With summer just around the corner, the mind can’t help but wonder to places far away – but what if, maybe because of work or money, 10 days away in the sun is not on the cards for you this year? Well not to worry, the Dam awaits.
Only a short one and a half hour flight away, Amsterdam is the perfect place for a short city break. The busy, charming city is just bursting with places to eat and bars to drink in – it’s a tourist’s paradise.
If you’re a steak person, you’re certainly in luck. You’ve arrived in a carnivore’s heaven with at least two Argentinian steakhouses on every street. And with all that stiff competition – the prices are pretty delicious too. Not to worry if you’re a sweet tooth, the Dam has got you covered. You absolutely must treat yourself to a waffle. Whether it’s covered in caramel or doused in chocolate, this delicious treat is available from the early hours of the morning. Yum.
Now that we’ve got the Dutch grub sussed, here are a couple of good places to stay in. The Ramada Apollo Hotel is located just a few tram stops outside of the actual city centre, which isn’t a problem. The public transport in Amsterdam is second to none and when the trams do stop in the evening, a taxi home is still less than €20. It is a very chic, fashionable business hotel and it’s the choice of all the pilots that fly in and out of the city, so it’s got to be good. It has a great sky bar on the 17th floor that gives you a view of the entire city, and if you’re lucky, you can get a room here for just €39.
Sometimes, particularly if you’re only going somewhere for a short time, you want to be as close to the hustle and bustle as you can. There are loads of reliable hostels that allow you to do just that. You can bag yourself a nice, clean and safe room in Bulldog’s Hostel from just €30, and it’s only a stone’s throw away from the heart of everything.
Now we move onto the “everything”. What is there to do in Amsterdam? During the day, you can visit Anne Frank’s house, a humbling experience and a must-see. Although if you are considering on paying this historical sight a visit, plan ahead. Get up and go early to avoid the queues! You can also visit Madam Tussaud’s, but I recommend you brush up on your Dutch celebrity culture a little bit first, otherwise there will be an entire floor of scarily, life-like wax figures that you don’t know.
At night time in Amsterdam the city erupts into a hive of activity, and you’re spoilt for choice with what to do with your evening. There is a canal boat tour that cruises through the city for just €35 and you get unlimited wine and a cheeseboard – what more could you ask for?
There is certainly one more thing on the list of things to do and see in Amsterdam – The Red Light District. It’s got to be done. Before you find your choice of a bar or a club for the night, take a walk down through the Red Light. It’s not scary or rough like a lot of people say; it’s just a little bit strange. It’s a bit like being in a fun house at a carnival, you’re not really sure what’s coming next or what you’ve just witnessed – but you’ve absolutely got to see it while you’re there.
Amsterdam really is a city like no other. Its relaxed vibe mimicked by its cool, calm locals make for a very enjoyable, mellow, but action-packed couple of days. It’s the kind of city you’d happily spend a week in, but a few days is all you need to get a real taste of life in the Dam. So do it, if you’re not sun bound this summer, at least be Amsterdam bound.
By Emma Dungan