Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be whisked away on a weekend city break to the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Going just before Christmas made it even more magical and festive as the whole city was twinkling with lights and there were wreaths on every door. It was a short but sweet visit but we squeezed plenty and there sure is lots to see in Amsterdam.
It is the perfect European city for a short break and if you are planning on going why not read on for a little travelling inspiration and ideas for places to visit, eat and see.
Here's my mini guide to what to do in Amsterdam...
Embrace the Winter Wonderland
If you are heading to Amsterdam at the same time of year we did, a place that is sure to get you in the festive spirit is the markets around the Museum Quarter. Here you will find a large ice skating rink surrounded by traditional Christmas market huts selling handcrafted goodies and unique gifts.
Stop for a beer...
If you are a bit of a beer fan, the Heineken Brewery is a must visit. It wasn't the first place on my list and only visited because my boyfriend wanted to go, but it turned to be one of my favourite places and I thought it was really interesting to learn about the process and history of the beer.
Enjoy a free beer after a tour of the brewery and cheeky ride through the process of brewing a pint. Well worth the 18 euros.
Try something new for breakfast
Not having breakfast at the hotel on this trip made a refreshing change as we ventured out and stumbled upon this quirky cafe just around the corner from our hotel.
The Scandinavian Embassy, across the road from Sarphatipark is truly a unique find, selling delicious alternative teas and coffees to accompany healthy homemade cakes and breakfasts. I had some freshly made muesli with juicy blueberries and a hot apple and elder flower tea, which I would highly recommend if you want a filling breakfast in Amsterdam.
The interior was a dream too... I love Scandinavian design.
It was such a lovely city just to wander and get lost around. The houses where beautiful and the buildings where quirky and uneven but it made it even more magical. The city had a calm, quiet feel to it which made it perfect for meandering around.
The red light district needs to be seen to discover the other side to Amsterdam. The streets completely change and obscure side to shops comes out. We walked down the streets in the day and there were still plenty of people walking around but I wish we had experienced it at night too, just for curiosity.
If you want a little dose of history, the Anne Frank Museum is well worth a visit. You can explore the house she hid out in with her family during the second world war. I would advise booking before you get there to avoid the hours of queues at peak times. It is a small cramped place with steep stairs which I felt a little uneasy in, so maybe consider this if you are, like me, a little claustrophobic.
We stayed at the Notting Hill Hotel during our stay. It was a stylish and modern hotel just south of the old town, close to the museum quarter and Heineken brewery. Our stay was affordable but we found an all inclusive breakfast a little too much everyday.
If you are looking for places to eat in the city head west of the red light district to the Jordaan area for lots of pretty streets lined with small restaurants and shops. We ate at Los Pilones, a Mexican restaurant with a quirky interior and amazing cocktails.
I hope this mini city guide has inspired you to travel to Amsterdam or if you were already planning to go, given you some great ideas and tips for where to go once there.
It was such a beautiful city.
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