Our Amsterdam Itinerary

 Our Amsterdam itinerary - how to spend a long weekend in Amsterdam during tulip season

On Monday we returned from the most magical long weekend in Amsterdam. I always say that I'll never love another city as much as London, but Amsterdam came oh so very close.

There were so many things that made it feel so special—the walkability, the romantic-looking canals, the amazing food, idyllic parks and the really kind people who all seemed to have a great sense of humor. It was also a dream of mine to visit during tulip season and I was so happy that we were able to make it happen.

I really took time to plan our trip and I'm happy to say that we were able to do everything on our list, plus find some unexpected gems along the way. Here's how we spent our long weekend in Amsterdam.

Friday

The Eurostar now has trains going directly from London to Amsterdam, so that's what we do. It's always fun going through the chunnel and you can't beat the convenience of arriving right in the city center. Plus trains happen to be the only form of transportation I get sleep on! We depart St. Pancras station at 9:30 am and arrived in Amsterdam around 2:00 pm (there's a time change, don't worry, it's not that long of a trip!).

Amsterdam is a very walkable city, so we don't bother with transit, but instead take a short stroll from the station to our hotel, The W. (To be honest, it's not one I'd recommend—with a location in a busier part of town and a club on the rooftop, it wasn't quite suited to us. If we were to go back, we'd almost certainly stay at The Hoxton which has a more relaxed atmosphere and is right on the canals).

With plenty of the day ahead of us, we stop by Bake My Day for a coffee fix. I was so impressed with how friendly everyone was and very happy with the non-dairy milk options. They certainly went ahead and made our day. 

One shop that I'd heard of (and had to stop into) was Anna + Nina and it did not disappoint. I must have said "oh my gosh, look at this!" to my husband about a hundred times. It's filled with clothes, accessories and homewares. I walked out with my first Ganni t-shirt and an initial charm necklace (with C + T for my cats, Cocoa and Tella, obvs). 

Next up was the floating flower market, Bloemenmarkt. It was very busy and to be honest, didn't have too many flowers, mostly just bulbs, but I did manage to find 50 tulips for ten euros—a very good deal that I couldn't possibly pass up! It's not weird keeping fifty tulips in your hotel sink, is it?

With my tulips in tow, we drop by The Hoxton for some pre-dinner drinks. My husband tried Genever (a local gin-like drink), while I went for a cocktail that included sage and Prosecco. The bartender was incredibly kind and the drinks were a perfect way to begin the evening.

When we went to Copenhagen last year, we loved going to a market that had stalls and stalls of restaurants. Amsterdam has something similar called the Foodhallen, so that's where we go. It works out perfectly for two tired travelers—each person gets what they'd like, no difficult decisions! I opt for a falafel wrap and a glass of rose, while my husband finds his dinner from a burger stall. 

Saturday

Our Saturday gets off to an early start with a trip to Lisse (a city just outside of Amsterdam) to visit the tulip fields. We take a train then a bus to the Kukenhof area, home of the famed gardens.

The actual Kukenhof gardens require a ticket and have masses of people (I've never seen so many tour buses in one spot!), but just outside, there are tulip fields with rows upon rows of color. That's what I wanted to see and I'm so glad that we were able to get a glimpse of a few actual farms during tulip season.

We've been up since dawn and we're more than ready for our next stop, lunch at The Avocado Show. We go directly here from the tulip fields. There's a little bit of a wait, but it's so worth it. Every item on the menu features avocado and there's everything from sweet to savory to (I'll just say it) strange.

I opt for a mix of the former, going with matcha avocado pancakes topped with berries and avocado butter and the 'avo garden', an avocado stuffed with hummus and topped with edible flowers. My only regret was that I didn't have enough of an appetite to try more items on the menu—I suppose we'll just have to go back! 

Just a few blocks away is a ‘Wake Me When I’m Famous’ mural, so my husband and I do our best poses in front of it. His is much better. Mine is very awkward and I'll spare you the photo.  

Both The Avocado Show and the mural are in a very edgy part of town called the De Pijp neighborhood. There are so many cool shops and restaurants and definitely worth a stroll around, which is what we do on our way back towards town. 

We take a leisurely walk back towards our hotel, getting lost among the canals and streets, taking time to admire the city's beauty. Once back at the hotel, we change for dinner.

I've made a reservation at Buffet Van Odette. We had some really great food in Amsterdam, but this was my favorite spot we ate at. I had a roasted cabbage starter that was served atop a creamy tallegio sauce and topped with hazelnuts. Just dreamy and one of the best dishes I've tried (and that's not just the rosé I had speaking) That, plus a ravioli main and affogato for dessert made for the perfect meal.

After such an early morning, we decide to call it an early evening a take a slow walk back to the hotel, savoring the warm evening weather along the way.

Sunday

We don't set an alarm and end up sleeping in (it is vacation, after all) and have breakfast at a place we spotted the day before, Pluk. It's the cutest cafe and the food is right up my alley. And after all the wine last night, I go a bit wild and order quite the spread, including an açaí bowl, juice and a slice of lemon poppyseed bread. My husband goes for the glitter galaxy bowl which tastes just as magical as it sounds. 

Because after that much food, we need to walk it off, so we go to Vondelpark ( it was a really nice day or else we'd have gone to the indoor Hortus Botanicus). This park felt like a beautiful combination of Central Park and Hyde Park. It was filled with families enjoying the sun, dogs playing and people cycling. It's the perfect spot for a Sunday stroll.

A theme of our trip was stopping for coffees at cute cafes and Sticky Fingers was without a doubt the cutest. It's got a pink-tiled wall that's pure Instagram gold and baristas who are kind enough to put up with your strange coffee orders (with a sense of humor to boot).

I saw a Love Stories robe in Anna + Nina that I couldn't get off my mind, so I wanted to go grab it. We go to the Love Stories standalone store and it's a dream. If I had the budget, I'd have walked away with the entire store, but for the time being, I leave with this robe and love it.

A little more strolling around ensues and then we head to the hotel for a nap. Did I mention that I had wine the previous night?

For dinner, I had made reservations at Jansz, which looked perfect but neither of us were really in the mood for a sit-down meal, so we cancel to get frites followed by snacks from Stach. Sometimes you just need something casual. And you have to try frites in a cone at least once while you're in town, right?

We followed up our frites with a spot of shopping at By Popular Demand which happened to stock my favorite sock brand. I love that these socks say what I'd sometimes wish I had the courage to!

We eat our Stach snacks in the hotel and both do a little bit of work, then head to bed.

Monday

For breakfast, we return to the too-cool-for-school De Pijp neighborhood for breakfast at CT Coffee & Coconuts. It's a huge cafe-slash-working space housed in an old movie theatre. I have a coffee with coconut milk plus a buckwheat breakfast bowl while the husband gets a breakfast burrito. Both are good, but can't quite compete with yesterday's brunch. 

We walk slowly back to the hotel, pack up, and check out.

Since the Eurostar doesn't have trains going direct to London just yet, we decide to fly home to save a couple of hours. I still prefer the train though—it's such a simpler way to travel!

Back in London, we're already planning our next trip back to this magical city. I've already decided in my mind that if for some reason we can't live in London, we'll move to Amsterdam instead. Better get a head start on researching where to live, right? You know, just in case. 

Until next time,

- Brenda