Friday, 17 November 2017

How To Plan The Most Amazing Trip To Amsterdam

Exploring Museum Square and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Planning a trip to Amsterdam is an exciting and challenging experience - simply because there's so much to see around those 165 canals. I've helped simplify this for you with five handy tips after my trip to the city with partners KLM, I AMSTERDAM and A'DAM Lookout.

The I Amsterdam sign in Museum Square outside Rijksmuseum

1. ARRANGE BICYCLE HIRE AND RESEARCH ROUTES
It's obvious from the bicycle lined bridges that this city is very cycle-friendly with dedicated lanes and roads meaning it's a lot less nerve racking and safer to get around. 

Bicycles lining Amsterdam's canal bridges at night looking towards Centraal
The Rijksmuseum garden area with sculptures and fountains

Hiring a bike on your best day of weather may be sensible, but don't be like me and not know where to pick them up when the moment arrives. Instead, have a list of locations in place (the most popular is Yellow Bike Hire) and keep a route plan handy to make the most of your peddle time. If going it alone seems a little daunting there's a good choice of guided cycle tours available year round.

The Banksy Art Museum in Museumplein
Bicycle road in Museumplein

You can download cycle route maps and itineraries from the I AMSTERDAM website. 

2. PURCHASE THE I AMSTERDAM CARD
I AMSTERDAM city card benefits including access to museums and a free canal cruise
Former Royal Palace in Amsterdam taking at night with passing traffic captured by long exposure

The I AMSTERDAM card makes it very easy and cheap to get across the city with free public transport from 24 to 96 hours. You also have discounts and freebies in participating restaurants and shops, including access to places like the Van Gogh Museum and Royal Zoo. Have a look at the current offers and discounts available on their website and work these in to your itinerary.

The green museumplein area with Van Gogh museum

3. BOOK A CANAL CRUISE
Canal cruises from Damrak near Amsterdam Centraal Train Station

If exploring Amsterdam on two wheels doesn't appeal, then seeing the city from the water will probably float your boat (pun intended). I'd recommend heading to the Damrak near Centraal Station and departing from there at sunset, or consider these options:

Relaxing by Amsterdam's canals on Damrak

4. INVESTIGATE AMSTERDAM'S NEIGHBOURHOODS
Hopping on the free ferry shuttle from Centraal takes you to Amsterdam North where the A'DAM Lookout is located. For €5 you can ride Europe's Highest Swing that launches you over the side of the near 100m tower from the Sky Deck. 

A'DAM Lookout tower in Amsterdam North at night, the location of Europe's highest swing
A'DAM Tower Swing

The fun begins with a quirky photo call and music-fuelled elevator ride, plus there's also a food and drink bar with panoramic views to spend an evening in.
This up and coming area is one of several neighbourhoods that has its own personality, North's cool vibe is also evident at Café de Ceuvel, a Bohemian Hangout in a converted ship yard. The point is, once you've ticked off the essentials research beyond the city centre and see what jumps out at you.

View over Amsterdam from A'DAM Lookout at dusk
M'ADAM bar and restaurant in A'DAM Lookout
View over Amsterdam and Centraal Station from A'DAM Lookout at sunset

Booking tickets for ADAM Lookout in advance is recommended and there's a couple of package deals to consider on their website as well.

5. LOOK UP BAR AND RESTAURANT REVIEWS
Manneken Pis fries on Damrak near Centraal Station, Holland's Number 1 Fries with Cheese Sauce
Beautiful Shopping Arcade in Amsterdam on the Damrak at night

This will save you so much time tapping into Trip Advisor or Pinterest when you're on your travels (feeling impatient and 'hangry') while also minimising the risk of wasting your money on a bad meal or night out. Simply take a list of recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner under the neighbourhood they're in so you have options ready where ever you end up. 

PANCAKES Amsterdam restaurant near Centraal Station, Dutch Pancakes with banana and Nutella

What Amsterdam eats should you be trying?

Double room at NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam
Luxury hotel in central Amsterdam near train station and canals
NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Do you have any must-do's before you visit a city like Amsterdam or have you tried any of these tips? 

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by KLM, I AMSTERDAM and A'DAM Lookout, however all opinions are my own.
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© Explore With Ed | Wales based Food, Travel and Cruise Blog

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