Frugal City Guide: Amsterdam

Coat: Topshop (sold out). Jumper: £41.30, La RedouteShirt: £39.95, GapJeans: Paige (sold out). Boots: Tabitha Simmons (old) Bag: M Hulot (old but available in tan and yellow here). Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell

Amsterdam: it might just be my new favourite European city break. Just over an hour’s flight, easy to walk or cycle around, full of cool shops, cafes and restaurants -what’s not to like? We went in November, the temperature was brisk but not too cold and it felt lovely and festive, plus the flights were so much cheaper. Here’s what we got up to…

WHERE TO STAY

The Hoxton Hotel

We only stayed for 2 nights, and wanted to stay somewhere centrally located with a bit of luxury. I can’t recommend it enough, not super expensive but it still feels luxe (the comfiest beds in existence), and has such a buzz as soon as you walk in. It’s in a great location, amongst the famous ‘9 streets’ neighbourhood inbetween the grand canals. The affordable rooms are small (we stayed in a Cosy room), but the bar and restaurant is great to hang out in (and the food is great for breakfast and lunch too) – it’s very easy to spend a LOT of time in this hotel (!). The staff were so helpful, and gave us all their restaurant recommendations and even plotted them out on a map for us.

Coat: Topshop (sold out). Cashmere scarf: £160, Lois Avery. Top: £15.90, Boden. Trainers: New Balance (sold out). Weekend bag: £280, Sezane.

TO DO

Explore the 9 streets. Here you’ll find the coolest boutique shops, cafes and restaurants – don’t worry about finding the trendy places to go, most here are good and it’s so relaxing just wondering – everything is so picturesque and I just loved all the small boutiques and gift shops. You can rent bikes, we didn’t this time and enjoyed it just as much.

Coat: £69, Marks & SpencerShirt: £80, Gant‘Lou’ jeans: £225, M.i.h. JeansBoots: Tabitha Simmons (old). Suede bag: £99, Marks & Spencer

The Rijksmuseum 

Amsterdam has plenty of good museums (and if you wanted to go further afield, I would recommend the Mauritshuis in Den Haag) but if you were to do just one, this is it. Save plenty of time as there is so much to see – and it’s all about those Dutch Masters: Rembrandt, Vermeer and Jan Steen are amongst the outstanding works here and it’s definitely one of my favourite galleries.

De Pijp

This is a new area we had never visited, and is fast becoming the ‘hipster’ area of the city (I’m pretty sure people who are actually hip, don’t put the word hipster in inverted commas but let’s ignore that, shall we?). I would really recommend walking around here at night, enjoy a few cocktails and dinner. Albert Cuypstraat is a good street for restaurant – we had a burger in The Butcher which was very casual (gourmet burgers but takeaway seating area) but Pho 91 also looked great if you wanted something relaxed but a little more formal.

WHERE TO EAT

There are so many good restaurants in Amsterdam, and we didn’t go anywhere super expensive. We tried to get into Balthazar’s Kitchen which we’d heard about but it was fully booked, so book ahead! But we loved these places:

Mook

You can’t go to Amsterdam and not eat pancakes. And these were delicious. Cool, relaxed atmosphere as well.

Cafe Amsterdam

Set in an old Pumping Station, this industrial restaurant in the Jordaan area is great for lunch with really reasonable food. Try the croquettes.

Foodhallen

One of the best indoor street markets we’ve been to. We went on a Thursday night, it was lovely and warm as it was all inside, it was packed but still places to sit and eat, and the food was fantastic – burgers, sushi, tapas, seafood – independent food stalls serving pretty much everything and anything. Dinner for 2 cost €20 with drinks and we were tempted to go back the second night!

Pluk

A cute boutique as well as a restaurant, the breakfast here is excellent and a great way to start the day.

Coat: Topshop (sold out). Jumper: £41.30, La RedouteShirt: £39.95, GapJeans: Paige (sold out). Boots: Tabitha Simmons (old). Bag: M Hulot (old but available in tan and yellow here)

12 Comments

  1. we went to Amsterdam for NYE just gone and it was wonderful- I went as a kid with my parents but hadn’t been as an adult and I agree with you that it’s one of the best citybreak destinations around!! Another food recommendation for your next trip is Envy, delicious tapas-style food in beautiful surroundings!

  2. 2 day trip, and 2 coats!!

    I’m reconsidering my one coat approach to a week in Scotland. Although my suitcases are filled with the clothes and presents for my 2 kids… never have children.

    1. Well, I am a blogger 🙂 I have to consider all my options for photo taking !! For somwehere really cold I often take a parka but then a smarter coat if we’re going fr dinner whist there or something xxx

      1. Just come back from 3 amazing nights in Amsterdam and I brought two coats too! It’s very cold there in January! Wish I had seen your blog post before our trip. Oh well I’ll just have to go again!

          1. It was brilliant, thanks! You’re right, it felt festive still as they seem to take their Christmas decor down a bit later so it was very cheerful ?

  3. I love this post! I was looking for inspiration for our anniversary trip in May and this is perfect. Thank you. Have a lovely Christmas and good luck with the move x

  4. Oh my I loved reading this myself and my now hubby fell in love with Holland 2 years ago not long after we met.
    We’ve since driven over many times and explored the coast the islands and the mini cities such as Delft and Rotterdam.
    We loved it so much Andy proposed NYE 2015 so we went back and got married NYE 2016.
    It only took me 42 years to find the one ! My story is on my website rewclothing – #mydutchwedding

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