Amsterdam – A Relaxing Weekend Getaway
Relaxing Weekend: Contrary to its sometimes debaucherous reputation, Amsterdam is a lovely city full of art, natural beauty and stunning architecture that makes for the perfect weekend escape.
WHAT TO DO
With all its museums, monuments, restaurants, galleries and shops, there is certainly no shortage of things to keep you busy during your stay in Amsterdam. Here are a few ideas for enjoying a laid-back weekend while still experiencing the best the city has to offer.
Hop on a Bicycle
Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly large city in the world. To take advantage, join a guided bicycle tour. Or, for more flexibility, rent a bike yourself and explore the hundreds of kilometers of paths than run throughout the city. Be sure to check out the beautiful views as you ride along the iconic Amstel River.
Walk Around the Parks
Throughout Amsterdam you’ll find countless parks, beaches and other green spaces worth exploring. In the heart of the city, Vondelpark is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and enjoy lunch al fresco or sample the fares from nearby cafes. From June to September the park hosts Open Air Theater, where you can attend a multitude of music, dance and theater performances for free.
Take a Turkish Bath
For the ultimate indulgent afternoon, try out one of Amsterdam’s many gorgeous spas. Spa Hamam Du Sahara (www.spahamamdusahara.nl) offers relaxing experiences from around the world including wet and dry Turkish baths, a Finnish sauna and an American jacuzzi. End the day with a professional massage then snuggle into a fluffy bathrobe while you read magazines and sip mint tea in the relaxation room.
What to eat
Relaxing Weekend: Amsterdam is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and you can sample French, Italian, Malaysian, Himalyan, Lebanese, Indonesian and pretty much any other cuisine here with ease. However, if you’re looking to try the local specialties, here are some to look out for.
Perhaps one of the world’s most unexpected street foods, patatje oorlog, which translates to war chips, is a Dutch specialty that consists of fries topped with peanut sauce, mayonnaise and chopped onions. A must-try while wandering the streets of Amsterdam.
Hollandse Nieuwe Haring
A very traditional food in the Netherlands that is likely to scare off most modern tourists, this dish consists of raw herring topped with chopped onions. To eat it the traditional way, hold it by that tail and lower the whole thing into your mouth.
This popular Dutch treat consists of two thin waffles with a sticky syrup filling in between. While you can find them packaged and sold internationally, nothing compares to those baked fresh by traditional bakers. Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.
WHERE TO STAY
Hostel Leidseplein is an excellent choice for an affordable, clean place in Amsterdam and the location can’t be beat. Situated in the heart of the city, a stay here will put you within walking distance of some of the finest museums, parks and attractions. Includes breakfast, wifi and free walking tours.