I just come back from a week in Netherlands (or Holland 😉 ). I didn’t expect as many beautiful landscapes around Amsterdam ♥ So here’s my itinerary; we moved by bus and train, and the distances are really short !
1rst stop, so quick from Paris thanks to Thalys train. I think you have to spend around 3 days in the city to visit all neighborhoods, few museums, and do a bit of shopping while enjoying the super chill vibe of Amsterdam.
Note : accommodations are excessively expensive so try to book wayyy in advance. And a lot of museums (like Anne Frank and Van Gogh) ask that you book online first, still in advance.
Non-exhaustive list of things to do/see in Amsterdam :
- Museums : Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Foam (photography museum), Anne Frank, The Cat Cabinet…
- Neighborhoods : Red district (it’s a must-see), Dam (and its flower market), Nine Streets, Jordaan, Pjip, Waterlooplein…
- Activities : a boat tour on the canals, a walk in Vondelpark, eat a pancake (especially in a Amsterdam Pancakes restaurant), move around by bike, explore the great botanical garden of Hortus Botanicus, go check the Magna Plaza for its architecture…
- Nice boutiques : (DECOR) Restored, A store without a home, Zenza, (FASHION) Darling, and all the cute vintage shops everywhere 😉
Darling, A store without a home, Zenza
Broek in Waterland
We were craving for nature, to read near by water, to have brunch in a nice patio… and after many researches, I found this little piece of heaven. Broek is a little village on water, only 15 minutes away of Amsterdam. We stayed there for 3 days, and it gave us space and calm, while having a lot of things to see around.
I just have 2 places to recommend you in the village, because it’s really residential (not too busy and it is for the best !) :
- about accommodation,Inn on the Lake guesthouse. Quite expensive of course, but it worths it. Best guesthouse I ever stayed in; and Pamela, the host, is a very very veeeery talented cook.
- To eat, the little place De Witte Swaen ( = the White Swan). It’s cute and always busy, salads and pancakes are enormous and cheap.
There is no really affordable solution to stay into Broek; but you can go there from Amsterdam, just for a nice afternoon 🙂 and if you wanna see an even more magical place, go to Gierthoorn : google-it, it seems breathtaking. BUT, it’s at around 2h of Amsterdam and we wanted to really discover the close area, so Broek is a perfect alternative.
Those 3 littles cities/villages will take you a nice day to visit, or a well-organized afternoon.
Marken : cute peninsula with adorable houses, than you can see on the pic above. You can wander around the small streets, and there is a tiny harbor with restaurants and fish food trucks. It’s just 20 minutes from Broek, by bus.
Volendam : in Marken, you can take a boat and go to Volendam in less than half a hour. It’s so nice to see the sailboats quietly floating all around. This city is like Marken, in bigger; very busy harbor with tones of restaurants. There is also a nice little Gouda fabric that you can visit. A bit away from the crowd, we ate at the Smit Bokkum pavillon; good place, but try to book a table first online, ’cause it’s well-known.
Edam : just near by, the pretty city of Edam, full of pretty houses and nice canals.
Edam and its cute bridges
Lisse and its Keukenhof park
To visit Lisse and its beautiful tulips park, you have to go from Amsterdam to take a train, then a bus. It’s a bit more than 1h way.
Keukenhof is open only two months a year, for tulips blossom; from end of march to late may. It takes around an afternoon to hang around the different flower beds. OK it’s beautiful, and it can also be nice to picnic there. There are also some animations and of course, plenty of boutiques to shop souvenirs.
I honestly didn’t really liked it; too busy, and you really have to give your best to have a pic pretending it’s a big flower area, when in reality it’s just a little square of tulips, surrounded by hundreds of tourists. It’s something worthing to do maybe, but just once in my opinion.
Like Keukenhof, Zaanse Schans is kind of a Disneyland park, but for windmills. It’s very nice, and even impressive to see from inside.
We decided to visit those windmills because it was closer to Amsterdam; but I heard that the Kinderdjik ones were amazing.
The best I think is to take the park pass. It allows you to visit museums, gives discounts in most of all the typical shops there (cheeses, clogs, porcelain…), and also you have access to one or few windmills. Without the pass tho, you can still wander around the village and see the windmills from close. Unfortunately we didn’t had a good weather on the day, but was nice anyway.