Amsterdam: Return of the Dam
After a jam packed and fun filled weekend in Amsterdam I thought i’d take to the blog and put together a few travel tips and a list of places which I managed to cram into my weekend there. It always amazes me that you can get to London in just over 2 hours from York, or Edinburgh for the weekend in just shy of 3 hours. However it blows my mind that you can be in Amsterdam from Doncaster Sheffield in ONLY 45 MINUTES! Add to that the fact that the airport to central Amsterdam is 15 mins by train and you really cant go wrong! (Especially with the price of trains, no?)
Having arrived on schedule on Friday evening we headed straight to Doubletree Sky Louge (only a few minutes walk from Centraal station) to meet our friend before grabbing a taxi out to the Oost side of the city and check into out Airbnb for the weekend. I think that when it comes to small group trips, Airbnb is often a great option – it cuts costs down for everyone and having a lounge and dining area makes it so much more sociable than separate hotel rooms (Especially for morning teas and coffees, getting ready together and an area to just chill and have drinks whilst planing the night ahead). We stayed in a little neighbourhood north of Amsterdam on the side of the river Amstel, with lots of cute little coffee shops and restaurants to explore locally with the added bonus of being only a short 10 min taxi into the centre of Amsterdam.
(I have popped the link for the Airbnb which we stayed in here… CLICK HERE)
The Cottage – Linnaeusstraat 88, 1092 CP Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you do head towards this little neighbourhood close to Oostpoort I would definitely recommend you head to The Cottage for brunch or a coffee. It has that great classic cosmopolitan feel you get in Europe with the tables spilling out onto the wide pavement – (I mean the canopies and the standard poodle with a local family totally reinforced this look of cosmopolitan living!). The interior was cute with a eclectic mix of antiques adorning the mustard striped walls and bright turquoise bar. In my quest to be healthy after the previous evening of drinking I had the granola, yogurt and fruit – which hit the spot just right before a day of exploring! (The Cottage)
MaMa Kelly – 100, Saturnusstraat, 2516 AH Den Haag, Netherlands
As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, MaMa Kelly for me was a bit disappointing. The food was average, the toilets were a mess, the service wasn’t great and we were shoe horned into a corner by the fire exit and bar service area. That said, you can’t deny that its an insta favourite – decorated floor to ceiling in pastel blush pinks and golds. There are plenty of insta opportunities here and if it was more central (20min cab from central), I would tell people to definitely wander in for a drink at the bar and get your pics but unfortunately its a bit of a commitment being so far out of the city near the Olympic Stadium. (MaMa Kelly)
Pulitzer Hotel – Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Having seen this hotel on many a blog I knew I wanted to go in when we stumbled across it whilst strolling and exploring the shops along the many canals of the city. The Pulitzer bar is beautifully decorated in a dark colour palette that is lit by the sun that floods in through the giant windows out onto the street and canal beyond. We stopped here for a drink pit stop and took a wander around the lobby and restaurant, I have looked at staying here in the past and it is most definitely and firmly on the ‘NEED TO’ list now. (Pulitzer Hotel)
Pluk – Reestraat 19, 1016 DM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Pluk is a cute little cafe/ boutique in the famous Nine streets area that offers healthy food (and cakes!) and quirky gifts and interiors. I mean its the perfect combination really -who doesn’t like tasteful surrounding, delicious food and the opportunity to do some shopping! Although I warn you now that the cake-laden counter will make your decision really tough – the matcha cake however is scrumptious. (Pluk)
Bierfabriek Amsterdam – Nes 67, 1012 KD Amsterdam, Netherlands
We stumbled across this place by pure chance while looking for a respite from the rain that unexpectedly hit after a weekend of sunshine. This working brewery has an urban styled industrial restaurant/ bar that serves craft ales along with a selection of grilled dishes – all organic. You can also book a private tap table so that you can top up your own ale, it’s a bit of a hipsters dream-ish haha. (Bierfabriek)
Charise Myngheer Art Gallery – Prinsengracht 615I, 1016 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands
This is one of my highlights of our whole trip. While wandering down Prinsengracht I spotted a gorgeous pink chandelier, in what I assumed at first was an antique shop. We headed down to the basement store to find it was the working art studio of local artist Charise Myngheer. This place is definitely worth a visit, not only is her work beautiful, but Charise is the one of the most interesting people with an amazing life story. We got talking to her and before you know it we had been sat there two hours and drank two bottle of prosecco with her as she explained her art and regaled us with her life stories – I also took the opportunity to get her set her up on Instagram whilst there so that she can showcase her work to the world… @thedameofdam.
Charise Myngheer Art Gallery
Tips For Amsterdam
- Getting around: In Amsterdam it is so easy to get around, with great tram, bus and rail services – which is what we used the last time we were there. However if there is a group of you then it can actually be more cost effective to use uber. It worked out a lot cheaper for us as a three to grab an uber door to door than get tickets on trams or trains – way more convenient too. (Uber)
- Left luggage: In both by experiences of Amsterdam, the left luggage facility at Cenraal station is always full and you need to buy a ticket to get through the barriers. However there is a numerous left luggage places dotted around the city, with numerous shops and bars now branching out into secure left-luggage storage areas. We tend to use a small place opposite the station and its the same cost. (Left Luggage) – bagbnb.com and stasher.com have loads of locations too.
- Money: I am usually that person that rushes to Sainsburys bureau de change the day before for my currency and then carry all this cash around with me for the weekend without thinking what happens if i lose my wallet, or worse still, get mugged. This time I just used my Starling debit card – they don’t charge you to withdraw money or make transactions overseas (and not just Europe) and you benefit from the best currency rates too. CHECK OUT STARLING
So that is my Amsterdam weekend in a nutshell! All in all I would always recommend Amsterdam for a cheeky weekend away as there is so much to do and see… Just remember to pack you Yorkshire Tea bags though for that morning brew to set you up for the day!