At the beginning of the month, Will and I spent a long weekend in Amsterdam, which was my belated birthday present from him. Will had a jam packed schedule planned for us which involved a lot of journeys in and out of the city, so needless to say we got to know the train system pretty well!
We pretty much roamed the entire city on foot, besides once on the last morning where we were running short of time so we decided to catch a tram. Amsterdam is a very walkable city, you can get pretty much anywhere you need to go within an hours walk, if that’s your thing. I personally love walking when I’m exploring a new city as I feel you get to see so much more than you would whizzing by in a taxi, or on a bus.
After at 2am wake up and a 6am flight, we finally arrived in Amsterdam at about 8am. Stepping out of Amsterdam Centraal Station, the morning sun was just rising and the entire city was still asleep and free of tourists. If you’re like me, and you’ve you’ve got a trip to Amsterdam planned, maybe you could follow my ideas. This is how we spent 2 days in Amsterdam.
Breakfast at Bakers & Roasters
I would highly recommend this place for a tasty breakfast! We walked about 30 mins from Centraal Station to get here but it was so worth it. Luckily for us we arrived super early, as by the time we were leaving people were queuing up outside for a table.
Visit the Rijksmuseum
Get here early if you can, we went on a Saturday afternoon and the crowds had started to build. Trust me, museums aren’t really my thing. Yet I’d still place the Rijksmuseum amongst my recommendations, as the building itself is absolutely beautiful. Will and I didn’t actually venture inside but we spent a good 20 minutes dwelling on whether we would attempt to climb the famous iAmsterdam sign, which sits just in front of the Rijksmuseum. Since i’m not a climber buy any means, I eventually opted to just sit on the T!
Stroll Around the City Centre
If you’re lucky enough to have gorgeous weather like we did, then I would highly recommend spending a few hours just walking through Amsterdam and taking it all in. Amsterdam’s streets are lined with stunning architecture and littered with cute canals lined with cafes. Every time we were walking to our next destination we’d memorise the directions something like ‘cross 3 canals then turn right’. Which just shows quite how many there are!
Take a Boat Ride
A boat ride is such a lovely way to see the city. We chose to ride in the day time but i’m sure the view at night would be just as stunning. Although I must admit, we were both so exhausted from being up since 2am and exploring the city by foot all day, we took the opportunity for a well earned nap! So as I don’t actually have any photos from our boat ride this is a picture of Centraal Station. Which is another thing you should see if you’re not already passing through.
Breakfast at Pancakes Amsterdam
Oh my goodness, this was delicious. Pancakes Amsterdam is heavily hyped, and for good reason! I had mine with Camembert, raspberry sauce and prosciutto and Will went for an American pancake stack. This is another place that tends to build quite a heavy queue, so again get there early if you can. Also, they don’t accept cash as payment, so just make sure you are prepared with a card!
Visit the Museum of Prostitution
Situated in the Red Light District and only €8 to enter, this is well worth a visit. I was a little sceptical at first as it really doesn’t look like much from the outside and if i’m honest we went here as a bit of a time filler. It was actually a really eye-opening experience. You get to go through a room belonging to women who work in the district, sit in a window yourself and learn a lot about the history of the profession. We found it really interesting and definitely worth its small price tag.
Visit the Heineken Museum
This was actually where we started our day, but I would recommend visiting in the afternoon if possible as there is lots of beer throughout. If you’re interested in the brewery process this is great as it takes you through step by step and you even get to try the beer at different stages. Interesting, but it definitely doesn’t taste good! However, I wouldn’t say this is a must visit, unless you are really into your beer. But it was a fun way to spend an hour or so.
Hire a bike and cycle around Vondelpark
This is something that we sadly ran out of time for but I would have really liked to have done. If you’re wanting to hire bikes in Amsterdam I would suggest opting to cycle round the park rather than the city roads. Although there are cycle paths everywhere in Amsterdam the layout can be quite confusing. As a non-frequent cyclist by any means I know I would have found them quite daunting!
Sidenote: I also went to Justin Bieber!
This was my final birthday surprise from Will, and the reason we were in and out of the city so much. The stadium was situated in Arnhem, about an hour out of Amsterdam. I had absolutely no idea that we were going beforehand and I don’t think i’ve ever been so surprised!
This was our way of seeing as much as we could in a small amount of time, without a huge amount of prior research. Are you planning a trip to Amsterdam any time soon?