Van Wonderen stroopwafels instagram photos
It's been a couple of months since my last visit to Amsterdam, however I'm almost certain I'll find myself there sometime very soon again thanks to my partner being Dutch.  While he was on a business trip to Amsterdam, I went along and took off a couple of days of work to explore the capital - camera in hand!  Throughout mid-late November, the festive displays were starting to creep up the fronts of buildings and the temperature was quickly dropping. Thankfully, I'd packed carefully.  Although that's pretty much where my planning stopped, meaning all of my experiences were entirely by chance - a pretty easygoing, organic way to explore a city.  With this in mind, I've put together a guide to exploring Amsterdam, should you ever find yourself in the city on your own and with some time on your hands.  Pens at the ready... enjoy!
Amsterdam Free People Christmas decorations

W H E R E   T O   S T A Y ?

Similar to most city breaks, it makes perfect sense to stay as central as financially possible.  I could go on and on as to why it's best to do this, however one very good reason is due to saving on travel time across the city - if only to save the soles of your shoes!  It also allows better accessibility to any locations/venues you may be advised to visit by locals, as well as offering you peace of mind and increased security (especially if you're a female travelling solo).  Settle in the very centre of Amsterdam and you'll be able to reach North, East, South and West.  Make this decision now, thank yourself later.  For this trip, I stayed at Hotel NH City Centre Amsterdam.  The four-star hotel is located beside the Singel Canal and diving back into history for a moment, was formerly the head office of Gerzon fashion business in the 1950s.  Now, however, it's well-known for being a fabulous hotel for city breaks and business trips alike.  The ground floor dining area steals the show with a greenery-infused design, and a clean and modern theme runs all the way from the reception to the compact rooms.  The rooms are no-frills (in fitting with the business stays), however they tick all of the right boxes for when it comes to returning after a long day of exploring!
Hotel NH City Centre Amsterdam blog review
Hotel NH City Centre Amsterdam travel blog review

W H I P   O U T   Y O U R   C A R D S  .  .  .

When it comes to eating and shopping, Amsterdam offers everything from the traditional to the unusual.  My advice?  Head to the Jordaan; a stylish district of the capital offering indie boutiques, contemporary galleries and modern eateries.  Some of my favourite shops can be found here, such as Love Boutique, a luxury lingerie boutique.  Once you've worked up an appetite, you have access to dozens of cosy pubs, cafés and eateries within a five mile radius.  Polaberry is well known for their Instagrammable and feminine chocolate-covered fruit.  Hello photo of chocolate-dipped strawberries hanging over a canal.  That's one benefit of travelling solo: limitless time to create content!
Amsterdam Polaberry inside the shop
Amsterdam Polaberry Shop Interior
However, if you're looking to tap into the authenticity of the Netherlands, indulge in some freshly baked stroopwafels via Van Wonderen.  Decorated with marshmallows and other treats, they come with a steep price tag here and so look elsewhere if you're content with the (equally delicious) alternative of plain stroopwafels.  Finally, experiment with Dutch cheese and wonder how you ever lived without it.  Dutch Delicacy offers delicious cheese along with freshly prepared sandwiches and other baked goods.  Although, my favourite discovery?  De Kaaskamer.  The speciality store provides an incredible range of cheeses - you're completely spoilt for choice.  The staff are super helpful and can vacuum pack your purchases ready for your flight home!
Amsterdam Dutch Delicacy Blog review
Amsterdam De Kaaskamer cheese shop review
M A G N A   P L A Z A   S H O P P I N G   C E N T R E

I was automatically predisposed to love the Magna Plaza shopping centre thanks to their utterly fabulous exterior festive light display!  This became one of my favourite locations on my solo wanderings due to the food hall spreading across the entire top floor.  Whenever I needed to regroup, check emails or simply rest my feet, this became the ideal spot to return.  From mid-November onwards, the interior Christmas decorations come out to play and believe me when I say they impress.  Wow!  The Magna Plaza shopping centre is located just around the corner from the popular Dam Square, making it ideal should you be meeting with other travellers, friends, locals or photographers.
Magna Plaza shopping centre at Christmas
Amsterdam Magna Plaza Shopping Centre at Christmas
Amsterdam Magna Plaza Shopping Centre at Christmas
T H E   C A N A L S
So, Amsterdam has three main canals (dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age).  You're likely to stumble across them without seeking them out, along with plenty of boats and bikes lining the routes.  There are always plenty of tourists crossing the bridge and so if you're looking for those obligatory 'canal shots', look for a couple and offer to capture a romantic shot of them on a bridge in return for a snap or two.  Easy peasy.
Amsterdam Canals at Autumn November
Amsterdam fashion blogger travel diary blog
Amsterdam Dam Square Travel Blog Review
Amsterdam Canal Travel Blog Photography

B E F O R E   Y O U   G O  .  .  . 

You may have heard of the famous floating flower market in Amsterdam - something which has existed since 1862.  For the flower and gardening enthusiasts amongst you, this is well worth a visit. However, I'd suggest only popping along during the spring or summertime.  The beauty is otherwise somewhat lost during winter, besides the incredible floral ceiling found at the entrance.
Amsterdam Floating Flower Market in Winter
As I mentioned earlier, I'll likely be heading back to Amsterdam sometime soon and so do let me know if you have any requests for future blog content on the capital! Have you ever visited Amsterdam?  What did you think of the city?  Let me know in the comments below!

Liked this post?  You might also enjoy >> Amsterdam, Netherlands | The Chic Girl's Guide

With love,

Gabrielle x