Back in June we traveled to Brussels, Belgium to visit our friend Lina. During our weeklong visit we spent a few days exploring Brussels, took a day trip to Bruges and an overnight to Amsterdam. We spent 24 hours in Amsterdam and it was an incredible experience. We loved Amsterdam so much that I’ll be breaking this post up into two or else you’d be getting over 50 photos in one post! 🙂
24 Hours in Amsterdam
We initially planned to take a train from Brussels to Amsterdam but after doing some research we discovered that taking a bus was WAY cheaper and would take almost the exact amount of travel time. Just something to consider if you’re traveling around Europe. We used FlixBus. I won’t say that their service wowed me but for less than $50 per person round trip, we made do.
The trip was just over 3 hours and we arrived in Amsterdam around lunchtime. We took the tram from the Sloterdijk station and got off in the De Pijp neighborhood where we booked our Airbnb.
Our first order of business was lunch! We ended up at Cafe Ruis and grabbed an outdoor table.
We shared a salad.
And a BLT.
Within an hour of arriving in Amsterdam it became clear that we needed to rent bikes to get around the city. If you’re not familiar with Amsterdam, almost everyone uses bikes as their primary means of transportation. You will see people commuting to work on bikes in dress clothes, dropping kids off at school riding in carts behind their bikes and in general just riding them everywhere.
I don’t exactly brag about my coordination skills so I was slightly terrified to join the bike crowds but it came back to me like…riding a bike! 😉 Honestly, we both agreed that riding our bikes all over the city was our favorite thing about our time in Amsterdam. We lucked out with very warm and insanely gorgeous weather.
Before checking into our Airbnb we biked through the De Pijp neighborhood and over to De Taart van m’n Tante for an afternoon sweet treat. It was a very eclectic and charming little place.
We shared a slice of two different cakes.
We biked over to our Airbnb and got settled in. I’ll have a tour of our De Pijp Airbnb in part two of my Amsterdam recap. It was an awesome apartment. Tanner mapped out our plan of action for the afternoon ahead. He was quite the navigator.
We cruised through many city streets and over some of Amsterdam’s famous canals.
You can’t go to Amsterdam without a trip to the Red Light District that it’s so famous for and of course Tanner wanted to see it! I feel like Amsterdam gets a bad reputation sometimes because people assume the whole city is like the Red Light District but it is not, AT ALL! Amsterdam does not feel like a “party town” and is overall very clean, friendly and wholesome.
I highly suggest getting out of the busy city center and Red Light District area and experiencing Amsterdam’s smaller and more charming neighborhoods.
We somehow stumbled along some beautiful waterfront paths in our wandering and then found ourselves crossing a bridge over to Java Island.
It was the coolest thing to see everyone out of their apartments and down by the water enjoying the beautiful day.
We were there on a Sunday afternoon and I remember thinking to myself how this looked like my dream Sunday. Hanging out with family and friends, soaking up the sun and eating good food.
At this point we’d covered over 15 miles on our bikes so we decided to head back to our Airbnb to get ready for dinner.
We sipped on some wine and enjoyed the outdoor living space that our Airbnb had.
Our dinner destination was a little under a mile away and we were both feeling rather, ahem, sore from our bike riding so we opted to walk to dinner. I think it was almost 9 p.m. when we left and still bright daylight.
We were so surprised to see tons of local people out and enjoying Sunday evening drinks and dinners. I feel like in Charlotte things are dead on Sunday nights and it seemed like everyone in Amsterdam was out soaking up the last of the weekend and the great weather.
My research landed us at Brasserie SenT thanks to both the reviews and the fact that the chef cooks on the Big Green Egg. My family has been huge BGE fans for as long as I can remember so I was eager to check it out.
The weather was so lovely that we opted for a sidewalk table but the inside of Brasserie SenT was cozy and modern.
We shared two appetizer to start. The first was a terrine of duck served with pistachio, mustard fig compote and brioche. It was amazing.
Next up was the slow cooked octopus with an oyster from the egg. Again, absolutely amazing.
For our entree we decided to try the Chateaubriand from the Big Green Egg. It required a minimum of two people to order. Chateaubriand is a thick cut from the tenderloin of the steak and this meat was melt in your mouth tender and so flavorful.
It was served with a salad to share and fries.
These fries deserve a photo of their own because they are the best fries I had on our entire trip…including in Belgium where they are known for their frites. What really stole my heart here was not only the perfect crispiness and delicious flavor but also that they served it with mayo for dipping. It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
Since it was so late and the restaurant was slowing down, we had a chance to chat with the owners/chef and hear more about the restaurant. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful dinner. Tanner and I both agreed that it was one of our favorite dinners that we’ve ever had together and the evening felt special and truly like vacation in Europe.
In part two of my 24 hours in Amsterdam recap I’ll share what we did on day two before heading back to Brussels as well as a tour of our Airbnb!
Have you visited Amsterdam? If no, what’s your perception of it? If yes, what did you think about it?
Have you ever used bikes to sightsee?