To celebrate our 21st birthday’s, myself and my boyfriend decided to go to Amsterdam. We wanted a present to remember, so what better place to go than a winter break to this beautiful city.
The flights were relatively cheap, at about £80 return each (in November). Flights to Amsterdam tend to be cheaper, as it’s so close to the UK, but around Christmas, the rates seemed to rocket in price.
I’ve have had an old 35mm film camera lying around in my room for aggess, but have never got round to using it or actually getting it out of its case.
We had a pretty chilled out, relaxed break so here goes, my (quite poor) attempt at capturing our time in Amsterdam on film…ignore the quality – these are the best of a bad and blurry bunch!!
Q-factory hotel is the place to be. It’s such a unique concept for a hotel, but with the vibe of a hostel.
The building is basically a music venue/art space with accommodation in it. But don’t worry, the hotel is separate enough that you don’t actually hear the music from your room.
The cheapest room, The Backstage starts at £80 per night – so between 2, that’s only £40 a night.
I am aware that this isn’t the most budget-friendly room rate but as you’ll find when booking accommodation, Amsterdam is NOT CHEAP! I scanned Airbnb for hours and couldn’t find anywhere cheaper than this. As for hostels, they might as well be hotels – they too are super pricey.
C O S T: £80 per night (x2 people)
G E T T I N G T H E R E: From the airport, catch a train to Muiderpoort station which is just a 5-minute walk away from the hotel.
So, Amsterdam central is mega bucks! Its lush, but was wayyy out of my spending limit.
Instead, we stayed in Oostport, Amsterdam East – about a 15-minute tram ride away from the centre of the city. The area itself was lovely. You wouldn’t necessary venture that way if you were to stay centrally but, it has its own little series of canals and a tonne of amazing restaurants.
Another component for places to stay is De Pijp. I haven’t ever stayed here myself but, after exploring for a couple of hours I can see that it would be a pretty cool base for a weekend away. De Pijp is Amsterdam’s bohemian hub, lined with hipster clothing stores and beautifully aesthetic cafes. Plus, it’s only a 13-minute tram ride to central.
AKA The 9 Streets, located in the West of the city, is the most quintessential area of Amsterdam – beautiful canals, lined with picturesque buildings, the cutest of cafes and of course, full of people riding along on their bikes…it is exactly how you are probably picturing Amsterdam right now, but even better and even more aesthetically pleasing.
Hop over there on a tram and just wander around and take in the sites. You’ll find yourself going in and out of quaint boutique shops, vintage stores and stopping every 5 minutes for a coffee or whatever other sweet treats are on display in the windows.
C O S T: Free
This is a must see when visiting Amsterdam.
I won’t say tonnes about this place, because it has to be experienced first hand. All I can say is it’s such an eye-opening, educational experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone (no matter your age).
C O S T: €10 for an adult ticket
This is an obvious choice, but as this is the lazy guide to the city – dedicate a day to aimlessly wandering the canals. Don’t plan a route, just grab your camera, let your feet take you and see where you end up.
There are tonnes upon tonnes of tiny cobbled streets, bustling lanes lined with high street shopping, parks, grand buildings and a load of places to stop off and grab a bite to eat.
Amsterdam is THE best place for people watching!
C O S T: Free
I mentioned De Pijp in the where to stay section, so won’t go mad with a lengthy description…
This area is just too cool for school, I loved it! If you’re a fan of cosy cafes (I mean, who isn’t), then this is the place to be!
Make sure to dedicate an afternoon here to take a stroll and venture in and out of the boutiquey gift stores and try a coffee…or two.
(I didn’t manage to snap a picture of this area, so enjoy this blurry photo of me and the bikes)
You have to pay a fee to enter a lot of the museums here – yep, you guessed right, the museum quarter is home to a load of museums – so it there’s a specific exhibition you really want to see, be prepared to pay.
We didn’t end up going in any of the museums buuuut, that doesn’t mean you can’t walk around and soak up the view of the magnificently grand buildings.
The museum quarter is also right next to the IAMSTERDAM sign, so you can go and get the obligatory tourist snap…
As Amsterdam is home to instagrammable cafes and aesthetically pleasing interiors, here is a list of my fave places to eat and drink (and take photos):
Yatta Sushi – the best sushi ever (Oostport)
The Avocado Show – get your cameras ready (De Pijp)
Pluk – very girly, cafe/gift shop (De 9 Straatjes)
Hay – cafe within the store – this seems to be a thing here (De 9 Straatjes)
Burger and Shake – What it says on the tin (Oostport)
Pancakes Amsterdam – a little pricey, but yum (next to Anne Frank House)
Q-Factory Hotel bar – grab a drink and some chips (Oostport)
Markt (supermarket) – grab and go food is amazing and there is a place to sit and eat inside (all over city)
(I love this photo, it doesn’t represent the below information but wanted to fit it into the post)
The Sex Museum
Yes, it’s one of those well I’m in Amsterdam so might as well take a visit kinda places but, I don’t think it really lives up to how it appears on social media.
It’s extremely dated and only takes about 5 minutes to do the loop plus, there are some weird members of staff there. I would advise to save your 5 euros and spend it on something more memorable.
I saw this place all over the travel blogging sphere and hyped up on Instagram so thought it must be the place to go.
For all of you unaware of what Van Stapele is, it’s apparently home to the worlds best cookies. But, in my opinion, it was just a regular dark chocolate cookie with a chunk of white chocolate inside. Not worth the 2 euros at all, I’d give this one a miss.
Not as a whole, but the area just in front of the train station. It is rammed! So rammed! Plus, all of the restaurants are double what you’d pay if you walked just 15 minutes out from the centre.
There are plenty of other areas to spend your time. Avoid avoid avoid.
Leave a comment with any other weird and wonderful places the city has to offer – I’d love to go back and see more of the less ‘touristy’ destinations.