Amsterdam was the first stop on my 10-day adventure in Holland and Switzerland. This was my second time in Amsterdam and it’s a city I absolutely love – I’m already planning another trip! I flew to Amsterdam from Leeds Bradford with Jet2 and it was such a quick flight! Before I knew it, I was landing at Schipol Airport and meeting my friend who I was visiting. My first night in the city was spent catching up with Yas and going for an insanely delicious steak at Het Badhuis. You can read more about it in My Amsterdam Food Diary.
I hadn’t really made any plans for my three days in Amsterdam but thankfully, I had my Marco Polo Guide for Amsterdam and Touring App. The app is a new addition to the guidebooks where you can view all the tours from your phone – even if you’re offline! The maps alone were so helpful to navigate all the different canals and help me get around. After a relaxing morning spent flicking through the guide working out where to visit, I hopped on the tram to Rembrandtplein to my first stop; the Bloemenmarkt.
Although there’s not a whole lot going on at the Bloemenmarkt, which is the world’s only floating Flower Market, it’s such a lovely little area to wander about and take some photos of all the beautiful blooms. It’s also a pretty good place to get those snaps for the gram, it’s tulip and peony galore! Obviously, buying flowers when you’re travelling is probably a little bit pointless you can pick up some wooden tulips to bring home or even just a fridge magnet at the market.
I headed towards De Wallen district which my guide claimed this was the Medieval centre of the city. Everyone has heard of the Red Light District in Amsterdam but there’s definitely a lot more going on in this area. Close by you’ll find a lot of well known high street stores and the famous Dam Square. It’s also the touristy area with well-known attractions such as the Amsterdam Dungeon and Madame Tussaud’s. I couldn’t resist popping in a few shops and basically buying half of H&M’s earring department. We also need to talk about the fact that Amsterdam has a 7 floor Primark. It’s insane.
Dam Square is in the heart of the De Wallen district and is home to the Royal Palace, a very spectacular building. The square was where I was meeting my friend before we headed to The Butcher for one delicious burger just around the corner. It’s all in my Food Diary but it was a great burger joint in a central location.
One of my Marco Polo Guides highlights was to check out the A’Dam Lookout so we headed over that way on a free ferry from Amsterdam Centraal Station. The A’Dam previously used to be an old office tower before getting sold in 2005 and getting a whole other look. Right at the top of the A’Dam is Europe’s Tallest Tower and that’s what we were there for. I bought our tickets prior to entry from the Get Your Guide website as it was slightly cheaper. The tickets were about £12 and included a free gift (a bottle opener in the shape of the building), free photographs and two drinks the bar. The swing was an additional £5 and we had to book that on our entry so we could get the earliest time slot. We only had to wait around 45 minutes for our timeslot which wasn’t too bad and it gave us a chance to have one of those complimentary drinks.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit terrified of going on this swing, it was pretty damn high over Amsterdam and I’m not brilliant with heights. The whole “ride” lasted a minute and a half and there was someone taking photos which we could access online afterwards for free. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be although my stomach did do a little flip at first! The whole trip to the A’Dam Lookout was 100% worthwhile and I thought it was all priced so reasonably too!
I really love a good food market and Amsterdam has got a great one called De Hallen which has plenty of amazing food options including a G&T Bar! I’d definitely recommend going here if you’re in the city and love a good food market like myself. Afterwards, my friend took me to a bar called Puck which has it’s own Air Hockey room. I was in my element. I love a good arcade and what’s better than a G&T and a game of Air Hockey. The bar wasn’t really in a central location but it’s well worth going if you’re interested in having a unique night out with lots of fun and games.
The first stop on my second day in the city was the Moco Museum. A few people had recommended me this museum on Twitter as there are currently Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein exhibitions going on. My top tip is to get there between 10am-11am in the morning to get €3.50 off your ticket and not show up at 11.01pm where you have to pay full price. Oops. I’ve always been interested in Banksy’s work so it was great to see this exhibition and a must for any modern art fans.
The Museum is literally sandwiched between the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, right by that famous I Amsterdam Sign. On my last visit to Amsterdam, I went to the Van Gogh Museum but it wasn’t really my cup of tea and I’ve not been in the Rijksmuseum as it’s €20. The building sure is pretty to look at though and I did spend some time in the lobby just people watching and flicking through my guide to see where to go after lunch.
For lunch, well brunch I headed to a blogger’s hotspot; Bakers and Roasters. I’d been recommended this place so many times. This cute little cafe was located just a quick 5-minute walk from all the museums. Located in the Oude Pijp area, there were a lot of cute cafes and shops around, including one called the Avocado Show. That’s right, a whole cafe dedicated to Avocado’s.
Wandering along the canals aimlessly is one of my favourite things to do in Amsterdam. They all seem to be never ending with little shops and cafes adorning every corner. I must’ve spent a couple of hours just walking around the Canal Ring taking photos before meeting my friend. We decided to explore the canals a little bit more but from a boat. Once again, I booked via the Get Your Guide website as the prices were cheaper. We boarded the semi-open boat from outside Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and began our 60-minute tour.
The boat tour passed sights such as the Nemo Museum, Botanical Garden and the Maritime Museum. However, I do think 60 minutes wasn’t long enough or potentially boarding near Rijksmuseum would be better. On my previous visit, we did a canal cruise from there and I just seem to think we saw a lot more. Our last stop of the day was just around the corner from Centraal Station, Pizza. We decided to go to Sotto Pizza after I read about it in my Pizza book and it was incredible. The perfect way to end my last night in Amsterdam.
My final morning in the city was spent exploring my friend’s neighbourhood of Java Plein. We had breakfast at a place called Bar Basquiat before having a wander around the local market and Oosterpark. I then headed back into the centre of Amsterdam to meet Jessica who I was going to Rotterdam with for Traverse that evening. It was Jessica’s first time in Amsterdam so decided to head over to the Anne Frank Museum and House and explore the canals in that area as it’s all so pretty around there. We didn’t go inside Anne Frank’s House as you have to pre-book tickets and I’ve already been. I would say it’s something everyone should go and experience for themselves.
The canals in this area are so cute, I kept coming across the loveliest little buildings and cafes. It’s just one of those places that you can just wander around aimlessly. Our final stop before we headed off to Rotterdam on the train was to find some Mini Pancakes otherwise known as Poffertjes. We had found a prime spot in a cafe on the canal watching all the boats go past, I didn’t want to leave!
Amsterdam really has captured my heart. Fingers crossed it won’t be long until I’m back. I’ve got a HUGE list of places to eat in Amsterdam that still needs ticking off!
Have you been to Amsterdam before? Do you use the Marco Polo Guides?
*This is a collaborative post