Amsterdam was always one of the places I wanted to visit and last October we went for the Hubby’s 40th birthday. I know, I know, I’ve taken my time writing this post. It was one of those ones I’ve kept putting off as other post ideas popped up! This year I really want to make the effort to travel more. Even within Ireland, so I am hoping the travel section of this blog will expand and become useful. I am the type of person that books trips on a whim and then himself has to sit down and do the planning. Perfect match! With Amsterdam I booked everything without much research, but as it happens my instincts were right. We ended up in a great location.
It was a really relaxed holiday and we didn’t see too much of the tourist spots but what we did do we were happy with! Make sure you are following my Instagram here and add me on Snapchat (Louiseocon.ie) to see our adventures before they make it to the blog. Okay, here is where we stayed in Amsterdam and what we did.
Amsterdam : Getting There
Flying from Dublin was our choice as we wanted to spend a night in Powerscourt Hotel for our wedding anniversary. You can read that review here. We booked our flights with Aerlingus and enjoyed a really pleasant flight. Once landed in Schiphol and with our luggage gathered, we made our way to the train station attached to the airport. You can buy your train tickets there and then. It was easy to get around and we found ourselves in Amsterdam 20 minutes later. We walked from the train station to the hotel with a little help from google maps but it took less than ten minutes.
Amsterdam : Our Hotel
We stayed in The Ink Hotel on NIEUWEZIJDS VOORBURGWAL 67. Yeah, that address means nothing to me either but we were within walking distance of most things. There is a tram stop right outside if you need that mode of transportation. You are within walking distance to Red Light District, shopping areas, Anne Franks House and the Square. On arrival the hotel checked us in. Remember when you are booking in you need to pay a city tax of 5% of hotel costs.
Our room was small but really clean. They had chocolates, balloons, bubbles and love hearts in the room for us when we arrived. A lovely nod towards Padraigs birthday and our wedding anniversary. The use of space was really clever. Lots of mirrors and cleverly placed lights to create the illusion of space. There was a really comfortable bed, flat screen T.V., coffee making facilities, toiletries, shower, robes, fresh linen and a mini fridge. Adequate amount of space to pack away our clothes and suitcases too. The only downside of the room is that it got really warm and the air conditioning was poor.
I would recommend you stay here however as it was the perfect base for getting around Amsterdam. The decor is really funky with the wall paper being a map of the whole city. The attention to detail was excellent. You can find out more or book here.
Amsterdam : Where We Ate
This holiday was as relaxed as could be. When travelling in the past we have planned on seeing every sight we could. London, Paris, Rome were all jam packed and we left the cities so tired. This time we just wanted to spend time together and unwind. The chilled out atmosphere of Amsterdam allowed for for that. The pace isn’t particularly hectic. Lots of tourists just strolling around. That is what we did. We strolled and ate and slept.
There were no plans to eat anywhere spectacular. Mostly we walked untill we found somewhere to stop. With the exception of The Hard Rock cafe where we made a booking. Padraig got to pick where we ate for his birthday and that was where he wanted to go! Other than that I can recommend the burgers in Charlies Kitchen near The Red Light District and the Pizza in Dantes Kitchen and Bar. For pancakes we visited The Pancake Bakery which was delicious!
To be honest there are cafes, ice-cream, bakeries and bars dotted all over the place so you won’t find it hard to eat in Amsterdam. It just depends on what you are looking for.
Amsterdam : What We Did
As for the sights we didn’t do much. We of course walked down to The Red Light District. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thought I would be more shocked or more embarrassed. I was neither. It was just ‘oh right, this is it?’. Our first night we went down to early and it was zero atmosphere. On our last night we went down after 11pm and it really came alive. There is a bar there called the Red Light Bar. Go there for a cocktail and get the window seat. You can people watch untill your hearts content. It is oddly facinating watching the men go to the women in the windows, disappear in for 20 minutes or walk away after a quick chat. There are sex clubs on every corner enticing you in. Personally I would save the 200 euro you’d spend for shopping.
During the day we walked down to see Anne Franks house. We couldn’t get tickets however and the queue was huge. If you want to go there then book your tickets well in advance of your trip.
We decided against the Heinekin experience as Padraig doesn’t drink and I hate beer! We did however stroll down to the museums. Again, we didn’t go in, we just wanted to walk around and stop for a bite or a drink. Padraig did get a photo with the Amsterdam sign however!
The shopping is incredible. Something I wasn’t prepared for at all. I plan on going back with more money and an extra case! If you love vintage clothes, you will be in heaven. There are all the usual high street stores as well as the biggest Primark I have ever been in! Walking away with several bags pained me!
Amsterdam: The Verdict
I have to say it was one of my favourite city breaks to date. We came home feeling so relaxed which was just what we wanted. I would go back in a heartbeat! Next time I would make sure I had a super comfortable, well worn in pair of runners for walking around in and a larger suitcase for shopping.
We are off to Poland next week so keep an eye on my Instagram Stories for that trip! I’ll have all the details on the website as soon as I get back.
Where should we go next?