Amsterdam is up there with my favourite cities in Europe. It’s one of those cities that has something for everyone. Parts of it are very touristy, but there’s definitely more to it than weed and Red Light District. So, if you haven’t yet been – it’s time you started planning your adventure there.
I am lucky enough to have visited Amsterdam 3 times already and I fell even more in love this time around. The main purpose of our trip was celebrating my friend’s birthday and King’s day. We had absolutely fantastic 3 days in this beautiful city, wandering through and dining upon the canals and arched bridges, dancing at Kingsland festival and street parties, checking out markets and shopping districts. Amsterdam just seems to have it ALL!
Flight from London is only 45 minutes, so you’ll be at Schiphol before you know it. We booked our flights well in advance since we knew that the prices will go up for King’s Day weekend which was the weekend we were planning to go. And luckily British Airways had a sale around the time we booked them, so they only cost us only £50 return. Absolute bargain!
But there are various airlines flying to Amsterdam. You can also take a bus or Eurostar.
There are lots of great options in Amsterdam for your stay. The first time I’ve visited in Amsterdam, I’ve stayed at StayOkay near Vondelpark. It’s got a great location – every tourist attraction is a walk-able distance from there. I highly recommend StayOkay for a budget visit.
This time I stayed at Joy Hotel which is located in Zuidoost neighborhood. Bullevijk metro station is 2 min walk away, from where you can take a train to Centraal and other parts of the city.
There are also lots of AirBnB’s everywhere. Check out the Resources page for Airbnb discount code
We didn’t plan most of our weekend in Amsterdam as we wanted to experience it like a local. Especially since we were there at King’s Day Weekend!
Half the fun of Amsterdam is getting lost along its gorgeous canals. After a bit of wandering around, we decided to have brunch by a canal.
Haven van Texel is a traditional Dutch cafe with a beautiful terrace by the water. When our food arrived, we were not disappointed: omelet was of decent size and coffee was especially nice.
Located in the centre of Amsterdam, the Venustempel (temple of Venus) is the world’s first and oldest sex museum.
But right after breakfast? I hear you say!
Ok, let me explain. Since this museum was only 5 min walk away from our brunch place, we’ve decided to check it out. Even though it was only 11 am, it was buzzing with tourists giggling at life-sized mannequins performing sex acts, and genitalia-themed furniture. Go there cos it’s FUN!
Half the joy of Amsterdam is wandering around its canals. My personal favorite canals are Herengracht and Prinsengracht. I could spend days just strolling along the canals admiring the architecture and stunning houses.
The Jordaan is next to Amsterdam’s city center and is a really cool area packed with cafes and bars.
Before you walk too far up the canals, stop off in the 9 streets, a shopping area filled with local boutiques and cute coffee shops.
Waterkant was recommended to us by locals, and it DID NOT disappoint. On a sunny day, it’s the best place to be!
Despite being partially tucked under a multi-story building, it’s huge waterside terrace enjoys full sunshine.
Foodhallen is an indoor food market and social hangout. It’s open every day 11am-11.30pm with later opening on weekends.
It was King’s Day! Celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam has been in my bucket list for a few years and I am so happy that I have finally ticked it off this year!
King’s day is a huge open-air drinking feast around town, a flea market, a carnival and a music festival all at once.
After a couple of hours dancing in the rain at Kingsland Festival, we left the festival to go and check out the festivities around the town. The whole city was buzzing with crowds of people dancing on the boats, loads of people opened up their windows adding a house party vibe into the street parties.
Whether it’s King’s Day or not, if you’re in Amsterdam for 3 days – I’d definitely recommend having a lazy day wandering around the town, stopping in cute cafes having coffee and watching the world go by. Amsterdam is one of those cities that make you realize how quaint and beautiful life can be.
After 2 failed attempts to get into Pancakes! Amsterdam (the queues were unbelievable) we were determined to find another pancake place. That’s when we’ve stumbled on this little hidden gem: Pancakes & Waffles Amsterdam
This place didn’t look like much but oh my god the pancakes were amazing. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for somewhere cosy to sit with decent prices as well!
Entry to Amsterdam’s most famous museums – like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk modern art museum – costs around €18 per person. You can book museum tickets online in advance, which won’t save you money but will help you skip the ticket queue. Though you can check out the sculpture gardens surrounding the Rijksmuseum for free.
I have been to all those museums before, so this time me and my fashion-loving friend decided to check out Fashion Statements exhibition at Amsterdam museum. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the entry ticket gave us access to the whole museum which has great exhibits on history, culture, and people of Amsterdam.
I couldn’t leave Amsterdam without saying goodbye to my favourite canal – Herengracht. So, following my slow travel mantra we spent a few hours here chilling and people watching from Brasserie Baton
It’s a lovely cafe at the bottom end of Herengracht (closer end towards the Central Station) offering a small but delicious selection of food, cake, and tasty coffee.
Such a wonderful place to spend an afternoon watching Amsterdam walk past you.
Perhaps one of the best things to do and this is probably the case in any city, is just to wander around and explore.
In my experience, this is the best way to see a city and discover hidden gems and places at your own pace.