Amsterdam Adventures

Hi, my name is Nikki and I am addicted to travel. I know this because I…

  1. Returned from Iceland
  2. Realized I didn’t have ANY international trips booked in the future
  3. Decided this was the year that I go to Europe during the Christmas season
  4. Searched for flight deals and…
  5. Voila! Booked a trip to Amsterdam and Brussels

Since vacation days are a hot commodity in the back half of the year, we had to plan something tight and efficient! So, we ended up flying into Amsterdam and out of Brussels, renting a car to get us between cities. And in true Nikki fashion, we did all of this in 4 days 😉

Warning: This trip visited two MAJOR food cities. Your mouth will water by the end of this blog. If you love the idea of that, please keep reading!

Our Arrival

Because this was a quick trip, we made the most of our time in every way possible. We landed in Amsterdam, grabbed a quick cappuccino and jumped on a super quick train to central Amsterdam. From there, we connected to a free (yes, you heard me right) city ferry that took us right to our hotel!

Pro tip: I have to just pause here to say the free ferries are AMAZING – they are super quick, run frequently and can accommodate people, bikes (EVERYONE rides a bike here) and scooters!

Of course, we had to stop for our first oliebollen (literally translated to “oil balls”) which is a holiday Dutch donut. Need I say more?

We checked into our hotel, the Sir Adam Hotel, which we instantly knew was way cooler than we are! The hotel was music themed and even had a record player in our room. Oh, and free cava at check in…yes please!

We did a quick change and headed out for our adventure – a canal cruise at night through the Amsterdam Light Festival!

Night Canal Tour

Pro tip: The Amsterdam Light Festival is not what you may think. It is made up of light art installations from artists all over the world and happens every December and January! They are visible from the streets and canals, but we could not pass up the opportunity to see them from the water!

Our cruise was through Pure Boats and I literally cannot say enough amazing things about our experience! First of all, the cruise is on small, intimate boat (that can also be rented out for a private cruise) and not the insanely large touristy canal boats.

Secondly, the price includes mulled wine, other drinks and an amazing cheese board. It was the perfect way to see all of the lights and enjoy our first night!

Amsterdam Food Tour

We woke up the next morning on a mission…a FOOD mission! We had about a million places we wanted to see and eat before our scheduled food tour. I know, I know. The craziest part? Even though we were in Amsterdam, we ate all of this food and did not even get high before doing so!

#1 – Appeltaartje (aka Apple pie)! We debated forever on which place to go for this, but ended up deciding on Cafe Papeneiland partly because of photos we saw of the pie and partly because it’s in a building from the mid-1700s that once served as the entryway to a clandestine Catholic church. It ended up being an amazing, cozy, delicious choice!

#2 – Farmer’s Market where we found the most delicious GIANT oysters and fresh frites (aka fries). YUMMY!

#3 – Hutspot & stamppot (aka mashed potatoes with delicious things mixed in + meatball) at The Pantry. This was SO insanely good! Although really how can you go wrong with potatoes and meatballs smothered in gravy?!

#4 – Sightseeing to try to work off some of the calories and make room for more food! We strolled through canals, saw the gorgeous Vondelpark and so much more along the way.

#5 – Stroopwafel (aka 2 thin waffles with caramel in the middle) hot and fresh from the Albert Cuyp Market (a year-round street market). It was everything I dreamed of!

#6 – Official Eating Amsterdam Food Tour through the Oud West (Old West) neighborhood. We had some traditional Dutch foods, but this was mostly an exploration of amazing food in this neighborhood which was really fun after our more traditional food day!

We stopped at quite a few places, but here are all of the places that I would recommend:

  • Rustem – Delicious Surinamese food (my first time trying it!)
  • Gin & Tonic Bar – I don’t even normally like tonic but this was amazeballs
  • ​Ballenbar – Speaking of amazeballs, these are actually balls (bitterballen aka fried beef and gravy balls) served up by a Michelin chef
  • Petit Gateau – The cutest and most delicious pastries

And here’s what we ate:

Pro tip: I absolutely loved the Foodhallen that contained #3-5 above! It’s basically a giant indoor food market. Basically a bunch of indoor food trucks/small restaurants serving AMAZING things! If we had more time I would for SURE be back to try the dim sum restaurant and have another gin & tonic!

And just like that, our time in Amsterdam came to an end! Stay tuned for our adventure through the Dutch countryside on our way to Brussels.

Have you been to Amsterdam? I’d love to hear your favorite things to see, do and eat! We already have so much on our list for next time, but there’s always room for more.

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