was too scared..
We then headed for a ramble around the shops. If you love shopping you will love Amsterdam. The city has many different variety of shops to chose from so you are bound to find many nice pieces to take home from homewares to clothing. I particularly loved the many homewares stores around the city, the designers were beautiful yet simple so it’s a perfect place to go if you are looking for different pieces when decorating.
That evening we went to Casa di David for dinner which was recommended by our hotel. It’s a nice little Italian restaurant where you can see them make the pizzas from scratch in front of you. The food was delicious so we would highly recommend this restaurant for food. The service was excellent too and they have a great menu with pastas, pizzas and meats.
We decided to go back to the hotel bar for a few drinks to end a lovely day in the city. We also ended up trying bitterballen as it was on the bar food menu. Bitterballen is a Dutch specialty which is a breadcrumbed ball filled with a meat in a gooey kind of texture, trust me it was absolutely delicious!
Sadly, our last day in Amsterdam. After checking out we headed to the Van Gogh Museum. If I’m being honest we enjoyed this the least out of all the things we did. If you are an art lover definitely check it out but if not, you can take it off the list. You are also not allowed to take pictures which I did learn after being told by security, I did not see any signs up and thought it was ok like in the Louvre but I guess not.
On the way to the museum we had another Dutch specialty called Kalfsvleeskroket, its similar in a way to bitterballen however this is a longer cylinder shaped food with veal inside the breadcrumbs. You can taste a hint of spiciness and it is very delicious. We also had a pretzel but this one was coated in sugar and nuts and filled with custard, again we really enjoyed this.
We also went to Wagamama for lunch- can you believe we have never been before? We had the Katsu Curry and then the Motchi Balls, all of the food was delicious.
In fact, we really enjoyed the food we had in Amsterdam and have no complaints, if you are a foodie this is an excellent city to go to.
After some last minute shopping and another trip back to the Rijksmuseum sign it was time to head back to the airport to catch our flight home.
We really loved Amsterdam and if you have not been it’s definitely a destination that you should add to your list as we had a great experience there.
- Just as we mentioned above try Bitterballen and Kalfsvleeskroket, we just can’t stop thinking about them and wish they sold them in Ireland.. we must actually look them up to see if they do!
- Stay in a hotel that sits along one of the canals for some lovely views.
We hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to follow the blog to keep up to date on all of our posts!
Nicole and Bryan