A city that is so alive and vibrant, but feels as welcoming as seeing an old friend; this place has begun to feel like a second home to me. I am so captivated by its beauty and openness. Whether you are siting out on a canal and breathing in the freedom of its people, or strolling through the tulip fields in Keukenhof, you can’t help but get swept away by this culture. Below are a few of my favorite places around the area and nearby towns!
- Places to stay-
- The NH Noord Hotel is where I stay most often. It is a little ways from the action, but a short walk to the train station which is what I enjoy since I don’t always spend my days in Amsterdam. This hotel has beautiful and clean rooms, along with a friendly staff. A huge bonus for me is my sandwich I get on olive bread before I head out after each visit 😉
- Westcord Art Hotel. This hotel is filled with art which offers guest a truly unique experience. From this hotel you are just a short walk/bus ride from all the Amsterdam attractions which makes everything a little easier. The hotel staff is extremely hospitable during your stay and may even leave you a personalized welcome gift for your first night.
- Cau is one of my favorite restaurants in Amsterdam because not only does it have excellent food (try the truffle mac n cheese) it is centrally located in the center city! I spend a lot of time in this area and love grabbing a full meal here when I am done snacking on stroopwafels and french fries
- Fenix Food Factory. This is located in Rotterdam and has a bunch of local venders in an old renovated warehouse. My friends showed this place early on in my travels and have made it a must for many of my travels back. they have delicious food, coffee, and beer. I love the ambiance of the venue and the good vibes radiating from the people gathered around for good food and conversations with friends
- Rotterdam Markethal. This architectural masterpiece houses apartments, large murals, and a dream location for foodies! Make sure you visit on an empty stomach because you will want lunch, dinner, and all the snacks you can fit in between on a day visit to this market place. You can break up the eating with a little shopping in the area or a gander around the cube houses across the way
- Tours and Museums-
- Canal Tours. There are several around the city and with departing times every 20 minutes or so, you will not need to book this in advance! You will learn a little about the city, as well as get your bearings a bit before you walk around on your own
- Anne Frank Museum. This was such a moving experience and I loved every second of it. I would highly recommend buying tickets online in advance to avoid the long queue and crowds. Tickets go on sell 2 months in advance.
- Heineken Experience. Even though I did not learn as much about the beer here as I had at the Guinness factory in Dublin, I still enjoyed the fun filled afternoon here, with the rooftop bar view and a customized Heineken bottle
- Van Gough Museum. EXTREMELY CROWDED. I have only been once and it was during the week, early morning, and the museum was packed. Almost too crowded for my liking, but I did love the paintings and learning about the artist. Maybe just avoid if you are tired and a bit irritable.
- Keukenhof Gardens. This is only available during the spring, but tours leave from the airport and this is one of my favorite experiences in the Netherlands. I would put this one my list of top 10 places I have visited so far! I never knew how absolutely beautiful flowers could be! I thought they were just something you got from your boyfriend when they were in trouble 😉
- Other Honorable mentions.
- The Pier on the beach in Den Haag. A little bit of a hipster vibe, but a very relaxing way to spend a day. Lots of great food and drinks in the building on the pier and a nice little mall located nearby.
- Ton Ton. Ton Ton is an arcade bar located near the red light district in Amsterdam and is one of my favorite spots! I love vintage arcade games and they have a ball pit which makes everything more fun! Definitely worth a stop if you have some extra time in the city and are looking for some fun over a few drinks!