As well as reviewing our Meet the Blogger conference experience, I thought it might be nice to give you some idea of the other things we did whilst we were in Amsterdam and give you some views on the restaurants, hotels and shops we encountered during our short stay. This is not extensive enough to be a travel guide, but we still hope it might be useful for anyone visiting the same areas of the city that we did.
Where we Stayed
Hotel Casa 400 – We primarily stayed here because it was the venue for the conference over the middle two days of our trip, but we ended up really enjoying our time here and would recommend it as a great base for anyone visiting the East of Amsterdam. It’s a pretty standard three star hotel with a smallish, clean room and good bathroom facilities. It was a shame that breakfast wasn’t included in the price of the room, as that’s something we usually look for in a hotel, but we ended up eating croissants and juice or coffee for breakfast in the mornings anyway. The big plus about this hotel is the restaurant and coffee bar set up right inside, East 57, which was awesome. We sampled their lunches during the conference and these were delicious, and we would’ve definitely stayed for dinner during a longer trip on days when we didn’t want to explore and venture out a bit further. The hotel also has great transport links as it’s just a 5 minute walk from Amsterdam Amstel station and less than a 30 minute train journey from the airport.
Where we Ate
As we mentioned above, we ate breakfast and lunch in the hotel during the conference, but we went out in the evenings for food and tried three different restaurants. Here’s what we thought:
Eddy Spaghetti – This was only a short walk from our hotel, so we chose it for our first night when we were just finding our feet in the local area. We ended up absolutely loving this restaurant though and would highly recommend it. It was a cosy little place and only has a handful of tables and a small menu, but the food and drink was exceptional and we left feeling satisfied and well-fed. We both had a Limoncello Spritz alongside the Ravioli di Zucca (which, according to the menu was “filled pasta with pumpkin, hazelnuts, macaroons, butter sauce, fried sage and parmesan”) and both were amazing. We managed to guess our way through the ordering process as we were only given Dutch menus, but we chose well and we adored this meal. A definite recommendation from us, we’d have tried a few more of the amazing drinks on offer if we had had more time.
Da Giorgio – We also chose Italian food for our second night as we made our way into the centre of Amsterdam and had a bit of a wander. We sort of stumbled upon it as we explored the streets, and had to wait a few minutes for a table to become free, but we really enjoyed it when we sat down to eat. We both chose the same dish again, this time penne with a four-cheese sauce, and devoured it heartily after a long day and walking up an appetite. It didn’t live up to the evening before, as that was another level of amazing, but we still very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to people looking for a reasonably priced Italian in the centre of the city.
Jacketz – This was the one restaurant we had found online before we reached Amsterdam and made it our mission to visit after reading great reviews about it. We both adore jacket potatoes and so we didn’t mind that we had to walk for about half an hour to get there from the central train station. It certainly didn’t disappoint when we got there, we absolutely loved it! It was easily the best jacket potato I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if I found myself visiting Amsterdam again. And it was super reasonably priced and a nice quiet spot for an early dinner. You pick your main filling, then choose as many toppings as you want from the menu, and finish off with a sauce. We both chose the beet salad as our filling, I went for mixed nuts and goat’s cheese to finish and Hana chose cheese and hummus. We both adored our choices and pretty much polished them all off (they’re huge!). Our joint favourite meal of the trip.
What we Visited
We didn’t have much time to do all the sightseeing and tourist attractions as we would’ve liked, given how much of our time was taken up by the conference, but we experienced the streets and canals that Amsterdam is so famous for and also found plenty of shops to keep us busy one evening. Most of the clothing shops will be ones familiar to you – Forever 21, Pull & Bear, H&M, River Island, etc. but things tend to be cheaper than we find in the UK, so it’s always useful to take a look. We would recommend heading to Amsterdam Central Station and exploring from there, as many of the things you’d want to see and do are easily reachable from this central hub. If we went again, we would be sure to visit much more of these sights, and the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House would be right at the top of our list.
How we Travelled
We mostly walked during our time in Amsterdam, but we also used the trains, metro and tram to do some of our travelling and all were very easy to use. We picked up a 3 day travel card as soon as we left the airport and used that for all our transportation, aside from our last trip to the airport. It’s €25 for three days and so worth it if you plan on getting around the city for about 72 hours. The ticket even comes with a handy fold-out map, so you can see exactly where you’re travelling. The maps and information you see around the stations are also really helpful and we managed to get around easily, without getting lost or feeling overwhelmed by it. If you can get data on your phone, it’s worth keeping a Maps app up whilst you’re out and about, as they’ll be able to tell you exactly where you are, but it’s not absolutely necessary and we used more traditional paper maps instead!
We hope this extra mini travel guide to Amsterdam was interesting and useful to some of you, we really enjoyed our time in the Netherlands and hope to return in the future, taking in more sights and attractions than we managed this time around.