Amsterdam Travel Blog
Amsterdam is a destination that I help teachers across the UK organise school trips to, so it was about time I got to know one of the greatest small cities in the world, better.
Full of excitement, we made our way to Birmingham Airport preparing for the adventurous weekend ahead.Amsterdam is an insanely vibrant city, with a very rich culture. The city draws in more than five million international visitors annually, many drawn in by it’s popular historic and cultural attractions. These include the Reijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Anne Frank House.
After a safe landing, we headed straight to the I AMSTERDAM tourism shop to collect our weekend transport passes, maps and local information. After a few cheeky photos by the famous ‘I AM STERDAM’ letters, which are located in various places in this beautiful city, we headed back to Schipol Airport so we could catch the train to the city centre.
I was very impressed as the train pulled into the station, as this was my first time seeing a double-decker train. Inside it was very luxurious, boasting specially designed glass interior doors, wide leather seats, and even free Wi-Fi. In no time at all, we had already arrived at Sloterdijk Station, which is only a two minute walk from the lovely urban travellers home, the MEININGER Hostel.
We decided to head straight to Centraal Station to explore the picturesque winding streets of Amsterdam. After a very comfortable, fast, and efficient train journey, we arrived in the city centre and I was delightfully surprised at how beautiful the city was. The peaceful canals caught my attention initially, as the water slowly rippled in the sunlight. I couldn’t wait to for us to explore the city by boat, as I had heard this is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city’s sights and attractions.
With more bikes than people, cycling is an integral part of Amsterdam’s DNA and the city is awash with bicycle lanes. There was little traffic, which made our first experience on the roads a lot easier to handle. A lot of people choose to travel via train, tram, bus, canal, bicycle or foot; so as you can imagine there was barely any cars on the roads. The majority of the cars we did spot were these unique small cars, which are particularly different to what we usually see in the UK.
After spending all day exploring the beautiful winding streets full of different shops and attractions, our poor feet were aching so we decided to go back and check-in at the MEININGER and freshen up before dinner. The MEININGER is a lovely modern hostel located in Amsterdam City West, and is perfect for travellers and school or college groups. It has a captivating games room, a bar and free Wi-Fi in all rooms.
After a beautiful night’s sleep, I woke up feeling pleasantly refreshed and ready for our second day. We enjoyed a hearty continental buffet breakfast in the hostel before setting off. Today, we planned to visit Artis Zoo which is only 5-10 minute tram journey from the centre.
Artis Zoo is a fantastic attraction in the heart of Amsterdam, and houses over 600 species. A lot of the enclosures are surrounded by water, which keeps the animals safe within their enclosure and allows visitors to come up close to see the animals. We spent the morning wondering around the zoo, seeing lazy lions, enormous elephants, graceful giraffes and much more! We finished in the Butterfly Pavilion before stopping for lunch.
We decided to return back to Amsterdam Centraal to enjoy an exciting boat trip, which I would recommend to anyone hoping to visit Amsterdam. Not only does Amsterdam’s canals provide a stunning backdrop to the city’s historical centre, it is also a wonderful way to see the city from a different perspective.
The following morning after packing, we headed down for breakfast in the MEININGER. The same glorious spread lay ahead, so I treated myself to another hearty breakfast and stocked up on trusty orange juice.
We requested our hand luggage to be stored in the hostel’s luggage room, before catching the train from Centraal Station for the last time. This morning we planned to do a bit of extra shopping, and buy some little gifts for friends and family back at home (cheese, shoes and tulips definitely proved most popular, however there is a vast array of different trinkets you can purchase).
Sadly, our day was nearly coming to an end, so we returned back to the MEININGER to collect our bags before catching the train to the airport.
Amsterdam is one the greatest small cities in the world, and I definitely hope to visit again soon.
Written by Education Travel Consultant Grace O'Mahony. If you would like to organise a school trip to Amsterdam please contact Adaptable Travel today and talk to our friendly knowledgeable team who will be happy to organise your school trip