A Short Break in Amsterdam: Things to do

I don’t think I could ever get bored of Amsterdam. The best time of year is Autumn as it’s particularly beautiful wMiscEatSleepDrinkhen the leaves are changing (but cold).

Getting around

Most hotels have bike rental facilities but we rented from Rentabikey. This place has mixed reviews but we were very happy with the price and the bikes. They take your ID and €50 per bike as a deposit. The bikes cost us €20 each for two days.

Cycling is definitely less treacherous than being a pedestrian and the best way to get around.

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Accommodation recommendations

MiscEatSleepDrink: This is a guesthouse rather than a hotel. Five minutes from the red light district, it’s in an authentic traditional building. There is a gorgeous bar downstairs, though that means it can be a little noisy. While it’s only listed as two stars I think it’s more than that. It also includes a free minibar and nice breakfast. The stairs is windy and very steep so not suitable for people with additional accessibility needs. Around €80-100 per night.

Art Alm Hotel Amsterdam right next to Westerpark and a 10 minute cycle from the city centre. This hotel was large with great rooms and absolutely spotless. There is a bar on site but you won’t be kept awake at night. Skip the breakfast and grab a coffee and bagel in Bagels & Beans just 10mins away on your way into the city centre for a fraction of the price.

Both hotels were super but I slightly preferred the area of Westerpark.

Things to do

Canal boat tour

It doesn’t sound very original but it’s a wonderful way to see Amsterdam. The large canal boats are overpriced. I suggest hiring a private boat for about €20 an hour – it’s not that much more expensive and the tours are much more intimate and personal. You can usually find guides in popular areas such as the red light district.

Red Light District

We went to the Museum of Prostitution (Red Light Secrets) which was a great insight into the sex industry in Amsterdam and what life is like for the women who work in it. Tickets are cheaper when you buy online in advance but you can also just walk in. There a couple of different ticket options. We spent about an hour there. Online price: €12.50

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Res Light Secrets

Heineken Experience

This is perfect on a rainy or particularly cold day. It’s not a brewery tour, but more an experience about Heineken beer, past and present. If there is a long queue, you can buy tickets at a ticket booth beside the canal. Again, you can also book online in advance which is cheaper. It’s definitely interesting to look around and good fun. It’s expensive enough, but if you like Heineken it’s good value as you get two free bottles and there’s also a pouring/tasting experience.

Food nearby: Skip the cute looking cafe ‘the cake of my aunt’. It is very overpriced.

Instead grab a drink in de Tulp and then there is an incredible Thai restaurant called Siriphone run by a Thai family five minutes walk away. It might not be particularly glamorous but the food is amazing.

A’Dam Lookout

This is an observation deck with incredible views of Amsterdam, that also has an interactive area about Amsterdam and it’s history AND a panorama bar and restaurant. Tickets are about €13 for access to the observation deck and the bar, but if you pay an extra €6 you can get two free drinks too. There is a large swing that is apparently the highest in Europe. For an additional €5 you can try it (but you can’t buy your tickets up there you have to buy them on the ground floor when you arrive or online).

Nine Streets

As the name suggests these are nine parallel streets that make up the main shopping area in Amsterdam. They range from high end shops to vintage and old record shops. It was extremely busy and crowded in this area but definitely worth a visit! Avoid getting food here it’s expensive and very crowded.

Anne Frank House

A beautiful memorial and museum that was a highlight of my trip. Tickets can only be purchased online in advance, though 20% of tickets are available on the day. They are strict about times and being late so give yourself some extra time. However, they also won’t let you into the queue if you are early so you could be waiting outside for a while. It can be a little busy with some bottlenecks but they are careful about how many people are let in so you still have room. Tickets were very reasonably priced and go on sale around two months in advance. Definitely well worth visiting.

Moco Museum (Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein exhibits)

These exhibits will be shown until January 2019. I’m a big fan of both artists and loved the exhibition. If you have any interest in these artists then the exhibition is well worth a visit. The museum shop was great too! Tickets are €12 online, but €10 before 11am or later than 5pm. These times are also quieter so I recommend going then.

Hotels.com is an af link.

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