Thank you to I amsterdam and A’DAM Lookout for hosting me. As always, all opinions and recommendations are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.Amsterdam is beautiful particularly in the fall. However, I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam in the spring because…well, tulips! So I was ecstatic to visit Amsterdam in April with my parents over the Easter weekend!
While Easter weekend was busy, it was a fantastic time to visit in terms of tulips and weather. If you don’t have a lot of time, Amsterdam is a great stopover city and can be easily explored in two days. As such, when I found out we would be visiting Ireland and the United Kingdom in the month of April, I knew I HAD to add Amsterdam to our itinerary. We did that very thing and this is how we spent a relaxing weekend in Amsterdam in April!
Amsterdam in April
I amsterdam Sign
It is iconic. So iconic in fact, that it was removed from its popular location at the Rijksmuseum to reduce the number of tourists in the square.
Former location at the Rijksmuseum | Fall of 2016
Now, the I amsterdam sign will move around the city. Currently, this one is at the A’DAM Lookout but it will only be there until July 7, 2019.
There are other temporary locations, but your best bet of getting a photo of the iconic sign is at the Schipol Airport. This is the only permanent location so get it as you are arriving or departing Amsterdam!
Arguably one of the top things to do in Amsterdam (and quite possibly my favorite thing to do) is taking a canal cruise. It is a fantastic way to see so much of the city. Canals are what Amsterdam is so famous for and there are 165 of them in the “Venice of the North”.
Thankfully, we had beautiful weather to cruise the canal, but if it isn’t pretty the day you are there, it’s not always a bad thing. Rainbows are plentiful in Amsterdam. This photo from my first trip was taken from the same canal cruise dock just in the opposite direction.
Some of (but not nearly all) the things you will see along the way…
Houseboats are quite common in Amsterdam as you can imagine with 165 canals. They are super cute so be on the lookout for them. You can even rent an Amsterdam houseboat to stay in!
Nationale Opera & Ballet
The Nationale Opera & Ballet is a pretty cool building (as most are in Amsterdam) and where you can catch an opera, the ballet as well as guided tours.
EYE Filmmuseum and A’DAM Tower
If you like film, the EYE Filmmuseum should definitely be on your itinerary. It has many things to do all relating to film including exhibitions. You can even watch films in their three different theaters!
Right next door is the A’DAM Tower which houses the A’DAM Lookout at the top. For more on the A’DAM Lookout, look for its section further down in this post.
NEMO Science Museum
I found NEMO! Okay, so it’s not THAT Nemo, but I did find a NEMO-the Science Museum, that is. Full of all kinds of cool exhibitions, this is a family-friendly place!
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is also family-friendly and has exhibitions, a library, and guided tours all related to sailing. While the museum building is cool, I personally love the replica of the Amsterdam which sank in 1749 in the English Channel on its maiden voyage to Batavia.
Walking Tour of Amsterdam
One of the nicest features of Amsterdam is the fact that it is quite walkable. The springtime is a really nice time to walk around. The Dutch capital is a gorgeous city with beautiful architecture!
View of the Zuiderkerk from the Staalmeester Bridge
Leaning, Crooked Houses
Yep, there are leaning houses in Amsterdam. Tall, skinny, crooked, leaning houses. As you can see in the photo above, they all look “off” and they actually are. Some are built on wooden stilts and do have foundational issues.
Most all of them are built tilted forward for good reason. They have very tiny, steep staircases making it hard to move things up to the higher floors. Which brings me to the next part of this whole fascinating phenomenon. Hooks.
The houses all have hooks on them. See them at the top…right below the rooflines? Those are used to hoist things to the upper levels. The houses are built leaning forward enough so that items like furniture won’t come in contact with the building on their way up. Isn’t that all kinds of interesting?
You can see tulips in Amsterdam too, not just Keukenhof!
Don’t forget to look up! How beautiful are these cherry blossoms? I know, surprise, right? Tulips might be the star of the show in the spring, but cherry blossoms make a great supporting cast.
Red Light District
For obvious reasons, I didn’t take photos here. However, I did want to mention the RLD. It’s just something you can’t miss in Amsterdam if you haven’t already seen it.
The Smallest House in Amsterdam
Dating back to 1738, the Smallest House in Amsterdam is only 6 feet 7 inches wide and 16 feet 4 inches deep. It has the cutest interior where you can buy teas, chocolate, and other assorted goodies. The family that owns it is extremely friendly and can tell you all about the history of the house as well as the city of Amsterdam!
Churches of Amsterdam
I love to see churches all around the world when I travel. Everything from the architecture and stained glass windows to the steeples, clock towers, and marble floors, I find them so beautiful. Amsterdam definitely has its share of gorgeous churches you won’t want to miss.
The Zuiderkerk (Southern Church) was an influential part of Rembrandt’s life as well as the subject of a Claude Monet painting. Constructed between 1603 and 1611, it was the first church in Amsterdam built specifically for Protestant services. However, it closed as a church in 1970 and since 1988 has served as a municipal information center.
I personally love its clock tower steeple!
Located near the main central train station, the Church of Saint Nicholas is Amsterdam’s primary Roman Catholic Church. Its Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance architectural styles explain why it’s my favorite of all the churches in Amsterdam. For some reason, I tend to love the Baroque style and typically my favorite churches are constructed in this design.
The church only recently received its basilica minor status in 2012.
Built between 1620 and 1631, the Westerkerk (Western Church) is the largest church in Amsterdam built for Protestants and is still in use to this day.
The church’s tower, called the Westertoren (Western Tower), is the highest church tower in all of Amsterdam with a height of 286 feet.
Interesting facts of the Westerkerk include the fact that Rembrandt was buried as a poor man here. Though his grave number was lost, there is a memorial marker and every year, his birthday is celebrated on the 15th of July. Also, Anne Frank wrote in her diary that the ringing of the bells of the tower was a source of comfort for her.
There are many other churches in Amsterdam to see. Don’t miss the De Oude Kerk (The Old Church) at the start of the Red Light District.
Anne Frank House
Definitely one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is a historical icon. Walking through the house where Anne hid for two years before being betrayed to the Nazis is a very emotional experience.
Bridges of Amsterdam
While there are 165 canals in Amsterdam, there are many more bridges. 1,281 to be exact! Here are a few I enjoyed seeing.
Bridge 222, also known as Aluminiumbrug (Aluminum Bridge) crosses over the Kloveniersbrugwal Canal. It is a drawbridge not currently in use and is made primarily of brick, granite, and steel. It gets its name from its feature of an aluminum deck.
The Walter Süskindbrug (Walter Süskind Bridge), bridge 237, is a double drawbridge constructed between 1969 and 1972. The bridge was named after Walter Süskind, a man who, along with others, allowed Jews and Jewish children to escape from Hollandsche Schouwburg and a nearby daycare center during the Nazi regime.
The Bridge of Bridges is the point where you can see up to 15 bridges at once. Stand where the Reguliersgracht meets Herengracht for this view. Pretty cool to see bridge after bridge after bridge.
Probably my favorite bridge, the Staalmeesterbrug (bridge 227) is located on Staalstratt and is also an out-of-operation drawbridge.
It’s my favorite for two reasons: its view of the Zuiderkerk and the colorful adornments of the love locks.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
You’re here in the spring, so why not visit the Amsterdam Tulip Museum? You’re visiting the tulips so it just makes sense, right?
Amsterdam at Night
Explore Amsterdam after dark. The city comes alive at night. The bridges over the canals light up making beautiful reflections in the water.
Double light trails in your photos are possible from boats down on the water and cars on the bridges above.
And Thorbeckeplein is the perfect location for a new trick I learned called “light painting”.
Thank you to Victor Lacken for showing me the best locations in Amsterdam for night photography and introducing me to light painting! Next time, I’m going to do a sunrise canal photography tour with Victor…all of those reflections! 😍
Day Trip To Keukenhof
Only open two months of the year, Keukenhof and its flowers will blow you away and deliver an unforgettable Dutch experience!
For incredible views of Amsterdam, head up to the A’DAM Lookout located at the top of the A’DAM Tower. With 360° views of Amsterdam, you can even see Schipol airport, the port, and the city center.
When we first arrived, A’DAM properly introduced himself.
On our way to check in to pick up our tickets, we saw the I amsterdam sign currently located here. But hurry because as I mentioned above, it will only be here until July 7, 2019!
In addition to the spectacular views, you can swing out over the edge in Europe’s highest swing!
Views of Amsterdam from A’DAM Lookout
Photo Credit: My Parents
Don’t forget to have your photo taken with A’DAM!
The Highest Swing in Europe
Amsterdam in April is the perfect time to swing high above the city!
There are 3 swings and the entire experience lasts around five minutes. But those fives minutes are truly both thrilling and amazing!
Photo Courtesy of A’DAM Lookout
I had the time of my life feeling the wind breezing through my hair while gazing out over all of Amsterdam.
Getting Around Amsterdam
I amsterdam City Card
I highly recommend getting the I amsterdam City Card for your visit to Amsterdam. You can choose a 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120-hour card so there is one to fit all lengths of visits.
Why should you get the card? It will save you a LOT of money because it includes unlimited public transportation, so many free museums and attractions as I have pointed out above, a free canal cruise, and more. It also saves you a lot of time not having to stand in line to buy tickets.
Combine your I amsterdam City Card with the ARTT. The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket will get you transportation from Schipol Airport into a city-center train station as well as regional transportation outside of Amsterdam.
The ARTT comes in one, two and three-day consecutive passes so they are great for a day trip, weekend or even a three-day trip.
Where To Eat
Tea at the Smallest House in Amsterdam
Yes, you can have afternoon tea at the Smallest House in Amsterdam! How cute is the interior?
Our place setting complete with the perfect tea timer! We could try unlimited tea flavors and so I started with the Strawberry Banana. This is one of my favorite flavors and was the first time I’d ever seen it as a flavored tea. I followed that up with two cups of Strawberry which is one of my all-time favorites.
In addition to unlimited tea flavors, we were also served freshly squeezed orange juice and water. For an additional fee, you can add a glass of champagne.
The food is a little different than traditional, English afternoon tea, but it was really good and plentiful. We had a tiered tray of sandwiches followed by scones, fruit, and sweets!
The assortment of sandwiches included goat cheese/tomato/cucumber/pesto, tuna/tomato/cucumber, and chicken/cucumber. I am not a fan of cucumber so I removed all of those. After doing so, my favorite was definitely the goat cheeses/tomato/pesto. 😊
Next up, we were served scones, strawberries, and sweets. The plain scones were served with lemon curd and strawberry preserves.
We even had homemade mascarpone cheese to dip these beautiful strawberries in. They were fantastic! I should also mention that the mascarpone was made while we were there so it was homemade AND fresh!
To finish off this unique experience, they served their homemade Dutch Apple Pie. A family recipe, this authentic Dutch Apple Pie is different from our American version in that it doesn’t have the gelatinous filling we put in ours.
This apple pie is something everyone needs to try when they come to Amsterdam!
Ellis Gourmet Burger
We stopped one night for a quick bite at Ellis Gourmet Burger. What I liked most about EGB is that there are all kinds of options.
There is the Classic or choose the Mini Classic (on the kids’ menu) like I did if you aren’t overly hungry.
Then there is the Baby Spinach Salmon version which is a salmon filet with coleslaw, tomato, homemade herb and mint yogurt, baby spinach, and watercress.
The Pancake Bakery
Open since 1973, The Pancake Bakery is a favorite in Amsterdam. Breakfast, lunch, dinner…whatever you’re in the mood for, they have it!
My Dad opted for the Brazilian, one of their international pancake specials featuring walnut ice cream, mocha sauce, Amaretto, almonds, and whipped cream. I tasted it and my favorite part was the walnut ice cream with the mocha sauce and hints of Amaretto!
I got my usual (I had been before), a Pancake with Bananas, Chocolate Sauce and Nutella. It is heavenly! That’s saying a lot since I almost always pick savory over sweet.
Speaking of savory, if you aren’t a big sweets person, they have savory pancakes too. My Mom ordered the Pancake with Ham, Cheese, and Mushrooms. I tried hers with sour cream and if I could have eaten both, this is the other one I would have ordered. It hit the spot!
Where To Stay
I loved staying in the Pulitzer Amsterdam, a luxury hotel with top-notch service and very unique rooms with canal views. This hotel is located close to the Anne Frank House, The Pancake Bakery, and the Jordaan neighborhood.
If you need a more affordable option, the Mozart Hotel also has a great location not far from the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum and it’s only about a 25-minute walk across the city to Amsterdam Centraal. They offer triple rooms and breakfast is included. The downsides are the rooms and the bathroom are tiny (common in Europe) and the elevator is very slow.
More or Less
I love this!
If you have more time…
Check out the Museum of Bags and Purses, GASSAN Diamonds, the Van Gogh Museum and a day trip to see the famous Cube House Museum in Rotterdam (bucket list item for my next trip to Amsterdam).
If you have less time…
Then my 36 Hours in Amsterdam post might work better for you and fits any time of the year as it doesn’t include tulip season.
That’s how we spent our spring weekend in Amsterdam in April. It was fun, but relaxing and that’s exactly what I was aiming for.
Have you been to Amsterdam in April or during the spring at all? What was your itinerary like? As always, I love hearing from you!
‘Til next time…