Amsterdam travel guide
Let me paint a picture for you. Glorious canals padded by gabled houses, plush parks, vibrant markets, whooshing bicycles, quirky candlelit cafes, epic museums, amazing food, and renowned nightlife. Sound good? Well there is all that and then some. With such a plethora of activities it can be overwhelming knowing where to begin in one of Europe’s gems. My concise Amsterdam Travel guide will set you off in the right direction and give you first hand honest reviews on the best things to do, places to stay, and of course places to eat.
What to do?
Visit Anne Franks house – This interactive and very educational tour gives you interesting readings and videos in each segment of the house. There’s a plethora of items to see, including Anne’s Diary. Really easy to enter with online tickets, expect friendly staff and an emotional journey.
Van Gogh Museum – Offers an outstanding collection that any Van Gogh enthusiast will find mesmerizing. The Museum is one of the most admired sites in Amsterdam; buy your tickets online to avoid a sometimes-lengthy queue. If you’re not one for the arts, you could give this one a miss and not lose any sleep.
Vondelpark – This beautiful and lively park has lots of lakes and small forest paths to explore. Take a picnic, ride a bike, simply people watch or even have a nap on the greenery. This park really is huge and is a great way to break a busy day up.
Take a canal tour – I believe the finest way to see the city is from the canals. You can take one of the big boat tours, or be really suave and hire your own guide. Time is valuable in Amsterdam, Skip those enormous long touristy boats and take the Eco Tour boat for a more intimate experience.
Heineken experience – Mandatory for beer lovers as you discover facts about the historic building and the brewery equipment. Buy your ticket in advance to dodge a queue at the entrance. Some will describe the tour as a tad boring however a sampling at the end of the process and then 2 free beer on the rooftop. This means on a whole the tour is excellent value for the money! Do the math! Expect to pay around $25 per ticket.
Where to stay?
Suggested hotel (best value) – Teleport Hotel – $$ – First things first, Teleport hotel can be easily accessed from Schiphol airport within minutes by train in no more than 2 stops, located within a short walk of Sloterdijk station.
The first impression of the hotel on entrance is a quirky modern atmosphere, complemented by welcoming staff and some retro entertainment such as pinball, arcade games and a pool table. There was free coffee/tea/juice 24/7 in the reception area, stumbling in to the hotel at 2am and grabbing a coffee was outstanding.
I was amazed to walk in the room and be greeted by a huge piece of artwork on the wall, perfectly in line with the contemporary feel of the hotel. The room was also big and spacious, and literally spotless. The room also featured a microwave and small kitchen area as well, which was a real money saver.
I can almost guarantee the Teleport breakfast will have something to fuel your exploring in Amsterdam, wake up to find an assortment of fresh and tasty treats, pancakes to pastrami and everything in between! The factor that sets Teleport apart is the customer service. It’s one of those rare places that you leave feeling the hotel staff are now your friends. Guests can take advantage of 24/7 Whatsapp support which can even be used for tips about navigating Amsterdam, your own personal tour guide!
Teleport have a great winter deal for this winter, they have a fixed rate of €60,- p.n. from Sunday to Thursday and €119,- from Friday to Saturday. All freebies apply such as free parking, late check-out and free pizza. Book through their website to take advantage of this offer!
On a Budget?
ClinkNOORD – $ – ClinkNOORD Hostel is situated in the culturally lively Overhoeks district, just a small journey from Amsterdam Central Station. The hostel oozes creativity and has modern comforts, providing travellers with a unique and fun place to stay and socialise.
Flying pig downtown hostel – $ – The Flying Pig Downtown is the place to be for lone travelers or people looking to party. Located right next to Central Station and dorms where every bed has a reading light, as well as private rooms with a little fridge and TV. They provide a free buffet-style breakfast, free use of the guest kitchen, luggage storage, free Wi-Fi, a book exchange, and a lively hostel bar with DJ nights and some cheap beer.
Want to splash the cash?
The Toren – $$$ – This beautiful and petite hotel has an outstanding location, spacious and pretty rooms, and sits on a canal about 1 block from the Anne Frank house and a small stroll from Amsterdam Square. Surrounded by several fine bars and restaurants.
Where to eat?
Lombardos – $ – I was stood outside this place for 10 minutes waiting for my burger, and 3 different people walked out exclaiming they had just had the best burger in Amsterdam! For me, I agree, this is no question the best burger I had in Amsterdam. The bun is flawless, the caramelized onions….. Delectable, and the meat, don’t get me started! A slice of heaven in a box.
Seasons Restaurant – $ – This is a little yet perfectly formed restaurant. A respectable menu with opportunities for deals and offers on selected evenings. The class of the dishes was outstanding. Awesome location, warm and snug atmosphere with welcoming staff.
Brasserie Ambassade – $$ – Brasserie Ambassade blew me away in terms of high-class quality of food and service. Situated in one of the most attractive channels in Amsterdam, with focused service even on a busy evening. The wines were also outstanding; some of the highest wines were a great bargain.
Vinkeles – $$$ – This is simply outstanding in every respect. The nine course-tasting menu is perfect for a special occasion (expect your wallet to weigh less afterwards), The dishes go from good to awesome to out of this world, all simply flabbergasting in presentation, texture and taste.