TULIPS AND WINDMILLS: Easter break in rainy Amsterdam

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We decided to spend Easter in Amsterdam to enjoy tulip season. I’d been to Amsterdam before so this time I didn’t need to cover all of the highlights.

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We bought tickets to Keukenhof (24€ per person, including transfers), a magical place where you can see enough tulips for a lifetime. The transfer bus leaves Schiphol airport frequently, but queues can be lengthy.

Once there, we spent a few hours exploring: the place is huge and beautiful. There are countless varieties of tulips, as well as daffodils and hyacinths. You also get amazing views over the fields nearby full of blooming flowers.

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There’s also a windmill and canal tours available – great if you like all your Dutch stereotypes in one place. All in all, Keukenhof is great, but also immensely touristy (and probably best visited early on a weekday if you have that option).

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Back in Amsterdam we headed to Terra Zen for an early dinner. This is a Caribbean/Japanese vegan restaurant serving yummy food in the city centre. A meal for two including a soft drink and tip for 33€.

On our second day in the city we went exploring beautiful Jordaan, where you spot lots of canals and great traditional architecture. This area is full of nice little streets and you can spending hours wandering around – unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t ideal.

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To escape the cold and rain, we headed to De Hallen, an old warehouse which has been converted into a big space with independent shops, a cinema and a large food hall with lots of options.

We had lunch at Maza, a stall which served delicious large mezze plates for 12.50€, watered down with nice cold local beers. There are lots of other nice stalls to choose from, with food from all over the world and plenty of veggie options – this was an ideal find for a rainy day.

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We then headed back to the city centre, stopping at Cafe Pieper for a drink. This brown cafe is a traditional bar with cosy ambience – and one of the oldest in Amsterdam. Two beers including tip for 10€.

On our last day in the city we headed to Museumplein, a nice open area with many great museums – this time we checked out Moco, a contemporary art museum which was hosting exhibitions by Banksy and Dali (tickets for 12.50€ per person). It was a cold but sunny day, so we continued on to the city centre via the many canals and cute little roads.

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We had a quick lunch at old favourite Maoz (meal for two for 15€) before the weather started turning and we decided to call it a day. Amsterdam is a great city to visit for a chilled break – we had a great time!

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stay: We stayed at this Airbnb flat which was nice and well located near Amstel station (it came complete with a lovely house cat too!). Staying in Amsterdam can be very expensive, so an alternative is to stay in cities nearby as the train network is good and cheap.
  • When to go: We went in April which is an ideal time to see tulips. Even though it was Easter, everything was open as usual. But we did get a lot of rain. The other time I visited Amsterdam it was summer, and that was great.
  • Transportation: Amsterdam is very well served by trains, metro, busses and trams. The centre is easily covered on foot. The easiest way to navigate the system is to buy an OV-chipkaart (similar to an oyster card) which gives you access to the public transport in Amsterdam as well as national trains.

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