Ellie’s Bits of Beauty isn’t just about beauty products and fashion, It’s also about things and places I find beautiful. One of these places is Amsterdam.
As mine and my boyfriend’s birthdays and anniversary are all just a couple of days apart in November it’s sort of become a little bit of a tradition that we like to go on a city break to celebrate. Last year we did London Friday – Monday and then went to Leeds for the night to an Imagine Dragons gig. We had a jam packed itinerary! This year we went to Amsterdam Friday – Monday and it was a little bit more chilled, we didn’t have anything planned really, we thought we would just go with the flow. When we got back we also went to Birmingham for the night to a Bastille gig, I’m not sure if that’s going to be part of the tradition too, going to a gig when we get back but it just sort of happened!
I decided a few weeks ago I was going to share with you this beautiful city, what there is to do there and just generally how pretty it is in photos.
First of all – the Architecture is so beautiful. I fell in love with the houses around the canals as soon as I saw them, they’re just to die for. I learnt that in Amsterdam the houses are actually taxed based on width, which is why they are all so skinny. They are quite deep and long though so they’re actually not small on the inside. I love this, I think they look amazing. They also all have hooks at the top of the houses on the front, above a window. This is because the houses are so skinny in width, they have to hoist the furniture up using this hook to get it inside the house! How funny is that?
The Canals themselves are also very pretty. There are quite a few different places where you can hop on a canal trip for a bit of a history tour which I definitely recommend. Not only do you get to learn a few things about Amsterdam but you also get to see all the buildings, bridges and scenery along the way. We got to see where Anne Frank’s house was and that’s also where I learnt about the hooks on top of the buildings and why they look so skinny and small from the outside! Depending which place you decide to have a canal tour with the price will vary from around €12 – €20. They usually last for an hour and refreshments are available while you’re on board too.
The streets of Amsterdam are filled with tourist shops and places to eat, along with Coffeeshops (not the normal kind) and Head Shops. Walking through the streets in certain places will definitely tempt you. There are some of the most mouth-watering bakeries filled with waffles stacked with chocolate, caramel and cream along with cakes, muffins and croissants. There also a good few pancake places, restaurants and one of my favourites Vlaamse Frites. Vlaamse Frites is a fast-food shop where they sell cones of French fries. These are not your ordinary French fries, these fries are to die for. Its around €2.60 for a medium size cone and then your choice of sauce for around 50 cents. Now choose your sauce wisely as you get the biggest dollop of sauce I have ever seen on the top of your fries! The most popular choice of sauce is definitely Mayonnaise and I highly recommend it as it is just divine. The fries are thick and lovely and fluffy on the inside, but don’t delve in too quickly as they will be piping hot! You also get a small wooden fork just like you do at the chippies in England which you might think well I don’t need this I can just use my fingers? But you will definitely need them the further you get down your cone due to the amount of sauce all up the sides, meaning if you don’t use your fork – you’re gunna get messy! I’d heard/seen about these places on trip advisor and after the first time we went we thought they were so good that we went back again the next day!
Amsterdam is also filled with it’s fair few tourist attractions. There is a Madamme Tussauds, Ice Bar, Zoo, over 70 museums to choose from long with some beautiful parks, Botanical Gardens and of course the canals. We didn’t go to Madamme Tussauds as we went to the one in London last year and we was going to head to the Ice Bar until I realised you can only have a choice of beer, orange juice or a shot for your 3 free drinks which I wasn’t really up for along with the fact I am literally always cold, I didn’t think it through really! So we ended up not going. What we did do was head over to the Museum Sqaure where there are 4 museums, The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and the Moco Museum along with the famous ‘I Amsterdam’ sign, where of course you have to get a photo or a selfie! The Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum were both €17.50 per adult, Stedelijk Museum €15 and the Moco Museum was €12.50 per adult so we decided just to pick one and ended up going to the Rijksmuseum. We got there at about 2pm in the afternoon on the Sunday and didn’t realise that the museum actually closed at 5pm, meaning we only actually got half way round! Which was a little crazy, but still it was fun none the less. After we came back out in the cold, got our photos with the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign, we headed over to Vondel Park. This park is the largest park in Amsterdam and one of the most famous in The Netherlands, and we could see why when we got there and saw how beautiful, peaceful and picturesque it was. It actually has an open-air theatre where you can go and see free concerts or in the summer they’re sometimes on at the bandstand which I think would be amazing.
With all these things to do in Amsterdam and it being quite a large city I should probably tell you that it is so easy to get around and not very expensive for travel either. When we first arrived we got a train from the Airport which took around 20 minutes and was only just over €10 which was the total price for both of us together. After that when we ventured out the next day we quickly realised there are trams to everywhere and you can get a 48 hour travel pass for just €12.50 per adult which is exactly what we did. This pass can be used not only on trams but on buses and night buses too which makes life super easy, you just have to make sure you keep it safe and don’t lose it! The best part about this in my opinion is after you get your pass you don’t have to worry too much about making sure you have enough money for travel all the time.
Amsterdam is also absolutely filled with different hotels to chose from, I picked the Tropen Hotel. This hotel is just outside the city centre, there’s a tram stop right outside which takes you in to the city centre and it’s also right next to a lovely little park called ‘Ooster Park’ and of course it’s next to the Tropen Museum. Not only all this but if you go across the road you also come across a little market place which is great for if you just want to pop to the shop for some snacks, which we did a few times but also on the first day we needed an umbrella which we managed to find over there too. Around the corner is also Artis Zoo! The hotel does also have a restaurant and bar, but we didn’t use these as we wanted to look elsewhere for food and drinks so we could see the city a bit more. The rooms in the hotel are perfectly sized with a separate toilet and bathroom with a brilliant shower, sink and large mirror for getting ready. The room also has a large TV on the wall and as we was on the 9th floor, a stunning view out the window. The beds were also super comfy which is always a bonus! We did book a double room but we actually had 2 single beds but we just moved the little table in between them and pushed them together to make a double which was perfectly fine, although they were on wheels so occasionally we did find ourselves wheeling away from one another by accident but it was very entertaining!
Overall I would definitely recommend Amsterdam! There is so much to do and it’s just such a beautiful city. I think if I went again (which I definitely want to) I’d like to go in the Summer as it was a bit of a shame it was raining most of the time we was there and we didn’t get that much day light. I also think I’d like to plan our visit a little more so we can get more visits and things in like the zoo and maybe another museum and see some of the parks in the day time and hire some bikes to cycle around on! I’ve never seen so many bikes in one city before, so many people travel by bicycle! One thing I would say is if you don’t plan your visit you definitely spend a lot of your time walking around but other than that I don’t have one bad thing to say about it!
This has definitely been a long post so I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my trip to Amsterdam and what there is to do there!