My husband and I are taking a Viking Cruise which ends in Amsterdam in October of 2015. We'd like to spend a couple of days exploring Amsterdam before flying home. I know this isn't much but that's all we can do since this is the end of a 3 week trip for us. Any advice on hotels, locations and things to see and do in that short time would be helpful. Thanks!
I'm not sure of your budget but I would highly recommend the Canal House. It is lovely, the staff is wonderful, the hotel is very well-located. If you've never had Indonesian food, then now is your chance as there are some really good Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam. For what to see, the usual suspects - the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Ann Frank House, canal cruise, Old Church, Red Light district (caution - do not take pictures of the ladies!) Have fun. This is one of my favorite cities.
I have attached some info from our Amsterdam guidebook regarding the character of the neighborhoods:
West Amsterdam (which includes the Jordaan) has Old World ambience, with quiet canals, old gabled buildings, and candle-lit restaurants. It’s also just minutes on foot to Dam Square. Many of my hotels are charming, friendly gabled mansions. The downside here is that you’ll pay more and likely have lots of stairs to climb.
Southwest Amsterdam has two main areas for accommodations: near Leidseplein (more central) and near Vondelpark (farther away). The streets near the bustling Leidseplein have restaurants, tourist buzz, nightlife, canalside charm, B&B coziness, and walkable (or easy tram) access to the center of town. Farther afield is the quieter semi-suburban neighborhood around Vondelpark and Museumplein, close to the Rijks and Van Gogh museums. You’ll find good hotel values and ready access to Vondelpark and the art museums, but it’s a half-hour walk (or 10-minute tram ride) to Dam Square.
Staying in Central Amsterdam is ideal for people who like shopping, tourist sights, and easy access to public transportation (including Central Station). On the downside, the area has traffic noise, concrete, and urban grittiness, and the hotels can lack character.
As for sights the prior contributor hit the big ones. I would also add that Amsterdam is a great place to buy all kinds of beautiful shoes and boots.
[$$] Hotel Keizershof is wonderfully Dutch, with six bright, airy rooms--some with canal views--in a 17th-century canal house with a lush garden and a fine living room. A very steep spiral staircase leads to rooms named after old-time Hollywood stars. The enthusiastic hospitality of Mrs. de Vries and her daughter, Hanneke, give this place a friendly, almost small-town charm (S-€70, D-€95, Ds-€110, Db-€115, 2-night minimum, reserve with credit card but pay with cash, free Internet access and Wi-Fi; tram #16, #24, or #25 from Central Station; Keizersgracht 618, where Keizersgracht crosses Nieuwe Spiegelstraat; tel. 020/622-2855, www.hotelkeizershof.nl, firstname.lastname@example.org).
[$$] Boogaard’s B&B is a delightful pad on a narrow lane right out of Mister Rogers’ neighborhood. The B&B, which has four comfortable rooms and an inviting public living room, is run by Peter, an American expat opera singer. Peter, who clearly enjoys hosting Americans in his home, serves his fresh-baked goodies at breakfast and treats you royally. As his place is popular with my readers, it’s smart to book as soon as possible--even as much as six months in advance (Db-€130, 2-night minimum; furnished family apartment with kitchen-€250 for 4 people, 3-night minimum; prices don’t include 6 percent tax, air-con, DVD library, free laundry, free Wi-Fi, loaner cell phones and laptops, Langestraat 34, tel. 064/358-6835, www.boogaardsbnb.com, email@example.com).
Just returned from a three week trip to Europe in July and Amsterdam was our last stop for two nights. I highly recommend Jackie O's B & B in the Jordaan neighborhood. Fabulous location, complete kitchenette, comfy bed, beautiful bathroom and big windows facing the canal. It's within walking distance of many tourist stops, great neighborhood for restaurants, quiet at night and safe. Jackie was the best hostess ever. We're planning a trip back in 2015.
We stayed in Amsterdam 2 nights before starting our Rick Steves tour at the Heren Bed & Breakfast. If you goggle the name the website will appear. The location is right on a canal in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam. We walked everywhere and really enjoyed our stay. The breakfast was delicious and plentiful and the staff truly helpful. We would stay there again without hesitation.