When friends asked if we’d like to visit them for a short break in Amsterdam, we said ‘yes, please’ and immediately booked our flights.
We love Amsterdam for its mix of cultural history, architecture, museums and galleries but also for the trendy neighbourhoods, restaurants, vibrant nightlife and shopping.
We’ve been to Amsterdam before so we decided that this trip would be relaxed and easy going, great food, drinks and shopping. A much needed catch up with friends, in a beautiful city.
It’s hard not to love Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is known as the ‘Venice of the North’ because of its many beautiful canals and bridges and one of the best ways to see them is by taking a canal boat tour. We avoid the large boats and choose instead one of the smaller private hire boats, although a little more expensive it gives you more flexibility to explore the city.
The shopping in Amsterdam is great but our favourite shopping area has to be The 9 Straatjes, it has everything, individual boutiques, designer shops, vintage boutiques (I managed to find a great vintage, Burberry mac) all found in a picturesque location. I could stroll the cobbled lanes for hours. We’re always impressed by the number of small boutiques selling original pieces. It’s so refreshing to find these rather than the usual high street stores you see across every city.
For lovely home buys, visit Utrechtsestraat.
Not surprisingly, one of my favourite things to do while visiting new places, is to eat! Amsterdam never lets me down. We were fortunate to be eating out with friends who are locals but we’re more than happy to share with you some of their favourite restaurants and cafes.
Here are a few of their recommendations:
Dappertutto: An Italian restaurant using local products
Trip advisor says:
“Best restaurant in Oost, service, wine, and a diverse menu with BURSTING flavours! Dessert was divine. Very special place amongst all the mediocre hipster offerings in De Buurt.”
Hamelsemodder: A European menu using organic fair trade
Trip advisor says:
What a meal!!! The food was outstanding, service was impeccable and wine excellent! Every course was such a delight and we had the wine paring to compliment each dish. If you’re thinking about going then do it as it is such good value!
Breda: Elevated international cuisine
Trip advisor says
“Restaurant Breda blows the competition out of the water with its innovative food. Perfect for a special occasion.
When in Amsterdam an absolute must is to hire a bike and cycle the pathways along the canals and through the city, stopping off for shopping and coffee. Don’t get me wrong, its crazy busy and hectic and you need to be alert (as there are more bikes in Amsterdam than people!) but it’s a great way to get around and it’s a lot of fun as long as you remember that bikes have the right of way. If you’re put off by the number of bikes around the city ( and believe me there’s LOTS), why not take your bike over to Vandelpark, where its quieter and you can enjoy your cycle in a greener environment.
Things to do in Amsterdam
Visit The Anne Frank museum. Buy your tickets online in advance as this will eliminate the long queues
Take a canal cruise (remember take a smaller boat for flexibiity)
Have lunch and shop in The Jordaan district. You’ll find lots of local boutiques
Visit Ons Lieve Heer Op Solder - a history of Amsterdam
Explore De 9 Straatjes (the nine streets). Shop and walk by the canals
The Bloemenmarkt. The flower market is definitely worth a visit. It’s the only floating flower market in the world
Vondelpark. Amsterdam’s largest and most popular park. It’s a popular place to hang out, relax and chill, especially nice on a sunny day
Vangogh museum. Housing many of Van Gogh's works alongside other famous artists including Monet and Matisse. This may be one of Amsterdam's most famous tourist attractions but don’t let the crowds deter you.
The Rijksmuseum - housing an extensive Rembrandt collection