Interested in Amsterdam?
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Highlights from our last trip.
Amsterdam is a fascinating lively and beautiful city with it's majestic canals, gorgeous 17Th century gable canal houses, stone bridges and the many historical stately buildings, makes this city a delightful experience to explore. The four main canals the Herengracht (Lords canal) is the first main one followed by Keizergracht ( Emperor's Canal ), Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal), and Singel Canal dominate the city.
The first thing you notice when arriving in Amsterdam are the bicycles which almost seem to out number the people. The city is flat so it makes cycling an ideal way of commuting in the city.
We totally had heaps of fun and enjoyed ALL aspects of Amsterdam even the seedy part of the Red Light District.
The best way to get around Amsterdam is on foot, its a easy city to manage except bring a good pair of walking shoes as the cobblestone streets do damage to your feet. Walking gives you an opportunity to really get the feel of Amsterdam.
Other modes of transport :
Train : The Central Station is housed in a lovely building - excellent railway system.
Taxi's : Are expensive in Amsterdam you are best taking a tram and walking. Always take the TCA Taxis.
Bicycles : Is the way to go in Amsterdam and can easily be hired at numerous bike shops scattered around the city. The most popular ones are the Yellow Bike Rentals found one block from Dam Square or Mikes Red Bikes. Bikes have their own lanes with traffic lights and are respected as a vital means of transport.
We hired from the yellow bike company and found the bikes to be basic (no gears). Cyling around Amsterdam is fun and you do get a great feel for the city however it can be challenging at times even with bike lanes.
Horse Taxi : Can be found at Dam Square - a fun way to get around.
Bicycle Taxis " is another attraction which tourists enjoy. The taxi carry's two passengers and for a tour of 30 minutes costs approx 10 euro per person. They can also pick you up from your hotel and ride you around the city.
Trams : Are excellent for getting around the city - hop on/ hop off.
Amsterdam Airport is revelantly easy to get around. it takes approx 20minutes on the train from central Station. The station is inside the airport, in the arrival hall, close to the Schiphol Plaza. The ticket machines are located inside the baggage area and near the escalators for the train platform look for the big yellow cubes. The code for Amsterdam Central Station is 1000.
A taxi from Schiphol airport to Amsterdam main central district will cost you about 40 euro's
I AMsterdam Card - 24hrs - E33, 48hrs - E44 and 72hrs - E53, the card can be ordered online http://www.iamsterdam.com
The card gives you FREE entrance to Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Rembrandthuis Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam and much more
Unlimited public transport (airport train not included)
Visit Madame Tussauds and Amsterdam Dungeon and receive 25% discount
The Toren Hotel is located on the canal a brief stroll to Anne Franks House and approx 5 min walk into the Dam Square. The hotel is housed in a charming old building which sits proudly on the canal avenue.
Overall – a small intimate and romantic hotel with excellent staff, the hotel would certainly suit B&B lovers . We also enjoyed having evening drinks at the cosy warm bar. Apart from the size of the room we thought the hotel to offer a comfortable stay although it’s a little pricey
Depending on your budget there are many different options regarding where to stay in Amsterdam.
Most expensive and best - Intercontinental Hotel - beautiful building.
Closest to Dam Square - Hotel Krasnapolsky
Luxury Hotels (intimate ) - Hotel Pulitzer , The Toren and Seven Bridges.
Classical Hotels - Grand Hotel Amrath , The American Hotel.
The De Luwte Restaurant is located just a few minutes walk from the Toren Hotel on a pretty canal side position.
The staff were very attentive and offered us a three course meal at a reasonable rate. We found the food to be terrific and quite frankly just perfect for our dinner. I highly recommend this local restaurant for anyone looking for a casual and elegant meal
We ordered two steaks which were cooked to perfection with a few side dishes. The wine list was adequate but slightly limited for a large steakhouse. The staff were excellent especially considering it was totally full. If looking for a good steakhouse in Amsterdam we can honestly recommend Gauchos as being first rate with wonderful steaks.
Hotel Krasnapolsky is located in prime position in Dams Square. It's a lovely grand hotel offering an excellent lunch buffet. However, the buffet is not cheap but its an excellent way to enjoy a pleasant afternoon in Amsterdam.
La Boca - Argentina Steakhouse - Paleisstraat
Flo - French Restaurant - Amstelstraat
Haesje Claes - Dutch - Spuistraat
Basically Amsterdam is divided into different districts. The main tourist ones are :
a) Dam Square - the main central area of Amsterdam.
b) The Jordaan - Plenty of cafes, restaurants and boutique style shops.
c) Rembrandtplein - One of Amsterdam's best night spots with heaps of cafes, nightlife and bars.
d) Leidseplein - another vibrant nightlife area.
e ) Museumplein : The museum district and diamond factories.
f) The Red Light District
Dam Square is the central and oldest part of Amsterdam many attractions can be found around Dam Square such as National War Memorial, Royal Palace , Madame Tussaud's Musuem and the historical Gothic Church. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy and is a great place to sit and people watch.
The Bloemenmarkts (Flower Markets) are located on numerous permanently moored barges along the Singel Canal. If you want to cheer yourself up just take a stroll through the stunning spectacular array of flowers and bulbs in the markets. Every type of flower or bulb is sold here including Cannabis. There are plenty of tourists shops along the canal most are average but there is a fabulous Christmas Shop for those who like to collect Christmas decorations.
Anne Frank Museum - is the hiding house where Anne Frank wrote her WW2 diary, its located just around the corner from the Toren Hotel. we had good intentions on going but once we saw the huge crowd lined up we just gave it a miss. The museum is open from 9AM - 9PM . Its advisable to get there early or late in the day to avoid the queues. Admission is - 7.50 (adult).
Van Gogh Museum - If you are a lover of Van Gogh and other French Impressionists artists then you will love this museum . It has over 200 Van Gogh's paintings, hundred's of his drawings and original letters . It gets very busy so expect crowds.
You are best to have an Amsterdam Card to avoid lining up as the card gives you free admission.
Take a tram no 2 from the Central Station. The museum is open every day from 10am to 6pm, Fridays till 10pm. You can hire an audio tour to take you round the gallery
Another must see museum for art lover's. The muesum is housed in Rembrandt's own 17th Century house which reflects his life and art. The museum has a whole collection of Rembrants etchings.
Magna Plaza is housed in a maginifcent historical building in neo-gothic and neo-renaissance style which used to be the main post-office in Amsterdam. Its located directly behind the Royal Palace on Dam Square, there are three levels of 40 exclusive shops most being designer labels so bring your credit card !
The main shopping areas :
Kalverstaat : Runs from Munt Sqaure to Dam Square - countless stores offering an array of trendy clothes, jewellery and footwear.
Leidsestraat : between the Leidseplein and Spui, and the Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, leading from the Munt Tower via the Dam to near the Central Station .
The Bijenkorf Department store located right in the centre on about 10 minutes walk from Central Station . It can be found adjacent to the War Memorial Statue in Dams Square. It's an upmarket luxury department store probably a little like Harrods.
The Nine Streets - Can be located in the Canal District - they are plenty of interesting boutique style shops and its a lovely way to waste a few hours strolling along the streets.
Experiencing a Canal Tour really is a must do for a tourist. We throughly enjoyed ours and sitting back on the boat and taking in the awesome architectural buildings and sweet canals. The canals are one of the major attractions of Amsterdam, also called 'Venice of the North , there are four main canals in the canal belt which are Singel , Prinsengracht , Herengracht, and Keizersgracht.
They run very frequently so there is no need to book and can be found along the Damrak and Rokin downtown. Try to get a window seat or wait until the next boat .
Heineken Brewery. - This is another great attraction to visit and taste the beer and do the Brew You Ride tour . This tour is definitely one for the men..!
Amsterdam has some gorgeous parks and the most popular being Vondel Park which is located directly across the road from the casino. We rode our bikes around the park and it was a lovely experience.