As much as I love spending time in Tunbridge Wells, travel is something I am passionate about too. We are lucky to live in a place that it so accessibly to the rest of Europe and have had some marvellous mini-breaks over the last few years.
One of my most memorable weekends away was a trip to Amsterdam – just me and my (now) husband, taking in the sights, chilling out and having some child free time!
Amsterdam was voted as one of the top three destinations in Europe which comes as no surprise to me. If you are thinking of visiting this super destination, here are four of my favourite things to do while there…
#1 Hire bikes
We decided to hire bikes for the whole weekend and although it was a bit chilly (we went in February), it was a fantastic way to get around the city. It must be one of the most cycle friendly places I have come across and there are bikes available for hire at really reasonable prices. Even if you haven’t been on a bike in years, this is a must!
#2 Visit The Anne Frank House
The Diary of Anne Frank was one of the most memorable books I read as a child – I was both fascinated and saddened by her story. Visiting the place where Anne and her family went into hiding in 1942 during World War Two, and where she wrote her diary which has since become world famous, is a poignant and moving experience.
The house has since been made into a museum and visitors can go right up to The Secret Annexe where Anne and her family hid for two years. Bring some tissues as this visit might bring up a whole mix of emotions for you. The queues can be pretty long to get into the museum, but spaces can be pre-booked (with different time slots) online in advance.
#3 Take a Canal Cruise
I was surprised at how beautiful Amsterdam was! Gone are the days of Amsterdam being known for its seedy side – this city has some seriously cool architecture, a well maintained artistic heritage and I hadn’t expected it to be quite so charming. The buildings are old but very well looked after and there is an elaborate canal system running through the city which needs to be experienced.
A river cruise can be a wonderful way to sit back, relax and take in the sights. There are lots of different types of cruises you can do – we chose to do the two hour cruise which worked well, but there are one hour and half day options too.
#4 Visit the Van Gogh Museum
As strange as it may sound, Vincent Van Gogh seems to have featured quite heavily in my life when I was growing up – I think perhaps because my Mum enjoys his work and we had several of his prints around the house? Or maybe because we learned quite a lot about him at school?
Anyhow, a visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the Van Gogh Museum. With the world’s largest collection of paintings from Vincent Van Gogh, including the infamous Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters and The Bedroom, visitors can easily spend the day in this sprawling museum. There are also collections from many of his contemporaries, making this one of the top 25 most popular museums in the world! Tickets can be purchased online in advance to avoid the queues.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Amsterdam, there are plenty of options to choose. We stayed at the Hotel Krasnapolsky which was reasonably priced and really central.
Budget Your Trip has also featured some super hostels in Amsterdam for travellers on a budget!
For anyone thinking of venturing out of Amsterdam too, this one week Netherlands itinerary and guide will no doubt be useful.
Have you been to Amsterdam or anywhere else in the Netherlands? If so, what did you think of it? I can’t wait to go back and am planning another mini break there for next year…