Destinations

Unknown Amsterdam

You’re planning your next trip to Amsterdam so you hop on Pinterest for some travel inspiration & tips on where to go and what to see. You click post after post and they’re all listing a variation of the same attractions. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with blogging or visiting these attractions.  They are the most popular sights to visit for a reason. Heck I’ve been to them all myself! But sometimes we look for something a little bit more off the beaten path. Something to WHOA our insta followers, shock our families and have all our friends and co-workers asking “Where is this?!” 

That’s where this newest blog post comes into play! I’ve visited Amsterdam 3 times and my husband twice. We have seen the popular and the not so popular and have enjoyed it all. Below is a list of our favourite unknown spots. 

Wynand Fockink 

https://wynand-fockink.nl

The Basics:

This is a dutch liqueur distillery has been around since 1679 (yes its 339 yrs old!!) Soon after a tasting room was added where customers could buy the products they had the opportunity to taste. They offer a slew of liqueur flavours as well as genevers (this is the Dutch name for gin- after junipers {the berry gin is made from}) 

Why Go?

Honestly this was such an awesome and authentic experience. The gentleman serving us was informative, funny and kind. He was able to explain the history, the tasting methods used, even guess our favourite flavours (I don’t know how he nailed our flavours so well!) This place is LITERALLY over 300 years old and the gin and liqueurs are delicious…I’m guessing that’s how they’ve been around for as long as they have!

Options: 

  1. Tasting Room:

    You can visit inside the tasting room for an authentic tasting experience. The tastings themselves are free so you are able to find the drink of your choice (to buy) to enjoy afterwards inside the tasting room or outside with the provided benches/tables. 

  2. Liquor Store:

    Next door there is a liquor store (can be accessed from inside the tasting room or from the street) where you can buy any of the liqueurs, gin or bitters they brew there. 

  3. Tour/Private Tastings:

    They offer private tastings every Saturday & Sunday at specific times. Its €17.50/person. It’s a one hour long tour/tasting. You taste 2 liqueurs, 2 genevers, 1 bitters and 1 brandy. You then get a tour of the distillery where you learn about the brewing process and history. 

Brouwerij ‘t IJ

https://www.brouwerijhetij.nl/?lang=en

This is a dutch brewery that has been around since 1985. The brewery itself took residence in an old bathhouse which happened to be next door to the largest windmill in Amsterdam. The windmill is where the pub itself is located. It’s open every day from 2pm -8pm. Walk up to the counter and order yourself a beer and maybe a bar snack or two and go find a place to post up and enjoy the chaos and beauty of this brewery!

Bloemenmarkt

The flower market! Tulips are the flower of the Dutch and man oh man are there TONS of varieties! Take a stroll along the outdoor market that lines the canals, with flowers, bulbs and souvenirs you cant help but get mesmerized by the beauty. Walk from end to end; there’s something special on both sides. The very first hut on the eastern entrance has dried flowers hanging from above completely masking the ceiling. It’s a sight to see! When you near the western entrance, there is a pancake house to your left (see picture) that has some of the BEST pancakes I have ever had! When you continue on east to west past the pancake house you will pass a cheese tasting room. They allow you to try all sorts of different Gouda’s before you make your purchase (and I highly recommend this!!)  

Nemo Building of Science 

https://www.nemosciencemuseum.nl/en/

This is great both if you have kids and if you don’t! If you have kids this is another great way to help entertain them during your trip. It’s a large interactive science building to help engage children in science (this building is similar to Science World in Vancouver, Canada). If you don’t have any children the Nemo Building of Science is still worth a visit…to the roof! The roof is free access to everyone (it’s accessible during opening hours but these change daily & seasonally.) The roof of this building offers a beautiful 360 view of Amsterdam, the river and canals. It’s free, so why wouldn’t you check it out? 

Unique Canal Tours 

Views from a Canal Tour – Can you guess which one we did?

A tour of the canals is on every attractions list for Amsterdam and for a good reason. The canal tours give you a different perspective, allow you to see parts of the city you probably wouldn’t see otherwise & the tour guides are usually pretty informative. 

With so many options out there, how do you choose which company to go with?! 

My suggestion:

Don’t go for the classic tour that does a loop and offers headphones for you to listen the recording. There are so many unique experiences offered, so choose the one that’s best suited for you and your trip. 

Here’s a link to the official Amsterdam tourist site (but it was still missing a few GREAT options!) https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/things-to-do/canal-cruising/overview-canal-cruises   

Pannenkoekenboot’s Cruise:

https://amsterdam.pannenkoekenboot.nl/en/arrangement/75-minute-cruise/ 

That’s right…you read that right! For €18.50 you tour the lj-river with unlimited classic dutch pancakes. You have the choice from plain, apple or ham and then can personalize each of your pancakes with toppings from the toppings bar provided. Because the boat is larger, you don’t go through the small and narrow canals, rather tour the river. This is a great option as you see majority of the canals just by walking through the city. 

Smoke Boat:

https://www.smokeboat.com 

You may be able to tell by the name what the theme of this boat tour is. If you’re into embracing the Red Light District vibes of Amsterdam then grab a pre-rolled joint and for €15 you can take a relaxing tour of the canals listening to some old school rap and reggae while puffing on your joint. 

Pizza Boat:

https://www.stromma.nl/en/amsterdam/dining-cruises/dinner-cruises/pizza-cruise/ 

Are you a pizza lover? Or maybe you’re looking for a way to kill two birds with one stone and want to have a productive dinner. Either way, for €39 tour the canals while getting served PIZZA. The fun doesn’t stop at pizza though…all drinks (including Heineken, wine & pop) are all included and unlimited (that €39 doesn’t seem so bad now does it? :P) 

Kid Cruise “Gezocht: Zoetwaterpiraten!”

https://www.blueboat.nl/en/product/kids-cruise/ 

A fun family option! The parents can enjoy the sights, sounds and history of Amsterdam while their kids hear an interactive story about a mouse and cat who want to become pirates. Children are also given a workbook to complete assignments along the way. 

Cocktail Cruise/Dinner Cruise: 

Cocktail Cruise:

https://www.stromma.nl/en/amsterdam/dining-cruises/drinks-cruises/cocktail-cruise/

If you’re wanting to get a little loose and enjoy a couple bevies then the cocktail cruise is the way to go. For €39 you will get fed home-made snacks and have unlimited drinks along the canal. 

Dinner Cruise:

https://www.tours-tickets.com/en/canal-cruises/dinner-cruise/ 

Menu: https://www.tours-tickets.com/media/1340176/a4_dinner_winter2018_eng.pdf

The final option on the list is the dinner cruise. €89 will get you a romantic dinner touring the beautifully lit canals of Amsterdam with a glass of Prosecco to sip on. 

Remember to always do at least a little bit of research before jetting off to your next destination. A little digging can go a long way for finding unique experiences like the ones above.

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