How To Spend A Weekend In Amsterdam
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How To Spend A Weekend In Amsterdam

Make the most of this charming city

By Amelia Windsor | 2 months ago

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Looking for things to do in Amsterdam? Amelia Windsor spends a weekend exploring.

Amelia Windsor’s Weekend In Amsterdam

One of the wonders of the Eurostar, the hassles of an airport aside, is that on a weekend as windy as it was, we didn’t have the worry of waiting for the weather to ease before setting off. Having stored my suitcase on the luggage rack on the train, filled with jumpers and walking shoes, I settled into my seat with a packed lunch, water bottle and my book, All My Wild Mothers by Victoria Bennett (which made the four hours pass in a flash). Turning the pages, I caught sights of the countryside whilst we sped through France, Brussels and into the Netherlands before arriving in Amsterdam, full of excitement to explore a city I did not know.

The Hotel de L’ Europe is only a short walk from the Amsterdam Centraal station and provided a  perfect base as it is ideally located in the middle of the city. From our balcony overlooking the canal, I could watch the world go by and would have done so from the sun lounger on a warmer day. If you head to the hotel’s ambient Freddy’s Bar to decide which of the many things to do while in Amsterdam, you can listen to jazz whilst sipping on Heineken beers and Palomas. The hotel’s Marie brasserie is right on the canal, where you can watch tour boats pass by as you enjoy locally sourced dishes like red mullet and mussels for dinner or read the morning paper at breakfast, watching the city wake up as bicycles increase in number whizzing around the Munttoren Clock Tower opposite.

Amelia Windsor on a bridge in Amsterdam, with canals in the background.

Visiting Amsterdam is a fantastic way to get your step count up as there is so much to see and it is a wonderful city to explore on foot. We spent the weekend visiting markets. like the Noordermarket, filled with organic produce, vintage clothing and antiques before stopping  at Luuk’s Cafe, watching people enjoy their Saturday morning and get over their Friday nights.  The Waterlooplein market is also close by after you finish your coffees if you fancy updating your wardrobe with some second hand treasures (should have left space in my suitcase).

For a dose of art therapy, we visited the Stedelik museum, admiring the Dutch canal houses on route; their large windows allow a peek at their beautifully designed interiors. I could have spent all weekend simply gazing at the houses, painted in navy and black with white windows and with plants and flowers adoring the front steps; works of art in themselves. Immersed for a few hours in the Stedelik museum, we escaped the cold for a moment with some Van Gogh, Matisse and Niki de Saint Phalle for company.

Amsterdam art museum

If you’re looking for even more things to do in Amsterdam, the free ferry to the North of Amsterdam takes only three minutes from Amsterdam Centraal. On arrival we hired bikes (an obligatory mode of transport at some point during a visit) and peddled around the more modern and industrial part of the city, with its repurposed warehouses and green spaces. Had it been a few months later, we would have sat by the buzzy canal side Cafe De Ceuvel with a drink in hand; instead we hopped on the ferry back and made the most of the spa at the Hotel de L’Europe for a restorative swim and steam. On a chilly evening in Amsterdam, the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema is the perfect place to get cosy and stuck into an epic film. Just a stone’s throw from the Hotel de L’Europe, it is known to be perhaps the most beautiful cinema in the world with its Art Deco facade and interiors that made me feel like I was part of a film as soon as I entered its doors.

It was a relief to not have the usual slug back to the airport and knowing that when we arrived into Kings Cross on the Eurostar, we could simply hop on the tube home. I spent the train ride home writing in my journal about all our adventures: dodging and riding bikes, remembering the new artists I had discovered at the Stedelik like Quintus Jan Telting with his dynamic Chess Players painting, or the little glimpses of Art Nouveau architecture scattered around the city – and simply the pleasure of being in a new and beautiful city to which that I cannot wait to return.