You plan to go on weekend to Amsterdam and you’re looking for advice on where to sleep, what to eat and what to see …? Do not look further, you are on the right place!
Let’s hope we can give you some ideas that will make the stay in Amsterdam more pleasant! If you already love the city, feel free to share your addresses and tips in the comments!
Let’s go !
How to travel to Amsterdam?
When you live in Paris, nothing is easier than going to Amsterdam. Head to the Gare du Nord Station and take a seat in the Thalys train. I have a soft spot for Thalys which I discovered during my first stay in Amsterdam, but also in Cologne for the Festival of Mode & Design in Germany.
During this trip to Amsterdam I had the pleasure of traveling first class, and it’s becoming a little ritual! For great rates, simply try to prepare early your trip or take advantage of discount prices on Thalys site! They have quite a lot of those (and that’s good!). You can find single tickets at 45 € for the Netherlands 1st class (Comfort 1) and 35 € for the 2nd class (Comfort 2). It would be a shame to miss them, right?
Personally, I’d prefer to invest a little more in my journey and have all the comfort and services and the rest. And they have pretty crazy services!! First, the space. A lot of it, the seats are very comfortable and beautiful! (red is one of my favorite colors). Then, the staff onboard offers you a drink before dinner (or lunch)! The service is much better than in an airplane. The food is good and appetizing. And pastries … yum !! And after a good meal (which saves us a trip to the restaurant upon arrival), one can enjoy reading newspapers or benefit from the free WIFI … We have not seen passing our trip of 3 hours and a half. We loved it !!
What? Thalys Paris-Amsterdam
How much ? From 70 € in second class and from € 90 in first class
Website ? www.thalys.com
Where to sleep in Amsterdam?
Hotels, this is not what lacks in Amsterdam … 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Everything will depend on what you want to do, your budget and your expectations. On our last trip to Amsterdam, we had a crush for the 5-star for one of the NH Collection hotels. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Collection simply has an ideal location since it is located in the famous main square of Amsterdam: the DAM. Very easy to reach from Central Station, it took only a few minutes walk to get to our hotel when we arrived, a short ride but enough to get into the vibes of this great city! We wanted a centrally located hotel with a beautiful room, we were served. Just after putting the bags in our room, we headed to the hotel bar for a cocktail: The Taylor. Low lighting, large seats and delicious drinks to enjoy.
Our room had an exceptional view of the Royal Palace. And from there, we had a very direct access to the best shops in the city and also to the tourist attractions. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Collection is located in a historic building dating from 1855. It has 451 rooms, all decorated with a palette of natural tones and beautiful materials. Modern and classic at the same time. We loved the layout and the design of the room and the bathroom. All rooms are equipped with mini-bar, flat screen TV and of course free WiFi.
After a quiet night in our room, we headed to the majestic canopy on the restaurant terrace. Flooded with natural light, just incredible to start a bright day. Breakfast was excellent and worthy of a 5 star hotel: fresh juices, pastries, all kinds of fruits plus sausages, cheese, smoked fish, a large variety of breads, pancakes … You could not ask for more! In the afternoon, after a quite long stroll in the city, we came back to the hotel to have a rest and also test the pastries at the Grand Café Krasnapolsky, which is also open to customers outside the hotel.
What? Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Website ? http://www.nh-collection.com/
Where ? Dam 9, 1012 JS – Amsterdam – Netherlands
Phone? +31 (0) 20 554 9111
How much ? superior rooms from 265 €
Cycling in Amsterdam?
Impossible to leave Amsterdam and not go on a bike tour! The most important mean of transportation of this great city will let you discover the small hidden alleys, but also the famous canals. I was a bit reluctant about cycling in Amsterdam, because I imagined that there were only Dutch bikes (with back pedalling!) And lots of traffic. I thought it would be difficult and perhaps dangerous to ride a bike here. But this was soon to be proved totally wrong by my friends at Amsterdam Bike!
First, the manager Paul, he is pretty amazing! His good humor is contagious, and he knew immediately how to get us in the mood for biking by presenting his guided tours of Amsterdam. The peculiarity of Amsterdam Velo is that all guides are French speaking! And that is not bad at all! A tour takes about 2 hours and a half and you get to hear a lot of anecdotes about the city, get a better understanding of the Dutch architecture, discover unusual and secret places, and stories about the golden age of the city. You will ride by all the important monuments of the Amsterdam: the Dam, the typical Jordaan district, the house of Anne Frank, the green park Vondelpark … in short, by the end you will leave with a very nice overview of the city in almost no time. Up to you to walk back to the sites you like and discovered or rent your bike for the rest of the weekend!
A little tip? Start your weekend in Amsterdam with a bike ride like that, you can discover all the different areas of the city and organize your weekend trip! The Batavus bikes, of very good quality, are equipped with hand brakes and are very comfortable. Oh, and if you have a Go Pro, remember to take it with you as some of the bikes are equipped with fasteners on the handlebars! For the best memories!
What? Amsterdam Velo
Website ? www.amsterdam-velo.com
Where? Korte Prinsengracht 12 -> about 7 minutes walk from the Centraal Station
Phone? +31 6 41 17 60 32
How much? tours from 25 € (15 € for children 8-16 years)
Bike ride? 2 hours and 30 minutes
When? departures every day at 10.30am and 2pm (try getting there with 15 minutes early)
Luggage storage? During your bike tour you can leave your luggage or shopping bags inside the Amsterdam Bicycle store. Perfect for light pedaling!
And more ? Free baby or child seat if needed, private tours (additional € 10 per person), walking tours are also available, visits with your own bike (reduced € 4.00), special price for schools and universities.
Discover the markets in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is perfect for visiting on bike, but the best way is to wander by foot. It’s so pretty that you could stroll for tens of miles without realizing it! What I like about Amsterdam, in addition to the channels, are its markets! It is always a pleasure to walk on the markets and to taste local flavors and dishes (and bring good products back to France!). Here is a small list (not exhaustive) of Amsterdam markets:
Albert Cuyp Market, the most famous outdoor market in the Netherlands. About 260 stands (food, clothing and furniture also)
Where ? 1072 CN AMSTERDAM
Dapper is a multicultural market located in the east of Amsterdam. There are a lot of food and local products, but also flowers.
Where ? Dapperstraat, 1093 Amsterdam
When? Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
The flower market is located in the heart of Amsterdam (Singel between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein). This market is very famous because it is floating market! There is a wide range of flowers and plants, but also bulbs! Beautiful blooming things for your window back home, right?
Where ? Singel 610-616
When? Open daily from 9am to 5.30pm (Sundays from 11am)
Noordermarkt is an old market that dates from 1627! It is very authentic and very popular with locals. On Monday, the market becomes a flea market where you can find antiquity, vintage clothing, jewelry … etc … On Saturday, you will find products from organic farms, with a band of musicians playing live!
When? Flea market on Mondays from 9am to 1pm – organic product market Saturdays from 9am to 5pm
Savings some money in Amsterdam?
Going on a weekend trip can quickly get expensive, especially with transport and museums. One small card has been our friend during the stay in Amsterdam: the I Amsterdam City Card. This is actually a little magic that allows you to use public transport, visit the main museums and the most beautiful attractions of Amsterdam, take a cruise on the canals and that gives you access to many discounts and special offers. And some more? The detailed map of the city! Amsterdam will have no secret for you … all this at a more than affordable price!
What? Iamsterdam City Card
How much ? € 55 for 24 hours, € 65 for 48 hours, € 75 for 72 hours and € 85 for 96 hours
Website ? https://www.iamsterdam.com/fr/
Where to eat in Amsterdam?
Lunch in Amsterdam is often eaten on the run! It is generally limited to a broodjes sandwich or a salad in a local place called eetcafé. Many small stands with smoked fish are are to be found in the city, usually near the bridges. You can have smoked herring, lobster (presented on small brioche bread) or fried cod Kibbeling. Excellent!
In the evening, you can taste dishes prepared with vegetables (spinach, beets pos, endive …). Two local specialties are the Erwtensoep (soup accompanied by smoked Sausage peas) and Stamppot (mashed vegetables and potatoes served with bacon and sausage). As for sweets, go for the stroopwafel (delicious little waffles filled with syrup).
Heyy psst: See also my favorite places tested during my first trip to Amsterdam!
Where to have a coffee in Amsterdam?
Accustomed to the Paris Coffee Shop term, those bearing the same names in Amsterdam are quite different, you’d know by now! I would not give you tips on where to smoke or eat “space cakes” for the simple reason that I have not tried any of them. But the small “cafés,” I love them! I like to get a rest with a warm coffee in a cozy place when I stroll the streets of the cities I visit.
One of my favorite café in Amsterdam is called Latei. Don’t put much into their strange website but go see the place. The people there are friendly, the chai tea is very good (so is the coffee and many other things …), the place is cool and you can walk away with an art object if you have a crush for one of those exposed. Here, everything is for sale.
During our stay, we also stopped at Cloud Coffee Art, a very nice little place where you can eat cookies and enjoy a photo exhibition at the same time. Finally, in the same neighborhood, if you want to stop for a sunbath moment, try going to Rainarai and lay on one of the couches installed on the brick wall …
Shopping in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is quite famous for its small design shops. There are also many famous brands and department stores. If you just want to watch the shop windows, go to one of the three largest shopping streets: Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk and PC Hooftstraat. You will be surprised to find small shops in the small streets perpendicular to the channels, and also in the Museumkwartier in Oud-Zuid near the big museums and the Concertgebouw. For more information, visit the Iamsterdam website and you’re guaranteed to find your happiness.
We found ours in the four shops shown in the photos here! We loved the home decoration shop Dille & Kamille (an Aladdin’s cave for your Home Sweet Home with a very Scandinavian style), the fashion shop all dressed in white called Sukha, the antiquities shop Weldaad or the small scoop which sells both vegetables and vinyls: Flesch Records!
Visiting museums in Amsterdam?
Some museums in Amsterdam are totally worth visiting. The main ones include the Rijksmuseum (probably the best museum in the city, it brings together a large collection of paintings, prints and photos. It was recently modernized). The Stedelijk Museum has a large collection of works of contemporary arts, nearly 90,000 paintings, sculptures, and photos …). Anne Frank House (notorious for her diary written during the Second World War), the museum attracts every day thousands of visitors. It is not uncommon to queue for nearly 2 hours in order to get inside. Let’s not forget the Van Gogh museum displaying the artist’s richest collection of paintings in the world.
This time, we chose to avoid the well known museums located in the city center and, attracted by the wink of the Eye Film Institute, we took the small boat behind the Central Station for 5 minutes to cross the north side of the harbor. The building that houses the institute is spectacular and visible from the promenade around the station. Admission is free to tour the Eye and the exhibitions are built around the history of cinema with many interactive objects and installations (we had fun improvising and recording small sequences of films). The space is dedicated to adults but also to children and the audience is quite mixed. And because this is a movie house, you can go see a film in the cinema just inside the building 🙂
Using Iamsterdam City Card (mentioned above), you have access to all the galleries, including temporary exhibitions that are not free for regular visitors. We prefered the exhibition on the young Dutch filmmakers exploring the visual arts and interactions with the movie. The cafeteria and restaurant are located within a very stylish space with a 180 degrees view of the harbor and the train station.
To visit the official website for the exhibition catalog, projections and current exhibitions, go to: https://www.eyefilm.nl/en
Walking in Amsterdam?
The city tour by foot, by bike or by boat. In all cases, the best way to visit Amsterdam and enjoy its beauty is to stroll! Just follow a channel and be guided by your instincts and whatever makes you happy! If you can’t do without a paper guide, I recommend the Cartoville Amsterdam.
When to go? in April and May, the two months of the year when it rains less; if you go for the tulips, you must schedule your trip between April the 15th and May the 15th and go to Keukenhof !! Autumn is a pleasant season too.
How to go ? 3 hours and 20 minutes by Thalys train, one hour and 15 minute long flight from Paris.
Jet lag ? not really 🙂