Style, Travel, + Lifestyle

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

AMSTERDAM TRAVEL GUIDE



I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam, it was just never the top of my list.  After visiting, I can easily say it is tied at number one with Paris for my favorite cities I've traveled to!  Everything about the city is just so charming and magical, it's like nowhere I have ever been.  We spent a week there, but easily could have stayed longer and still not have seen everything.  If you don't have a week to spend there, there's still a lot to see with only a few days time.  I put together a little travel guide to share some of our highlights and favorite things about Amsterdam.  You can also see more on my Instagram!



First off, we stayed at The Eden Hotel Amsterdam.  It was prime location!  Our hotel was right on the Amstel River which is the biggest river that runs through the city and connects into the canals.  We walked everywhere from out hotel unless we rented bikes to cruise around.  Two blocks from our hotel is where we rented bikes (Black Bikes is who we used), but there were bike rental options around every corner.  The Eden Hotel was very spacious.  We had a top floor room with a canal view, it was unreal!  The beds were insanely comfy and I slept so peacefully each night.  We even had our own Nespresso maker in the room which was very helpful.  Instead of spending money every morning at cafes, I was able to make my own espresso in the room and drink it while getting ready.  I could have moved right in!

I mean look at this view from our room


You have to rent bikes while in Amsterdam!  Everyone, and I mean everyone, rides a bike.  There is actually bike traffic if there is such a thing, haha.  People either walk everywhere or bike around town. I love that about Europe. I feel like was meant to live in Europe!  We chose to go with Black Bikes, which was close to our hotel as I had mentioned.  They were super friendly.  If you follow me, you'd have seen in my stories that I crashed my bike and broke the reflector off!  Oops!  They didn't even charge anything extra for that and said insurance was included with our rental in case of an accident.  It's a great way to see the city and get around faster.




There are lots of neighborhoods that make up the city, just like any city.  The two that really stood out to us were Jordaan and De Pijp!  We found ourselves going back to each multiple times during our trip.

Jordaan: Jordaan is exactly what you envision Amsterdam to look like in your mind.  All the iconic photos of the city have to be taken there. It's actually where we did our photoshoot!  Jordaan is full of narrow canals with cobblestone streets, lots of boutiques, cafes, antique shops, art, and gallery museums.  We found it to be very quaint!  As popular as Jordaan is, you could be walking down a street in the neighborhood and be the only ones there.  It was great to be able to find these quiet gems in such a busy town like Amsterdam!





De Pijp: This was another neighborhood we found ourselves in more then once.  The locals were telling us that De Pijp is their "hipster neighborhood" haha.  On our first day, we walked down to De Pijp and stumbled onto a big outdoor market they are known for, Albert Cuyp Market.  The market was filled with fresh produce, shops, and all the iconic dutch snacks!  That is where we ate the famous Herring and Kibbeling fishes.




I would highly recommend doing a Sunset Canal Dinner Cruise.  We booked ours with Lovers Canal Cruises.  It was a fantastic way to see the city, learn the history and view all the boat homes.  No joke, some of those boat homes should be on HGTV. They are unreal!  I had no idea that Amsterdam had more canals then Venice, Italy.  Our cruise lasted roughly 1.5 hours.  We got on the boat right before sunset and were able to watch the sun go down while cruising into the night as the city lit up. It truly is just a beautiful way to see the city.  I will 100% do another one when I go back.  There were even boats you could rent and steer yourself down the canals!  Next time for sure.




De 9 Straatjes for shopping!  There are tons of little shops you will pass all over the city, but we made most of our stops in stores within Jordaan and De Pijp.  I'm not one that's really into collecting souvenirs, except for Christmas ornaments.  I'm more into finding something unique to bring home that no one else will have. We both got a few things while we were exploring there, but you need to go to De 9 Straatjes!  Its 9 Streets is full of designer and vintage shops along with cute cafes.  They're located all along the edge of the canal ring, right in-between all kinds of old leaning homes that are just so cute.  You will find tons of super cute boutiques and European brand stores that we don't have here in America as well.  I wasn't expecting to really shop a bunch, but I didn't come home without some new things.  I don't know how I fit it all in my suitcase to be honest haha!



The Anne Frank House is another must see I would say.  It's a very humbling and chilling experience to go through the home where her family and two other families had to hide out for years. You're not allowed to take pictures or video while inside and I recommend buying tickets in advance because they sell out fast.  You get to climb through the actual rooms where they were in hiding and see writing on the walls from those that lived there during the war.  I will warn you that I felt very sad afterwards for several hours but, I also believe it's important to see.


If you're wondering if we explored the Red Light District, you bet your ass we did! Haha. It's actually a lovely area and such a beautiful neighborhood.  ( FYI: you can't have your phone out while walking through the Red Light District either.)  You see all the "girls" in the windows when you walk by.  I didn't know what to do, so I just kept smiling at them.  If you're in Amsterdam you have to walk through it, like c'mon! Besides they aren't everywhere.  There are also lots of cute restaurants, shops, and tons of little canals and bridges to walk through.



Lastly, if you have time and are willing to leave the city for an afternoon, you need to check out Zaanse Schans!  It's about a 15 minute train ride out of the city into the country side of Holland where you can see all the windmills. Most of them are preserved historic windmills.  Once you get off the train you'll walk about 10 minutes through a super cute little town to get to the main attraction.  You get the full Dutch experience here, it's quite breathtaking.  There is cheese making, chocolate making, and they also make the traditional wooden clogs.




Another little thing I love to do while traveling is, hire a photographer.  I think its a great souvenir to have instead of trinkets!  I used Celia from The Light Box Tales while in Amsterdam and she did AMAZING!!  I hate asking strangers for photos because they never take it how I want or like.  If you're heading to Amsterdam and want amazing photos, send her a message and tell her you know me!  Check out her Instagram, it's gorgeous and that's exactly how I found her!  We still talk together every week.



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