My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been – Diane Arbus.
Are you sick of Amsterdam content yet? I promise this is the very last one, until I visit this incredible, magical, crazy city again… but not just yet. This time, I’m giving you the what, why and must-do in seven simple steps. Warren and I had the most incredible time for our virginal visit, so I wanted to share the highs of what made it a holiday to remember.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON JEWISH HISTORY
If you haven’t read my post about the Jewish Cultural Quarter of Amsterdam just yet, this is your friendly reminder. One of my best friends (he who shall not be named) had no idea that this part of history and culture even existed in its monumental state in Amsterdam! I am so glad we took the time to visit this part of the city and really delve into what it means to be Jewish alongside the horrors that cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. You will not regret a visit to the Quarter; there is also a flea market full of beautiful souvenirs, vintage clothes, with a backdrop of one of the thousands of canals and the picturesque colourful houses. A great location for taking photographs!
VISIT THE NOTORIOUS RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Again, another shout out to a previous blog post where all I talk about is sex and the city… literally, not the TV show. You can’t visit Amsterdam without seeing the bustle and literal heart of the city. Even if you take away the red lights and half naked women, the atmosphere itself is enough to experience, as are the surrounding bars, pubs and restaurants. Prepare to spend much more money in these parts, however. They certainly know how to add a few extra euros to the bill of every round you buy.
EAT ALL THE BBQ RIBS
One thing you cannot have enough of in Amsterdam are the BBQ ribs. Oh my word. If I had to eat one thing and one thing only in Amsterdam, it would be BBQ ribs all day and all night long. From anywhere. Okay, I only tasted them in two different restaurants, but they were both to die for. I will certainly be having more BBQ ribs when I return to Amsterdam. I don’t know how long I can talk about BBQ ribs for, but my mouth is watering, my stomach is rumbling and that’s all I can think about right now.
FIND ARGENTINIAN RESTAURANT AND STAY THERE ALL AFTERNOON
This little bar and restaurant that we found on our very first day quickly became our favourite place to drink. We really wanted to eat there as well because, believe me, those dishes that were coming out looked insanely delicious. Nevertheless, we felt like we should move away from the one spot to somewhere else – experiencing a different Argentinian restaurant more central to town. I cannot remember the name of the street and I really wish I did, so I’m hoping that the photo on my Instagram Highlights alone will be enough to guide you to this little piece of heaven. I call it heaven because it has the best sweet wine I have ever tasted. It is called Tonino Blanco by Villa Tonino. If you find this wine, please send me a crate. And, it was so cheap with amazing service too. It is my happy place in Amsterdam.
BOOK ANNE FRANK’S HOUSE TICKETS EARLY
I cannot tell you the disappointment I felt when I realised that we were never going to be able to visit Anne Frank’s House and Museum. The news came a little too late that it would be virtually impossible to get a ticket on the day, let alone at the museum itself. I was extremely naïve for thinking that I could waltz up to reception and buy tickets on-site. Tickets are booked in advance of the early bird status. The rule is 80% of tickets are sold before the date and time slot of your choice. The remaining 20% is sold at 9am on the day. However, if you are in the queue with more than 200 people in front of you, there is no chance you are getting them for that day. Next time, I’ll be booking my tickets the same day I book my flight.
BUY A THREE DAY TRAVEL TICKET
This was a life-saver! For 28 euros, we could get on any mode of transport multiple times – trams, metros, buses – for three entire days. Now, if you compare that to £4.80 return on a bus to town, I think it is a pretty good deal. Why are other countries so well adapted to savings in transport compared to the UK?! This is especially great value for money if and when somebody in your party forgets to pick up the tickets from your hotel, so you have to travel back in order to get them… as a non-bitter example.
WATCH OUT FOR CYCLISTS
Cyclists and even those on mopeds rule the road, and the streets. If you want to cross a road, you have to be quick, or risk getting catapulted into the air by a load of people on bikes. Everyone loves to hire a bike in Amsterdam (myself not included) which means that there are more people on bikes than there are on foot. Nobody warned me about the bikes, so I’m warning you… although I’m pretty sure they are strictly not allowed on footpaths, rather their own cycle lanes that look a bit like footpaths.
One final note… where to stay:
HOTEL IBIS AMSTERDAM CITY WEST
I love a good Ibis Hotel! We always stay at one in Birmingham and so when it came to booking Amsterdam as a surprise, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting. It is situated at the other end of the Metro at Isolatorweg, a mere two minute walk to the station from the hotel door. It takes up to forty minutes to get to Centraal, however it is only one line and you get the best choice of seats. Despite not being in the city centre, it was the perfect choice for us as we could get away from the party central vibe, and get a good night’s sleep. Plus, it is cheaper compared to the city centre hotels.
There is so much to do in Amsterdam, other than the obvious, and I really want to explore more of it when I eventually return (as well as eat so many BBQ ribs) – see more culture, visit different parts and eat more schnitzels too!
What are your top tips for Amsterdam? What did you enjoy best?
Love, Faye xo