You might remember that our first post on the blog was about last year’s Christmas. My boyfriend and I decided to spend the holidays with my brother so that’s how we first visited Amsterdam.
It was love at first sight, we liked everything about it! And we liked it so much, that we decided to come back this year. Only this year we went as tourists, not visiting family. We traveled with our friends and we preferred staying at a hotel. So I’ll have new tips on planning, budget, and things to see. Let’s start!
If you’ve ever been to the Dutch capital, you know that there are no low-cost airplanes landing on Schiphol. However, KLM has really decent prices, especially if you plan in advance. Two months in advance tickets, from Romania, are around 100 euros – not bad at all! Service is always impeccable and you have a meal included.
Our first flight was at 6:00 a.m. (horrible waking up, but so worth it winning an extra day) and we received an omelet sandwich and a mini-muffin. On our return flight, which was at 20:45 p.m. we received spinach and tomato pasta – delish! Drinks are also included.
When we got there we opted for OV cards that we charged as we needed. They can be used on trams, buses, and trains so they are really handy. You can also opt for tickets available for a number of days, depending on your stay and how much you want to walk versus take the tram.
Now here’s where we really lucked out! We had a bit of trouble finding the right place for us. We looked on Booking, Airbnb, you name it. When all hope was kinda lost, I stumbled upon XO Blue Square Hotel. It’s advertised as a 4-star hotel, and it’s not far from that, we loved it!
Advice: don’t go through Booking. For some reason, prices are higher than on other traveling sites (such as Vola, where I found the offer). We booked the room directly from the hotel and chose the non-refundable option to save some $$.
The rooms were spacious and very clean. I am not sure how often they clean your room because you have the option to request it daily. You just hang the “clean my room” sign on your door and it’s done. The best part? The coffee machine in the room! The coffee supply was updated every day (free of charge) and you had your coffee every morning with the press of a button.
As we stayed at the hotel this time, with no kitchen available, street-food was our best friend. Unfortunately, I didn’t take enough photos of it but here’s what I liked:
We had a good, inexpensive “American hot dog” in front of Rijksmuseum. With sauerkraut and fried, crisp onion, I don’t think it’s exactly American, but it was good and did the trick when we came out starving from visiting the museum.
Wok to Walk
I loved Wok to Walk. It was this tiny place with two burners where they prepared your dish in front of you. You just had to choose the type of noodles that came with vegetables and egg. Then add any extra toppings (meat, mushrooms, nuts, etc) and sauce and there you had a delicious box of (too much) food. There’s always a line and just one table where you could actually sit to eat, but it’s totally worth it.
Our favorite place to go is Dutch Delicacy. This cheese store that doubles as a cozy place where you can also grab a bite, and maybe a glass of bubbly, is to die for. I had the pulled chicken sandwich, that at 6 euros is such a great option for lunch. My boyfriend had a spicy chicken and vegetables one that was just as good. But what I liked most was the pine nuts and caramelized onion bread one of our friends had. So good!
I really wanted to eat at La Place. I read about it as having pretty good food and reasonable prices. So when we went to Bataviastad for a day of shopping, I was so happy they had a La Place there. I really liked how they had several types of food you could choose from, cooked right in front of you. It was so hard to choose but we went for salmon bagels, fried potatoes, a banana smoothie and the best apple and cranberry pie ever served with vanilla sauce.
We had them several times and, honestly, you can’t visit Amsterdam without having one. I like it freshly cooked, with Nutella and whipped cream, but you can customize it any way you want.
We still didn’t try the raw herring with onions and pickled cucumber. Somehow whenever we remembered we wanted to try one, there wasn’t anything nearby. Next time.
Did you know that the marijuana-based products sold in most “tourist” shops do not contain THC, so it’s practically impossible to get high on them? I didn’t know until I accidentally stumbled upon this information while researching for the trip 🙂
If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, stay tuned. I will be back with a new list of things to see and places to go. Let me know in the comments section below what else would you like to read about.