Wednesday, 21 March 2018

48 Hours In Amsterdam | Travel



If you already follow me on social media you will know that last week I spent a couple of nights in Amsterdam with my husband. It was actually a trip that we were supposed to go on for my birthday back in December but due to the snow we were sadly unable to go. Luckily we managed to reschedule to March and in many ways I think i'm glad it worked out like this as Spring and Amsterdam just seem to go hand in hand together. I use the word 'Spring' loosely as we're not quite there yet with the weather and as I am typing this I can't quite believe it is snowing in the UK yet again! 


Fortunately the weather didn't hinder our trip this time, although it did get progressively colder the longer we were there. On our first day we were blessed with pure sunshine and clear blue skies which felt like such an amazing change to the wet and gloomy days we'd had in the UK prior to our visit. To feel the sun on my face again just felt incredible and it meant it was perfect conditions for lots of exploring on foot. 


This was actually my third time to Amsterdam as I went when I was a kid with my family and then again when I was in my twenties with a friend. As my husband Andy had never been before I was really excited to show him the city and some of the sights. It's not often I will return to places more than once but I think Amsterdam is one of those very unique places which will keep you coming back over and over again.  

Where We Stayed...



For this trip we stayed at the W hotel. On reflection I kind of wished we had stayed somewhere else as, despite being a five star hotel, it didn't really tick all of the boxes for us. It's in quite a large ugly building  and it's one of those places which makes you feel like you could be anywhere in the world. On reflection I wish we had gone for a canal hotel like The Hoxton or even stayed in an Air BnB house boat for a truly more authentic experience. That being said we spent so little time in the hotel  room that it didn't really matter too much but I think if I was ever to return again I would definitely opt for something on a canal. 

What We Did...



As we only had two nights in Amsterdam it felt as though we had a lot to see in a short amount of time so there was no real time for relaxing! I also had quite a few places on my vegan eats hit lists which I was really keen to squeeze in and not miss out on. I tend to prefer to enjoy breaks at a much more leisurely pace than this and we both felt shattered by the time we arrived home! I think if it's your first time visiting Amsterdam I would suggest that three nights would be a good amount of time depending on what you want to do. If you are a museum enthusiast and want to fit in all the major museums in Amsterdam then I would definitely advise staying longer, especially if you want to explore at a more relaxed pace. 

Walking



We walked pretty much everywhere in Amsterdam and I personally think this is the best way to explore a city. We did get a few Ubers just to cut time at some points during our stay, and to preserve my feet which were becoming increasingly more painful as the trip went on! But walking is my favourite because I think you get to experience and see so much more of a place. I love to just lose myself wondering around side streets and seeing where the wind takes me.  

Anne Frank's House



As i've been to Anne Frank's house before I wasn't too bothered about going inside again, and neither was my husband, so we skipped it this time but we still made a point of walking by it and taking some photos. The queues to get in are also crazy long so if you do fancy doing this I would always recommend booking tickets in advance and allowing plenty of time for your visit. 

The Floating Flower Market




The floating flower market was a real highlight for me and I was so surprised to see so many amazing house plants for sale as I was imagining it to be much more of a fresh cut flowers affair. It was actually filled with more bags of bulbs than anything else but there were also some gorgeous stalls selling a wide variety of different plants and flowers. 

The Nine Streets



I think the Nine Streets were probably my favourite area of the city and we were lucky that our hotel was so close to this part of town. Filled with lots of cute small independent shops, boutiques and cafes it's the perfect place for a nice wander around and to stop for a drink. It certainly feels less touristy in this area and more quaint than some of the other major shopping streets.  

The Red Light District



Amsterdam is obviously famous for its relaxed Cannabis and prostitution laws. This area of the city is well worth a wonder through, especially if you've never been before. It's generally filled with lots of excitable groups of men and at night it really does come alive! It's a bizarre sight seeing the female sex workers standing in their underwear behind windows for all to see and it's really like no where else I have ever been to before. It almost does have to be seen to be believed! This is also a side of town which is home to countless fast food and junk food cafes which seem to cater really well for those who may be experiencing 'the munchies'! 

Canal Boat Tour 



On our first day, and when our feet really started to hurt, we hopped onto one of the main tourist canal boat rides which was €11 and lasted an hour. The canals are a great way to see the city from a different perspective and it's so relaxing to just sit back and take in all of the sights from the water. There are also hop on / hop off options which are great for getting around to all the major sights.

On our second day we had booked a trip in advance with Those Dam Boat Guys and this was on a much smaller boat with less people and cost €25 each. This was a far more comfortable and enjoyable trip out of the two and the guide was extremely informative and funny. People who attend this tour are encouraged to bring food and drink and get to know each other which makes it a pretty unique boat trip. 

Banksy Exhibition at the Moco Museum



My husband and I aren't really big museum people but I really liked the look of the Banksy exhibition which is currently on at the Moco Museum. We didn't really want to spend our time on anything too time consuming and this was the perfect little exhibition to navigate around within about an hour and it provided us with some welcomed relief from the cold. Along with Banksy art work there was also a Roy Litchenstein exhibition on at the same time which was also good to see. 

A'Dam Lookout



We had been told about the A'Dam Lookout on one of our boat trips and we could see people swinging off the side of the building from the ground which really caught our attention! And yes, if you're brave enough, for €5 you too can sit on a swing which pushes you backwards and forwards off the side of the building. It wasn't for us anyway but aside from that you can take an elevator ride to the viewing deck and enjoy some really great views over the city.


Where We Ate...


The Hummus Bistro







The Hummus Bistro is a really cute little eatery situated right beside a canal. We stopped here for lunch on our first day and it was exactly what we needed after a long morning spent travelling. We enjoyed the most amazing plate of hummus, falafel and baked aubergine with fresh warm breads. I absolutely love food like this! If I was ever back in Amsterdam I would definitely make a point of returning here. 

Vegan Junk Food Bar




I had heard so much hype about the Vegan Junk Food Bar and I knew it was somewhere that I definitely didn't want to miss out on so we made a point of going there for our first night dinner. When we arrived it really surpassed my expectations in terms of interior styling (we went to their new second restaurant on Marie Heinekenplein) and I just loved all the graffiti walls and neon pink lights. It took an absolute age for us to get seated as they don't take reservations so we had to wait a while until a table became free. The service also seemed really slow, or perhaps they're just super laid back there, i'm not sure! Either way once we did finally get our food it was just as incredible as I had hoped and seriously one of the best vegan burgers i've ever had. 

Pluk







A couple of people recommend to me to visit Pluk and I am so glad I did because it's exactly the kind of place I love. With a gorgeous interior, lots of quirky homeware on sale and a cosy spot to eat it really did tick a lot of boxes for me. The vegan options however did seem to be on the slim side and I ordered an Acai Bowl which I don't think was 100% vegan due to the granola, but I do tend to be a little more flexible on my holidays, especially if it's somewhere I really want to experience (* that's not to say I'd ever eat meat or eggs etc, but a little honey on a one off occasion isn't an issue for me). The vegan cake on the counter however looked amazing! 

The Cold Pressed Juicery




The Cold Pressed Juicery is where all the hip kids get their juice so we obviously had to check it out. And yes, it is pretty much just a shop devoted to different juices and the selection on display was pretty mind boggling. I felt quite tired so went for 'The Glow'  which did do a pretty good job of giving me a little much needed boost. 

The Avocado Show




The Avocado Show was another place on my list I was determined not to miss out on and I think this restaurant was a real highlight of our entire stay in Amsterdam. I couldn't quite believe how many people were waiting outside for a table when we arrived but fortunately we ended up getting seated quite quickly (* again this is another restaurant that doesn't take reservations). I felt really excited to be inside a restaurant purely devoted to avocados! When my avo toast dish arrived it looked like such a piece of beauty I almost didn't want to ruin it by tucking into it. It was seriously the most pretty and tastiest avocado toast i've ever experienced and the beetroot hummus just made this dish for me. 

Vega Bond





We stopped at Vega Bond for breakfast and I was really hoping to get one of their infamous vegan donuts I had heard so much about but sadly they were all out by the time we arrived. Instead I went for another acai bowl which was divine and my husband had their overnight oats which he really enjoyed. I loved the location of this cafe and it has a super chilled and laid-back vibe to it along with a whole host of vegan goodies you can pick up in their extensive shop. 

Meatless District







The Meatless District was another restaurant which was pretty high up on my priority list and i'm so glad that we managed to squeeze in a lunch here before we had to go home. The food was insanely good! My husband and I both shared their seitan burger with triple cooked chips and their BLT which had the most amazing smoked crispy aubergine as a bacon replacement. If I was ever back in Amsterdam I would definitely make a point of returning here too. 

The Happy Pig Pancake Shop




Just before we went back to the airport we managed to make a visit to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop and I got to try out their vegan pancakes. They had quite a few different toppings available but I went in for the apple mix which included baked apple, cinnamon, sugar and toasted almonds and it all tasted exactly like apple pie - delicious!



All in all we had a fantastic break away to Amsterdam and it felt so good to be back in this gorgeous city again. City breaks filled with walking, shopping, sightseeing and eating are my absolute fave and something I enjoy so much. I think Amsterdam is even more appealing than anywhere else due to its beauty, laid back attitude and of course the extra short flight time of 40 minutes from London. I came home shattered and with blisters on my feet but it was totally worth it! 

You can watch my vlog from this trip here! 



Have you been to Amsterdam before? 



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2 comments

  1. Sounds like an amazing trip, myself and my hubby are planning on visiting later this year, so this post and your vlog are super helpful x
    katescloset.uk

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  2. Wow, such a jam packed few days away! I’ve always wanted to visit Anne Frank’s House but everyone always mentions how incredibly busy it is, and I don’t know if I would enjoy it, knowing it was so hectic! The Vegan Junk Food Bar looks bloody delicious as well, and I’m not even a vegan.. 😍

    Andi | www.andthenzen.co.uk

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