Ok so first a confession. We weren't actually in Amsterdam for 72 hours. We were there for 57 hours but that really doesn't sound as good does it? But it was plenty time to see and do lots in Amsterdam so I thought I'd share with you how we spent 72 hours in Amsterdam.
We'd gone to Amsterdam to see one of our favourite bands Air Traffic. We could have bought tickets to see them in London but I've never been to Amsterdam and we thought it would be great to have a mini city break so we booked cheap flights back in February and a hotel for two nights. Our flight was at 8.20 from Stansted and super fast at only 45 minutes. On arrival at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol we hopped on a bus from outside the airport which cost 5 euros each and literally dropped us off outside our hotel. It took about 40 minutes and was much cheaper than if we'd got a taxi. You'll find the bus station outside the airport and a small Information van where you can buy tickets. You can also but tickets onboard from buses too.
We dropped off our cases at our hotel and went to have a wander. One of the first things you'll notice is the number of bikes and it can be quite overwhelming that as well as bikes there are cars and trams too and often the pavement looks like the road and vice versa. So wandering does have to be done with some spacial awareness and caution. We headed straight down to the amazing floating Amsterdam flower market the Bloemenmarkt which is along the Singel canal. Its an incredible place full of fresh and fake blooms and obviously tulips of course. One store has the most amazing floral ceiling which was so pretty and we also found the most incredible plant store full of succulents, hanging plants and cacti. I honestly wanted to bring the ENTIRE shop home much to Ben's despair.
We wandered further down into the Old Town and found a cute place for brunch called Metropolitian in Rokin where I had some yummy avo on toast and we actually sat outside as it wasn't too cold. After food we wandered along and did briefly walk through the Red Light district. No photos of there mind. I suppose if you go to Amsterdam you kind of have to visit this area just to see it. I'd happily wander through in the daytime but must admit I'd have no interest going there in an evening. So not my cup of tea, although me and Ben did laugh that some of the ladies in the windows were just in t-shirts and pants, obviously casual Sundays.
After a wander for miles of canals we set off back to the hotel to check in. We were staying at the Amsterdam Marriott which was in a really good location just outside of the town and nearby to Vondelpark and Leidseplein. Although our room wasn't ready until later in the day we were able to leave our luggage securely and we were given access to the M Club lounge which comes included with all Executive rooms which Marriott kindly ungraded us to. We sat and had a complimentary drink before we'd headed out for a wander when we first arrived and it was so handy. You can also eat breakfast in there as well as afternoon snacks and evening light bites.
Our Executive room was lovely. It had a lovely view across the city and was light and bright which is always how I like my hotels. I loved the muted decor and I especially LOVED the gold clogs on the wall. We had a King size bed, seating area and huge tv plus a really nice bathroom with rain shower which was gorgeous. We were so well looked after and after a little pre dinner snooze in the massive bed we headed off out to eat at an Argentinian Steak place we'd found on trip advisor. It was called Villa Maria and was a 5 minute walk and did amazing home cooked food including steaks which are our favourite. I had an incredible steak kebab and Ben had the same. It was really lovely and really reasonable. After dinner we had a drink at Leidseplein which is a square full of bars and restaurants and it was near our hotel. We had a beer each, sat outside under a heater and enjoyed some quality people watching.
We started with a big breakfast at Amsterdam Marriott and filled up on the massive selection of pastries and fruit as well as cooked breakfasts and omelettes cooked to order. Such a good way to start the day and one of my favourite things about staying in a hotel.
We'd decided that we wanted to do one touristy thing and so bought tickets for the hop on and off boat which goes around Amsterdam's canals. For 22 euros each we spent most of the day floating around on the canals taking in the sights and taking snaps. I loved just sitting and watching all the amazing buildings go past and the sun even came out and the boat slid back its roof so we could sit outside. I loved the varied buildings in Amsterdam. Each one slightly different and all with ornate gables at the top with hooks which are for loading in and out of the buildings, as many have very tight stairways. It was also really interesting to find out, thanks to the boats info narration, that most buildings are build with a slight lean forwards to prevent gables being pulled down when hoisting heavy stuff up by the hooks. When you are on land and look up at buildings from the side this is so clear on some and very cool.
We started off on the orange line of the hop on and off boat which took us through Jordaan, past the Anne Frank House and then up past Central Station and the Maritime Museum and then back through the old town past Waterlooplein City Hall and Opera House and under the Skinny Bridge.
We then got off the boat to grab lunch and then hopped back on to the blue line which took us on a similar route but heads all the way up to the A'dam Lookout across the water which if you want to visit is accessed via a free ferry that runs from behind Central station. This area across the water was where the gig that evening was, so this gave us a chance to check out where we needed to go. We headed back round towards to hotel on the hop on and off boat and grabbed a pizza before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the gig.
We were in Amsterdam to see Air Traffic, a favourite band of ours that were doing a few one off special gigs and the one in Amsterdam was at Paradiso Nord. We hopped on the tram down to Central station and then the free ferry across the water which takes like 2 minutes and runs 24 hours a day.
The venue was so intimate which made us even more excited for the gig. Fractured Life was my favourite album when I met Ben and I introduced him to the band and they became our band and Shooting Star our song. The band broke up so this reunion and gigs were so exciting as I'd only seen them once live at V Festival and that was soooo long ago.
The gig was incredible. They are so good live and we loved every minute. I had instastoried some of the gig and Air Traffic did reply to me and said they would be out front after the gig if we wanted to say hello. Which of course we did. However we had just got on the ferry home and so literally legged it off before it set off and ran back to the venue, got another beer, bought Air Traffic t shirts and really luckily got to chat to Chris the lead singer from the band and have a photo with him (above). It was a brilliant, brilliant evening and so worth the trip to Dam and the panic dash off the ferry ha ha.
We finished the night with a walk back along the canal to the hotel and an ice cream piled high with Oreo pieces. mmmmmm
Our flight wasn't until 7pm so we had all day to make the most of Amsterdam. We started off with a big breakfast again at the Marriott and then checked out and left our luggage with them to look after. We headed out to wander some of the areas of Amsterdam we had seen from the boat including Jordaan which is a really cool and hip part with lots of pretty canals, cafes and shops. We sat outside in the sun at a cute cafe called Singel 404 where we watched the boats go by for a while and drank a nice cold coke.
We had a wander down to the Anne Frank museum which Ben has been in and says is very very good and its really reasonable at around 8 euros I think. We didn't visit as we didn't have time but headed for food. We went to De Vier Pilaren, a place that I had spotted from the boat trip the day before and thought it looked so cute nestled under the trees, just like a fairground and I'd looked it up on Trip Advisor. Its a pancake place and had really good reviews, plus it did gluten free pancakes too. It actually used to travel round the fairs and now sits in this spot and is a popular place for pancakes and Dutch Pofferties a smaller puffed out pancake.
I had a yummy strawberry and nutella crepe and a coffee made with soya milk. I found Amsterdam so good for milk alternatives. Lots of places had almond or oat milk too which was great and lots of gluten free options too.
As the sun came out and we still had some time to kill we walked along to Museumplein or Museum Quarter where you'll find the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum and the Stedelijk Museum of modern art. All in one area along with beautiful green lawns and a wading lake you'll find the large Amsterdam letters here too which many people head to for a tourist snap. We walked through this area and along the shops too and ended up in the very picturesque Vondelpark which is a large green park area full of cyclists, wildlife and at this time of year (Oct) falling leaves and so pretty to wander.
We ended up back at the hotel, grabbed our cases and hopped on a bus round the corner which took us back to the airport in 40 minutes for 5 euros each. Well recommended for airport transfers.
So that was it, our 72 hours in Amsterdam. I loved it, I liked wandering and eating and I think it was a good time of year to go as it was a bit quieter but not too cold to wander and sit outside too.
Check out my other Travel posts to see where else we've been and I hope you've loved seeing what we got up to.