When my mom turned 50, my dad, my sister and I decided to surprise her with a city trip to Amsterdam. During my previous visit, two years ago, I had completely fallen in love – not only with my better half a bit more, but most of all – with the beauty, vibe and history of Amsterdam. To me, it's the best city of all, and showing my family some of Amsterdam's many different facets was something I had been looking forward to.
My father also couldn't wait to be there: decades ago he had watched a movie set in Amsterdam that he could not recall the name of. Even so, somehow this movie became the reason why he wanted to go there one day (the title turned out to be "Amsterdamned"...just in case you are into classics).
In case you are considering your first visit to Amsterdam and mulling over how many days to invest, do yourself a favour and spend at least three entire days there. Amsterdam is way too beautiful, historical, vibrant, exciting and so much more to give it only a little of your time. It has a bunch of surprising neighbourhoods and amazing restaurants that deserve your visit. Trust me, if you give yourself the chance to discover the real Amsterdam, dive into the local history, rent a bike and sip on a coffee in one of the lovely cafes close to the canals, you will get completely absorbed by the Dutch beauty.
For our family celebration, we chose Yays Zoutkeetsgracht as our home base for four nights and three entire days and we couldn't be happier with our choice.
When booking your stay, definitely check out the different Yays locations. They might be your perfect place to sleep and stay as well.
When staying at Yays, do not forget to download the Yays app! Some great tips for restaurants and sights can be found in there. Do not expect to find places like Vondelpark, Oude Kerk or Anne Frank's House though: Yays provides information on more uncharted spots.
These can be found both on the app and in the Yays Neighbourhood Guide, a complimentary guidebook that you receive upon your arrival at each of their concierged apartments. The Yays Neighbourhood Guide includes not only a map with all the indications to find the best bars, restaurants or sights but also detailed descriptions of the single spots.
The recommendations given in there show a bigger picture of the city and give you an insight into the truly Dutch way of living in Amsterdam. Great restaurant tips such as the De Gouden Reael, where we spent our last evening, or cafes such as The Breakfast Club, where we enjoyed a lovely breakfast the very first morning we had in Amsterdam.
Sitting in one of these places with a glass of delicious wine, while watching the sunset those hundreds of local people pass by with their bikes early in the morning while having a great cuppa will make you feel a bit more local yourself.
Sitting in one of these places watching the sun go down while having a delicious glass of wine, or early in the morning seeing all those hundreds of people pass by with their bikes while having a great cuppa side by side with the locals will make you feel a bit more local yourself.
I am a huge planner and I can't ever go on a trip without preparation. However, Amsterdam is great even for those who just like to wander around without what I'd call a proper plan. The surrounding area of Yays Zoutkeetsgracht where we stayed was just perfect for lovely impromptu walks.
If you're thinking about having a birthday trip with one or more of your loved ones, I hope the itinerary I created for my family will inspire you.
My favourite museum is Het Grachtenhuis. It is super interactive and provides you with some great background information on the city, its construction and general history. I took my family there, and they loved it just as I do each time I go there. Definitely check it out – you won't regret it, especially if you go there on your very first day: you'll learn about how the city developed and after that walking around Amsterdam's canals will feel even better.
We also did some of the typical things such as a visit to Anne Frank's House, which is such an intriguing and thought-provoking place. Don't forget, however, to book your tickets well in advance.
And if you are into history and arts, or just like people-watching, the Museumsplein might be nice to see too.
For a nice birthday dinner, feel free to ask your Yays concierge for a recommendation an let them surprise you!
Talking about surprises, the Yays team was absolutely the best. Knowing we were there to celebrate my mom's birthday, they got us the most mouth-watering strawberry crumble cake, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and two bottles of wine, which was just lovely. All the goodies came from some of the small local businesses featured in the Yays Neighbourhood Guide. It doesn't get any more local than that!
In their lobby area, you might find some great inspiration for trips around Amsterdam. Shelves with lots of material on the different locations to inspire you. In case you fancy renting a bike, just ask the Yays team: they are surely more than happy to help.
P.S.: Oh yeah, by the way, in case you should ever get lost in A'dam which isn't such a bad thing anyway, use the take-me-home-button in the Yays app and you'll be guided home safe and sound. Have fun in the best city ever!
With their local vibe and homely comforts, Yays apartments are a great setting for a family reunion or celebration.
Some time ago, Austrian teacher, travel blogger and museum guide Sabrina Rangger stayed at Yays Zoutkeetsgracht with her family to celebrate a special birthday.
Sabrina loves: the Austrian mountains, photography, reading travel guides to countries she has yet to visit, and writing her own blog www.wewannagetlost.com.
She tells us what it was like to unlock the neighbourhood with Yays in this guest blog post about her family's stay in Amsterdam.
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