International Travel

A Greedy Guide To: Amsterdam

Short city breaks are a fantastic opportunity to discover new food, architecture and culture. We recently decided on Amsterdam for our latest greedy trip and spent four days exploring this fascinating city, returning home with sore feet, full bellies and an insight into the rich history and culture of Amsterdam.

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Here’s our greedy guide to Amsterdam, starting with our favourite foodie finds (of course!), as well as our tips on the best attractions and some useful practicalities:

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Appeltart from Winkel at Noodermarkt. Said to be the city’s best apple pie, we certainly enjoyed our huge wedges, served with whipped cream
Pancakes from the Pancake Bakery on Prinsengracht close to Anne Frank's house. They were so good we went back for seconds
Pancakes from the Pancake Bakery on Prinsengracht close to Anne Frank’s house. They were so good we went back for seconds
Breakfast from Simon Meijssen bakery. We can heartily recommend the croissants, broodjes and spelt muffins if you're looking for a quick breakfast on the go
Breakfast from Simon Meijssen bakery. We can heartily recommend the croissants, broodjes and spelt muffins if you’re looking for a quick breakfast on the go
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Stroopwafels. A Dutch delicacy of baked dough sandwiched together with caramel. Try and find somewhere that sells them freshly made and warm, we got ours at the Albert Cuyp street market half dipped in chocolate for extra gooeyness. If you don’t manage to find the fresh versions just pop the biscuits over a steaming cup of tea or coffee to melt the caramel inside
Chips with ‘oorlog’ sauce (satay, mayo and diced onion). Lots of street vendors sell them but our favourite was the busy Vleminckz Sausmeesters on Voetboogstraat
North African food and mint tea in the bustling 'Bazaar' on Albert Cuypstraat. Fantastic value for a late breakfast, lunch or dinner
North African food and mint tea in the bustling ‘Bazaar’ on Albert Cuypstraat. Fantastic value for a late breakfast, lunch or dinner
Indonesian food is a must when you're in the Netherlands (and a refreshing break from the pancakes, chips and stroopwafels). We had a delicious meal at Tujuh Maret on Utrechtsestraat, where we chose one vegetarian mixed platter and a meat alternative
Indonesian food is a must when you’re in the Netherlands (and a refreshing break from the pancakes, chips and stroopwafels). We had a delicious meal at Tujuh Maret on Utrechtsestraat, where we chose one vegetarian mixed platter and a meat alternative
Coffee or 'chocomel' (creamy hot chocolate), best enjoyed in a cosy Brown Cafe while writing postcards and people watching
Coffee or ‘chocomel’ (creamy hot chocolate), best enjoyed in a cosy Brown Cafe while writing postcards and people watching

Museums, sights and hidden gems
Be prepared for long queues if you want to visit Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. We went to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijks Museum and the Anne Frank Huis. We queued for well over one hour for each, despite having pre-bought tickets for the first two. Of these three, the Anne Frank Huis is definitely most worthwhile, but try to buy tickets online in advance. Our two-hour wait was slightly more bearable thanks to our trusty Kindles (I managed to read a hefty chunk of Anne Frank’s Diary while I queued).

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The Tulip Museum and Cheese Museum, both close to the Anne Frank Huis, are worth a look if you’re in the area, although the €10 entry fee for the Tulip Museum seemed a little steep given its size.

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We found one of Amsterdam’s most interesting and best-value museums was the lesser-known Museum Van Loom at Keizersgracht. Built in the 17th century, this opulent canal house was last occupied by the van Loons, co-founders of the East India Company. The beautiful gardens and grand coach house at the back of the building provide a peaceful setting for a break from your exploring.

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The Begijnhof just off Kalverstraat is a courtyard complex founded in the 14th century for Beguines – a Catholic sisterhood who lived as nuns. We wandered around the pretty gardens and enjoyed views of the city’s oldest wooden house, dating back to the 15th century. There’s another similar commune just off the Prinsengracht (the Hofje van Brienen) which is equally peaceful.

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It’s worth taking a walk around the famous Red Light District to see the other side of Amsterdam. We went there in the daytime and still got a good idea

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The Hortus Botanicus is an oasis of calm and lush greenery on the edge of the city. The cafe in the old orangerie is a peaceful spot for a drink and a rest.

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Climbing up the long staircase of NEMO museum’s viewing platform is well worth it. Claim a deck chair, bring a book and enjoy and hour or two from this suntrap, with great views across the busy city.

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Practicalities:
Get the train from the airport to the Central Station. Buy tickets from the machines in the airport for around €4 each way. The train takes just under 30 mins and stops in the city centre (remember to validate your ticket before boarding by inserting into the machines to be stamped)

Trams are frequent and cheap, a good way to travel across the city if you don’t fancy braving the bicycles (although our preferred method was on foot). Unlimited day passes for the tram cost €7.50 and last 24 hours

Watch out for the aforementioned bicycles – they come in every possible direction at high speed and don’t move or slow down for pesky pedestrians!

We took a canal cruise, mainly to give our tired feet a short break, but it’s also a more relaxed way to see the main city sights

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  1. Hi Greedy Sisters, just love your take on Amsterdam. You captured the tastes and sights perfectly. Four days is both too short and long enough, ensuring that you will return. Your posts and photos just get better, well done.
    Andrew & Lou

  2. Love hearing your stories Niecies:-) Wish we were there with you. Looking forward to your blogs of our upcoming holiday. xx