Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Amsterdam | Marco Polo Travel Guides

 Amsterdam is quite an easy city to navigate - whilst there's a lot to see, it isn't massive and everything is definitely within walking distance if you have the time to spare! As we were only there for two days (once you factor in travel time etc) we got to know the city quite well, pretty quickly. Out hotel (the gorgeous Hotel Jan Luyken) was based very close to the Museumplein, which is by Vondel Park. So although we weren't central, there were great links between our hotel and the real city centre. As we knew our time was going to be limited, planning was the key to our success!

I was very lucky to recieve the Amsterdam spiral guide from Marco Polo and both Dan and I read up on the city before our trip came up. It had a great little "Magazine" section in the front of it, which was really interesting to read and felt like we were getting insider knowledge. There is information in the section about a variety of different things - from the architecture to different foods that you will find in the city. The only thing I would say is that it is quite a big guide - it's definitely not one you could slip into your back pocket. We tended to read it at home and leave it there as it wouldn't fit into my bag.

The guide is organised very logically - with each district of Amsterdam being a separate section. This made it easier for us to plan what we wanted to do, because it meant we were able to group together things we wanted to see by each district. When we were exploring the Western Canal Ring, we tried "The Pancake Bakery" recommended by the guide and some blogs I read before I went. It was delicious. I absolutely agree with the guide's statement that whilst the pancakes are pricier than you might expect, they are huge and so filling!

 Probably my favourite part of the guide was the pages on what to do in your first few hours - it was so helpful and a great way to know exactly how to get into the city from the airport. Being the extreme worrier I am knowing information like this before we even left for the Netherlands was reassuring, and made those first few hours in the city a lot more efficient. There is also a map of the city which we would have been lost without!

 Also included in the "Finding your Feet" section was information about the different types of public transport in the city. We were already aware that our hotel wasn't central and that we wouldn't want to drag our suitcases through the city and getting the tram seemed like the most logical solution to our problem - as well as it being something we'd never experienced before. The guide explains the different types of tickets you can buy which was great to know in advance.

We hired bikes and cycled around Vondelpark which was one of the things recommended in the guide. This was one of my favourite things we did whilst in Amsterdam, and it was something a little different to what we usually do. The travel guide says that the park is a "microcosm of Amsterdam life" which makes absolute sense to me. We went on a Saturday morning so it was all of the locals exercising, and out enjoying the park with their families. I loved this because to me it was an extension of the relaxed vibe that Amsterdam has - it was great!

Amsterdam is the perfect city to visit for a short break. It's a good size, but there is easy access to everything you might wish to see during your stay. I'd definitely recommend the Marco Polo Amsterdam travel guide if you are looking for a travel guide.

Thank you to Marco Polo for sending me this guide! 
Have you ever used a Marco Polo travel guide? 

*I was kindly gifted this Marco Polo travel guide 

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