Where to Stay
We stayed in Hotel Arena, which was recommended to by Love Lauren. If you’re looking to stay in the centre of Amsterdam or near Dam Square you’re going to pay quite a bit as hotels in that area are typically more expensive. However, if you want a really nice and cool hotel that’s not overly pricey, Hotel Arena is perfect. It’s a 15 minute tram journey from Dam Square and the tram stop is only 500m from the hotel. There is also another tram which is even closer to the hotel and this is the tram you’ll get when visiting the area which has the I AMSTERDAM sign and currently has the ice skating rink. This area is only a few minutes on the tram from Hotel Arena.
What to do
Visit Anne Frank‘s house – I really enjoyed this tour but be sure to book weeks in advance to secure your ticket and to avoid lengthy queues. If the tickets happened to be sold out, check daily before your trip as they tend to release extra tickets.
Visit A’Dam Lookout – a sky deck and bar which beautiful views of the city. The tower is a 2 minute free ferry ride from Central Station. It also has Europe’s highest swing for any adrenaline seekers!
Canal Tour – I would highly recommend a canal tour and it would be a good activity to plan the same day as a visit to the A’DAM Lookout as both are located by Central Station. There’s an option to do a day time or night-time tour in winter. We opted for the night-time festival lights tour.
Ice skate, if you visit in winter time – this was probably my favourite activity that we did.
Visit the I AMSTERDAM sign. The sign is situated behind a large pond in the summer months which is then an ice skating rink in the winter with a few bars around so it’s a really nice spot to lounge for the afternoon.
Wander or rent bikes to wander around and explore the beautiful city. The Jordaan area, Dam Square and Spielgelgacht, which is a canal nearby the I Amsterdam sign, were a few of my favourite areas.
Visit the Ice Bar – admittedly the ice bar is a cool experience but not something that would be highest on my list of recommendations.
How to book
We booked some of our activities separately online before our trip but we left a few activities until we were there to book only to then realise most seemed to be sold out. However, we popped into a Tours and Tickets office in Dam Square and they were able to book everything for us, even activities that said they were sold out online, and also got us a discount for booking multiple activities.
Where to Eat
The Corner Bakery – for brunch but expect a queue. This is near the I Amsterdam sign.
De Kroon – for an amazing evening meal. This is nearby the Ice Bar.
Rene’s Croissants – for donuts and sweet treats (Dam Square area)
Grand Café – for lunch. This is also in a really nice area for wandering.
MOOK Cafe – for brunch (we didn’t actually make it to here as the area and timing didn’t suit but it was highly recommended, as was Cut Throat Amsterdam).
Where to Shop
Dam Square has pretty much all of the main shops. It’s also home to a huge luxury department store, Bijenkorf.
What I Wore..
Side note – my Toga Pulla boots which I got from Shopbop were the ideal city break boots. I wore them for three days straight with loads of walking and they were so comfortable. They’re worth the investment in my opinion. You can check them out here.
Until next time,