You can’t beat going on a city break in the Autumn. It’s my favourite thing to do. I prefer them to hot destinations if I’m honest. I just feel that you make the most of your time when you only visit places for a few days, ensuring you see and do all of the things you want and let’s be honest, you can only sunbathe for so long! It gets boring and with my full time job, it’s easier to book days off here and there rather than having long periods of time away from work which suits me perfectly because it means I can visit more places more often!
So the girls and I hit Amsterdam to celebrate my 21st and I can say it’s in my top 5 favourite destinations. Before visiting though, I had this image of it being a wild and odd pokey little place, filled with red lights, drugs on full display and prostitutes running around everywhere but I was wrong! While Amsterdam is, of course, some of those things, there are lots of other things to experience which are slightly tamer..
XtraCold Icebar Amsterdam
We toured around the city by foot after deciding hiring bicycles would be a bad idea due to the manic traffic and roads. We just weren’t feeling that responsible! So after a bite to eat at a cute little restaurant by the canal, we visited the ice bar which I’ve always had my eye on. Its definitely on my list to visit the Ice Hotel in Sweden so my first step was to enjoy and get used to something similar.
For €18 each, we were given 3 drink tokens (this included admission and our huge jackets). We spent one of them on a cocktail whilst waiting and the other two in the actual ice bar, which were presented to us in ice glasses. It was -9.5 degrees inside and we managed to stay for about 45 minutes. The Sambucca warmed us up! There were lots of photo opportunities. This is definitely a must do but plan something for afterwards as you can’t stay in there all night. I’d recommend booking online before you go so you’re not waiting. Plus you get a better deal.
Red Light Secrets | Museum of Prostitution
Now we aren’t very museum-y people but this place looked interesting and I’m so glad we visited. It gives you an insight to the way Amsterdam’s prostitutes work, including a day in the life, the kind of bedrooms they work in and what it’s like behind the red window, giving you tips on how to look good and get customers.
I don’t want to give too much away, but you really must go if you’re in Amsterdam. It’s smack bang in the middle of the Red Light District and the tour takes no longer than an hour. There’s a lot to learn about the fashion, salary and how they chose (or not) the lifestyle. Some parts are sad, funny and fun. There is a S&M room, confessions board for customers which was hilarious, and a lost and found box that had belongings such as watches, phones and an ID card which was clear enough to read. You can finish the tour off by having a photoshoot in the booth using props. I think the whole thing was something like €8 and it was a real eye opener.
There are lots of different canal cruises to take in Amsterdam but we chose the best because it included pizza, ice-cream and unlimited wine which was definitely needed after nearly missing the boat! We were running through Amsterdam like headless chickens, we were late for every night time event we planned but hey ho, we made it in the end and it was a lovely thing to do after traipsing around all day. We thought we would be the only young trio but this boat catered for all ages, couples, families and friends.
It was nice passing the major sights like the Anne Frank House, Jordan district and the dancing houses which are super cute and I want to own one. We booked this prior to visiting Amsterdam on Get Your Guide. A website I always use when booking events for holidays. I used this to book other things such as a pub crawl through the Red Light District and it was one of the best nights out I’ve had. This entailed meeting up with the reps for a touristy tee, having a free drink and shot in each bar and finally getting free entrance to one of the main clubs. It rained when we were crossing from one bar to another, so we made friends with people who had waterproof ponchos. We ripped a bit off and put them on our heads!
I couldn’t tell you who half of these people are..
There was an early Christmas market on that had stalls and a little ice rink. It looked pretty.
Oh and of course we had crepes, it’s a must do in any city!
There is so much more to do in Amsterdam and the place is so quirky and bloggable. I could talk about it for days but these were my highlights. I can’t wait to go back!
Thanks for reading and thanks to Departure Lounge Travel in Boston for always booking the best trips for us and making it an easy process. I wouldn’t use any other travel agency! x