72 hours doesn’t sounds like enough time to explore an entire city! But it is plenty of time to cram in as much as you can and make a list for next time!
I never really pictured going to Amsterdam, mainly down to preconceived ideas that I had and thinking it wasn’t really my scene. But last year I set out to be more adventurous, try new things and visit new places – Amsterdam was the next city on my list as its relatively close, easy to get to and quite affordable. I was also hoping to visit somewhere cute for a festive weekend away – Amsterdam ticked all of those boxes.
We had an early flight out on the Friday morning meaning that we landed in Amsterdam at 9:15am. It was only a short train ride to the city centre and a quick taxi ride to our hotel which was just outside of the city centre. We dumped off our bags and had a quick freshen up before hopping onto the number 14 tram into the city to get our bearings and explore what Amsterdam had to offer!
We were so hungry when we got into town so ate at the first place we stumbled across which was a really cute independently run pub close by to the Anne Frank House – Cafe Brakke. A burger, pint of Heineken and a cappuccino later and we were re-fused and ready to take on Amsterdam. This was such a cute stop off though, a really small, cosy and warm pub with a lot of character – the food was lovely and cheap too.
As this was mine and Graces’ first time we were stopping at nearly every canal going to get a “cute pic” and i’d like to say that the novelty wore off… but it didn’t – what can I say we are a pair of posers! We really took advantage of getting lost and stumbling across cute book shops, bakeries and street markets.
In one of the side alleys we came across The Pool Bar so thought we would have a look inside and stop for a drink. We got chatting with the bar man and ended up staying for an hour or so playing pool, jenga and having a few drinks. This very quickly became one of our favourite places. It was such a cool, laid back vibe with great music playing. The staff were all lovely and friendly too. We could have spent hours in there but lots to see and lots to do with not so much time! We were off wondering the streets again until we came across The Amsterdam Dungeons with a special offer on – I haven’t even done the London dungeons but this sounded fun so we went on in! This was hilarious. I was a little scared of the live actors jumping out at me or touching me and the first room we went in I was picked out of the crowd and made to sit in a dungeon in the dark – it was like they could sense the scared people a mile away! They take you through the history of Amsterdam and the scary stories with live actors and different rooms. At the end we were give a free drink at the bar. Its a fab attraction if your in the city and looking for something fun to do.
We had a few things on our list of places we wanted to go/see after recommendations from friends etc… The Sex Museum was one of them. It was €4 entry and not very long at all. It was a good laugh. I definitely could of gone through life without seeing more than half of the stuff in there… But when in Amsterdam eh!
After hours of walking around and exploring we were in desperate need of food. There are so many restaurants everywhere in Amsterdam – they definitely don’t disappoint on the food front. We saw loads of steak houses so ended up trying one of those out near the central station -Gringo Steak House. This was such an affordable cute restaurant, very american themed inside, cute wooden slates and really good size portions, not too big or small! The food was just perfect – but to be honest anything would have been good after the amount of walking we had done!
We decided on having an earlyish night as we had been up since 4:30am! But there is so much going on in amsterdam, the nightlife is fab!
Saturday we were up early to get as much done as possible! We headed into to town and had the BEST pancakes ever at the Pancake Bakery. This is just down the Canal from the Anne Frank House. They are the biggest crepes you can imagine either sweet or savery. Very yummy and the perfect start to the day. The restaurant itself is adorable. Set right on the canal, a cute, warm intimate restaurant with wooden beams running through it and white painted bricks and cute art work. It has a rustic feel to it. We had pre-booked our tickets for the Anne Frank House for 11:15 am so this was the perfect pit stop before hand!
The Anne Frank House is an absolute must when in amsterdam, 1 hour out of the day and its so insightful. It is a little emotional when you think about what happened but at the same time it was so interesting and actually quite inspirational. Its a very modern building on the end of the row of canal houses opposite the big church clock. You go inside and follow a a certain route to take you through the house and information to get the full understanding, using videos, newspaper clippings, pictures and the white wall with quotes written on from Annes diary. You walk round until you reach a stair case into the (reconstructed) annex. Its an unfurnished replica of the Secret Annex and you walk through the secret bookcase through to each room as more of the story is unraveled. At the end of the tour, there are more artificacts including the original diary. It is utterly compelling museum and I’m so glad I got the chance to visit.
After a very deep morning it was time to pop next door at the Lunch Cafe Dialoog to reflect whilst enjoying a hot chocolate. We stopped off at the cafe right next to the Anne Frank House and waited to meet up with some friends and plan our next moves.
We ended up walking through the red light district – which was interesting. I did feel a little uncomfortable I must say, you don’t want to look but you, kind of can’t hep but look – its right in front of you. After a brisk walk through that, we headed for somewhere to have lunch. There were loads of different markets including this really cute flower market which we stopped off at. It was beautiful filled with tulips, clogs and some Christmassy garlands too.
We made our way past the Heinikin Experience to this really cute area called De Pijp where we had lunch at the Cafe Flamingo. It was such a cute little bar, with fairy lights, cool music and a really relaxed vibe. I went for quesadillas – which were INSANE!
After chilling for an hour or so in Cafe Flamingo it was time to head off! We still had loads planned to cram in the afternoon. It was off to the Museum District next for a glimpse of the I Amsterdam sign and a peak at some of the museums. We went into the beautiful Rijks museum for a brief wander round. By the time we had walked to the Van Gough museum it was almost closing so we decided we would save that for another trip. But much to our excitement right next to the I Amsterdam sign was a pop up christmassy ice rink. It was stunning and made us feel so festive facing the rikorik museum, all frosty and cold. It was the perfect setting and such a good laugh |(highly recommend watching the blog for a laugh at Grace on skates) It was only €12 for as long as you wanted… although
we only lasted 20 mins we had lots to do so didn’t skate for too long.
After a hectic day of being tourists we decided to head back to the centre and find the pool bar again to start off our pub crawl and last evening of fun in Amsterdam!
Last day we are up early, checked out of the hotel and asked if we could leave our luggage in the hotel so we can make the most of our last day in Amsterdam before flying home that evening. Of course we need to find somewhere super yummy for breakfast and we certainly found that at the cutest American Diner spot hidden in a quiet square just past the red light district – Down Town Diner.
After a delicious breakfast, it was time to grab a coffee and book a canal trip. You can walk up to the central station and thats where you’ll find all the canal cruise companies. You can walk around and buy tickets at the boat or do what we did and that was order buy our tickets at a Tours & Tickets desk. It was €16 for the ‘Lovers’ cruise. Which takes you all around and you have a headset to listen about the history of Amsterdam. I think these are so worth the money as Amsterdam is otherwise known as the Venice of the North, cruising through the beautiful canals are an absolute must on your travel bucket list! Although you walk through the canals over and over whilst in the city, there is nothing quite like it than sitting in a canal boat, cruising through this magnificent city.
What are city breaks for, if not for eating 24/7?! We found another little gem hidden down one of the canal streets and I ordered the yummiest bacon toastie ever! That is the only thing about a city break in the winter, you get so cold and hungry with all the walking around. So any hot food and drink is welcomed – especially in cute little cafes like this…
As we make are way back to the hotel to grab our bags, I make room for one more coffee and a whole load of posing by the canals!
A short coach journey back to the airport and our weekend is over! On a side note the Schiphol airport is incredible and we found massage chairs for €2 which were the best thing ever after our busy weekend!
I am already planning another trip back to Amsterdam for the summer this year! I can now understand why people fall in love with this beautiful city!
I vlogged this whole trip too so go and check that out here!
Are you planning an Amsterdam trip soon?