Road Trip with Rach to Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Our trip overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands was a huge success! From there we also traveled to Paris and London. Those posts are coming soon! Here is how we got to Amsterdam, where we stayed, what we did and what we ate. Take a look to see what I recommend to try in Holland’s active and fun Amsterdam, The Netherlands! See my morning show segment below to see the videos of my recommendations in Amsterdam. Links to all that I showed are below. It was all a blast!

How we got there:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines nonstop from Washington DC to Amsterdam. I highly recommend this carrier that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary!

BEST TIPS TO SAVE $ – We use our American Express card for most purchases. We budget our monthly expenses, pay off the card at the end of the month (don’t accrue debt but do accrue points) and bank the Membership Reward points. The points never expire. We saved up 5 years of points and then transferred those points to my Delta Sky Miles account when we then used on KLM.
*Delta partners with KLM so our Delta points worked on KLM. It was cool flying the Dutch carrier to a Dutch city! We experienced a bit of their culture on the way over, which is a great way to start your overseas adventure.
*We paid a bit more to upgrade to business class. We saved money by choosing Amsterdam as our arrival and departure city…less than flying into London or Paris.
*Also, check KLM’s website deals page for fare sale prices to selected  international destinations that they serve.
*We flew in before Europe’s summer vacation school schedule, which also brought down the price. This is called the shoulder season.
*We also traveled on a Saturday and on returned on a Sunday…less $ because those days are not typically business traveler days.
So many ways to save if you take the time to research travel point programs, budget, save and plan. Incredible experience!
Where we stayed in Amsterdam:
Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam – not only is this property absolutely lovely, but the hotel redeems Sofitel points that have been accrued domestically. We saved both our Sofitel and Marriott points to apply towards our overseas lodging. Join the frequent traveler programs because they do pay off! The Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam sits beautifully in between two scenic canals in a historic building that sports 600 year old halls that are renovated to the highest standards. The Sofitel has operated as St. Catherine’s Convent way back in 1411 and was also an elegant lodging location for Royals and other highly esteemed guests back in 1578. City Hall was also once housed in the dwelling. The building is historic on the outside but modern, elegant and quite comfortable on the inside. I highly recommend this property, the helpful, accommodating and friendly staff (especially Concierge Fabienne!) the delicious restaurants and just about everything this hotel has to offer. The Sofitel in Amsterdam also sits conveniently right between two historic canals. I will share a more thorough review of this property soon.
What we did in Amsterdam (links to attractions below)…
*Viator for booking! First and foremost, I recommend the travel app, Viator. This free app enables users to research, plan and book activities and more all around the world. I like how thorough Viator each activity is listed and includes exactly what to expect, why other travelers booked that specific adventure plus the fine print is in big bold type so all aspects of the booking are well understood before arrival. Folks can pay up front or later and all events are easy to cancel free of charge up to 24 hours in advance. Access and load tickets to your digital wallet on your cell and no worries if your phone is offline as Viator offers offline access. I also like how each city lists attraction ideas under categories like “first time visitors”, “day trips”, “must dos” and more. Booking tours, museum visits, boat rides and other attractions are simple to do on the Viator app.
*All Inclusive Amsterdam Canal Cruise by Captain Jack – This 1 hr 30 minute boat tour around Amsterdam included a wonderful tour guide (thanks “Mouse in the House”) who took us through the modern and historic parts of the city all the while sharing interesting stories, unique tidbits about the area and recommendations about where to visit while in town. The country’s flagship beer, Heineken was served (but of course) along with wine, other beverages and light snacks. I recommend this tour to kick off an Amsterdam visit as it’s a great way to get acquainted with the city and plan additional activities based on what is learned during the scenic and enjoyable tour along the romantic canals. We booked our canal cruise through Viator at this link. Captain Jack canal tours site and information can be found here at this link.

*Anne Frank House Museum – Not to be missed if you go to Amsterdam. Tragically touching. All should see as we must never forget the horrendous tragedy and Anne Frank and her family who represent that awful historic time. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed in the museum, so I only have this impactful photo to show that I snapped outside of the Anne Frank House. Seeing Anne’s reflection is almost eerily magical. Once inside her house, walking up the hidden steep stairs and through the small hiding space above Anne’s father, Otto Frank’s shop was surreal. It is quite the experience that I highly recommend.

Can you see Anne Frank’s reflection in the glass?

NOTE!!!: Tickets to tour the Anne Frank House Museum can only be purchased on the official Anne Frank House website and must be purchased exactly six weeks in advance of the visit. Get your tickets here at this link.

*Van Gogh Museum – Another attraction not to be missed is the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and shows visitors how his talents influenced modern art. We bought our tickets to the gallery through Viator in combination with a tour guide that enabled us to skip the long lines…a bonus for sure. The Viator ticket link to this is here. For more information, see the Van Gogh Museum site.

*Sofitel The Grand Amsterdam Afternoon High Tea – We found this Alice in the Wonderland Afternoon High Tea (as the hotel calls this fun experience) to be delicious and unique as not one tea cup was used! Instead hot and chilled teas from around the globe were sipped from wine glasses, champagne flutes and even whiskey glasses. Fun! The accompanying sandwiches, soup, scones and decadent desserts were equally tasty. Situated in the attractive and comfortable Library in the Sofitel, the entire experience was delightful and memorable. I high recommend. For more information visit the Sofitel Amsterdam hotel High Afternoon Tea site here at this link.

Where We Dined:

Don’t miss the sourdough bread with farm butter appetizer!

Our elegant, but comfy, table at Oriole Restaurant in the Sofitel. Perfect!

*Oriole Bistro at the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam Hotel – Great food served in an elegant but relaxed restaurant and in the lush attractive garden area when the weather allows.

*Marie Amsterdam Restaurant was our favorite because the food was scrumptious from start to finish (try the Gnocchis À LA Parisienne…incredible) and don’t miss the top wine selections and the best hazelnut praline dessert I have ever sunk my teeth into called the Millefeuille À Partager.

GNOCCHIS À LA PARISIENNE at Marie Amsterdam- Exquisite and delish!

Our view of the lovely canal from our outdoor table was equally pleasurable.

Beautiful view of the canal behind me at Marie Amsterdam Restaurant. I want to go back!

Book your reservation for this awesome culinary experience here.

*Black and Blue Restaurant – Here you will find good burgers and steaks along with tasty entrees, great wine and a colorful and fun atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed my curry vegetable dish.

The Vegan Veggie Curry…soo good!

It was perfectly satisfying until the very last bite. The 3-story restaurant is also attractive to look at and walk through with all kinds of art adorning the walls that are also filled with comfortable chairs and tables for dining in. I recommend. For more information, check out the Black and Blue restaurant website here.

*Van Holland StroopWafels – Get Amsterdam’s favorite dessert hand dipped in chocolate and/or a large assortment of other toppings at the busy and welcoming Van Holland StroopWafels shop. My daughter was sure glad she got one! Check out the bakery’s website here.

And finally don’t leave Holland without having a fresh cold Heineken beer! Any place will do as the brew was terrific everywhere we tried a glass…but of course since this favorite brewsky originally comes from The Netherlands. Cheers to that and I toast to Amsterdam. Put this place on your bucket list!

The two must have travel tools I showed on the morning show…

*The TESSAN Universal Power Adapter, International Plug Adaptor with 4 USB Ports (1 USB C), Travel Worldwide Essentials Wall Charger for US to Europe Germany France Spain Ireland Australia(Type C/G/A/I). I bought mine for $19.99 on  Amazon at the link. This one adapter worked in Amsterdam, Paris and London to charge our phones. Each country has a different type of wall socket, so this was a must have overseas travel item. 

*The Apple World Travel Adapter Kit worked with our laptops. Another must have for international travel. I bought mine for $29 at this Apple Store link.

Stay tuned for my upcoming report about our visit to Paris and to London. Happy Travels!

***And for the list of my tried and true international travel tips, click here travel apps, tools and tips I showed, see that article here at this link.