We will be returning!
We visited Amsterdam for a birthday get away, just the two of us. Our flight from Liverpool to Amsterdam was just fifty minutes. Our plan was to visit the Anne Frank museum, walk around the different districts of the city, take a canal cruise and eat good food.
Travel and Hotel
We flew with Easyjet in premium economy, this was for the leg room, priority boarding and extra luggage allowance. Most of our family (except for me) have long legs, so it does make for a more comfortable journey. We would probably choose premium again, depending on the fee. I take prescription medicines on board so it is a bonus to have extra luggage (such as a handbag) for my meds and documentation. Sometimes space is limited in the cabin and when this happens airlines may ask to put your carry on case in the hold. So by traveling with an extra handbag I have less stress if they have to put my main carry on in the hold.
On landing in Schiphol Airport we walked approximately 5 mins through to the train station. If you follow the signs to the trains you will see the electronic ticket booths, they are easy to use, just follow the instructions on the screen. We got the train from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal station, the train journey took approximately 15 minutes.
We stayed at the Double tree by Hilton Amsterdam, which was situated across the road from Amsterdam Centraal Station. The location of the hotel for the airport and for getting around was very good, on a couple of occasions we used an uber, which was reliable and good on price.
The hotel was nice, clean and the staff were friendly. The views from the rooms vary but as we didn’t spend much time in the room we were not too bothered, however you can get a good view of Amsterdam from the Sky Lounge on the 11th Floor. The atmosphere in the lounge was good, and it is open till late at the weekend.
If you want more than the hotel bar, then the Flying Dutchmen cocktail bar is a must. It’s small and intimate with great cocktails. We recommend arriving early on to get a seat. We visited a few times as it was so good and the staff were very knowledgeable. It is nice to get a window seat, however watching the cocktails being made at the bar was very popular too.
As this trip was only for a few days we did do a little research into places to eat but did not book anything and just decided on the day.
The first place we tried was The Chicken Bar and we were not disappointed. The food and service was great, we had a whole rotisserie chicken and Vleminckx fries (the best fries) between the two of us, which came to approximately €24.50. For the drinks we had a Hendrix gin and tonic and Somersby pear cider which was approx €14.40. We will be visiting here again.
If you are peckish and just fancy trying the famous Vleminckx fries, then you need to visit Vleminckx Sausmeesters. Look out for this little shop tucked away, you will know you have found it because of all the people queueing and stood eating by it, even though it was busy we didn’t wait long to get our order. You can order various sizes of fries and choose from lots of different sauces. The fries come in a paper cone and are topped with the sauce. We chose two large cones, one with ketchup the other Mayonnaise, we couldn’t finish them. The large was about €4.50 plus €0.70 for the sauce. Be aware they close at 7pm so it’s not an option for a late night snack.
One of the best kept secrets is Winkle 43. Their apple pie is a must but don’t look for it on the menu because it’s not there, just ask for it. It does come with cream but we didn’t get it. You can find Winkle43 in the Jordaan area. They serve breakfast, lunch and diner. We visited twice for the apple pie (it was really good) and didn’t wait long for a seat but be warned it does get very busy. It was recommended to us by both locals and visitors, so you know it going to be good. The staff were very friendly and the service was quick. Be aware the toilets are downstairs, as they were in many places we ate.
One night we came across the Venus and Adonis grill bar. It was a drizzling evening and we decided to pop in and try it out. The restaurant is small and intimate, there are options to share a table or eat at the bar. We got our own table on a very busy night and ordered steak with fries for two. It was served in the middle of the table and was delicious. We also will be returning here to try more from the menu.
Now there are two places we visited for breakfast, the first being Bakers and Roasters, the one we visited was just over the water from our hotel. We had the B and R special (two poached eggs on toast with bacon, a side of pancakes and maple syrup, yummy!) We also had the eggs florentine. There are two Bakers and Roasters in Amsterdam, they are in Centrum and De PIJP areas. They do not take reservations and do get very busy. We went here first thing in the morning and got a table but it did fill up quick.
The second breakfast place and my favourite place on this trip was Mr Stacks serving vegan pancakes and tea. They all looked so good, we ordered the sweet and savoury pancakes to share. They are UNBELIEVABLE. We had the classic stack (which had candy floss on the top) and the bbq Chicken. If you only go to one place go here. It gets 5/5 from us.
Snacks – Our favourite snacks were the stroopwafles and the van stappele cookies. Stroopwafles are caramel syrup sandwiched between two thin waffles. You can place them on the top of your warm drink to melt the caramel before eating them, unfortunately we forgot to take pictures of the waffles as they didn’t last that long.
Van Stapele cookies are worth the wait outside. The shop is small but as you wait you can watch the staff preparing the cookies for the oven. The chocolate dough is filled with white chocolate and pressed into its shape.
Places we visited
Anne Frank museum – There are many museums to visit in Amsterdam but we were really interested in visiting the Anne Frank museum and booked our tickets before we arrived in Amsterdam. You cannot buy tickets on the door, instead you have to purchase them online and choose a time slot. This is to aid the queuing outside and the amount of people able to go around the house and museum in a set time. There are lots of artefacts, videos, and books to see and of course the actual rooms in the attic where the families lived whilst in hiding.
You walk around with an audio headset and scan each room number (located on the walls) to get information about that room and the items in there. You are not rushed and walk quite slowly through the tour. Be aware there are many stairs which become steep into the attic. Only A4 size bags or smaller can be taken inside and no photos or videoing is allowed. We visited later in the afternoon, hoping it would be a little quieter but it seems to be busy most of the time. It is open till 10pm so if you can go later that may be a better option.
Once you arrive you wait outside for your time slot and queue by a flag at the side of the museum, you get let in at your start time. There are times displayed over the doors so you know which time is being queued for. It is a little confusing if you are not aware of this and many people had to ask the staff outside, who were friendly and helpful. The tour is very informative and thought provoking. We would recommend it.
Canal cruise – Flagship Amsterdam was the company we chose. We wanted a smaller boat and one that didn’t have a roof on it, so it was easier for seeing the sights and taking those insta photos. The boats are electric, have a bar on board and very comfy seats. We sat at the back which seemed to be a popular option. The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable, and you get to see all the sights in a relaxed atmosphere. You can find them near the Anne Frank museum, you can’t miss them they are the ones in orange.
Red Light District – As soon as we told people we were going to visit Amsterdam, they said to visit the red light district. We walked through the busiest little street in the district, at night and in the day, and it was very busy both times. The thing that stood out for us was that we saw every generation walking around here, looking in the windows and shops; from families with younger children, to grandparents, couples visiting the shows and groups. There is security near the windows but we didn’t see any disturbances. It was definitely an interesting experience.
Coffee Shops – there are many coffee shops selling a variety of items. I am not going to give an opinion as it not something I know anything about. We were told that it is legal, taxed and part of the culture. We had no problem with others partaking in it, be aware that there is a certain smell as you are walking around, especially in some areas more than others. It is interesting seeing all the different coffee shops around the city.
We found Amsterdam to be a beautiful, relaxing city and one we will be returning too. If you have any tips for our future visits feel free to leave a comment.
Until our next adventure x TRT