Amsterdam + Rotterdam
Where to go for a city break?
With so many beautiful cities, it's hard to decide where to go with four nights to spare. Flying from Edinburgh we were looking for somewhere with a short flight and no connections to maximise our holiday time, finally deciding on 2 nights in Amsterdam and 2 nights in Rotterdam after being torn between a few other European destinations. My second visit to Amsterdam and first to Rotterdam!
HOTEL. We stayed in Sara's Boutique Hotel located in Oud-West, a 30 minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal through the hip Jordaan district. The location was perfect, 10min walk to Vondelpark, Museums and Bols Factory, 18mins to Anne Frank's House.
FOOD. On the hunt for eggs benedict I found an amazing brunch spot a few minutes from the hotel called Teds, it was delicious and the perfect fuel for a day of exploring! We also went to The Avocado Show (Tropicana Bowl was amazing) and the decor was beautiful, even featuring a plant wall!
Wildernis Plant Shop
Wildernis is the prettiest plant shop I have been in and they are on a mission to make the city greener, by luck was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel! A great spot to grab a coffee and appreciate nature surrounded by house plants, terrariums, books and plant pots.
Cruise Like a Local by KINboat Amsterdam
We booked this cruise online with the assumption that as it was a smaller boat it would be less touristy, and we were right! A 75 minute cruise shared with a German couple and our Norwegian tour guide Stein, oh and of course the Glühwein!
We saw the quirky architecture from a different angle and noticed a lot more about the building structures from being on the canal, as well as being filled with information and interesting facts from our tour guide. Turns out we were on the first boat they had just converted to electric energy and this was it's first canal cruise test run! It was a smooth and quiet ride using 'clean' energy with a positive impact for the future.
A canal cruise is definitely one of the best ways to see Amsterdam and Cruise Like a Local has it sorted.
HOTEL. We stayed at the Hotel Bazar, a quirky hotel with beautiful interiors and friendly staff, we chose one of the African themed room which was beautiful. Great location with lots of restaurants, bars and shops on the doorstep, the perfect base for walking about the city.
FOOD. We got a lovely breaky at the hotel to set us up for the day and brilliantly designed Hopper Coffee was just around the corner for a perfect coffee and brownie. For an evening meal head to Gusto (busy local spot for Italian food), the Ravioli di zucca is delicious!
'Architecture with some life in it'
Piet Blom designed the famous Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses) and Pencil Tower, after 1970's politician Hans Mentink called for 'architecture with some life in it'. People do live in the Cube Houses and you can even go inside one to get a feel for the space, but with so many unusual sharp angles it's definitely not somewhere I would choose to live! The massive structure that is the Markthal houses apartments and foodie stalls and features an impressive ceiling mural created by Arno Coenen, described as 'the Big Bang of Fruit'.
Both cities couldn't be more different - I love Amsterdam but Rotterdam was edgy and hip and definitely a liveable city with plenty of hipster coffee bars and quirky concept stores to visit.
UNESCO World Heritage Site