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This last spring I planned a girl’s trip to Amsterdam with two of my daughters and a granddaughter. We used points for travel there and paid cash for an Airbnb. It is said that the Dutch are the friendliest people in the world and that was certainly our experience! All we had to do was look confused, and a kind person from Amsterdam would ask us if they could help us. We were constantly saying to each other, “These are the nicest people!”
We actually flew to London to visit my daughter that lives there first. Of course, we used miles and traveled in business class. If you want to travel directly to Amsterdam, here are some suggestions:
If you travel business class be sure and use the airport lounge. You may have a credit card that gives you airport lounge access too so make sure you take advantage of that perk!
The currency used in Amsterdam is the Euro. I usually get euros at a local ATM with my debit card. Currently, the exchange rate is 1 Euro is worth 1.10 Dollars.
The train to and from the airport is really simple to use and very inexpensive. Go here to learn more about using the train. Of course, Uber and taxis are also available for use too. We used an Uber several times but we also walked a lot. Most of the places we went to were very accessible by walking. One form of transportation that is used everywhere is the bicycle. EVERYONE bicycles in Amsterdam. In fact, bicyclists are the most dangerous part of Amsterdam – they stop for no one. Be sure and look both ways and do not step in front of a bicyclist!
There are many branded hotels in Amsterdam that you could stay with points. Here are some possibilities:
We could have used points to stay in Amsterdam but four people would have needed two rooms. When I travel to Europe with more than 2 people, I often stay in AirBnB’s. That is what we did this time. We stayed at here. The location was great, the place was clean and cute, and the hosts we great! It was interesting to stay during the summer because it was hot and the sun didn’t go down till about 11:00 at night. I was missing a hotel’s air conditioning and blackout curtains!! If you are new to Airbnb you can use this link to save up to $30!
Amsterdam is divided into specific neighborhoods. We stayed in the De Pijp neighborhood and it was perfect for getting away from the hubbub but it also had good places to eat at and was central enough to walk to most of our activities. I think I would plan to stay in De Pijp or Jordaan and just walk into the other areas. Here are some of the different neighborhoods and a little bit about them:
We had really good food in Amsterdam but, hands down, our favorite thing there were the tarts we bought at Waldo. We loved them so much that we wanted to return on Sunday after visiting Haarlem and were so sad that it was closed that day. Desperate to get them before we returned, we even emailed the owner to see if they had them anywhere else! We got a nice reply back but he didn’t volunteer to open the shop for us just so we could get some before we left! I think we would definitely return just for those tarts! The pecan and lemon were especially delicious!! A girl’s trip to Amsterdam or any city is all about the food!
Other places to eat:
There is so much to do in Amsterdam! We were only there for three days before going to Copenhagen so we had to travel fast and furious to do the most important items on our itinerary. Sadly, we had to miss some of the museums. We wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum but missed the important information about needing to book it ahead of time. If you go, do that! Here’s what we did do:
This was really one of the main reasons we went and took my granddaughter, Izzy, with us. I had no idea how emotional the experience would be. Seeing the small areas Anne and her family were hiding in and the sacrifices of those who hid them were very touching. This is a must-do activity when visiting Amsterdam! We did know to get tickets ahead of time for this exhibit, luckily.
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a ride on the canals! GetYourGuide has many trips you can book before you get to Amsterdam. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the canals and getting to look at all the unique architecture of the city.
One of my favorite things to do when I get into any new city is taking a free walking tour. You just tip the person giving the tour for what you think it is worth. Usually, I give $10 per person. This gives me some history of the city and the “lay of the land”. Often it helps me decide what I want to do next. Sometimes I take a bicycle tour or segway tour instead of a walking tour, but whichever you choose, a 2-3 hour tour will let you know the city from a local.
We are real foodies. All of our trips are based on food so of course, we had to head to Foodhallen – a cornucopia of different types of foods. We all headed in different directions, grabbed our favorite food, and sat down to enjoy it together. Additionally, outside the food hall, there was a multitude of nice artisan vendors.
Need a little downtime? On a busy city trip, a park visit is perfect. We headed to Vondelpark on foot, got ice cream, laid in the grass, and watched the locals. I think I even fell asleep for a few minutes! Perfect.
Unfortunately, we lost track of time while at the park and didn’t realize that the museum closed early. We booked it over but only had about an hour to rush through and see the major pieces. It would have been nice to have some more time there. The Rijksmuseum is beautiful and definitely worth a stop on your visit!
Visit the city center of Dam Square and check out the National Monument and the Royal Palace. Our walking tour started here so we got there early to explore the area.
We decided to take our last day of our girl’s trip to Amsterdam and head to the cute town of Haarlem via train. It was easy to ride there and we loved this scenic city of canals and a few windmills. We took a tour of a windmill, wandered the streets, and had a great lunch. We had hoped to go to the Corrie ten Boom house (dedicated to the book the Hiding Place) but it was closed on Sundays – broke our hearts! Grotke Market was filled with vendors and the Cathedral Grote Kerk in the center was magnificent!
Amsterdam is a great place to go for a girl’s trip, family trip, or a couple’s trip. Doing it with points is even better! Cobblestone streets, canals, bicycles, and the nicest people are all part of what makes it a fantastic place to visit. I look forward to another visit there to have more tarts at Waldo, go to the Van Gogh museum, and enjoy the very chill and pleasant vibe it offers.