August 30, 2016

Amsterdam Diary & Recommendations



I took 161 photographs on my Nikon D3300 over the course of our five day trip. Snap happy? Perhaps, but I have no regrets; this was one of the happiest trips of my lifetime, and I’m so glad I got to document it well. Whittling it down to these 47 (an odd number, I know) for you to look at it was difficult, but I think I’ve picked wisely! I wasn’t able to photograph everything we did, so I thought I’d do a quick run through of my trip at the end of my photo diary; hopefully this gives you some inspiration for your own Dutch getaway! Stick around to hear more about my mini vacay...















































Anne Frank’s House
One of the most anticipated parts of our trip. It’s become a favourite with tourists and a must-see for all Amsterdam go-ers. Luckily, we managed to book tickets in advance, because the queue was insane (and in the rain). I started reading Anne Frank’s diary when I was about ten years old. Obviously, I didn’t quite make it to the end… I was an ambitious child! Visiting Anne Frank’s house as an adult can only be described as… emotional. If I’m honest, a small part of me thought it may be boring/a bit of a let-down. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I found the experience to be so fascinating, there really aren’t any words to describe it. I felt so inspired to read Anne’s diary – properly this time – that I bought myself a new copy in the gift shop. I feel like this is a really precious souvenir to have, as they sticker the book for you, to show that it was bought there. I haven’t started it yet (I haven’t really had the time to dedicate to reading, lately), but I’ll get there eventually. I honestly could not recommend visiting Anne Frank’s house enough. Tickets are only 9€ each (adult). If you have a ticket, you can visit Anne Frank’s house from 9am to 3.30pm. If you do not already have a ticket, you can visit from 3.30pm to 10pm and purchase on the door, but be warned, the queues are mad! It is a small museum with limited capacity, and the demand for tickets is great. I would 100% recommend purchasing well in advance of your trip. For more information, click here to visit the website.

Coffee Shops and Pit Stops 
Neither my lovely boyfriend nor I smoke, so unfortunately I can’t claim expertise on this subject. I am partial to a slice of cake mind… I was advised by a friend to avoid the Bulldog (we popped in for a drink one day, anyway, and said friend was right… it wasn’t great), but to give Prix D’ami and Goa a go. We didn’t quite feel ‘cool’ enough for Prix D’ami; they even ID and metal detect on the door. We walked in and straight back out again. It was smokey, lazy and quite odd, if you’re not used to that kinda thing. We did give Goa a bash, but it was much smaller and only for smokers. In the end, my favourite turned out to be a smaller, less well-known coffee shop called the Greenhouse Effect. The owner (at least I think he owns the place) is English and a really funny bloke – great for those less experienced in this area, as there is someone to ask questions. Just a little disclaimer here, before I move on: I do not advocate the use of drugs. No matter what anybody tells you, each and every drug is harmful to your system, in one way or another. Drug abuse can affect your physical and mental health, and I would advise seeking medical help if you find you have become reliant on drugs or are suffering side effects/medical issues as a result of drug use. If you do want to take drugs in Amsterdam, please do it legally (cannabis is legal to purchase and use in Amsterdam), know your limits and only do it if you feel safe and supported by the people you’re with! Lecture over… have fun guys! If you fancy something a little more innocent, there are plenty of crepe shops around Amsterdam (not great for the diet, I know) – pancakes, waffles and Nutella galore!

The Sex Museum
You can’t visit Amsterdam and not visit the Sex Museum, can you? Entry is something silly like 4€ per person, and it’s small enough to fit in a quick visit in between other plans. It’s ideally located a few minutes’ walk from Amsterdam Central station and there are loads of restaurants surrounding it, so you can stop for lunch before you go in. Perhaps not the best place to visit if you’re exceptionally prudish (or visiting with relatives), the Sex Museum is a great laugh, and I don’t think it needs much explaining!

The Heineken Experience 
Another favourite for tourists. It was great learning about how Heineken (Amsterdam’s infamous beer) is brewed and hearing about the history behind the brand. Once inside you’re free to take the tour at your own pace. There is multimedia to watch, plenty of photo opportunities and even horses to see! There are photo booths where you can input your email address and get free, novelty souvenir photographs. You also get a pint and a half of free beer along the way.

Amsterdam Glow Golf
I know there are probably tonnes of places in the UK where you can do a similar thing, but we’d never done anything like this before, and I thought it was so cool! The Glow Golf course is situated below a bar called Grand CafĂ© Noah’s Arq (ideal for a quick drink or five after). On arrival, you’re presented with score cards, pencils and 3D glasses and showed down to the 15 hole course. We had to take our 3D glasses off (as did many other guests) as it was all a bit too trippy for our liking, in more ways than one… I kept tripping up on 3D parts of the course! This didn’t make a difference, the course was still great without the 3D aspects. I’d definitely recommend an evening visit, if you have the time. It’s walking distance from central Amsterdam and is a relatively cheap activity. For more info, click here to visit the website.

The Red Light District
The red light district wasn’t as pronounced in Amsterdam as I had anticipated. By day, it looks like a relatively normal area… nothing unusual. It consists of a network of alleyways, containing hundreds of rooms. The local prostitutes stand in the windows, trying to entice men in. This was such a weird concept to me. Obviously, I knew about the red light district before my visit, but it was just so much to take in. I saw other female tourists shaking their heads and heard one lady say she thought it was ‘so degrading to women!’ Once I’d gotten over the shock of seeing it all, I managed to form the complete opposite opinion. I actually think it’s quite empowering, and is totally their choice. It’s the norm out there. There are hundreds of sex shops littered around the red light district, with dildos galore lining the window displays. It’s all a little bit hilarious to be honest! The red light district is also home to plenty of live sex shows. I’ve been advised by a friend that they’re a must-see, but I decided this was a bit too much for me and gave it a miss.

Efteling
Efteling is a theme park which is actually in Kaatsheuvel, NL. It’s only an hour and a quarter’s drive from Amsterdam, though, and they have a hotel resort if you want to stay over. We’d had this planned and tickets purchased for quite some time before our trip, so we hired a car from Enterprise in advance and also booked a stay at the Mitland Hotel (which we chose since it is half way between Efteling and Walibi, which we visited in 2 consecutive days). They market themselves as a ‘world of wonders’ and I’d say that’s an accurate description. Efteling features beautiful woodland scenes and has something for all the family. The park itself is absolutely huge, and there is so much to do, that I’d recommend an early start! Arguably, the main attraction is white-knuckle rollercoaster ride ‘Baron 1898,’ which only opened in early 2016. The ride encompasses a haunted mine and initially plunges you down a 37.5m free fall into the mineshaft at 90km/h. Baron is so well set and themed (as is the whole of the park). Another of my favourite attractions was ‘Droomvlucht’ which is an indoor, dark ride. If you’ve ever visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom and experienced the magic of the Peter Pan ride, this is what I’d compare Droomvlucht to. It’s a slow ride around a night-time forest scene, full of fairies and mystical creatures. Another must-see at Efteling is the Fairytale Forest. It is predominantly aimed at children, but is full of all the wonderful fairytales you would have experienced as a child, such as Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel. If I were to sum it up in one word, it would definitely be Instagrammable! For more info, click here to visit the Efteling website.

Walibi
We visited Walibi theme park the day after Efteling. Walibi Holland is located in the Province of Flevoland and is an hour’s drive from Amsterdam (according to Google maps). This theme park is way less Disneyesque that Efteling and is more like a Dutch version of Thorpe Park or Alton Towers (apologies to my international readers, who won’t understand that very English reference). My two favourite rides here were Goliath and Xpress: Platform 13. Goliath looks mild from the ground, but once it gets going, it really makes your stomach go! It’s a rollercoaster which features drop after drop. Xpress: Platform 13 is very much like Disney’s Rock ‘n Rollercoaster. I thought the theming of this ride was very well done. I don’t want to ruin it too much, in case any of you visit in the future, but the basic gist of the ride is that there was an accident on platform 13 of the train station decades ago, and investigations are being reopened into the deaths of those involved. The rollercoaster starts inside, but launches you, and the majority of the ride is then outside. This was a lovely day out, but if you only have time to visit one theme park in Holland, I’d definitely make it Efteling! For more info, click here to visit the Walibi website.

Overall, I could not recommend Amsterdam enough. It’s the best city break I’ve ever been on! The canals are beautiful, there is so much to do and it’s such an unusual place, there really is nowhere else like it. Have you been to Amsterdam before? If so, what did you make of it?!
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16 comments

  1. I've always wanted to go to Amsterdam! My best friend has just moved there for university so I'll definitely be visiting soon!
    Cloe X http://clxelouise.blogspot.com

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  2. It's one of the best places I've been! I loved it. Aw that's so cool, have fun visiting!xx

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  3. This is sooo cool to see as a Dutch person. Glad you've had a good one here. I also really love the Efteling :-)

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    1. So glad my post has done the Netherlands proud, ha! I had an amazing trip, I've honestly been raving about it to everyone. Efteling is a pretty special place :)

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  4. Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities and we sometimes go there as it's only 2 hours from home. I have never visited any theme parks in Holland but both look really cool. I visited the Anne Frank House when I was a young child and I still remember it really well because it was so fascinating xx

    113thingstosay.com

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    1. Same! I'm usually not a fan of city breaks (I much prefer to chill by the pool), but this was such an amazing trip; I loved every second! It's the same for me - I could literally book an early morning flight from London Southend Airport and do a day trip there :)xx

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  5. Wow, such incredible photos! Amsterdam looks amazing! x

    TOUCHOFGUCCI // BLOGLOVIN 

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    1. Thank you! :) They aren't perfect, but I'm still getting used to my DSLR! I do love the shots I took of my boyfriend though, I'm definitely going to frame the one of him on the bridge with the trees in the background x

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  6. Sounds like you guys had an amazing trip! I'm saving this and sending it to the BF cos I'd love to go, I'm glad theres more to Amsterdam than its drug persona! That glow golf looks RIGHT up my street too!! xxx

    hannatalks

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  7. Sooo much fun! Knew you'd like the glow golf haha. You have to go, you'll legit love it!xxx

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  8. Gorgeous pictures, I was in Amsterdam over the summer and I am so disappointed we didn't visit the theme park.. I never knew about it until now. If you go again you should definitely visit the prostitution museum in the red light district, to my surprise it wasn't seedy at all and I actually learned a lot in there.. as weird as that sounds! haha. You have a really wonderful blog, keep up your amazing work gorgeous gal! x

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

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    1. I don't think many people do to be honest! Sometimes venturing out slightly can lead to some pretty awesome things. Ah, thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely be going back at some point, since I loved it so much! Aw, thank you, that means a lot!x

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  9. Amsterdam is so photogenic,
    I was there in May and it was hot so I enjoyed it more.
    Glad you enjoyed it :)


    ZEKALIN

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    1. It is! Haha, agreed... Sunshine makes everything better!

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  10. We've never been to Amsterdam but your pictures look so amazing, it's giving us travel inspiration! You have a great eye for photography!

    ISA Professional

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