There are still a few cities left on my bucket list. Some local, others further afield. Amsterdam was one of the ones I’d been meaning to do forever (up there with Copenhagen, Stockholm and Berlin which I still need to do). I know, I have been taking the distance for granted and prioritising those that are further away but I’m slowly ticking them off one by one, it’s a challenge I set myself each year.
Amsterdam is only a 45 minutes flight so like me if you’ve been putting it off for another time, book immediately – you won’t be disappointed. The city is one of the few that has actually matched my expectations, possibly even exceeded. It helped that the weather was playing ball adding an additional glow to this picturesque city which has the best selection of plants and flowers adorning it.
Home to some of the most famous museums, it’s a city of culture as much as its the city well known for the voyeuristic red-light district and weed cafes.
My trip was a speedy one, I was there for only two nights, arriving really late Friday evening (so my friend could join me for an after work flight), and leaving Sunday night. There was much to do and very little time, which is typical of most cities I visit or at least the time span I give them.
We stayed at the the iconic Pulitzer Hotel, which is as super elegant and as quintessentially Dutch as you can get. Adjacent to the the lobby, a wonderful flower shop greets visitors with a colourful display giving us an insight to the Dutch way of life.
The hotel is an intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses which makes it a complete standout. The decor modern and quirky, the staff friendly and it’s conveniently close to everywhere we wanted to be and walkable to most of the areas we wanted to visit. There’s also a lovely bar on site where we had a nightcap on our first night and the delicious restaurant on site we booked for dinner the following evening served delicious food. We loved the tuna tartare and steak tartare which we had as starters and the dover sole and cod mains were both fresh and flavoursome.
Aside from the perfect hotel stay, we enjoyed walking a lot, and found some lovely places impromptu as a result, like The Seafood Bar which was an indulgent delight, oysters and champagne were on the menu and we were immediately drawn in like moths to a flame. We also, made our way to the Food Hallen which was recommended to us and managed to fit in some culture by visiting the famous Anne Frank museum which we had to book way in advance upon advice from friends as it’s always sold out. Plus, the Van Gogh museum which again we booked online in London to ensure decent timed tickets and to avoid queues.
As both my friend and I love paddle boarding we investigated that and decided to opt for that over the traditional boat ride. Fortunately, M&M SUP Amsterdam did sessions and had availability and I have to say it was the perfect way to cover the ground and see the city. After our paddle board session we were so close to the De Hortus (Botanical Garden) we popped in for a little look and in the evening even walked over to the red light district to see what the fuss is about.
As a city it’s one I plan to revisit, love the calm and the people were so friendly. There’s still much to see so no doubt I’ll find another excuse to go soon, but before I do I need to prioritise a few other cities this year and next.
Flights with British Airways around £200 rtn depending on when you book.
Rates start at £235 for a stay at Pulitzer Hotel, Prinsengracht 323, 1016 GZ Amsterdam, Netherlands