Think about some houses that look like marzipan biscuits, add lots of Christmas lights, complete with delicious bakeries that make hot waffles and voila, here you are Amsterdam during the Christmas season. For months I had thought to plan a trip to the Dutch capital, but for one reason or another I could never make my plans come true. So, when I had the opportunity to finally organize my 4 days trip to Amsterdam, I did not hesitate for a moment and immediately booked flights and hotels. As usual I want to give you all the necessary advices to visit this lovely city from which I was pleasantly impressed.
4 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM: GENERAL INFORMATIONS
Let’s start with some general informations that you need to know before booking your 4 days in Amsterdam. How to reach the city from the airport, which is the best season to visit it, how cannabis regulation works and so on.
How to reach Amsterdam from the airport
To get to Amsterdam you can take a direct flight to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or you can land in Eindhoven, a city located 123km from the capital. Let’s see which are the options to reach the city from the two main airports of the Netherlands:
- to reach Amsterdam from Schipol Airport you can take a train that leaves from the airport (click HERE to book it) or a bus (click HERE to book it);
- to reach Amsterdam from Eindhoven Airport you have the possibility to take a direct bus from the terminal to Amsterdam (book it HERE) or take a bus (you cant get tickets at the machines in the baggage claim area) that from the airport takes you to Eindhoven station where you will take the train to Amsterdam Centraal (book the train HERE).
When to go to Amsterdam: the best season
Because of its cold weather it would be better to visit Amsterdam in spring, this is the reason why I want to go back there in May o June to enjoy its quintessence wandering by bike. Despite this, visiting Amsterdam in November as I did will leave you speechless for the magical Christmas atmosphere that you breathe in the city. You will probably avoid renting a bike because of the cold and the wind, but you will surely be fascinated by the cozy atmosphere of the city that during the autumn period shows off its best appearance.
- Drinking a hot cappuccino with a slice of cake admiring the lights of the canals and the yellow leaves that fall from the trees is priceless! -
The Coffeeshops in Amsterdam: is the drug legal?
Service communication: if you are looking for detailed advices about the coffeeshops you are in the wrong place because, unfortunately, this experience wasn’t part of my holiday. Nevertheless, out of personal curiosity, I read something about the Dutch drug policy. Amsterdam is full of coffeeshops but, despite what you may think, the drug is technically illegal even if tolerated within a certain limit. In particular, marijuana and hashish are tolerated as long as thecoffeeshops sells a maximum of 5gr per day to each customer, also these very special “bars” can not serve alcohol or heavy drugs (such as cocaine and heroin) and are not open to under 18s.
The main districts of Amsterdam are the medieval center where stands the historic Dam square, the famous red light district where there are many windows displaying prostitutes, Jordaan or the Jewish quarter, a touristic destination due to the Anne Frank house, the museum district where the main museums are located, including the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum and where it overlooks part of Vondel Park and, finally, De Pijp where you can enjoy the Heineken experience and the Albert Cuyp Markt.
-Almost all the areas of the city are crossed by canals that, because of their similarity, will often make you lose the orientation. But do not be afraid because the most beautiful way to visit the city is to get lost among its characteristic neighborhoods.-
Getting around in Amsterdam
The Dutch capital is quite small and you can explore it by walking or by bicycle. Amsterdam is not served by subway and the only present line connects it to peripheral areas, however you can take the trams (you will notice how they whizz along the streets of the city).
4 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM: WHERE TO STAY
As for the area where to stay during your 4 days in Amsterdam I recommend without a shadow of doubt the medieval quarter and the areas around the redlight district. This is because they are strategic points close to most restaurants and full of life during the evening. The hotels where I have been hosted are the following:
- Kimpton De Witt: the hotel is located less than 5 minutes from Amsterdam station and enjoys a central location (book your stay HERE). The Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam is part of a luxurious chain of hotels located all over the world where professionalism and excellent services are the keywords. The fabulous design, the big continental breakfast and the lobby windows on one of the main streets of the city are the details that i mostly loved. In the evening I also had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant followed by a great cocktail at the wonderful House Bar;
- Luxury Suites Amsterdam: it is a complex of luxury suites located in a very quiet residential area but only a few minutes away from the chaotic red light district (click HERE to book a suite). In short, the right compromise for those who want to relax without enjoying the best of the city. The Royal Suite, where I had the pleasure of staying, has a large living room and a small kitchenette and overlooks a canal and allows you to enjoy a truly unforgettable view. Breakfast is exclusively a la carte and provides for delicious dishes including pancakes that I will always carry in my heart.
4 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM: WHAT TO DO AND SEE
Here is a detailed guide on what to do and see during your 4 days in Amsterdam. I assure you that it will be enough time to discover all the beauties of the Dutch capital.
- Day 1: spend the first day to discover the medieval center admiring the majestic Dam Square with the royal palace and the new cathedral. You will notice how the area is surrounded by streets full of shops. Go, then, to discover Begijnhof, a real treasure hidden among the buildings of the city where once the beghine nuns lived and where there is a beautiful garden surrounded by Dutch-style houses and a church. Go to the flower market where you can shop any kind of bulbs and stroll around Leidsplein and Rembrandtplein to enjoy an afternoon shopping along the canal belt;
-Before returning to the hotel take a trip to the red light district whose windows with red neon will surely capture your attention, it is an extremely touristy area but to say the least peculiar feature.-
- Day 2: spend the second day scattering through the streets of the Jewish quarter where you will find design and frippery shops. Take the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank House which marked one of the saddest pages of the 2nd World War, but remember that tickets must be booked online a few days before the visit. Finally, visit the original “Tassenmusem Hendrikje” bags museum to admire a private collection of bags from the Middle Ages to the present days;
- Day 3: choose the third day to explore the Museum district “Museumplelin” where you can visit the Van Gogh Museum (really amazing, I recommend you take the audio guide for a complete experience), the Rijksmuseum or the Moco Museum. During the winter season a big ice rink is set up and you can spend some time experimenting with thrilling pirouettes. After visiting the museums and after a short lunch break, head to Vondel Park, the largest park in Amsterdam with lots of lakes, small bridges and ducks, which during the autumn season turns warm colors;
- Day 4: after all the historical and cultural visits, you can not miss the legendary Heineken Experience at the first establishment of the famous Dutch beer. The tour, where you will be explained the brewing process and where you will enjoy funny games, lasts a maximum of two hours and offers a break from conventional touristic walks. The Heineken establishment is located in the multi-ethnic De Pijp district where you can stroll along the Albert Cuyp Markt, an open-air market where you can buy clothing, souvenirs or eat a warm Dutch waffle.
4 DAYS IN AMSTERDAM: WHERE TO EAT
There are plenty of delicious pastries in Amsterdam. At every corner you will be attracted to some Nordic style bakery that will charm you at first sight and will win a place of honor for your lunch. Among my favorites must be mentioned absolutely:
- Pluk: a delicious restaurant-bakery where you can enjoy a hot soup or an avocado toast and finish your meal with a cake or a cupcake.
- Corner Bakery: a little corner of paradise in Museumplein whose pancakes are beautiful to see and eat;
- Black & Blue: a restaurant and bar where you can relax with a hot tea and a slice of apple pie.
-If you want to eat good meat stop for dinner at Humphrey's and taste its delicious skewers accompanied by fried potatoes and finish with the fabulous chocolate cake.-