I promised I would come back with a list of thing to see when visiting Amsterdam in the winter. Amsterdam is really popular during spring when you can admire all the flowers in bloom. But who says that’s the only time to visit? Let’s take a look at what you can do during this time of year.
Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden
When we were in London last spring we had the best time at the Kew Botanical Garden. We loved it so much, that we made it one of our goals to include a visit to the Botanical garden wherever we go. So on our first day in Amsterdam, after a 6:00 a.m. flight, we stopped by Hortus Botanicus.
I actually wanted to get there later in the day so we could also catch the lights they had installed for Christmas. We got there on time but didn’t stay for the light show, since the garden was kind of small with not much to see.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that we were disappointed with Hortus Botanicus. Afterall, we visited in winter when it makes sense there’s not a lot to see. However, since being so small compared to Kew, I doubt it’s as impressive. Also, they have a mini butterfly exposition, that is so tiny and with just a few species to admire.
We loved the greenhouses with huge trees and plants. The best thing? A flock of green parrots that played in the garden and we got to admire pretty closely.
The Orangery seemed like a lovely place to grab a bite, but we had just eaten so we skipped that part.
We decided to dedicate our second day in Amsterdam to visiting Rijksmuseum. It was right on my boyfriend’s birthday AND Christmas Day. What a better way to celebrate?
We adored it and must say a day is not enough to take in all the beauty that’s on display. So get there really early and be prepared to walk until 5:00 p.m. when the museum closes. Another good tip is to book your tickets online in order to avoid the (usually) long lines.
We were not very well organized. Which meant that we passed through the same sections a couple of time before finding our way. It also meant we didn’t get to see the whole museum. Though I am not sure that’s even possible in one visit.
What did I like most? Hard to say. Everything is breathtaking and being in front of an original Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Vermeer painting is overwhelming. The huge stained glass windows that reign the first level hallway are works of art on their own. So at every turn, there’s something else to admire and take in.
After the museum closes you can continue shopping at their gift shop or enjoy a light dinner at the restaurant that has a Michelin star, but without the fuss of a pretentious restaurant. Both are opened for another hour.
Mini – tour of the city
On our third day, we decided to check as many city sights as we could. We started with a little bit of shopping at the Esprit outlet right in front of the Biljmer Arena subway stop. If it was up to me, I could have spent the whole day there, but I managed to find a pair of jeans for 15 Euros and a very cool shirt for 9 Euros so you could call me satisfied.
Next, we took the subway from Biljmer Arena and got off at Waterlooplein. From there, using Google Maps we walked to the Flower Market on Singer. The best surprise was when totally accidentally I stumbled about a house that I had admired on Instagram for the longest time. Check it out below, and if you want to see it next time you’re in Amsterdam, here is the location on Google Maps.
Next stop was the flower market with a side of cheese tasting at the cheese stores. We couldn’t leave empty-headed so we brought home some coconut Gouda and a white wine and peach jam that goes with it. And since we were in the area we couldn’t miss eating at Dutch Delicacy.
Since our friends were in Amsterdam for the first time, we had to walk them to the Red District, which is not a must if you ask me. I thought it’s pretty depressing, and so did our friends, but I think everyone’s curious before they get to actually see it.
Louwman Museum in Hague
Ok, this is not actually Amsterdam, but if you’re in the area, why not take a detour and see Hague as well?
To get there you just need to take the train. We had to change at Rotterdam because of a closed line, but normally you have a straight line to Hague. I think it took us an hour and a half to get there.
Initially, we wanted to check out the city, but then I found the Louwman Museum and I thought the boys would love it. And I was not wrong! We spent the whole day visiting the museum that has over two hundred cars, coaches, and motorcycles on display.
The best part was sitting right next to one of Elvis’ Cadillacs! I am such an Elvis Presley fan, ever since I was little, so being right next to one of his cars just made my day! We also got to see one of the cars from the James Bond movie as well as a couple from the God Father.
The boys were in awe and they loved it so much that we spent the whole day there so we didn’t actually saw Hague, maybe next time.
Too little time for lots to see
We stayed for only 5 days in Amsterdam this time. Besides the spots I wrote about above, we also spent a day at Bataviastad. Which I would have skipped if my boyfriend wasn’t a shopaholic 🙂
Our friends didn’t tag along and preferred to visit the Van Gogh Museum and a couple other exhibitions nearby. I’m planning on seeing those next time, for sure.
I would also love to see the Zoo, the Anne Frank House, NEMO and a million other things. But, as with other destinations, it will just have to be next time!