Together, we already went twice for a week-end in Amsterdam. It is a vibrant city and we loved our visit every time. And no, it’s not only about party and weed, but architecture, gastronomy and art (okay, and bicycles). One of our favourite city in Europe so far, more intimate than London or Paris but still with a strong cultural richness. You will love it rain or shine (but make sure to always bring a jumper), may you stay away from the tourists who have come here only to party. Those are the only problem with this city.
Did you know? With its many and beautiful canals and incredible architecture, Amsterdam is often nicknamed “ Venice of the North“. A nickname shared with many cities of the North such as Bruges or Colmar!
How to go to Amsterdam ?
From Paris, it’s usually very cheap and easy. Each time, we paid 35 euros per person each way for Paris-Amsterdam on some very convenient time (Friday evening to Sunday evening).
Just make sure to book 2 to 3 months in advance to get the lowest prices.
You can book your tickets direct on Thalys website.
You can go by plane as well, even if we would not recommend it if you are coming from Paris. Gare du Nord in Paris to Amsterdam Central Station is super convenient to do and much more cheaper (you will save money from the train going to either Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) or Orly, and from the airport in Amsterdam as well. You will save as well a lot of time on your week-end just going for the train option. Just drop your luggage at your hotel / Airbnb, and you can enjoy your first evening in Amsterdam!
One tip for your check-out date: around the Amsterdam central station, you will find some storage options in shops and restaurants. Very convenient not to drag your heavy luggage around the city on your last day! You can also text your Airbnb / hotel few days before arrival. If they do not give the possibility to store the luggage on site they will probably you redirect you to some services / places which would keep it for you. Count 3 to 4 euros per luggage. If you do not know the shop, just google it quickly to check reviews, and you should be all safe!
When should I visit Amsterdam ?
As mentioned before, Amsterdam is beautiful in any weather. However, if you are like us and love to walk a lot around the city you visit, we would advice to book your stay during Spring. Be aware that Easter week-end is super busy, as any week-end including a bank holiday in Europe. It may not be an issue, just make sure to book your accommodation in advance and to book some museum pass not to queue for hours.
Where to sleep in Amsterdam ?
Each time we went for a week-end in Amsterdam, we planned it as a romantic getaway week-end, and every time we had chosen some quite expensive places. However, you will see that lodging in Amsterdam is usually crazy expensive and always remember to look at some hotels / Airbnb options before booking your flight / train tickets, as usually you will find some great deals for transportation, and will not expect the super high prices for accommodation.
Our stay at Mr. Jordaan Hotel
Two years ago, we booked a room at Mr. Jordaan Hotel. The overall experience was great, we loved the atmosphere in the hotel and the kind staff. Big plus for the gift bag we got at the end of our stay! The only downside was that our room was super small (even if well decorated and comfortable) for the price. The location is absolutely perfect though and we loved our stay.
Breakfast is not included, between 15 euros and 17,5 euros.
Where to eat in Amsterdam?
Mayur (Indian restaurant) – Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 203 | 1017 RB firstname.lastname@example.org| +31 20 623 21 42
It was a recommendation and we really loved it! We are big Indian food fans and this was a tasty discovery for us. You will find some tasting menu from 39,50 euros per person. Don’t forget to book as it gets really busy in the evening. You can book online on their website: https://mayur.nl/en/
Pluk (Healthy food and drink) – Reestraat 19 or Berenstraat 19 – 9am to 6pm everyday
Great address for healthy brunch in Amsterdam (and for avocado toast lovers)! If you prefer, you can have a lighter breakfast or a yummy lunch or just grab one of their delicious fruit juice! Don’t forget to have a look at their shops as well, for interior design and fashion selection.
Breda Restaurant (Fine dining) – Singel 210, 1016 AB Amsterdam The Netherlands +31 20 622 5233
Recommended by the Michelin Guide 2020, Breda is the perfect option for romantic and succulent dinner in Amsterdam, after a day wandering in the city. Set menus starts from 62,5 euros for dinner (without wine). Staff is very obliging and the interior is absolutely gorgeous! Definitely one of our best address in Amsterdam.
Many of the best restaurants of Amsterdam are bookable directly on the fork. If you are ensure where to eat, do not hesitate to check them out and book them directly there!.
What to do during a week-end in Amsterdam ?
Anne Franck House
Westermarkt 20 1016 DK Amsterdam – Daily from 9am to 7pm (10pm on Saturday). Price: Free for kids under 10 years old, 5 euros for kids aged 10-17 and 10 euros per adult.
Anne Franck House is definitely a must see and is accessible for both children and adults. It is a total immersion in the Secret Annex during the World War II, after Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis and the Jews had to hide, as Anne Franck and her family did.
Anne Franck had written in her journal that she wanted to become a journalist and publish her diary after the war. She will never become a journalist, as she perished in the death camp Bergen-Belsen in February 1945, 2 months before the allies had liberated the camp. She was 15. But her father will publish her diary, which is today translated in 70 languages, read by people all around the World, has inspired movies and plays.
If you have never read it, don’t forget to buy your copy of the Diary of a young girl while you are there.
Open daily 9am-5pm – Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX
The Rijksmuseum, open since 1885, is one of the most famous museum in Netherlands, and one of the greatest in Europe. If you are a fan of art, you cannot skip it under any circumstances. More than a million objects from the years 1200 to 2000 are displayed there. Count 2 to 3 hours inside the museum.
The ones you do not want to miss: The Milkmaid by Vermeer and Rembrandt’s Night Watch, The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn and The Wedding Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen by Frans Hals.
While Coronavirus lockdown is on, you can visit the Rijksmuseum from home here and access some videos about the stories of the museum’s curators favourite works of art. Have a look!
And if you are not that much into museum, at least go have a look at the building and its gardens, it’s spectacular.
The Moco Museum
Honthorststraat 20 (Museumplein) next to Van Gogh Museum, 1071 DE. Free under 12 years old, 14 euros with discount and 15,5 per adult. The museum offers 25% discount if you book not and visit later with their flexible ticket.
The Moco Museum is a boutique museum where you will see modern and contemporary art such as Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Basquiat or Banksy. As the Moco team says “A one-of-a-kind experience aimed at a wide audience, a visit to Moco is a true eye-opener.”, don’t miss it!
Wander in Jordaan
Jordaan is our favourite district in Amsterdam. So many little streets, restaurants and shops to explore ! It is now a very trendy area, but it used to be a poor district for immigrants in Amsterdam, where, a century ago, 80 000 person were living there – almost 4 times the current population!
When strolling on the streets, you will be so relieved that the city did not demolished all the small houses back in 1970 as they had planned to do! Don’t forget to check out the markets happening every week in Jordaan.
Flea markets in Jordaan:
At the Noordermarkt, where you will find old-fashioned Dutch plates, pots, linen, clothes and leather items (Every Monday until 1pm)
Food markets in Jordaan:
- Lindenmarkt at the Lindengracht on Saturdays
- Westerstraat on Mondays
- Biological food market at the Noordermarkt on Saturdays
Have a walk in Vondelpark
What a lovely walk you will have in the largest park in Amsterdam, and the most famous in Netherlands. More than 10 million of visitors every year, you will not be alone there! Located just next to the Rijksmuseum, you can enjoy some quiet time there after visiting the famous museum. Check online the schedule for free the concerts given there during summertime.
Go to a coffeeshop
But choose wisely. Bad experiences surrounding with bad people is really not something we would advice. The only place where we feel comfortable in Amsterdam is Paradox coffeeshop. The staff there is great, and you will find many board games to enjoy your time there.
More information here.
Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat 2-R 10am-8pm 020-6235639
Access: Tram : 13, 14, 17, Bus : 142, 170, 172, Stop : Westermarkt
Where to shop in Amsterdam ?
Alexandra loves to shop local brands and vintage clothes when we are abroad. In Amsterdam, we also have our favourite places for shopping.
Rozengracht 204-210, 1016 NL 020 – 37 08 708
Many addresses in Amsterdam, one in Jordaan. You will find there some great designer brands. Good shop for gifts and interior design as well. Alexandra loves to go there every time. Prices are a little high though.
2e Anjeliersdwarsstraat 19 1015NS, in Jordaan. Second hand clothes shop. Alexandra loves to go there every time and has already found some great treasure in Moriaan, including a colorful long dress, perfect for the summer!
What to do near Amsterdam ?
We met in Iceland a very nice couple and they invited us to visit them in Leiden, and it was a great idea! Leiden is a very picturesque little town, only 35 minutes from Amsterdam central station (around 10 euros per ticket). Away from the touristic crowd, you will discover some more magical canals. Our friends have a boat and we had a lovely evening, sailing at sunset among the channels
The Dutch city of Leiden Holland (Leyden in Dutch) is a picturesque community located in the tulip-growing district in the Netherlands. Home to the oldest university in the country, Leiden features spectacular landmarks, interesting tourist attractions and a variety of museums.
Our Amsterdam bucket list
The places we want to visit for our next trip to Amsterdam! It may inspire you as well.
- Brunch at Piqniq https://www.facebook.com/lunchcafepiqniq/
- Brunch at Café de Plantage https://caferestaurantdeplantage.nl/
- Visit the NDSM, the old artistic squat
- Check out the Nemo Museum
- Discover the Van Gogh Museum
- Go to Foodhallen
If you live in Amsterdam… how lucky you are!
Please let us know if you have any other activities you would recommend, restaurants or bars for a week-end (or more) in Amsterdam! We are definitely going back there as soon as it will be possible and we cannot wait to discover new things and new places!