I love going on city breaks. I’ve spent the majority of my income on it the last few years, to cities like Pisa, Bucharest and Barcelona. I just love exploring a new city and getting to do fun touristy thing and try the local food – like the amazing heart shaped pizzas in Pisa 😍🍕😍🍕😍🍕
Amsterdam has been on my list for a little while and I’ve been intrigued to find out it’s “positive” side, so I booked the trip around a month in advance with my friend Chloe and off we went for the weekend!
Where to stay in Amsterdam
We stayed at the CitizenM South hotel, which is situated in the Zuid area. We got a train from the airport to Amsterdam Zuid (the closest station) which took around 10 minutes, and then walked for 5 minutes and we were there.
The hotel is modern and fresh looking. The reception, restaurant and bar are open 24 hours and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful too. We used the self-service check in feature and chose the room we would like to stay in (for no extra price).
The rooms themselves are in little pod-like shapes. They’re pretty compact and small but it has all the necessities. The toilet and shower are in seperate closed round cubicles and there’s one large bed against the window. The iPad controls everything in the room, including the curtain, TV, blinds and mood lighting. There’s handy built in storage facilities and plenty of charging plugs to use.
The hotel has a great chilled vibe and I love the decor too. There’s a huge reception and seperate lounge areas which are open 24 hours, so you can sit downstairs and chill out with your laptop or watch TV if you don’t want to be confined to your room.
CitizenM South is in a great location if you’re looking for something away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The city centre is 4 stops away from Zuid, which takes less than 15 minutes.
What to do in Amsterdam
There are so many things to see and do in Amsterdam in a weekend, but here are a few things that we managed to squeeze into our weekend!
Hop on hop off city sightseeing tour
I love booking a hop on hop off bus tour on city breaks! I find they’re a great way to get a feel for a city and you can find interesting little places to visit on the way round. For Amsterdam, we booked with City Sightseeing and caught the bus fairly early for a day of exploring.
The bus has over 10 conveniently placed stops along the canals, bridges and quaint backstreets. It’s good value for money (around £16pp) and can also be combined with canal cruises and free walking tours. As we visited during the summer time periods, the buses came every 25 minutes or so which wasn’t too bad a wait. I enjoy using a bus tour when I visit cities but I don’t think the one for Amsterdam was *totally* worth it. There are other packages though like a combined bus tour and canal boat tour which might’ve been more useful!
Gassan Diamond tour
Gassan Diamonds is a historic building where you can watch diamond cutters at work. Over 400 years of craftmanship and tradition is housed here, with the diamond cutters and polishers creating diamonds for world-famous jewellery brands.
Gassan Diamonds were offering free half hour tours, so we used the Hop On Hop Off bus to get to the museum to participate in one of the tours. We were shown around by Michael, who explained where diamonds came from, how they’re shaped and polished, what companies use them for their jewellery and how expensive the diamonds can cost. We had the opportunity to try on jewellery too which was good fun. If you’re interested in diamonds or just love jewellery, it’s worth checking out Gassan Diamonds.
The Heineken Experience tour is a self-guided interactive journey around the world of Heineken. You’ll be able to find out the history of the company, the brewing process and an interactive tasting room. The tour costs €21 (€18 if you buy tickets online) which includes a self-guided 1.5 hour time slot of your choice and two tokens to enjoy to chilled beers at the end. The tour is great fun and super interactive with lots of different rooms and installations to visit – and you can sample beer along the way too.
Amsterdam sex museum
When in Amsterdam… right? It might not be appropriate for some, but it’s a giggle to walk around and see! Admission costs around €4 per person, which gives you access to the various floors of the world’s first and oldest museum – totally dedicated to sex!
A’Dam Lookout is a 20-story rooftop has a restaurant, bar and over-the-edge swing, with panoramic views across the city. Tickets cost €13.50 per person and it’s advisable to pre-book. The lift will take you up 100 meters in just 22 seconds, and you’ll see a fun light installation as your travel up to the top! There are some great photo opportunities at the top too. We booked to go on the Swing Over The Edge – which is Europe’s highest swing! Tickets cost an additional €5 to go on the swing; it was quite possibly the most terrifying experience of my life but well worth the photos!! A’DAM Lookout can be reached by catching a free ferry by the back of Amsterdam Central Station.
Where to eat and drink in Amsterdam
Being the foodie that I am, I wanted to try as many different restaurants and cafes as possible whilst I was in Amsterdam! We tried a lot of different places, including:
Mondial Pancake House
Amsterdam are famous for their pancakes, so we headed to Mondial Pancake House for breakfast one morning. We happened to stumble on it as we originally planned to go to another cafe, but when we arrived they were really rude and said that the Chef hadn’t turned up…
The pancakes at Mondial pancake house were so mourish and tasty. Chloe ordered a bacon and egg pancake and I ordered a ham, cheese and mushroom pancake – and then I drizzled mine in maple syrup. It seemed odd to add maple syrup but it actually tasted SO good!
Mondial Pancake House is a little cafe with simple decor, but the food is great and reasonably priced too considering its central location.
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels
Another Amsterdam delicacy! Van Wonderen Stroopwafels make hot sweet cinnamon waffles, which are made from two very thin circular cinnamon batters on top of eachother, with hot caramel sauce sandwiched inside.
You could choose any topping you wanted, so Chloe had hers dipped in chocolate sauce and sprinkled it with mini chunks of fudge and I had mine dipped in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with mini smarties. They were hard to eat hot as it all just fell apart – but if you’ve got the patience to let it go cold first and eat it, I salute you!
The Chicken Bar
We headed to The Chicken Bar for lunch one day and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The modern restaurant serves up a range of chicken dishes, accompanied by a small selection of sides. The menu is fairly small but the food is so delicious and the staff are super friendly and helpful also. We ordered a cider each, and then Chloe ordered a chicken burger and Vleminckx fries as a side. I ordered a selection of starters, including the chicken wings and the pulled chicken tacos. The food is a little pricey here but tastes fantastic – so it’s a great place to go if you love chicken!
I found Mama Kelly on Instagram and knew I had to visit the pink millennial restaurant whilst we were in Amsterdam. If you’re a fan of pink and gold and love getting the perfect ‘gram shot, it’s certainly the place to go. It’s oddly located in an outbuilding of a stadium, but once inside it’s cool and chic. Although it doesn’t live up to the photos online, the decor is cool and the food good also. I wouldn’t shout about it or rush to go back again, but it was cool to go there for dinner! We had a cocktail each and ordered a Caesar salad each, and we shared a portion of parmesan cheese fries with truffle mayonnaise. As with most places in Amsterdam it was quite pricey, but the experience was cool!
Coffee & Coconuts
Coffee and Coconuts was BY FAR my favourite dining experience in Amsterdam!
Housed in a former 1920s cinema, the cafe spreads out over 4 floors, with stunning boho-vibe furniture and a light and airy beachy feel. Chloe and I went here for breakfast one morning; Chloe ordered CT’s Granola with fresh seasonal fruit and I ordered the French Toast; fluffy eggy toasted brioche, caramelised bananas, maple syrup, strawberries and red fruit compote.
This is probably one of my favourite breakfasts to date – it tasted incredible! Especially the crunchy caramel banana. Despite the fairly slow service, I’d definitely go back here for breakfast/brunch again!
Another one for the sweet lovers out there! We popped in here for a snack, and ended up having a cookie each, which was heated up, drizzled in white chocolate sauce and topped with strawberries. The white chocolate cookie and Oreo cookie was great but SUPER sweet!
- Taxis cost an absolute fortune here, so buy travel cards for the Metro. The trains are clean, easy to use and have easy-to-follow maps so it’s unlikely to get lost.
- Be careful of cyclists – they whizz past and appear from nowhere!
- Don’t photograph people working in the Red Light District – not only is it illegal but it’s also totally disrespectful.
- Check out the filming locations in Amsterdam – The Fault in Our Stars and Baptiste for example have been filmed here!
Have you been to Amsterdam before?