Amsterdam is beautiful, romantic, and rich in history.
Really, we only had 2 1/2 days here, and we were able to see so much! I would have loved to stay longer, but it is totally possible to see the highlights in just a couple of days.
We arrived in early November, and this HAS to be the best time to go! Amsterdam in the fall is absolutely breathtaking. The yellow and orange leaves are stunning against the mahogany toned cobblestone and colorful leaning buildings.
Almost everyone here rides bikes. You will notice bikes lined up all along the canals and walkways. We even passed a "bike garage" that kept nearly 5,000 bikes. The streets are narrow so it is more difficult to use cars as a source of transportation (not to mention the high driving tax here).
Whether by bike or by foot, just wandering around Amsterdam is an adventure in itself. You will find so many beautiful photo ops, cute coffee shops, cafes, and shops.
The night time is so romantic and beautiful. The canals are beautifully stringed with lights. Most of the buildings are beautifully lit as well. Virtually every street was decorated for Christmas and this has to be one of the most Christmasy cities I have ever been to! It is unreservedly gorgeous.
Must Do in Amsterdam:
1. Waffles (Stroopwaffle)
Waffles, waffles, waffles. You can find waffles everywhere here. Especially the stroopwaffle, which looks like just a thin waffle, but its actually two thin doughy waffles sandwhiched together with a syrup. These are a MUST TRY. I could not stop eating them. Try Van Wonderen Stroopwaffles for cute decorated ones!
2. Try Herring
Dutch raw herring is a thing here. My canal boat tour guide says that Broodje Van Dobben has the best herring sandwiches... and best food in Amsterdam. They're croquettes are to die for!!!
3. I Am Amsterdam Sign
Take a photo on top of/in the letters!
The Museumplein includes three of the best museums in Amsterdam:
Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, and Van Gogh Museum.
Not only is this a beautiful area with beautiful buildings, but the museums are a must see!
5. Zaanse Schans
Visit the beautiful Dutch countryside in Zaandam, right outside of the city.
Zaanse Schans is known for its windmills, cheese making, and village houses. You can buy homemade stroopwaffles here of course, cheese, hot cocoa, and more. There are many tours you can sign up for at Zaanse Schans, including the cheesemaking tour! We decided to not do a tour and just roam around ourselves, but a tour would have been very interesting. Seriously, this is such a cool place.
It is so beautiful this time of year as the leaves turn.
6. Muiderslot Castle
Slightly East of Amsterdam in Muiden is the Muiderslot Castle.
The medieval castle of Holland is unfortunately only open on the weekends during the colder months, but we got to take some really cool photos of the outside without anyone else there! You can even visit the castle by boat, around the moat. This is a must see.
7. Private Amsterdam Canal Tour
This was by far the highlight of our trip. It was one of the most romantic things I have done. If you're in Amsterdam without a significant other however, I would still encourage you to do it! You learn so much fascinating history about Amsterdam that you don't see in a textbook! Alcoholic beverages are serve yourself.
We were aboard the "Tourist," the oldest boat on the canals built in 1909.
The boat departs from our hotel, The Pulitzer, daily.
From sunset to dark is the best time to do the tour. The beauty of the lit up canals and city at night is incredible.
Typically a private tour on this boat is €240 an hour, we lucked out and got the €39 per person group price for just the two of us because no one else signed up. However, if the group tour is full, the €240 tour is absolutely worth it.
Best Coffee Shops in Amsterdam
Most of the coffee shops here have a lot of marijuana products since its legal for recreational use in Amsterdam. I'm not into that so I won't be listing... haha! You'll have to google this one.
Best Museums in Amsterdam
The list is endless... obviously we didn't make it to all of these but I asked around what the best ones are!
1. Anne Frank House
3. Van Gogh Museum
4. Stedelijk Museum
5. Rembrandt House Museum
6. Amsterdam Museum
7. Hermitage Amsterdam
8. Joods Historisch Museum
Most Instagrammable Spots in Amsterdam
1. Polaberry (@Polaberry)
They even have a wall of tagged Instagram photos inside the shop!
I just stopped by for an iced coffee, as this was right across the street from our hotel. But OH MY GOSH check out how CUTE and PRETTY the treats are in there! They specialize in chocolate covered strawberries and Belgian chocolate.
2. MaMa Kelly (@mamakellyamsterdam)
For all you pink lovers like me... this is your place.
MaMa Kelly is an ALL PINK modern European restaurant located at the Olympic Stadium.
I'm OBSESSED with how cute this place is. Every corner of this place is a photo op.
Come here for lunch or dinner, I would recommend you make a reservation! We got there around 4:30 PM which was the perfect time to snap a couple photos... they were not busy for dinner yet.
They have an exceptional cocktail menu!
The dinner menu doesn't look like much but I can promise you it is tasty (Esp. if you like seafood).
3. Corner Bakery (@Cornerbakeryamsterdam)
I didn't get the chance to come here, but look how cute and fun the shakes they have are!!
They also serve aesthetically pleasing fruit bowls, treats, and meals!
Where We Stayed
This is probably the most unique hotel I have ever stayed in. Each floor in our building only had one to two rooms. The hotel was very courteous and upgraded us to a bigger suite, and gifted us with waffles, macaroons, chocolate, and champagne (heaven). My favorite part about our room was the french doors that opened up to the canal. The hotel offers canal tours (see above: Must Do In Amsterdam). They included a glorious breakfast at their restaurant with our room.
Thanks for reading! Leave in the comments what you think or any questions you may have. :)