Just after moving to the UK, Mel, Ryan, and I headed off to Amsterdam, which is a city that’s been on my travel bucket list for a long time.
Amsterdam is easy to explore on foot, and we covered a lot. Below are my recommendations based on what we saw.
We stayed in the Urban Lodge Hotel. This hotel is across the road from Sloterdijk Station, where you can take a 10 minute train ride to the city centre.
The hotel was quiet, the staff were fantastic, and the room was really cozy, a great place to relax after a full day of walking.
Walking distance from Amsterdam Centraal Station is Dam Square, a shopper’s paradise. Here you’ll find restaurants, buskers, high street retailers, Bijenkorf and Magna Plaza department stores, and even a Madame Tussaud.
Situated off the main street are alleyways. Make sure you walk through them as they lead to more shops. An alleyway that Mel and I stumbled across was Beurspassage, which led us to Primark, bakeries, restaurants, and homeware stores.
The Nine Small Streets
The Nine Small Streets are located in the Old Town, which you can get to by walking from Dam Square. This shopping area has trendy small boutique type shops where you can buy vintage clothing, books, or jewellery. You can also eat at one of the few restaurants, go to a hair salon, or like Mel and I, get coffee and something small to eat at Ree 7 café.
Albert Cuyp Market is fantastic and so large! It has everything from fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese, spices, ready to eat food, make up, bedding, flowers, clothing, cameras – you name it, it has it.
With over 300 stalls, this market is the busiest in the Netherlands, and the largest daytime market in Europe.
Allow a few hours to visit this market and its surrounding shops. It’s open Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5pm, and is located at 1072 CN Amsterdam The Netherlands.
Waterlooplein Market is Amsterdam’s oldest flea market and sells mostly pre loved items including antiques, homewares, toys, books, shoes, bags, artwork, and clothing.
I’m not a lover of flea markets so didn’t really enjoy Waterlooplein as much as I hoped to. If I were to visit Amsterdam again, I’d skip this market and spend the extra time at Albert Cuyp.
Waterlooplein is open Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 6pm, and is located at Waterlooplein 21011 NZ.
What to see
Zaanse Schans Windmills
I’ve saved the best for last. If I only had one day in Amsterdam then this is the only thing I would see, I loved it that much.
Zaanse Schans Windmills was the only place we couldn’t walk to from the city centre, but it only took 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal Station to get there.
The closest station to this attraction is Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station. The walk from the station to the windmills doesn’t take long, and you get to see houses on canals and a colourful town centre on the way.
You’ll know when you’re near the windmills as soon as you see a bridge with people taking photos from it. Once I saw the windmills from the bridge it’s where I started to really enjoy this trip. Along with canals, windmills are what I associate with Amsterdam, so it really made me feel like I was there.
Zaanse Schans Windmills is free to enter. It’s an outdoor park with housing, souvenir shops, a bakery, museum, cheese factory, mills, barns, clog makers, farm animals, and of course waffles!
This attraction is located at Schansend 7, 1509 AW Zaandam.
Canal boat cruises
Mel and I did a night cruise on the canals, but there are also daytime ones. You can get tickets from any of the many vendors around Amsterdam Centraal Station.
I didn’t get to fully enjoy the cruise as Ryan decided to make a big nappy mess at the start of the journey. So I spent the majority of the cruise wishing in my head for it to finish.
If I get the chance to visit Amsterdam again, I will definitely take the same cruise, but at a more Ryan friendly time.
Food to try
Stroopwafels are two thin waffles that have a layer of caramel in the middle. They’re chewy, delicious, and very moreish. You can find them everywhere.
When we were at the Zaanse Schans Windmills the smell of waffle was in the air, making it impossible to resit. Mel and I shared a chocolate covered waffle, it was so good!
There are hot chip shops in Amsterdam everywhere (does anyone know why?) Chips are one of my favourite foods, so it was a given that Mel and I were going to get some. We got our mayonnaise covered ones at Manneken Pis, and they were worth the wait.
I grew up eating herring at my grandparent’s house in Australia, it’s an acquired taste, but I love them. For this reason I couldn’t pass up the chance to get some from one of the many vendors around Amsterdam. There are many varieties to choose from so there’s something to suit everyone.
There you have it, my Amsterdam adventure. I loved Amsterdam, and I’d definitely go back.
Do you have any favourite places to visit in Amsterdam, or yummy food to try if I were to revisit?