Got a Friday off? Instead of running those errands you’ve been meaning to do, I challenge you to find a cool place and go on an adventure. Recently, I got a new job and ended up having a week off while my fiance, John, had one day to spare. With a three day weekend ahead of us, we decided a vacation would be fun and discussed our options on where to go.
We searched the web for what flights were leaving from Philly and saw a trip to Amsterdam for a steal, nearly half the price of what we’ve seen tickets go for when we looked in the past. We didn’t wait, and honestly you shouldn’t either- if you see a good deal, grab it and never look back!
So 48 hours in Amsterdam it was! We didn’t really tell anyone and we just hopped on a plane! I like it that way because we just get to enjoy our vacation without getting asked a billion questions.
So how did we fit in the city of Amsterdam in 48 hours? Easy, we planned a little and walked A LOT. Once we decided on Amsterdam, we went online to book tickets to places early and then left time for my favorite part of vacation, wandering!
Here’s what we did Day One:
Landed in Amsterdam around 10:30 am, the Schiphol airport has pretty clear instructions on how to get a taxi or take the train. I suggest you research first where your hotel is and what train stop to get off at, but ours was Amsterdam Centraal. The train was a better option for us because it was only about 20 minutes and was a little over 5 euros each for one way. Note: There is a first and second class. We accidentally sat in first class and no one stopped us but I don’t want to know what would happen if they had
The train station was conveniently about a 10-15 minute walk from our hotel, Room Mate Aitana. This hotel had great accommodations and is across the street from some really cute breakfast places. I wouldn’t say it’s the most conveniently located to the touristy places but the city is pretty small and the farthest place we ever had to walk was maybe 30 minutes. We booked our hotel through Hotwire because we aren’t picky and I have had nothing but great experiences. I always find it exciting to find out what your hotel is!
Next we hopped on a boat tour at 1:00pm with Those Dam Boat Guys. It was a bit of a hustle to make it to our hotel, check in, and Uber over to our boat meeting place but we made it! Everyone says the best way to see Amsterdam is by water, and I’d like to add by open boat! You’ll see there are a ton of huge closed-in boats that take you through the canals but honestly they look terribly boring and all of your pictures are through a window. I definitely recommend Those Dam Boat Guys. They run 90+ minute open boat tours year round. They can only fit 12 people on the boat so it’ll always be personal and a great way to meet other travelers. They’re hilarious and they encourage you to drink so if it’s winter time, get that vodka blanket going! For 23 Euro each, it was a great experience and definitely worth it!
After our tour, our guide suggested lunch at Food Hallen which was this really cool indoor food court. It had bars right in the middle and you can go to a number of different vendors. We were starving so we opted for The Butcher which mostly made gourmet burgers. I had an Eggs Benedict Burger and let’s just say it was out of this world.
By this point John and I had polished off an entire bottle of wine on the boat and a few beers at Food Hallen and the drinking just continued as we made our way to the Heineken Experience. John is a big fan of Heineken so we thought it would be cool to see how it’s made and the history of the brand (and drink more beers). The tour itself was super crowded and I didn’t really hear a damn thing the guide said to be honest. However, everything is clearly marked and pretty self explanatory. They have interactive activities where you can go in a photo booth, do karaoke in front of a green screen on a fake bike (LOL), and even do a beer pouring simulation (I failed). It was pretty touristy so if you’re not that interested, this is something you could replace with a museum or walking tour.
Then we wandered for a while and enjoyed each other’s company while trying to find a place to eat. We ended up at the Rijksmuseum because we couldn’t wait to see the Iamsterdam sign. Just a little tip, if you want to climb it- the A is not the way to go. John found more success sliding between the t and the e and then pulling himself up. I struggled to get up so I sat in the d. The size really lived up to my expectations and it really is a can’t miss photo opp if you are there!
We wanted to have Indonesian for dinner but quickly realized that we needed reservations at every place we tried. After abandoning that option we happened upon a little bar that was empty and thought it would be a good place where we could get food quickly- we were wrong. I don’t even remember the name but I learned there is definitely a reason why it was so desolate at peak dinner time! Service was poor, portion sizes were small, and the check was huge! Definitely make sure you look at the menu before sitting down and make reservations ahead of time at a place with good ratings and prices(you can do this through your hotel too).
After that we were pooped! We headed back to the hotel to rest for Day 2 of Amsterdam. Stay tuned for a blog on Day 2!