Amsterdam gets a reputation for being a party city but that’s not all it has to offer —The stunning architecture, adorable cafes, beautiful canals, great shopping, and village vibe makes Amsterdam one of my favorite European cities. I grew up with the freedom of hopping on trains and traveling the world so it’s so rewarding seeing that adventurous spirit in Gigi. To celebrate her hard work in school we took a Mother/Daughter trip to Amsterdam — a fabulous place in the Netherlands to visit, especially during the summertime!
I’m always so surprised to hear a lot of people based in London have never been to Amsterdam! It’s a quick and easy 4 hour train ride on the Eurostar from London. We took the 8:15 train and were in town by lunchtime.
The Dylan Amsterdam
We stayed at the Dylan Hotel — the best luxury boutique in all of Amsterdam. The vibe is historical but extremely chic. We stayed in one of their loft suites with modern amenities. The perfect balance of authentic Amsterdam meets pampered luxury. The food, service, concierge, complimentary breakfast, and hotel bikes were wonderful. Everyone at the Dylan went above and beyond to make our stay amazing — booking the most beautiful private boat ride, the most special way the see the canals — and assisting in all of our reservations, rental car arrangements, and details to make the stay special. We loved our stay at The Dylan and especially loved the location — we’ll be back.
When in Amsterdam… you have to get 25 euro milkshakes! They are sugary and over the top but worth the photo op!
I gained 10lbs the summer I lived in Holland as a teenager because I would eat stroopwaffels every single day. This is the place to go — their fresh stroopwaffels are so good. If you want a box, skip the line at their main store and head just down the road to their sister shop. There’s no line and they’re exactly the same!
Sugar, sugar, and more sugar — We had to stop in this adorable sweet shop right along the canals. They serve chocolate covered strawberries, specialty sweets, marshmallow cake pops, and the cutest chocolate bars shaped like the houses along the canals.
On the way out of town we stopped in this cute little brunch spot. I’ve never been the biggest breakfast girl and we mostly enjoyed the delicious breakfast included at the Dylan every morning, but they have great usual brunch items — avocado toast, acas bowls, etc.
I loved the scenes chic cafe. We ate lunch here right after arriving and the food was delicious! I had the nicoise salad with French fries and Mayo, of course and Gigi had the croque monsieur, her new favorite. On a sunny day, try to get a table on the patio.
We came here for dinner the first night, recommended by the hotel and the inside was adorable. It’s right by the canals just a quick walk from the Dylan. Definitely recommend for pizza and pasta!
For more of a treat, book a table here for dinner. It’s more of a classic menu with the most beautiful decor.
When visiting Amsterdam it’s a must to get a pannekoeken! We stopped at Pancakes Amsterdam before leaving town, but I got several messages that The Pancake House is a must!
Pizza by the Canals
When in doubt, make your own Pizza party by the canals! Queen of Jetlags always looks so cute, Gigi and I had to try for ourselves — definitely recommend on a nice evening.
The Pasta here looked incredible. Book in advanced as you need a reservation, but it’s the cutest local Italian spot right on the canals
While we were here I took Gigi to the Rijks Museum —- one of Amsterdam’s most popular, filled with solely Dutch artists. We went to the special Rembrandt exhibition and had to see the famous paintings by Van Gough.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get tickets to see the Anne Frank House — you have to get tickets quite a bit ahead of time, so if interested, book ahead. We did walk by during the afternoon and took a moment to appreciate the history and architecture. So many houses along the canals, so many stories, and this was the one that was told.
Growing up I remember being extremely influenced by this museum. His art, works, and stories of his life are not to be missed if you can get tickets.
In a city made up of 90 little islands and 1,500 bridges it’s no wonder everyone swaps cars for bikes. You don’t have to rent a car if you’re staying in Amsterdam, in fact I wouldn’t recommend it. We walked everywhere and would recommend getting bikes.
The Dylan Offers their personalized bikes for an additional cost at the hotel
We were also sent to Hotel Scooters if you need to rent children’s bikes.
TAKE A CANAL CRUISE
One of the most special parts of the trip was seeing Amsterdam from the famous Canals. The Dylan arranged a private evening in their personal boat from 1905. They can tailor your cruise to see whatever parts of the canals that you want, you can order several dinner courses at restaurants to be picked up and enjoyed on the boat along the way, and the captain is full of knowledge — we found out several unique things that we otherwise wouldn’t have known like where the Midwife lived, stories behind the bridges, and who all had been on the same boat.
Other Companies to try:
One of the biggest reasons we came to Amsterdam was to see the flower fields. We booked a shoot with Fam Flower Farm — if you want to see their private fields, be sure to request their biggest field (they have several). We were the very last group the see the flowers the last weekend of April before they cut down every single tulip to harvest the bulbs the next day! The fields themselves are in the town of Lisse, just 45 minutes from Amsterdam. We rented a car for the day to see the tulips at our own pace — beautiful setting for a shoot!