AMSTERDAM OCT 2012
On my first trip to Europe over 25 years ago, we fly into Amsterdam and rented a car for our jaunt through Europe. We alloted a portion of the arrival day to go to Anne Frank’s house and then left Amsterdam.
In October when we visited again I realized what a mistake that was…..Amsterdam is worth more than a portion of a day! It is enchanting to say the least.
I fell in love with Amsterdam this time.
GETTING AROUND IN AMSTERDAM:
If you stay in the historical downtown section of Amsterdam there is no need for an automobile. The trains, buses and trams are great and inexpensive to use.
At the Schiphol airport there are kiosks to buy train tickets to get into Amsterdam. Have change on hand and buy here to avoid having to go to ticket windows. Also, save the ticket surcharge charged at the ticket window. The terminal is literally underneath the airport terminal. Trains run every 10 minutes.
There are a number of ‘Amsterdam’ stations. When boarding the train at Schiphol look at the overhead signs on the platforms to ensure your train is actually going to Amsterdam C.S. and not to one of the other ones such as Amsterdam Zuid or Amsterdam RAI, which are a few miles south of the town center.
Before going down the escalators to the train you need to validate the tickets in the small yellow machines which are placed next to the escalator entry point.
Once at Central Station there is a ticket office across from the Station that you can buy 12, 28, 36 or 72 hour tickets for the trams and buses if you like. You must scan your card when you enter the tram or bus and scan when you exit.
Make sure you buy your ticket for the train back to the airport as well. If you get if before the day you are actually leaving, make sure it is an undated ticket.
Another option from Tripadvisor:
Since February 2011, the Holland Tourist Information desk at Arrivals in the airport does not sell the now-defunct ‘Amsterdam All in one’ ticket anymore. However they still offer the service of a convenient all-in-one purchase of the tickets needed, at a small surcharge. They sell bundles consisting of two single undated journeys Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam and back and a 24-, 48-, 72- or 96 hours ticket for unlimited travel on the GVB network in Amsterdam including the nightbusses which are normally € 3,50 one way. The prices for the bundles are currently e.g. 14.90 for 24-hours GVB card and 19.40 for 48-hours and so on; that is 0.50 euro more expensive than buying the cards separately (AKO kiosk at airport sells the GVB cards, NS vending machines are the only cheap source for the NS rides.) For an arriving tourist, this Tourist Information Desk service saves quite some time and might be worth the surcharge.
STAYING IN AMSTERDAM:
We scored a wonderful B&B that my husband found online. It is Boogard’s B&B. Unbelievable place and unbelievable host, Peter Boogard.
From the time we walked through the front door till we left we were treated with warm, yet professional, treatment.
We rented the 2 bedroom apartment and shared it with the couple we were traveling with. The bedrooms were on opposite ends of the apartment with private bathrooms. They were separated by the living/dining/kitchen.
It was very clean, cozy and comfortable! Since the apartment is self catered, the fridge was well stocked with breakfast and lunch items, plus drinks. In addition, Peter baked fresh goodies every afternoon and left in our room. Amazing goodies I must say!
Another perk to this place is that they do your laundry! You leave your laundry in a hamper bag and you come home to fresh smelling, clean clothes in your room!
There are steep stairs. Again a reason to travel with carry on or a back pack in Europe!
The breakfast room was on the ground level, 2 bedroom apartment on the 1st level and two rooms with a living room separating them on the 3rd level.
Peter made reservations for us at the places I recommend in the Eating in Amsterdam section of this post. His recommendations were spot on. Totally loved both places!
About a 10 minute easy walk from central train station.
EATING IN AMSTERDAM
SAMPURNA – Indonesian Restaurant
+31 (0) 20 625 32 64
Spicy but delicious. Need reservations.
SEASONS Restaurant – Typical Dutch Cuisine
+31 0()20-330 38 00
Totally amazing food!
WHAT TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
There are many things to do in Amsterdam. I am listing the great things I actually did while there and can recommend.
- Canal Boat Tour
The most recommended company was the BLUE BOAT COMPANY. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
SnapEasyTip: Arrive EARLY to board the boat first. Grab a seat next to a window that opens so that you can take pictures without the glass. There is a bathroom on board. They provide earphones so that you can hear the tour in the language of your choice.
- Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library)
This is an amazing place to visit! Super modern library on the waterside. It is very close to the central train station. Enjoy lunch on the top floor with an awesome view. There is a restaurant with stations you can order different foods from.
Of course! You can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting the Anne Frank House!
SnapEasyTip: Go about an hour and half to closing time. Line is shorter. Another option I didn’t know existed is to buy online tickets and skip line altogether. You do have to choose a time and be there for that time if you buy online. Also, you must print your tickets beforehand. Forums I have read say they are strict with the time.
- The 9 Streets Shopping
Fun to wander these nine streets. All kinds of shops from new to vintage.
PICTURES OF AMSTERDAM
Click on pictures to enlarge