travel notes | weekday break in amsterdam.

Put simply, my week in the Dutch capital was a week of bagels, cola light, museum going and whole bundle of laughs. It was my first trip to this beautiful city and will most certainly not be my last. I’ve never enjoyed being somewhere so much as the food was lovely, the people were so friendly and that Amsterdam vibe is something that can’t be replicated.

I have serious holiday blues writing this up and can’t stop flicking through my photographs. We weren’t the luckiest with the weather as it was quite chilly for the end of July but that didn’t stop us getting out and exploring – even if we did have a wardrobe problem. My friends and I spent four nights in this city and here is everything we got up to if you are planning a trip in a similar time frame.

{please note, this post is an edit of the original version which was posted in april 2015, i’m trying to rewrite old travel content so it can be actually ~ useful ~ so this isn’t as in depth as i’d like for. for a more in-depth guide, check my more recent one out}


We flew from Edinburgh Airport to Schiphol on Monday morning so we arrived in Amsterdam around 1’oclock. We hopped on a train towards Centraal Station which isn’t tricky to do at all and soon found ourselves in the city centre.

From Centraal Station it is super easy to navigate the trams system that move all across the city. It started to pour the minute we stepped out of the station so we hopped on a tram to get to our hotel. I did find the tram conductors quite rude and they are very crammed but on my second trip to the city this problem had subsided. Just try to avoid them at rush hour!


One of the girls I was traveling with found an incredible hotel called Hotel Atlantis that cost around £150 for the four nights stay in the De Pijp region. It was clean, functional and the seven us were split between two good-sized rooms with balconies. I would however really recommend staying in the De Pijp region as it is a fab mix of locals and travellers, there are great places to eat and drink and it is close enough to the city centre and the museum quarter.


As I’d never visited Amsterdam before there was so much I wanted to see and explore. Our first stop was the historic Rijksmuseum which hosts a huge Dutch art collection and curiosities.  We made sure to check out the Van Gogh paintings available and the most famous painting within the museum’s walls, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. On a later boat tour, I learnt that the whole Rijksmuseum building was built for that one painting.

The IAMSTERDSAM sign is pretty important if you plan on getting all the snaps of proving you went to Amsterdam. It is accessible by walking underneath the huge Rijksmuseum and brings you out to an open area where you can easily get to the Van Gogh museums and other museums in the quarter.

A super fun thing we did do is hire out pedal boats. It was a little risky in the unpredictable rainy weather but it was the best fun from the entire trip. It was quite tricky to pedal around the canal and not get into the way of the larger boats that had right of way. We did end up slamming into the side of The Hard Rock Café much to the hilarity of the diners. I 100% recommend this if you want to do something a little silly and it is a fab way of seeing a lot and getting along a canal.

You can’t really visit Amsterdam without exploring the Red Light District. It is quite surreal to see with your own eyes but definitely worth a wander through. There are a lot of bars and clubs in this area but it is very touristy and a bit overwhelming!

Dam Square is a fab place to stop and have a little rest when exploring the city centre. There are a lot of street performers and you can admire the Dutch Royal Palace. We popped into 100% Holland to pick up some souvenirs and then headed off to explore the Red Light District in daylight. The Sex Museum is also a must if you are in this area. It costa 5€ for entry and is freaking hilarious. Expect a lot of 1940s porn.

Our final morning was spent doing a canal boat tour. It is a great way of seeing the canals and neighbourhoods we hadn’t had a chance to explore. We glimpsed the Anne Frank Huis (which I visited on my second trip to the city) and our tour guide was very informative and lovely. It was very relaxing but also lots of good fun.


On our first evening in the city we just chilled out in our hotel room. We decided on getting take-out from a nearby food place called The Three Chefs in the De Pijp neighbourhood and I would really recommend it. We just wanted to stay, eat good food and plan our adventures for the following day. We also grabbed takeaway food from Taco Mundo but it was a bit greasier than The Three Chefs.

One brunch-stop you cannot miss in Amsterdam is Bagels & Beans. They are a chain of cafes across the city and serve delicious bagels with every filling combination you can imagine. I treated myself to a tasty mozzarella, pesto and pine nut one and it definitely hit the spot. Another great place for coffee/snack food is Coffee Company which can also be found across the city!

Whilst exploring the Museum Quarter and soaking up the culture of the Rijksmuseum we snacked on hot dogs and waffles from street vendors near the IAMSTERDAM sign. They are a little more pricey than less-touristy areas but when you’re hungry, you’re hungry. A great place to get food from street vendors however is the Albert Cuyp streetmarket in De Pijp which is fab for finding stroopwafels and fresh juices.

We also ate pizza at an adorable little Italian called Peppino where the pizza cost 5 euros and we also treated ourselves to garlic bread. We also had Italian food again at an Italian about two doors down from our hotel (I can’t remember either name) and I had the most delicious bruschetta. For drinks we stopped at a local De Pijp bar called Cafe Bloemers that was just along the street from our hotel.

De Carrousel near The Heineken Experience was so good we went twice! We had an early lunch there one morning with the most amazing burgers and fries which was perfect for soaking up a hangover. It was pretty well priced and staff were very friendly. We also went there for crepes one morning as we loved the fast service and good-sized portions.

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