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Dam good - Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM

Perfect for a weekend away, with so many cool bars and restaurants, museums and things to do. I wheel my trusty Ted Baker suitcase past unusual architecture excited about a fun weekend ahead with friends.


Cycling is a fun, fast and eco way to get around - just watch out for trams (and tourists who’ve been partaking in the local coffee houses!) I’ve tried borrowing friends’ bikes but my legs are not as lengthy as the tall Dutchies, so I’ve rented a Bike with Mike's Tours for the weekend.


Verguldeneenhoorn @verguldeneenhoorn is a converted 1702 farmhouse in Oost Amsterdam. Spot the golden unicorn and burgundy shutters, as bikes whizz past this gorgeous boutique hotel. In summer, sit in the garden for lunch, where blue and white delft plates adorn the walls. There’s a lovely cosy interior restaurant with dark beams and vegetable print wallpaper.


Photos @crystalmcclory


Once well fed, browse the shops for vintage and interiors - the Dutch have impeccable taste and there are so many cool design boutiques:

SHOPS Helly Secondhand @hellysecondhand is a wonderfully curated second-hand clothing shop.

All the Luck in the World @alltheluckintheworld has cute homeware, gift cards, trinkets and jewellery.

HAY @haydesign has brilliant furniture and homeware.

Hema @hemanederland a Dutch variety chain of stores with kitsch gifts and affordable homeware.


DINE

Dine on comfort food of fish pie, English breakfast and Sunday roasts at The Cottage Amsterdam @thecottageamsterdam

Or French restaurant La vallade @restaurantlavallade cozy with candlelight for delicious food, and an open view of the kitchen.

Photos @crystalmcclory


After strolling through the Jordaan, the Cannibale Royale @cannibaleroyale, is open late for burgers, steaks, sticky ribs, craft beers and creative cocktails.

If fish is more your dish, try ‘Theatre of Fish’ Pesca Restaurant @pesca.restaurant also on the Rozengracht, near the house of Anne Frank


Photo @cannibaleroyale Photo @crystalmcclory


Book a private boat with friends, music playing, gliding past the amazing canal houses with fancy facades and gables and modern architecture.

Sail with Amsterdam Sailors @amsterdamsailors or @smoothsailors19official to party on a fun private boat with massive speakers!


Glide past green oasis Hortus Botanicus @hortusamsterdam - one of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe.


Amsterdam’s canals are definitely best explored by boat. Wrap up warm and take a cruise to see the Amsterdam Light Festival from 1st December to 22nd January.



Bakers & Roasters @Bakersandroasters is delicious for brunch in De Pijp as you walk through the Museumplein square.


In winter the square has an ice rink full of skaters on Ice* from mid Nov to early Feb.


Check out the spa at Conservatorium Hotel @conservatoriumhotel for an underground escape. Hotel guests have access to Akasha gym, pool, jacuzzi, sauna and hammam. (Visitors can book a treatment Mon to Thurs to enjoy two hours access)


Music lovers - for incredible sound, the best acoustics are at nearby world famous concert hall Het Concertgebouw @concertgebouw


MUSEUMS/GALLERIES

The Museumplein is Amsterdam's largest square with museums Rijksmuseum @rijksmuseum (check out the tea garden), Van Gogh Museum @van_gogh_museum - best to book tickets in advance, Moco Museum @mocomuseum and Modern Art at Stedelijk museum. @stedelijkmuseum


Eye Filmmuseum @eye_film is like the Southbank - you can take a bike on the ferry over for cool art house films.


The Science Center NEMO @nemosciencemuseum is a huge green building on the edge of the canal.

Photos @crystalmcclory


If you love photos - there’s photographic gallery Foam @foam_amsterdam and Huis Marseille @huismarseille


Discover large scale exhibitions at Nxt Museum @nxtmuseum the latest immersive multi-sensory museum of new media art.


De Nieuwe Kerk @denieuwekerk has exhibitions about art, photography, and inspiring individuals/cultures in an old church (dating back to the Middle Ages) on Dam Square.


If you like street art, graffiti and alternative art - it's best to visit NDSM @ndsm when there's an event on.


Explore the evolution of dance music at Our-House, @our_house_museum the world's first electronic music culture experience which doubles up as a club.


And if you wonder what it’s like to live in a houseboat on a canal Houseboat Museum @houseboatmuseumamsterdam might float your boat.


THINGS TO DO

A'DAM Toren Swing over the edge of Amsterdam Towers:, A'DAM Lookout rooftop swing, Moon – Revolving restaurant, or head to the basement of beats to nightclub Shelter Amsterdam.


In the summer head out of the city, into the forest to open air theatre Amsterdamse Bostheater for theatre performances, film evenings and concerts.


Film lovers - Catch a movie at Pathé.nl, Theater Tuschinski. (especially gorgeous Theater 1)


From March to May, just 30 minutes outside the centre of Amsterdam, head to enjoy the beautiful Keukenhof Tulip Gardens festival.


August is fabulous, fun and colourful Pride weekend, with rainbow canal and street parades for the party people.


‘Hotel of the people’ Volkshotel has rooftop restaurant Canvas and a sonic journey in the basement sound bar Doka.


If you like the sound of your own (singing) voice try private karaoke rooms at Japanese themed bar Duke of Tokyo @dukeoftokyo


Diamonds can be your best friend! Add some sparkle with a visit to The Mill Diamonds. Diamond factories offer free guided diamond-cutting tours, and sell diamonds: Royal Coster Diamonds, Gassan Diamonds, Amstel Diamonds or Diamant Museum


FOOD & DRINK

Enjoy great food, drinks and atmosphere at the biggest, greenest, trendy waterfront restaurant PLLEK.


De Vondeltuin is a family friendly café in Vondelpark and also offers cocktails!


Loetje Amsterdam Café an informal steakhouse restaurant with a lively atmosphere and a great reputation close to Museumplein. Keep it classic, order its famous steak with salad and fries.


Mondi restaurant has exotic vibes, tasty Caribbean-inspired fusion cuisine to feed your soul, fab cocktails and DJ sounds on the weekend.


Van 't Spit - informal dining at this spit roast chicken hang out, in De Pijp.


For whisky cocktails and American-Asian comfort food, J.D. William's Whisky Bar @jdwilliamswhiskybar is a fabulous family-owned bar in stylish bare brick surroundings in Jordaan.


If you over indulged on cocktails then brunch 'Glazed & Confused' or eat 'Eggs, Benny & the Jets' in De Plantage hangout Box Sociaal @boxsociaal



Scheepskameel @scheepskameel an upmarket waterside restaurant, on an old naval ground, with quality produce and a robust selection of German wines.


De Hallen @dehallenamsterdam_official is inspired by indoor food halls. A former tramdepot, converted to a social hotspot in the heart of Amsterdam West.


For Spanish tapas head for Pata Negra @pata_negra_tapas restaurant with beautiful spanish tiled interiors, it opens out to a large welcoming terrace with friendly staff.


The Seafood Bar @theseafoodbar is an award winning restaurant founded by the De Visscher family, fishmongers since 1984.


Le 4 Stagioni @le4stagioni_ is a traditional roman pizzeria with antique tiled walls and a family atmosphere located behind the Concertgebouw.


NOMADS @nomads_amsterdamthe travelling restaurant’ - for food fusion and culture clash.I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”, Susan Sontag


Nieuwendammerdijk is a picturesque, traditional old dutch neighbourhood - cycle out to Cafehetsluisje @cafehetsluisje in the Noord


Photos @crystalmcclory


Head to bakers BBROOD @bbrood_ for healthy sourdough bread - love the reusable Kenyan fabric bread bags!


Club Cuisine do cooking class and cooking workshops in the centre for individuals and groups.


Brasserie Lolita @brasserielolita is recommended for it's steak tartare and crafted cocktails.


A la carte Michelin star Restaurant de Juwelier is an old school bistro with tasty and surprising dishes.


Waterkant is a cool, buzzy place with good beats and a fun atmosphere to meet friends, grab a drink by the water and watch the boats go by.


Photos @crystalmcclory


HOTELS

De L'Europe Amsterdam is a stylish, luxurious 5* hotel in a great location loved by its guests and Abbotts clients.


Luxury grand five-star Amstel Hotel @amstelhotel (it's facade reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel in an @accidentallywesanderson way - if only it were pink!)


The Manor Hotel @themanoramsterdam is an urban boutique 4* hotel with stylish rooms in a former civilian hospital. Visit their pop-up restaurant A Beautiful Mess @abeautifulmess_amsterdam a 5min walk from Muiderpoort station.

Photos @crystalmcclory


The Dylan Amsterdam @hotelthedylan is a 5* boutique hotel in a unique historical building.

Or stay at buzzy The Hoxton hotel. Both are located on The Nine Streets on the Herengracht canal.


Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square overlooks the Royal Palace for picturesque dining at the Grand Café Krasnapolsky and Michelin-starred restaurant The White Room. Relax in the award-winning Anantara Spa.


Dream big, sleep tiny at SWEETS hotel @sweets_hotel - iconic bridge houses transformed into hotel suites for a radically different place to stay. Formerly housing the bridge keepers, opening and closing bridges for passing boat traffic on the busy canals.


Photos @sweets_hotel


Or aim high and stay at the Faralda crane hotel @faraldacranehotel - described as ‘a mind-blowing and once in a lifetime experience. Don’t expect a mainstream hotel. It’s a monumental harbour crane’.


Contact Abbotts Travel to book your trip and for advice on the best hotel to suit you.



Crystal’s Tips

Get the train from Kings Cross, take hand luggage and pop into cool quirky designed The Standard Hotel for food/drink at fabulous Decimo.


Eurostar trains from London St Pancras International direct to Amsterdam Central take around 4 hours.


Beat security queues by booking a business class flight. Amsterdam is only about 45 minutes away from London into huge airport Schiphol.


Grab a bus, train or taxi into the city.


If you want to be kinder to the environment and your wallet with the help of google maps, it’s fairly easy to navigate public transport & most have air con. Allow extra time.


Book an unlimited Amsterdam public transport card before arriving for an easy way to get around when you don't want to cycle on GetYourGuide



Written by Crystal McClory @crystalmcclory



















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