Travel and days out

Travel diary: A weekend in Amsterdam

1 June 2017
Maisons étoites Amsterdam

Today’s article is written by Emilie, one of my friends who has often visited Amsterdam and who also took the photos in this article. Watch out, she’s about to make you rush off to visit the beautiful Dutch city ASAP!

Ams-ter-dam. Three syllables, nine letters and a European city that is not like any other.

Our trip begins at Central Station that is always teeming with locals and tourists. Clichés are true after all: the city is strewn with bicycles, delicately decorated cafés, coffee shops that make your cheeks blush and many lush parks.

There are multiple reasons to go to Amsterdam, for its beauty is obvious. Among the must-see spots, there are Dam Square, the Red Light District and the Bloemenmarkt (the flower market) but Amsterdam is a small yet creative city, and has hidden treasures in all its charming districts.

Amsterdam

“I don’t know what to do there!”

Everyone agrees that biking is the best way to discover the city but I personally like walks along the canals in the early morning, when calm and mellowness prevail (and that has nothing to do with the fact that I can’t ride a bike. Ahem). Those narrow doll houses that are occasionally covered with ivy are the perfect spot for that Instagram post.

Numerous parks have also invaded the city, and the most famous of all is Vondelpark. On sunny days, it’s always a good idea to take a stroll or have a picnic since the sun tends be a tad shy. Animal lovers should head to the zoo Artis. Small insects, deep-sea creatures and fearsome beasts will make your visit unforgettable.

Artis Amsterdam

What do the words ‘auto-portraits’, ‘sun flowers’ and ‘Japanese drawings’ all have in common? If you couldn’t find the answer, it’s alright! But you should definitely head to the Van Gogh museum to admire the Dutch painter’s most famous centrepieces. Also, art amateurs cannot miss the Rijksmuseum. Plus both are very close to one another, so no excuses!

If you already visited those museums, then my two favourites are the foam gallery, which is dedicated to temporary photo exhibitions, as well as the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam-Oost. It celebrates different civilizations around the world with close-to-reality reconstitutions.

If you are familiar with the saying ‘Shop ‘til you drop’, I would recommend Leidsestraat ou the 9 Straatjes (Nine Streets) as a shopping spot rather than Kalverstraat that is generally packed.

Foodies, this for you!

Breakfast is definitely my favourite meal of the day! Among the two places I prefer, there is the Baking Lab. In two words: fresh croissants. You’re not convinced yet? Then fresh croissants and warm coffee AND cooking workshops. Sold? If you’re more into a brunch-kind-of mood, then head to G’s. With their quirky decoration and menu, they know how to please your taste buds and feast your eyes. My guilty pleasure? Their boozy pancakes served with maple syrup, rum, melting chocolate and bananas.

Baking Lab

Baking Lab

G's Amsterdam

G’s

G's boozy pancakes

G’s boozy pancakes

For lunch, you will probably notice (perhaps disappointedly) that many restaurants only open at night. Then you have two options: either have lunch the Dutch way, which means eating a sandwich with a glass of milk or head to Little Collins to enjoy their fantastic fresh food options. There’ll be something for everyone!

Little Collins Amsterdam

Little Collins

Little Collins

Little Collins

For the last meal of the day, you’ll have many options. With its cosmopolite identity, Amsterdam’s best restaurants often offer international food. If you don’t want to have to choose one type of food, you can always go to Foodhallen, a trendy and lively food court located in an old tramway garage. If you want to make sure to get a table, be there early.

Feeling sleepy?

Amsterdam can be quite pricey when it comes to finding a place to sleep but here are two places I would recommend if you’re looking for accommodation.

CityHub is the epitome of Amsterdam because it’s innovative, vibrant and welcoming. This was the very first place I stayed in and I absolutely loved it. The concept is close to what a hostel is but with your own… pod!

Hotel Casa might not be right in the middle of the city but it’s very close to the metro station as well as a few tramway stops. Apart from being very cozy and comfy, it also has a bar and a rooftop where you can party before heading back to your room a few floors below. How cool is that?

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