Earlier this year I went to Amsterdam with three other bloggers, and whilst I had a great time, I just didn’t get to see as much as I wanted to. So when I got the change to go again, this time with my family, I knew I wanted to cram as much as possible into the short amount of time we had in the city. Mum and I sat down with the guidebook and a map, had a look at some blog posts including this essential travel guide and I planned out what we could manage to see without too much walking (as my 74 year old Grandma was going to be with us-and whilst she’s fit and healthy, she wouldn’t want to be rushing round as much as I could if I was on my own)
I did see the station last time, as we got the train in and out one day, so I wasn’t massively bothered about going again. But the building is beautiful and it is just at the top of the main road through Amsterdam, so I was quite pleased when we got dropped just behind the station by our coach. Sadly the station was covered in scaffolding so my family weren’t able to see how stunning it usually is-but fortunately I took some photos last time so you guys can!
Mum had been to Amsterdam with friends a few years before I went and insisted that Leidensplein was, in her words ‘where it’s at’ in terms of nightlife. I didn’t manage to test that theory last time and so she really wanted to show me, and although during the day wasn’t quite the same, there were lots of little cafes and I could tell it would be a nice place to have a few drinks. Good shout Mum!
We actually got the tram down from Centraal because we knew the walk was fairly long and we were limited for time-and it was nice for my family to experience a tram. I’d done that before but it’s still fun, and you get to see a few things as you go past them too-handy.
Floating Flower Market
We never quite made it here last time, although Kirsty wanted to go and we did try to find it for a while. I had to laugh when I realised we were about five minutes away when we gave up! Set on a long row of houseboats, the market sells all sorts of Tulip bulbs, bunches of fresh flowers and lots of touristy souvenirs. It wasn’t the most amazing place in Amsterdam but I’d say it’s worth having a wander through to tick it off the list. The colourful street art on the end of some of the houseboats was pretty unexpected!
Dam Square and Palace
This was another place on Mum’s list and somewhere else I didn’t make it to last time, so we made sure we went on our way back towards our next stop. The square is a nice open space and the Palace was pretty spectacular, I’m a big fan of the buildings in Amsterdam. I would’ve liked to have enough time to sit in the squarewith a cuppa and people watch for a bit but there was definitely no time for that in four hours.
We spent most of our time here on my last trip but as it’s one of the main parts of stereotypical Amsterdam (aka lots of canals and bikes!) I wanted my Grandma and my Dad to have a look. I also knew I could get street food from that area and really wanted some cheese fries, and we ended up stopping here for lunch too.
Red Light District
I really didn’t feel comfortable with the girls in the windows in the Red Light District, but I think the area is one of the prettiest in Amsterdam, so I was conflicted about going back. In the end we decided it’s such a ‘thing’ to go that it would be silly not to take Dad and Gran, so we went for a walk through some of the streets. Obviously you can’t take photos there, but we did stop for waffles at a deli and THAT was worth photographing for sure, they were lovely!
I wanted some snacks you just can’t get in the UK (Milka Chocolate, White Chocolate Oreos and Lays Crisps!) and Dad wanted Stroopwaffels after seeing them on Bakeoff, so we just had time to pop into a supermarket to stock up before walking back up to Centraal to meet our coach. I was disappointed I couldn’t go back to the IAmsterdam sign, explore Vondelpark or fit anything else in but I think we did pretty well with four hours really.
What would you see if you only had four hours in Amsterdam?