Go Dutch - you won’t be disappointed
This colourful city is lively 24/7 and certainly doesn’t have a shortage of entertainment.
Although Amsterdam is renowned for perhaps some of the less appealing sides of life, it is very easy just to wander a few streets back and you find yourself in a more subdued part of the city. With some wonderful museums, boutique shops and charming bars and restaurants.
I have put together some of the stand out points to our mini-break road trip, but you may also like to visit our Amsterdam gallery, for even more of a taster.
The canal district was what I was most looking forward to exploring, and it is certainly worthy of being on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
It was only added in 2010, so a fairly recent addition.
The intricate web of canals that sweep around the city are such a pleasure to stroll along and over. The seemingly boundless number of bridges that arc over the waterways link one tree lined avenue to another.
You can spend hours just wandering & discovering parts of the city that many take for granted.
This leads me on nicely to the next ‘must do’ activity on my list, embarking on a canal boat trip.
It is surprising the different perspective you can get of the city just by taking to the water.
This is also a fantastic opportunity to see the wonderful tall, slim canal houses that adorn the banks.
Amsterdam has some very rich architectural history, It has a number of churches including the Oude Kerk (Old Church), which was consecrated in 1306.
It has examples of Gothic and Renaissance buildings and also can still boast having two wooden buildings, one of which dates back to 1425.
Red-light district; this certainly wasn’t at the top of my 'must see' list but I had to mention it, as you really can’t go to Amsterdam and not wander through. It truly is a bizarre sight, window after window of scantily clad women, it really does have to be seen to be believed.
We found the people in Amsterdam to be extremely friendly, the language barrier was never an issue.
Frequenting the Brown Cafes (pub/tavern), obviously only to take the weight off of your feet. Okay, so we may have tried a local brew, it would have been rude otherwise.
Just along the canal from where we were staying was this great little café named ‘Café Broodje Bert’. It was here we experienced the Uitsmijter, which consists of eggs, ham & cheese on bread or a baguette. It may not sound that exciting but it was fantastic for breakfast.
We stayed in a luxury boutique hotel, name the Hotel Estherea, the location was fantastic and we had the pleasure of a view over the Singel canal.
Additionally, they had car parking facilities which was great for us.
Bulbs & plenty of them, and Mr Max Bygraves it’s not just ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’. The flower market stalls sell a vast selection of bulbs, as we had the car we splashed out on some daffodils, alliums, lilies, dahlias to name but a few, and of course tulips.
I also couldn’t resist bringing home some Gouda cheese, so we bought a Gouda wheel. It wasn’t huge but it looked quite impressive.
Don’t be surprised to see open air urinals. Some of them are fairly discreet and have been erected in dark green wrought iron. But some are large plastic pods left dotted around the city. Very strange….
Often with our mini breaks, 3 nights isn’t enough, therefore due to this and also that there was plenty to see outside , we never got a chance to visit the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, nor see Rembrandt’s ‘Sunflowers’. Well we will just have to go back!
We didn’t get a chance to visit Anne Frank’s house, when we got there the queue was horrendous. I know I’m a Brit and love a queue, but even this was too much….
Point of Note
If it isn’t an issue which days of the week you visit, I personally would try and avoid the weekends. The narrow lanes and streets around the main tourist areas, would be a lot easier to walk around. Additionally, you would probably escape the stag & bachelor parties, they do still have a big draw to this city for obvious reasons.
I certainly would go back and visit Amsterdam again, but with having the convenience of taking the car, it gives me the appetite to discover more of the Netherlands.