Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I spent a sunny September weekend in Amsterdam last year, visiting the tourist spots, walking round the gardens and eating plenty of good sushi. Here’s my guide on what to do, what to drink and where to eat.

I hopped on a plane from Durham Tees Valley and arrived in the Dutch capital just after 7pm. From there it was a short train ride into the centre where we stopped for pizza before heading to our accommodation; Hostel Van Gogh. If you’re looking for a place to stay, that’s not too pricey, I’d definitely recommend this hostel. We stayed in a 6 bed ensuite female dorm, and it was super spacious and light. You get a towel included and a locker in your room too. As it’s a 20 minute walk into the centre, it is really quite in an evening meaning you can get some decent shut eye before exploring the beautiful city at your best.

If you walk along the main street in the city you’ll no doubt come across the many tour operators, offering Canal Cruises, Heineken Brewery Tours and lots more. We used Tours and Tickets to book a combo tour which included a Canal Cruise and the Brewery tour for €31.

The Canal Cruise lasts for just over an hour (depending on which tour guide you have), and is a great opportunity to take in the best of Amsterdam. You’ll learn all about the history of each district you pass, it’s people and its buildings. You receive a headset when boarding the boat which you can use to listen to the tour in a variety of languages.

The Heineken Experience is a must do, even if you’re not a Heineken fan (for those of you who are, you get 3 free pints during the tour). You are left to walk round the museum at your own pace, which is a great idea. In each room there is a guide talking about what’s going on in the room and a different aspect of Heineken’s history. There’s of course a gift shop at the end and you can also create your own personalised glass to buy too.

If you’re an animal lover like me, then I’d definitely recommend a visit to Artis Zoo (€23). You could honestly spend hours here; there’s an aquarium, reptile and insect houses, giraffes, seals, lions, elephants and much more. Paired with beautiful sunshine it’s a perfect day out.

Vondelpark is the largest city park in Amsterdam, and is often bustling with walkers, exercise classes, and families out for the day with picnics. If you have a free afternoon, why not grab yourself a coffee and have a wander and explore the beautiful park.

Our final experience in Amsterdam was The Anne Frank House. And we definitely saved the best until last. Its such an incredibly moving experience, and does an incredible job of moving such a huge part of our history into the present. To walk round the same rooms where the Frank family lived in confinement for so long was indescribable.

You’re given your own headset before starting the tour so you can walk at your own pace and listen in your own language.

If you do nothing else whilst in Amsterdam, then go to Anne Frank House. It really does bring things into perspective.

Hopefully this guide will help you in your trip planning to Amsterdam and will help you to get the most out of your time in the incredible city.

Coffee By The Mile

After good coffee and equally good food? Head to Koffie Academie. They do incredible cappuccinos and lattes, as well as delicious and fresh sandwiches and breakfast bowls.

Adventure awaits!

Charley x

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