Welcome to my trip to Amsterdam 2018! This long weekend was a perfect way to take a real break from the real world back home and explore a beautiful European city in all its wintery glory. I booked this as a surprise for my boyfriend for our 1 year anniversary and I don’t think we could have spent it in a better way. Whether you’re a solo-traveller or wanting to travel with a group of friends, Amsterdam really has something for everyone. Please read on to see what we got up to.
*Figures and prices listed at the end if you’re interested*
Day 1: Thursday November 15th
The first day was primarily travelling – but it was still exciting! We took a morning train to Stansted airport and killed some time shopping and having a meal before our afternoon flight to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Upon our arrival we took the sprinter train (8 euros for 2 people 1 way) to Lelylaan station, where we transferred on a tram via line 17 to reach Citiez Hotel in Osdorpplein. It was a quiet first evening just settling in and exploring the local area – a quick food shop for some snacks and it was bedtime for us. Prior to this we purchased a GVB travel card from our hotel’s reception which was a life saver! For 22.50 euros each, we got 4 days of unlimited travel that included trams, the metro and buses. Once activated by a beep on a tram the following morning, it lasted us perfectly for the duration of our trip.
Day 2: Friday November 16th
Our first full day in Amsterdam is definitely one to remember. We began our day the way we did every day but taking tram #17 all the way to Centraal Station (about a 45 minute journey due to stops). We had a home away from home full English breakfast at Dam square before travelling to Prinsengracht in the area of Westermarkt to visit the Anne Frank Museum. This is Amsterdam’s most visited attraction and it’s no doubt as to why. Visiting the house Anne hid in for 2 years was a very sobering yet educational experience that I would urge anyone to see. Her room still holds her and her sister
Margot’s height marks on the wall and all the celebrity and film star pictures she had glued up to add more life to her small space. INFO FOR VISITING ANNE FRANK MUSEUM: “80% of tickets for any date released exactly two months in advance. The remaining 20% are released on the website on the day”
After our visit we explored more of Westermarkt before heading back into the centre to take a curious look around the Red Light District. We weren’t going to visit this area, but when in Dam – it’s just something you have to see. Of course there’s no photography/filming allowed, but for a quiet Friday afternoon you could still see what it had to offer. And in response to the gentleman outside – no I do not want to see a large one for some cash.
The breakfast we’d had was surprisingly filling, so after our first full day of winding through the canals we stopped at our local McDonalds and then got some well needed rest.
Day 3: Saturday November 17th
We’d eyed up some meat-loaded baguettes in a shop window the day before, so of course locating them down was our first stop of the day (sorry to the veggies). Probably not everybody’s choice after having a bite to eat – but we decided to visit Amsterdam’s infamous sex museum. Located directly on the road in front of Centraal Station, is a multi-story building dedicated to all sorts of shenanigans. It did offer a few good laughs – so if you fancy a light hearted trip, check it out (only 5 euro entry each!)
Not really knowing how to follow on from that, we decided to pick a place off our list and head to Museumplein. As the name suggests this is Dam’s museum quarter – home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and Banksy museum. The price for each entry was roughly 20 euros from what we could see, but it just wasn’t cheap enough for us to take a look so we took a walk to the local and popular Vondelpark for an autumn walk. It’s such a beautiful break from the hussle and bussle of the inner city and is so beautiful during autumn/winter. We ended up walking around the whole park and of course – the amount of dogs was great.
The cold started getting to us so we took a tram back to Centraal station (our go-to point) and had a wander around the quirky
Haarlem streets before treating ourselves to a mixed grill and a good look around the shopping high streets that branch in and around Dam square.
Day 4: Sunday November 18th
This day was actually our 1 year anniversary, which was definitely my favourite day! We found another restaurant that honoured the classic English breakfast to fill us up before heading to Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo. We took the metro to Waterlooplein and walked the rest of the way. It was 46 euros total for entry – but worth every penny! The place was perfect for people of all ages. A good few hours were spent here, ogling at the elephants, gorillas, giraffes, sea lions, reptiles – the list goes on! It was unlike any English zoo I’ve visited and offered a lot more variety so was a great way to spend a Sunday, acting as if I’ve never seen an animal before.
We’d build up an appetite by the time we were finished, so we travelled back towards an area we came across after leaving Vondelpark, which I now know is Max Euweplein. Having a craving for pasta led us to a cute little Italian for a delicious meal.
Day 5: Monday November 19th
Our last full day was very much a relaxed one – we’d ended up seeing most of the places we wanted to by accident just by walking around such as the famous 9 streets and Bloemenmarkt. After a lazy morning getting ready back in Osdorpplein, we took our daily tram #17 back to the centre and followed our map to the Jordaan area. Surprisingly, Amsterdam is a relatively small city, so we saved hopping on and off the tram and explored what we’d only seen from a window.
As light turned to dark, we drifted in and out of the shops and picked up a basket full of souvenirs to take back for family, but it would have been rude not to visit the huge De Bijenkorf department store. Funnily enough as we roamed the floors of products I’d have to sell a kidney to afford – it reminded me exactly of Selfridges in London, which upon writing this post, I’ve learnt that the store is owned by the family that own Selfridges which explains that.
DAY 6: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20TH
Back to Blighty we go! The arrogant 05:30 am alarm meant is was time to head back to Schiphol airport. Thankfully we’d packed the night before so we could get up and go. We reversed the trip we’d done not long before and headed back to Lelylaan station before continuing to Schiphol to go through a plane, a train and a car to finally reach the most needed cup of tea ever.
FIGURES AND THE £ INVOLVED
I feel like money is a pretty taboo topic when it comes to a lot of things, but personally I find it can be very helpful to know the cost of things especially when it comes to travel. I work hard for my money and have to save hard if I want a nice trip away. In no way is it impossible for anyone and I am sure this trip could have been made cheaper if I’d have wanted to do it a different way.
The table below gives a rough guide as to how much this Thursday – Tuesday trip cost. The total includes the rough £75 I had exchanged once back home. The majority of the money I took was spent on food – the average meal e.g. a pizza, pasta, mixed grill ranged from 10-15 euros each excluding drinks.
Thanks so much for reading to the end if you did – I really hope you enjoyed this post! Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have, or just wanna chat!
Until next time,