The first thing that pops into many people’s minds when they think of Amsterdam could be the seedy underbelly of the city, perhaps the Red Light District and an abundance of stoned backpackers. However, we think that the times are changing for Amsterdam, if they haven’t done so already.
With the backdrop of those tall and slender houses lining the beautiful canals, tulips in springs, and Dutch locals gliding through the city on their bikes, you don’t have to look very hard to find some luxury experiences that don’t come at a high price. Simple strolling through certain parts of Amsterdam will make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale land. Here’s what we think should go on your Amsterdam Luxury itinerary, bound to satisfy the senses and help you discover an authentic yet elegant side to Amsterdam.
It’s pretty hard to find even a postcard of Amsterdam without it showing its series of famous canals. There are so many cruises to choose from that will glide you along the river, all of which give you perfect views of those iconic Amsterdam houses. It’s difficult to choose which ones are amongst the best, but our pick would be the Amsterdam Cocktail Cruise, just to give the experience that little touch of class and make it stand out from all the other bog-standard boat tours. The Cocktail Cruise lasts two hours and as it’s at night you’ll see a whole new side to Amsterdam that you wouldn’t see on a cruise during the day; the lights of the Amsterdam buildings reflecting in the waters below is nothing short of magical. Sip on some cocktails, nibble on snacks, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without visiting the Anne Frank Museum. Here you can stroll through the house where Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during the Second World War, an incredibly moving story to say the least. Here Anne wrote her diary, which in years to come would become an international bestseller and a voice for the Dutch Jews during her lifetime.
A visit to the museum might seem like a sombre occasion, but walking through the rooms where Anne turned from a girl to a woman, posting pictures on her walls of movie stars and living in constant fear of her loved ones’ lives and her own, is touching. The museum also houses many of her treasured possessions, including other notebooks and original manuscripts from her diary that went down in history.
This museum, dedicated to art and history from both Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole, is set in an absolutely incredible building, a building that warrants a visit alone regardless of what’s inside it. After being a working museum for more than 125 years it was in desperate need for some work and in 2000 it’s doors were closed to commence a complete makeover. The museum was reopened earlier this year after 13 years of work looking shiny, new, and up-to-date with our modern world.
There are currently 1 million different objects in the Rijksmuseum, giving you plenty to entertain yourself with for an afternoon or entire day. The paintings displayed are mostly from the Dutch Golden Age era, and the pieces from Rembrandt are amongst the most famous.
Be sure to check out the I amsterdam City Card for great entry discounts on this museum plus many other attractions – Plus a free canal ride!
The clue is in the name with this one – The Nine Streets of Amsterdam are quite simply a popular neighborhood in the city center made up of nine streets. These little lanes are lined with boutiques, adorable cafes, little Dutch eateries, and an infinite amount of charm. If you’re into shopping this is definitely a neighborhood not to be missed; here you can buy all kinds of souvenirs and indulgent presents, from vintage bargains to high-end clothing and accessories.
One spot to absolutely not miss here is a little café simply named ‘Pancakes!’ Much like the lack of imagination put into the name of the neighborhood, your immediate guess as to what they serve here is entirely accurate. This pancake house serves a whole range of pancakes, from sweet creations like strawberry, yoghurt, and honey, to savory masterpieces such as goat’s cheese, spinach, garlic oil, and pine nuts. It’s the perfect place for a lunchtime break from all that shopping in this neighborhood.
Forget High Tea, time to get down with the High Wine experience! The Dutch have taken the classic British tradition and made it their own, and at The Dylan Amsterdam Hotel you can sample this decadent new tradition with a twist. The High Wine menu at this hotel gives you the opportunity to try four different wines as well as four ‘amuse style’ dishes, such as sautéed haddock and crispy leg of rabbit. This luxurious experience is available between 3pm and 6pm every day, and is the perfect choice for couples looking to share a unique and romantic moment together. The price of the experience is 40 euros per person, which might be outside of your budget but you get a lot for your money. If you’re going the splurge on one thing in Amsterdam, make sure it’s this indulgent experience!
If you’re in the need for a little bit of green space, Vondelpark is the main area in Amsterdam for just that. There are so many events going on here all year round, as well as ample opportunity for you to just take a picnic and enjoy some fresh air. It’s perfectly legal to drink alcohol in this park, so take a nice bottle of your favorite wine and enjoy a fancy picnic on the many lawns that Vondelpark has to offer.
The slogan for the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is, ‘Meet the Beer, Share the Magic, and Get Experienced!’ – it really is as simple as that. This popular yet unique experience through the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam is one of the un-missable activities in this city for any beer lover. It will give you the low down on the history of Heineken, and as it’s a self-guided tour you can peruse the experience at your own pace.
If you want to really get as much information as possible, there is also now an app available for iPhone and Android that will give you audio and video commentary on everything you can see to really give you the full Heineken Experience.
The Jordaan neighborhood was once a poor district where the creatives of the city lived and worked, including the now infamous Rembrandt. Over the last few centuries, however, it has flourished into one of the most expensive and decadent areas of Amsterdam. The once rickety homes of artists and writers are now considered to be some of the most charming to visit in the city, and you’re sure to be swept away by said charm as you take a stroll through Jordaan’s streets. Don’t miss out on the organic farmer’s market in Noordermarkt on Saturday mornings, and if you’re into art there are hundreds of studios here for you to check out some local creations from Amsterdam’s current artists.
Our final pick for Amsterdam Luxury is the hotel we stayed in during our time there. Mövenpick Amsterdam is an amazing hotel, with great views, fantastic food and great staff. I will not deny it, I have a penchant for luxury travel, and while we have to limit it a bit more than we used to as perpetual travelers, we do spoil ourselves form time to time. This was one of those times.
The rooms are fresh and clean, the bed big and comfortable and a bathroom with a nice big bath to soak the achy bones in at the end of the day. And the food? Amazing! To keep me happy you have to keep my belly happy; Mövenpick did a fantastic job (maybe too good a job, according to my rounder belly).
Thank you to XCom Global for helping us stay connected during our European Road Trip with their MiFi device.