Sunday, 15 January 2017

11 Things to do in Amsterdam

An image of a snowy Amsterdam canal and houses with bikes in the foreground

Hey Guys,



And welcome to the second instalment of my 2017 Amsterdam blog series!

You may know that I recently took a short trip to Amsterdam with my best friend to celebrate my 25th birthday! It was an amazing few days of relaxation, culture, food and night life! I have put together this post that rounds up a few of the best things I did this time around (my forth trip to the Dutch city) that will hopefully inspire you for your own trip!


1. Vintage Shopping

Image of the inside of "Kilo" a vintage shop in Amsterdam
"Kilo Shop"
One thing I didn't really know about Amsterdam is the amount of vintage stores it houses! After 3 previous trips, I definitely noticed the abundance of these quirky stores more this time around. 
Although I had literally zero space in my suitcase to shop, I did manage to have a cheeky browse of many stores. I have included the info of a few shops I visited below...

A screenshot from my Amsterdam YouTube video
Trying on berets in my latest YouTube video
An image of the "Episode Vintage" shop front

"Episode" (lots of locations) - Waterlooplein, 1011 NV Amsterdam
"Kilo Shop" (2  locations) - Waterlooplein, Jodenbreestraat 158
"Time Machine" - Nieuwe Hoogstraat 5, 1011 HG Amsterdam
"Bis! Vintage" - St. Antoniebreestr 25A, 1011 HB Amsterdam

2. Explore the Street Art

A bit of Amsterdam street art - an illustration of a woman's body with the caption "My body, my rules"

I guess this can kind of be intertwined with a general stroll around the city, but I have included this as it's own post to remind you to keep your eyes peeled! Amsterdam is full of funny/funky stickers, posters and street art- some without explanation. Naomi and I had a lot of fun chuckling at many of them! 
Here are a few that I found to wet your whistle...

A bit of Amsterdam street art - an illustration that reads "Happy to be".

A bit of Amsterdam street art - an illustration that reads "Let's get drunk and party with some really slutty boys".

A bit of Amsterdam street art - an illustration that reads "Abracadabra, nope you're still a bitch"

3. Enjoy a stone baked pizza at Da Portare Via

An image of the "Da Portare Via" menu

This was a recommendation from a friend who lives in Amsterdam. Da Portare Via is a small chain of three successful pizza joints- (think Franco Manca). 
This was the first place we went as soon as we arrived and it was just what we needed after a long morning of travelling! 
These yummy stone-baked pizzas come in small (around €10- pictured below) or large (around €12) and with a selection of five white sauce pizzas and 10 red sauce pizzas. Naomi is pescatarian and there were lots of options for her (including 6 vegetarian options)!

An image of the pizza from Da Portare Via

4. Take a walk during the day

An image of an Amsterdam canal during the day

Amsterdam is full of gorgeous, picturesque streets, houses and canals. There is an endless amount of beauty to be found in this city. 
During the trip, we did not once take any form of transport! Our feet were our guides and I think this is the best way to see the city. 
If you are a keen blogger or photographer like me, it is also a great opportunity to stumble across some great shots!

An image of Eboni standing on an Amsterdam bridge

An image of an Amsterdam pigeon
Naomi took this one!

An image of the sunset in Amsterdam by a canal with the Bulldog Cafe in the foreground.


5. Take a walk during the evening/night

An image of an Amsterdam canal in the evening with fairy lights and reflections.

Amsterdam becomes a magical fairy kingdom at night with almost every street and restaurant boasting endless lengths of beautiful fairy lights. All of a sudden, a cute day becomes a très romantique night! As we were around in January, these lights can be seen from the early evening as the sun sets so early.


An image of an Amsterdam canal in the evening with fairy lights and reflections.

An image of an Amsterdam canal in the evening with fairy lights and reflections.

6. Relax in the Andaz Amsterdam Spa*

A treatment room in the Andaz Amsterdam Spa.

Spending the day at 5* Andaz Amsterdam was one of the highlights of the trip! We were invited by the lovely PR team to have a complimentary treatment each. You can read all about the experience here.
I would highly recommend the Andaz Amsterdam Spa as a way to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday, or even if you have no reason at all other than treating yourself or a loved one! 

Inside the Andaz Amsterdam Spa - the sauna and showers in the background

Eboni chilling in the Andaz Amsterdam Spa booths.
Chilling in one of the relaxation booths before a session in the sauna!

7. Enjoy lunch at Cafe Schuim

Eboni being silly with the Cafe Schuim wall tinsel in Amsterdam.

We accidentally stumbled upon Cafe Schuim whilst looking for somewhere to eat. Located on the same road as our accommodation (Spuistraat) it was really well located. I guessed by the funky decor, the stage/speakers and large bar, that this is generally an evening entertainment venue (which also explains why it was so quiet at 1pm). I can't comment on the evenings, however the lunch we had was absolutely delicious amd super affordable. The service wasn't the best, however we came away happy with our meals and the venue itself was pretty cool!

The burger and chips served at Cafe Schium, Amsterdam,

8. The Van Gough Museum

Eboni posing in front of a huge Van Gough portrait in the Van Gough museum, Amsterdam.

A classic activity that could be seen as a "must-do" for tourists. As this wasn't my first trip, I have already been to the Anne Frank Huis, which is my absolute favourite place to visit in Dam. Naomi is an art student and really wanted to visit the Van Gough Museum so I went along to keep her company. 
The museum is quite extensive and takes about 60-75 mins to get around. If you are a fan of Van Gough, this is the perfect place for you! 
My reccomendation would be to book your ticket in advance to avoid queues at the venue. Handy tip- they accept tickets shown on your phone screen :)

9. Afternoon Tea at Bluespoon Restaurant*

The afternoon tea service at Bluespoon restaurant, Amsterdam.

The Bluespoon Restaurant is a part of the Andaz Amsterdam hotel. Naomi and I enjoyed this delightful Afternoon Tea service just after our spa trip! 
You can read more about the whole experience here. But for now, enjoy these mouth watering close up's of the cakes, good enough to rival an M&S ad!

Afternoon tea at Bluesoon, Amsterdam- Pecan pie, chocolate truffle and cakes.

10. Amsterdam Light Festival

An Amsterdam light festival display as seen from a canal boat.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual art display put together by various artists. 
Naomi and I booked tickets for an evening boat ride that toured each light sculpture. I would highly recommend this! For only €19, you get an hour canal cruise, a guided tour of each piece with fun facts and (maybe the best bit) access to unlimited mulled wine, tea, coffee and hot chocolate! But hurry! The festival only happens for two months each year. 

An Amsterdam light festival display as seen from a canal boat.

A rainbow of lights- the Amsterdam light festival display as seen from a canal boat.

11. Enjoy a Hot Chocolate break

A hot chocolate topped with whipped cream from The Coffee Company, Amsterdam.

Finally, after all that walking, eating and shopping, there is no better way to recouperate than with a delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream! Naomi and I visited a couple of spots over the few days. 
I loved The Coffee Company (pictured). It is a chain of lovely (actual) coffee shops and they do a mean hot chocolate! Latei on Zeedijk also did a great hot choc, despite their main attraction being the tasty food and quirky restaurant layout! 


So, there you have it! Thanks for sticking around until the end. I hope you are feeling relatively inspired for a trip to Dam. I had such a great time. Do let me know if you go exploring any of these places. You can tweet me @ebonidixon