Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Ultimate Amsterdam on a Budget, Part One

Forget the hype about pot or prostitutes, this Netherlands capital has so much more to offer. How does vintage markets, boat rides, amazing food, and stirring history sound? Like the perfect girly weekend? Thought so.

Here’s how I whetted my Amsterdam appetite... 

Before you go:

♥ Print off a Google map to save money and time and know where you’re going on the other side. Be sure to get the names of the smaller streets as well as the bigger ones as you’re just as likely to get lost there!

♥ Although the general public in Amsterdam were some of the nicest I’ve come across when travelling, and more than happy to converse with you in fluent English, take the time to learn one or two words as it will really impact how you are received. Dank u wel, for example, is ‘thank you’. See more basic Dutch greetings here.

How to Travel:

If you’re coming from the UK then bag a cheap flight with Easyjet and it will take you just an hour. From the Airport you can take a train to the central station, which is around 3 Euros and takes about 15 minutes.

Alternatively, if you’re close by in Europe, then I’d highly recommend taking the train (which is how we left Amsterdam). A high-speed Eurostar from Amsterdam to Paris cost us only 33 Euros and took just 3 hours, plus we avoided the inevitable waiting around at the airport, and lengthy security checks etc.

Once in the city most places of note and be reached on foot or, if you're brave enough, by bike! There are places to rent bicycles all over the place, so do a little research before you go and find somewhere near where you're staying. There are also hop on/hop off boats that ferry you around the canals, but more of that in Part Two! There is also a thriving tram system, but we didn’t use it.

Where to Stay:

Similarly to when I stayed with friends in Milan, on this trip I dropped in on my cooler-than-cool Japanese aunt (she has an online shop here). Her apartment was wonderfully kooky and it was so nice to catch up with her as we hadn’t seen each other for over a decade! Just check out her shoe collection:

Excuse the blurry picture, it must have been over-excitement!

The hospitality of people never fails to amaze me when I stay with them – if you’ve never tried it, I defy you not to be in awe at how accommodating friends and family can be, and even friends of friends, or friends of family, as I’ve found!

Sweet snacks and a stunning view.

But if you don’t have a handy port of call in Amsterdam, never fear.

♥ Initially I began looking for a hostel and, to my surprise, didn’t find a great many of them around. The chief student hotspot seems to be The Flying Pig which looks to be a fab budget option and a great way to meet other young people staying in the city.

♥ If you want something a little more sophisticated and quiet, it seems you could do worse than Hotel Museumzicht from $70 a night which, when sharing with someone else, is not far off what you would pay in a hostel.

…And that’s your lot for Part One! Part Two speeding your way later this week.

On another note, I'm experiencing problems viewing the site (which may explain any gaps or funny business in the layout of this article) - has anyone had similar problems? It's been on and off since I switched to a custom domain, so I'm afraid it is linked to that, but I don't know how to remedy it... Input appreciated!

1 comment:

Morag Lee said...

Amsterdam is totally up there on my to-go list (along with about 250 other places) & I'm hoping to get it done within the next few years, so this was really helpful. You've probably already decided to talk about this in your future posts but I was wondering if you could talk about the main tourist attractions & if they are worth it? Also could you recommend how much money should be taken & how easy it is to take money out whilst there? x

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