A Guide to Amsterdam

Being stuck in bed after you’ve just come back from holiday would, for the most part, be a delight for me – except when I’ve come down with a stomach bug. Throwing up on an empty stomach is not the one. I was meant to have this Amsterdam post up basically a couple of days after I came back, but alas – cold sweats, back pains and various other ailments prevented me from doing so.

Anyway, moving on from my failing body… We chose the perfect time to go to Amsterdam because the weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. I love Amsterdam – there is so much to do there that you’ll never get bored. From its hodgepodge architecture to its pretty squares, there’s something for everybody in Amsterdam.

Stay

Hotel de Gerstekorrel

If you’re looking for a decent central location, then I would definitely recommend Hotel de Gerstekorrel. Located close to Dam Square, you won’t be too far away from other main attractions, the canals or restaurants.

It’s quite a small hotel – squeezed into a typical Amsterdam property (tall and narrow) – and our room was located on the second floor, which is a bit of a chore when you’ve been walking around all day. Nevertheless, our room was okay and everything was clean and the bed was pretty comfy. My only gripe was that you can hear other guests through the wall, which isn’t great when you’re trying to sleep.

We received friendly service, so I cannot fault them there and our stay included breakfast which for a continental breakfast was not too bad. As it was my friend’s birthday whilst we were in Amsterdam, I emailed the hotel beforehand to see if they could arrange anything and they very kindly offered us a complimentary bottle of Prosecco!

Must See

Art City NDSM

Free of charge

We actually stumbled across this by accident when we were on our way to Pannenkoekenboot!

Art City NDSM is a non-profit foundation that works to promote the NDSM ‘broedplaats’ (literally ‘breeding ground’), and the artists, artisans and other creative businesses based at this large cluster of studios at the NDSM-wharf, a former shipyard on the waterfront in the north of Amsterdam. – Art City NDSM

It is such a cool place to explore and my only wish was to actually see inside the studios, however, they were closed when we visited.

Anne Frank House

Tickets only available online. Adults: €10, booking fee €0.50

A must visit in Amsterdam! Although it was my second time visiting the Anne Frank House, it still gave me chills when I went. Hearing about the history and the atrocities that the Jews had to go through because of Hitler nearly had me in tears. A lot of it gave me a lump in my throat just thinking about what happened in the Secret Annex and the lengths the Frank family and other people had to go through to hide.

Van Gogh Museum

Tickets only available online. Adults: €19

I didn’t get to visit the Van Gogh museum the first time I went to Amsterdam, so I was really glad I got to this time around. Here you get to explore van Gogh’s masterpieces and see his development as an artist (there are a lot of self-portraits). Not only will you see his masterpieces, but you will also get to see his drawings and letters!

The museum focuses on the complete story: the artist, the context, his personal ambitions, his emotions, the myths and his influence until this very day. – Van Gogh Museum

Rijksmuseum

Ticket online €19, at the ticket counter €20

This museum is huge! Here you will find Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages up to the present day. For all you bibliophiles, you can find the Cuypers Library which is the oldest and largest art history library in Amsterdam – honestly, a dream come true. If it weren’t for the floor plans located around the museum, I’m sure I would have gotten lost. There is so much to see and explore in this museum and each room has something different and exciting.

Must Do

Canal Cruise

Varying prices, cheapest €11

What you’re not going to do is get on a canal cruise and then fall asleep 5 minutes in. Cause that is exactly what I did. What can I say? When I’m in transit, that’s it – I conk out. Also, canal cruises are hella relaxing. As I had been on one before, I wasn’t too fussed, however, they are really informative and you should definitely do one if it’s your first time in Amsterdam.

Heineken Experience

€18 via Tours & Tickets, use code THINGS10AMSTERDAM for 10% off (valid through to 31/12/19)

I did not expect to enjoy the Heineken Experience as much as I did! It was such a pleasant surprise. Located in one of Heineken’s old breweries, you’ll find out all about the company’s history through a self-guided walking tour. You’ll also get two complimentary beers at the end of the tour (or soft drinks, if beer doesn’t tickle your fancy). Aside from learning about the company, the tour is highly interactive and there’s even a tasting session on how to drink a Heineken beer properly.

A’DAM Lookout

€19.50 via Tours & Tickets – includes two free drinks at the bar. €5 for the swing

20 secs is all it’ll take to reach Amsterdam’s most amazing view. This observation deck allows you to view Amsterdam in all its glory. Pro tip: check when sunset is and make your way to the tower around that time! It is absolutely beautiful. You also get a free digital photo before you go up to the tower. It can get quite cold up there in the evening so be sure to warm up warmly.

Dine

Van’t Spit

Frans Halsstraat 42, 1072 BT Amsterdam

This is some of the best chicken I’ve had! You can enjoy a delicious half chicken with sides here at a decent price. They didn’t seem to have an English menu, so I had to Google Translate some of it. I went for half chicken (although you can get a whole one) with sweet potato mash and corn on the cob. Delightful! The chicken was not too dry and the right amount of juicy and it paired perfectly with the chipotle sauce, as well. It may be just chicken, but it is GREAT chicken.

Tokyo Ramen Iki

Vijzelstraat 135, 1017 HJ Amsterdam

Ramen is one of my absolute favourite dishes, so I was really excited to try out this ramen restaurant. I was not disappointed! I ordered the Nouko Shio Chicken Soup Ramen with soft boiled egg, seaweed and extra cha shu for my toppings. Just what the doctor ordered. It was rich and filling and so delicious. It’s not some of the best ramen I’ve had (I’m looking at you Ichiran in NYC), but it definitely hit the spot.

Cafe Harlem

Haarlemmerstraat 77, 1013 EL Amsterdam

I was not prepared for how cute the waiter was going to be, but that’s the beside the point. The portions are absolutely massive here! I wasn’t actually expecting to eat again after we had ramen in the afternoon, but ya girl gets hungry – so we decided to hit up Cafe Harlem. I went for the jerk chicken meal and it was so tasty – just the right amount of spicy and with the rice & peas and plantain – perfecto!

Chipsy King

Various locations

What does one need after getting high? Food. And where should one go for food? Chipsy King! The yummiest cheesy chips I’ve ever had – granted, I was high but they were actually really good. They have plenty of sauces you can choose from!

Pannenkoekenboot

Ms. van Riemsdijkweg in Amsterdam-North

Oh. My. God. I was so glad I found out about this when I was researching things to do in Amsterdam. Sailing 75 minutes on the IJ river with a pancake buffet? Honestly, absolute heaven. You have a choice between normal, apple and bacon pancakes and sweet & savoury toppings. Drinks aren’t included, but the pancakes were sooo good. I only managed four because the pancakes were actually a decent size. Definitely recommend this!

Coffeeshops

Original Dampkring

Handboogstraat 29, 1012 XM Amsterdam

I mostly wanted to visit this particular coffeeshop because they actually shot a scene for Ocean’s Twelve here. I walked where George Clooney and Brad Pitt did! 😍 It’s quite small in there and as soon as you enter, you’re hit with that Mary Jane smell. We were lucky to find a spot to sit because it did get fairly crowded in there quite quickly!

Barney’s Coffeeshop

Haarlemmerstraat 102, 1013 EW Amsterdam 

I wanted a farewell joint as it was our last night in Amsterdam and through Google, I stumbled across this place, which is actually on quite a few best coffeeshops in Amsterdam lists. We didn’t stay in there too long as I was just there to buy and then head back to the hotel, but it seemed really chill and the staff were friendly, as well.

Tips

  • I would recommend staying close to Amsterdam Centraal Station if you can. It’s only twenty minutes by train from here to the airport!
  • One thing we noticed is that a lot of the tourist attractions only accept debit/credit card. Quite annoying for my friend, who brought cash only. For places like the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, A’DAM Lookout and Pannenkoekenboot, I would book online. If you don’t have a travel card, I would recommend Revolut and WeSwap.
  • Don’t fall asleep on the canal cruise!
  • Ferry services across the IJ are free and they are quite frequent.

Overall

Amsterdam – a city of canals and so many freaking tulips, but mostly a city I can see myself visiting again and again. I did more on this trip than the first time I went, and I know the next time I visit there’ll be something new I’ll discover. It is such a chill city and everyone is so nice. I cannot wait to go again!

6 Comments

    • Chynna
      Author
      12th March 2019 / 8:34 am

      Thank you so much! x

    • Chynna
      Author
      12th March 2019 / 8:34 am

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 x

  1. Lils
    12th March 2019 / 12:03 pm

    Thanks Chynna I’m due to go soon x

  2. jasonlikestotravel
    14th March 2019 / 12:55 pm

    A great read, it’s definitely a city I intend to go back to. I’ll be putting the Pannenkoekenboot on my list when I do! 🙂

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