At the end of first term, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a three night winter break to Amsterdam, just before Christmas.
We stayed at the Tire Station, an eco-friendly hotel located in the Museum Quarter of the city. Prices start from just £54 a night and I would thoroughly recommend staying here. The staff are extremely friendly and it was in an extremely quiet location, making for a peaceful night’s rest after long days of exploring.
Image from The Big Adventure
The hotel also has its own bakery, Sticky Fingers, which is not to be missed. Amsterdam’s biggest park, Vondelpark, is merely a stone’s throw from the Tire Station and we really enjoyed going for a relaxing morning stroll here. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll also enjoy seeing the vast amount of dogs playing!
Image from A-Bike Rental & Tours
Aside from the influx of bicycles, we found that the best way to get around the city was using the tram. With the tram stop only a short walk from the hotel and a reasonable 17 euros each for a three-day pass, it was definitely worth doing. The trams are reliable and frequent and we also found them to be nice and warm when coming in from the icy Amsterdam air!
Image from I Amsterdam
The Anne Frank House
On our first afternoon, we visited the Anne Frank House. It is worth noting that they only accept online reservations so it’s essential to book your tickets before you go, as there is no ticket office. The museum has recently been updated and the history was well navigated- you are presented with a device in your chosen language that is pointed at specific places of interest in the building, which tells you everything you need to know. A hard-hitting but important visit- I would definitely recommend going.
Image from Lonely Planet
As we had planned our visit around Christmas, we were excited to visit Amsterdam’s Christmas markets. We found ourselves at the same Christmas market next to the Rijksmuseum twice, as it was not particularly busy but definitely had a lovely festive feel. The stalls are situated around a large ice rink and bar, where food and unique gifts were available to purchase.
Image from Rove.me
We were typical Amsterdam tourists and visited the ice bar, where you receive drinks vouchers upon purchasing your ticket. Booking in advance here is also advisable, as it is only small and is easily booked up. I enjoyed the unique experience here, but was disappointed with the limited choice of drinks when you are in the ice bar itself, as you can only choose from beer or a flavoured shot. Not being a particular fan of either, I much preferred the cocktail that was served in the lounge, prior to being escorted into the ice bar.
Image from Tickets Holland
Above all, the highlight of my visit to Amsterdam was the evening canal cruise. I had booked this through TripAdvisor for my boyfriend’s birthday, where we enjoyed pizza, ice cream and unlimited drinks on board. The cruise was just over 90 minutes and we were introduced to the main sights along the canal. The waiters and tour guides could not have done enough for you.
Image from Viator.com
If you are looking for an affordable city break, then Amsterdam is definitely the place for you. We found that three nights was the perfect amount of time to spend there and look forward to returning in the future.