While we were on vacation, the messages flooded in… “Where are you staying? What is that restaurant? Which art museum? Where is that shop?” I promised to share alllllll the details upon arriving home, so consider this a little recap of our time spent in the Netherlands and an Amsterdam travel guide! We had the most wonderful time, made many memories, and came home filled with creative inspiration. If you’re planning a trip, hopefully this will come in handy. I’ll break down our French Riviera portion of the vacation next Friday.
Where We Stayed…
We found super cheap flights in and out of Amsterdam, so we bookended our trip in the Netherlands. Therefore, we stayed at a couple different places before returning home. We started the trip at the gorgeous Pulitzer. This was my favorite hotel, and believe me when I say- this place has it all… beautiful design, attention to detail, incredible food & service, high-end amenities & toiletries (Le Labo for the win!), and many fun common areas to enjoy!
It’s a bunch of row houses strung together and renovated to create the boutique hotel. I snapped hundreds of photos for design inspiration alone, and if Emmett is commenting on how incredible the hotel SMELLS, then you know it’s a good one. Haha!
The next hotel we stayed at was ‘T Hotel Amsterdam, pictured above. It’s tiny and so charming! I believe there are only 8 rooms total, and each one has a different monochromatic theme with stunning wallpaper. We selected this room with a canal view at the very top of the row house for the best view. We felt right at home in our “attic” space. We also were served the most incredible complimentary breakfast each morning. Emmett and I both agreed that was the best coffee we had the entire trip. It was the true Amsterdam experience. Although I will say- this is traditional row house and there are no elevators. Expect to climb small and steep stairs to get to your room. Our friends stayed at the Hoxton a block away, which I would also highly recommend (pictured below).
To recap, these are the hotels I loved and can vouch for…
What I Packed…
October was honestly the perfect time to visit the Netherlands! It was quintessential fall weather… drizzly weather, some pockets of sunshine mixed in, vibrant falling leaves, so I basically lived in a jacket, jeans, and boots the entire time. The picture above is me with my girlfriends touring the Heineken brewery (which was actually really pretty)… it was a rainy day. I’d recommend the following basic staples:
- long pants
- tennis shoes
- a leather jacket
- a rain jacket
- a crossbody bag
- a fall / winter dress
- comfy tees
- an umbrella
- a hat
- a scarf
The key was definitely layering! I’ll link some of the exact items I packed in a shopping slider below, if you’re curious…
What We Ate…
I’m pretty sure I gained at least 10 pounds on vacation because we had SO much good food. Seriously. I’ll link some of our favorite finds below…
- Indrapura // Apparently Indonesian rice tables are big thing in Amsterdam? I was 100% on board… so much so that we did this twice during our short stay. Be ready to eat because 40+ small plates come out and they’re all equally amazing. We asked the waiter for a photo of us with our food, but they all turned out blurry. It was an incredible experience though!
- Mappa // Italian comfort food. I got the pumpkin ravioli, bruschetta, and a nice glass of chianti. Emmett got the sea bass.
- Brut de Mer // Go here for amazing seafood!
- Pancakes // Obligatory… because there are pancakes on every corner. Get the traditional poffertjes- you won’t be sorry!
- Cafe George // We went for lunch and got soup & sandwiches- which were very good.
- Little Collins // The best brunch we had! The Google reviews did not lie. I had the brioche french toast with goat cheese and fig.
- Fou Fow Ramen // I had the vegetarian ramen and it was the best broth I’ve ever had.
- Puccini Bomboni // The best bon bon truffle chocolates. We actually brought a couple boxes home with us!
That was my favorite food from the trip. I won’t bother you with the places I wasn’t that into. I’d highly recommend everything on the list though!
Amsterdam is a very walkable city and if you don’t mind getting in some steps, it’s the best way to explore! Pack comfortable shoes and you’ll be golden. We logged anywhere from 8-12 miles per day and it was so much fun. If you’re not into walking, I’d recommend renting bikes. Alternatively, there is public transpiration and Uber for getting around.
- Moco Museum // This is the modern art museum. They had works installed by Banksy and other famous contemporary artists.
- Rijksmuseum // It’s actually pictured above. Not only is the building and architecture beautiful, but this museum contains incredible classical art from Rembrant, Rubens, and more notable greats! It was my favorite museum we toured.
- Rembrandt Huis // This was an incredible experience and Emmett’s favorite museum (pictured below). You get to tour Rembrandt’s studio and home filled with his work and the work of his students & mentors. Not only is it filled with beautiful paintings, but the furniture and interior items are really fun to see.
- Van Gogh Museum // Of all the museums, this one is the most crowded or touristy. Trust me when I say, it’s worth buying tickets in advance- otherwise you’ll never get in.
- Heineken Brewery Experience Tour // This proved to be way more fun than I expected! I was also very intrigued by the art deco looking building, typography, and interior. It was pretty cool.
- Rent Bikes // Renting bikes is a fun way to experience the city like locals. If you stay at the Pulitzer, you don’t even have to rent bikes- they have them available for guests for free!
- Rent Paddle Boats // This actually turned out to be hilariously fun! We packed a picnic, a bottle of rosé, and pedaled around the canals for a couple hours admiring the row homes.
- Walk the City // As I mentioned, Amsterdam is a very walkable and central city. Walking is the best way to sight see and stumble upon fun things. Whether you’re gazing at the architecture or admiring the canals, there’s always something fun to see… and it’s free!
- Rent a Boat // The Pulitzer actually has a boat they rent to guests. It’s absolutely beautiful and is a national treasure. It’s 150 years old and has been showing tourists around for decades. It’s classy, beautiful, comes with a skipper, and a fully stocked bar, so you can sip a cocktail, cruise the canals at night, and learn about the history of the city. We did this with 14 friends (yes- that many friends traveled together briefly, haha!) which kept the cost down and it was a night to remember.
- Take in the Magic of Christmas // After returning back to Amsterdam from France, we were exciting to see the city had been decorated for the holidays! It was such a treat to see everything lit up and decked out in Christmas decor. You’ll have to go in late October if you want to see the holiday decor. It kind of put me into the holiday mood early. Ha!
- Get a Tattoo // If you’re into ink, we got tattoos at Wise Kid Studio… a beautiful gallery and tattoo shop. The majority of the artists there are also oil painters! Emmett and I both got fresh ink.
Although I wasn’t able to buy much or bring a ton home because of limited room in our luggage, that didn’t stop me from discovering some amazing local shops! I’ll link them below and let you explore…
- Dille and Kamille
- Mariska Meijers
- Mint Mini Mall
- Skins Cosmetics
- Sukha Amsterdam
- Architectura & Natura Bookstore
- Concrete Matter
- Vintage Shops (I just randomly popped into places… most of them were in Dutch and I can’t remember the names)
For those of you asking what I brought home… I found some fun chinoiserie dishes, some vintage kitchen goods (a couple rolling pins and tea towels), and some Christmas things. Is there anything better than classic white row houses lit up during the holidays? I also managed to stuff a scarf, wine, and chocolates into my suitcase.
Hopefully this is helpful for those of you planning a trip in the future! It was a wonderful time and I hope we’ll be back someday. If you missed my travel essentials post, check that out here. I shared my favorite items I never travel without! Hope you all have a lovely weekend. We’re going to hit it hard on our One Room Challenge space. Wish us luck!