I have been meaning to tell you all about this for soo long! Better late than never and I’m really hoping that these tips come in handy if you are thinking about a trip to the Netherlands :).
And really, you definitely SHOULD, nay, MUST!! Amsterdam is such a beautiful, vibrant, friendly, awesome city to visit, and it’s incredibly family friendly too (my friend Sarah just wrote all about things to do with kids while you’re there!).
Plus, it’s so EASY from the UK (or at least the midlands). We caught the train to Birmingham airport and then the flight to Amsterdam is just over an hour. Such a cinch!
In a beautiful family apartment in the Jardaan area of Amsterdam – SO close to the hustle and bustle of the city, and overlooking the canal – it would be so awesome to sit out there in the warmer months. We (well, Erin, I can’t take the credit!) found it on AirBnb (you can rent it here!).
I LOVE staying in AirBnb’s because they’re someone’s actual home – a lovely dutch family live there and they were visiting England while we were in the netherlands! They had the absolutely wonderful taste that must be taught to Dutch children in school.
Like any AirBnB rental, you have to expect that there will be personal belongings around – but the benefits in terms of having a fully equipped kitchen and everything else you might need are fantastic!
Do BE CAREFUL with booking accommodation on AirBnb, because there are lots of scammers around. We very nearly got caught out by one, even though we’re both super savvy about online stuff normally. The golden rule is to be suspicious of any host who wants you to email them directly – always do it through the button on the website!
- Just wandering around at dusk looking into windows. The Dutch have home decor down to an art, and beautiful light fixtures and candles play a huge part in that. I could’ve gawped for literally hours (and kinda did!)
- Hema! It’s an amazing shop that I describe as Ikea meets Wilko. Best news – they’re starting to open in the UK now!
- Taking a canal boat tour. There are so many to choose from – we found it to be a great way to see a lot of the city in one go, brilliant if you’re short on time.
- Seeing a film at ‘The Movies‘, a wonderful art deco picture house with original features. We saw Irrational Man, a film so laughably awful that it was at least entertaining in some way.
The thing I loved most really was just wandering around the city, taking in the beautiful buildings, the canals, the autumn leaves…..
It was also amazing to see the way cycling is so integrated in the city. It’s a completely everyday activity (no lycra in sight!) and cyclists treat pedestrians with a lot of respect, even when they’re bumbling into the cycling path as I did a few times.
Things you should eat…
- Dutch Apple Cake at famous cafe Winkel 43. SO good! I’m hoping to make an apple dish inspired by it this autumn.
- Pizza at pizzabakkers
- Nutella crepes – there are stalls and cafes everywhere with gignormous comedy sized jars of nutella!
- Schlokken (and everything else in a dutch supermarket). They have amazing value and delicious cheese, a bewildering variety of spreads, gorgeous fresh breads and yummy chocolates.
Amersfoort, a beautiful medieval city about an hour outside of Amsterdam. It’s an easy journey on an inexpensive, quick train out of the city.
The place is almost unbearably quaint, I mean, just look at it! There are turrets and rivers, and amazingly stylish shops, and the best pancakes ever……
I would have also loved to visit Anne Frank’s house, go cycling around the city, visit Utrecht and more cities outside of Amsterdam, and see some tulips, but we ran out of time. I’ll definitely be back!
Do you have Amsterdam recommendations? Could you share them in the comments for other readers?