If winter blues are hitting you hard, you’re probably in need of a quick getaway. Lucky for you, we felt the same way, so we hopped on a short flight to Amsterdam to show you the best spots for an easy weekend break.
There’s no better feeling than breaking up the long winter stretch with a weekend getaway (you know, because money is usually tight and all that). So, in the name of escape, we did our Skyscanner search and bought tickets to the cheapest, most fun place on the list. The result: Amsterdam.
3 days and 3 nights, we went with the mission to squeeze in as much adventure as possible without causing our bank accounts too much damage. This is our mini guide to ‘Dam: From 5D ‘flights’ over Holland to the famous house of Anne Frank and 5 more reasons why you need to go ASAP.
Your central hub.
Where: Amstelvlietstraat 4 1096 GG Amsterdam The Netherlands. A couple of minutes away from a Metro that takes you into Central in 10 minutes.
When: Amsterdam is perfect during every season, but there’s nothing like wrapping up and heading over during the winter.
Why: Finding the perfect place to stay is – subjectively – one of the most important parts of your city break. Having a clean, comfy base will make the whole trip feel better, especially after days out exploring. It’s also great when you find a hotel that had the luxuries you need whilst not breaking the bank.
The QO Amsterdam is our winning pick. One of the most stylish hotels we’ve seen, this hotel gives your getaway the lavish touch it deserves (and for a great price, too). Easy to get to all of the hotspots with staff that’ll go out their way to help you (they’ll even sort your Metro tickets without you even having to leave the building), this hotel got a 10/10 from us.
What’s more, the QO was designed to ensure that every part of the hotel is sustainable, making it low-impact on the planet. Win, win.
Website: Check out more of the QO Amsterdam here.
One boujee, plenty of backstreets.
Where: Persijn is housed in the QO Hotel (above).
When: Persijn is the kind of place to go to celebrate (even if it’s just the celebration of unbelievable food). If you’re after 1st class dining, don’t look anywhere else.
Why: Because if you’re going to Amsterdam, it’d be insane not to try some of their traditional cooking. With local, sustainable and seasonal food at the heart of everything Persijn does, you best believe you’ll get the height of Dutch cuisine right here. Persijn even has its very own greenhouse (on the rooftop!) where they grow their own produce, meaning every dish is as fresh as it comes. Veggies, fruit, herbs – they even raise their own fish in the greenhouse. Find another restaurant you can say that about!
When it comes to ordering, trust the staff to guide you in the right direction and you won’t be disappointed. A real treat best saved for special occasions, go all out with three-courses and a bottle of wine.
Website: Take a look at the menu and more here.
Where: Wherever you are!
When: Whenever. Even during peak season, there are plenty of eateries in the streets of Dam.
Why: If your schedule is jam-packed and you want to pick your meals as you go, head down the backstreets of the capital and you’ll find some absolute wonders. From pancake stops to Thai restaurants (and anything in-between), the multi-cultural city won’t let you down.
Our 4 favourite places to visit to ensure your trip has the right balance of culture and fun.
Where: You’ll find This Is Holland at Overhoeksplein 51, 1031 KS Amsterdam. If you’re in central, you’ll have to get one of the free ferries across to Overhoeksplein. They come frequently and they’re easy to navigate.
When: Pre-book your space to avoid disappointment. We suggest going at the start of your visit to Holland!
Why: If you’ve never been on a 5D flight before, you have to do this (even if you have, still do it!); this is a one-of-a-kind experience in Amsterdam. Broken into 4 parts, you’ll discover the history and making of Holland and Amsterdam, from day 1 to today. A short history lesson that’s never boring, if you do this at the start of your stay, you’ll appreciate your trip so much more.
The final part of This Is Holland is the 5D flight. This is a simulator that ‘flies’ you over Holland, showing you all the sights. Cut through windmills and feel the breeze in your face (literally). Fly over tulip fields and smell the flowers (literally). Fly over the stormy seas and get wet (literally). Honestly? There’s nothing like it.
Where: Right next to This Is Holland (above).
When: Head to the A-Dam Lookout when there’s good visibility (and preferably no rain). When it’s cold, at 100 metres high it’s even colder. Wrap up!
Why: There’s no better way to see as much of Amsterdam at once than by heading up to the tallest viewing point. With 360º views and the Over The Edge swing experience (Europe’s highest swing), the A-Dam Lookout is a city hotspot. Ticketed admission only, travel 100m up to take in the views (day or night), and grab food or cocktails in their bar. Music, drink, food and the best views going, why wouldn’t you?
Website: See more and grab your tickets here.
Where: Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam. Follow your maps!
When: Whenever! Just make sure you book.
Why: Visiting the Anne Frank House is the most important thing you can do in Amsterdam. A history that can’t be forgotten, make your way through the excellently-curated museum and walk in the rooms that held Anne Frank, her family and the Van Pels family. With their free audio guide, you’ll learn the happenings of Amsterdam during the time Anne Frank wrote her now-famous diary.
The house still stands as it did in 1942 with each room holding different belongings from the time – such as Anne’s own marble collection and the official hand-written school registers. The tour takes you upstairs to where the secret annexe situated, still with the faux bookcase in place (to throw off intruders). This takes ‘walking through history’ at its most literal. If you do one thing whilst in Amsterdam, let it be this.
An incredibly moving experience, it’s imperative that you book your tickets in advance.
Website: Head over to the Anne Frank website here.
Where: You’ll find the Heineken Experience in the centre of Amsterdam: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE.
When: Save this until the end of the trip to go out with a bang.
Why: The beer born in Holland, why wouldn’t you want to check out how the holy Heineken came about? At the Heineken Experience, you’ll get to see everything that makes this famous beer what it is today, from the faces who started it to the places they brewed it. You’ll even get to meet their horses, too.
Packed with extra activities along the way (think personalised Heineken bottles and karaoke), this venture will be the boozy highlight of your visit to Amsterdam.
For an extra buzz, book yourself onto the VIP tour where you’ll get shown around by a Heineken expert. You’ll also get access into a private bar where plenty of pints and nibbles await. Oh, and don’t tell anyone, but they’ll serve up bread made from Heineken’s top-secret A-Yeast – the only place you can try it.
Website: This is where you can get your Heineken Experience tickets.