September 15, 2019

A guide to a long weekend in Amsterdam

If you follow me on Instagram or read this post, you’ll know that I recently jetted off on a little city break to Amsterdam. Waiting until October for mine and Jamies ‘summer’ holiday to Rhodes was proving far too long, so I booked a little surprise trip for the both of us. We stayed for 3 nights, Friday to Monday, and this is what we got up to…

Day 1: Finding our bearings and the Anne Frank Museum

I knew we’d want as much time as possible in Amsterdam, so booked an early flight at 7am. The flight lasts only around 40 minutes and got us into Amsterdam by 9am their time. Travelling from the airport to the city centre is super easy – there is a train station in the airport, paired with google maps, it’s pretty easy to work out what train to catch and buy some tickets.

After landing we went to our hotel, The Student Hotel Amsterdam West, to drop off our luggage. Here, we bought our tram and metro passes for the weekend. For four days of travelling, we paid 24 euros each – a really good investment considering our hotel wasn’t in the city centre and we’d be using the trams at least twice a day.

When I booked the trip, I knew I had to book the Anne Frank House Museum too – I’d heard it gets booked months in advance and I knew it’d be something Jamie and I would both like to do, so this is all we had on the agenda for Friday. We got our bearings, explored, ate some mini pancakes before doing the museum.

The Anne Frank Museum is a self-guided tour with an optional headset – something we both used which I’d recommend doing. It was a really sad, but an educational couple of hours, and something I’d encourage everyone visiting Amsterdam to take some time to do.

After this, we headed back to the hotel and finally checked into our room. The Student Hotel was a place for uni students, as well as for hotel guests, which meant there was a really cool vibe around the place.

We ended the night heading back into the city for some late food. We googled for pizza and found ourselves in a small but cosy Italian restaurant. A belly full of white wine and fresh pizza meant we went to bed well-fed and ready for another day tomorrow.

Day 2: Pancakes, Albert Cuyp Market, A’DAM Lookout and a ride on the canals

Saturday was definitely the most jam-packed day of the lot. We started with breakfast, opting for Moak Pancakes in Amsterdam Central. I’d seen this place all over Instagram, famous for their Instagram-worthy brunches. The pancakes were delicious, service was super friendly and the vibe of this place really cool too. Despite the pink interior, it’s full of rap memoirs which Jamie loved.

We then wandered over to the South of the city and visited the Albert Cuyp Market. This is a super famous market in Amsterdam, supposedly the longest, selling food, flowers and clothes. We wandered up and down here and Jamie tried it’s first Amsterdam Stroopwaffle – another must-do in this city.

Next on our list was the A’DAM Lookout, all the way back near Central Station. To get here you’ll need to hop on a ferry to get over the water, but this is completely free and only takes a few minutes. A’DAM Lookout is a rooftop bar giving you views of the entire city. We paid 13 euros for a ticket, and for an extra 5 euros you can have a go on one of their famous roof-top swings. We opted not to go for this, given the queue time. We both had a Heineken, soaked in the views and got a few snaps before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday was our fancy night, we had a canal boat ride booked starting near the Anne Frank House, so found a steak restaurant nearby. Black and Blue specialised in steak, so we both opted for this, and enjoyed another glass of wine each and some bottomless chips too. This was definitely the priciest meal of the trip, but so worth it for the quality of food!

We booked our canal tour for 8pm, hoping to catch the sunset. Despite getting less golden hour and more rain, this was still one of my favourite parts of the trip. For 16 euros each, we were taken through the canals and given some history from a local guide. If you have the option to do one of these, I’d recommend the evening as it gives you an opportunity to see the city in both light and dark. Given more time, I’d do one of these tours again for sure.

Day 3: More breakfast, Museum Quarter, the Heineken Experience and the Sex Museum

Sunday was our final full day, and we had a few more things we wanted to do. For breakfast we went to Corner Bakery – another Instagram-worthy cafe I was recommended to visit. This was another delicious breakfast where I opted for the savoury option of egg and bacon, while Jamie went for french toast served with fruit which looked a dream!

We got the tram over to the Museum Quarter and spent the rest of the morning/afternoon here. Although we didn’t actually go into any of the museums (something on our to-do list for next time), we enjoyed sitting in the open grass area and taking it all in. We actually stumbled across a pop-up Flower Market by Vogue which had all sorts of fun things going on, so we wandered around and got some photos too.

In the afternoon we got tickets for the Heineken Experience, a museum which takes you through where Heineken was once brewed. This was a really fun experience and even includes 2 half-pints at the end of the tour too. If you’re a fan of beer, which Jamie and I both are, this should be on your list of visits!

After last nights expensive meal, we ate at a cheaper restaurant this night, enjoyed a few drinks and then visited the last museum of the trip: the Sex Museum. Absolutely ridiculous, and totally gross, but totally worth the 5 euro entry just to get a photo on the big willy. Am I right? This was a fun way to end our final day in the city before hometime tomorrow.

Day 4: Saying goodbye

The last day always sucks, right?! We checked out of our hotel on Monday morning but left our suitcase so we could spend a few more hours in the city. We didn’t have anything booked or planned on this day, so instead just wandered some more streets, explored more of the city we hadn’t yet found, and spoke about what we’ll do next time we come, because there definitely will be a next time.

Our flight home was 7pm, meaning we landed at 7pm UK time too – the perfect time to make sure we had as much time in Amsterdam as possible, without having to take an extra day off work.

I was really surprised at how quick the flight was, and how easy travel was from the airport. It soon became clear why so many visit the city for only a day or a few nights because of how simple everything was.

Amsterdam, you’ve stolen a piece of my heart…

It’s true. Last year Jamie and I were in New York City, and I honestly think Amsterdam is up there, on par with NY. Completely different, so difficult to compare, but the love I have for Amsterdam after visiting it is real, and I’m SO excited for my next trip out there.

Have you visited Amsterdam? Where’s your favourite place to travel?

Lucy x