A couple of weeks ago myself and Stacey headed to Amsterdam for a few days to meet our pal Laura who was coming to the end of a month long Euro trip. Neither of us had been to the city before, so we really excited for a chilled lil adventure. This post isn’t so much a diary, just a summary of my favourite things we did that hopefully you might find interesting if you head to the ‘dam in future. Let me know if it was useful in the comments at the bottom.
I was blown away with how picturesque the city is, even more so than I had imagined. We spent a lot of our time just wandering up and down taking in the dreamy architecture.
This is the view from a bridge at Spielgracht, facing towards Rijksmuseum, I think this was my favourite little view we found, and it looks just as magical at night too.
We passed by the Anne Frank House and Museum but we didn’t venture in (Even if we did want to the queue was absolutely massive, easy a good couple of hours long). If this is on your Amsterdam to-do list definitely book a time slot in advance online, I certainly wouldn’t have to want to wait in that line!
For just €5 you can wander around the strange museum filled with weird animatronics, ancient pornography and a million penis’. Including the giant one above which everyone posed with, obviously we giggled like school girls throughout and basically only went for the photo op haha. Certainly a funny way to kill some time if you’re in the area.
We head to the southern canal belt to find the Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s floating flower market. If I’m honest most of the stalls are pretty samey – but the first stall you encounter if facing the market from the side above is amazing.
Not only was the stall filled with flowers from the ground up, there was also bunches after bunches hanging down from the ceiling. It’s definitely worth a little stroll along if you find yourself wandering around in the area.
We didn’t actually go into the Rijksmuseum itself, but found ourselves in the Museumplein every day, just behind where the famed Iamsterdam sign is situated. The sign itself is extremely busy with other tourists but we quite enjoyed sitting by the water in the sun, people watching. If you’re after a bite to eat, we recommend the Cobra Cafe (the toilets here are a must, the doors are transparent glass which frost over when the door locks – but you can still see out the entire time).
We never saw the crowds ease away from this ultimate tourist spot, but we found they did thin slightly in the evening, so we managed to quickly run in and pose with the ‘dam’ part of the installation.
We spent our final morning strolling around Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s large green escape (my only little regret was not getting bikes as it wouldn’t been perfect to ride around). Vondelpark is just west of the central canal belts, about 10 minutes walk from the Museumplein so very easy to get to. Wide bike roads, large grassy areas to sunbathe, ponds and cute gardens – there’s plenty to see as you venture around the different routes.
My favourite spot in the park, this would be idea to relax by with a little picnic.
MOCO MUSEUM – BANKSY & DALI EXHIBITION
We were lucky to find a Banksy and Dali Exhibition at the Moco Museum during our trip, it was only €12 so we headed across Museumplein to check it out.
Featuring a large collection of Banksy’s indoor and outdoor pieces across a couple of floors, it’s definitely worth a nosey. There’s even the S.W.A.T van he painted parked outside.
Unfortunately we accidentally missed some of the Dali exhibit through taking a wrong turn, but there was a room with a short film showing his history along with some of his line sketches. Banksy was the main focus of the joint exhibit.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
The Red Light District isn’t somewhere we actually spent a lot of time, we went at night out of intrigue but found the streets a bit depressing. It really wasn’t what I expected as far as the prostitution windows go, the girls there just looked bored, chewing gum and texting on their phones, despite the busy crowds meandering the streets. After a day spent wandering the canals we were too tired to really take in the bars in the area, but I’m sure there is some fun places around too.
If you fancy a cocktail watching the sun go down behind the city skyline, definitely head up to the SkyLounge bar at the Double Tree by Hilton by Centraal Station. The drinks are a little on the pricey side (€8 for a glass of prosecco, €16 for cocktails), but it’s worth having one with a view like that, especially if you can time it for sunset.
A quick shout out to De Bolhoed, my favourite cafe we found on the trip. A quirky vegetarian cafe on the canalside in the Jordaan neighbourhood, a stones throw away from the Anne Frank Museum. We fell in love with the interior full of unique artwork, trinkets and plenty of plants.
I definitely recommend Generator Hostel set right within Oosterpark. We had a private quad bunk bed room for the 3 of us, which was bright, clean and basic; everything you need for a cheap and cheerful stay with your pals.
Each bunk even had it’s own plug socket, lamp and usb charging port so you can really make a little den for yourself if you are sharing with strangers. We also had our own shower and toilet in the room. Rather than splitting public transport we chose to just split an uber between the 3 of us for the 10 minute drive into the centre, which worked out as less than €3 each. Head over to their site for more in-depth info of their facilities. The view below is literally taken from the hostel doorstep.
ALL TIME LOW @ MELKWEG
Check if there’s any shows on whilst you’re in the city, we had a fun night watching All Time Low at the Melkweg venue.
And one final bit of appreciation for all the stunning architecture the city has to offer, literally lusting over so many wannabe dream homes.
(Hi little furry friend)