Amsterdam was a bit of a surprise for me to be honest, I’ve always associated Amsterdam with drinking, drugs and sex shops… not exactly somewhere to visit with young children. But although there is that side to Amsterdam, there is so much more to it and it is actually a really great place to visit with young children. We weren’t very lucky when it came to the weather during our time in Amsterdam and a lot of what we had researched and planned to do during our visit required some sunshine… or at the very least no rain. We did have a moment of panic as we formulated a new plan, but we did eventually put together a fun itinerary, which I thought I would share as a little guide for spending 3 days in Amsterdam with toddlers… when it’s raining! Just in case anyone else finds themselves in the same rainy predicament while in Amsterdam.
Accommodation and travel
We found the accommodation in Amsterdam very expensive, so decided to stay in a hostel about a twenty minute train ride from the city. Children under four ride for free, so myself and Mr. C bought ourselves a 48 hour metro ticket. The great thing about having a metro ticket is that it enables you to get around the city without much fuss and the boys loved going on the train, which made it very easy to move around.
Hop on Hop off tour
A lot of what we read before we arrived in Amsterdam recommended hiring a bike to see the city, Amsterdam is the city of bikes after all! With the weather during our visit being strong winds and torrential rain for the most part, we decided that wasn’t such a great idea and opted for a ‘Hop on Hop off tour’ instead, which meant we could see the city by boat or bus and get on and off as we pleased at iconic destinations without much walking around the city in the rain. Better yet, the boys loved exploring the city by different modes of transport and made it a lot more fun for them too.
The Nemo museum is the science museum in Amsterdam and is essentially a fun factory for children. The museum is split into different sections such as ‘The Machine’, where children can learn about the logistics of next day delivery, the ‘bubble area’, where children can use different apparatus to create bubbles and many other fun exhibits. When we visited there was a demonstration repeated throughout the day that explained the idea of ‘chain reaction’ using office chairs, dominoes, popping balloons and a rocket launch. The museum is also home to a large rooftop which offers great views of Amsterdam as well as being home to the ‘elements’ exhibition which encourages children to explore different types of sustainable energy. Both of the boys loved the Nemo museum, Bear really enjoyed the demonstration and having a picnic lunch on the rooftop was amazing. If visiting Amsterdam with children the Nemo museum is a must!!
Amsterdam’s street food market
We’ve found that buying food is one of the most expensive parts of travelling around Europe (especially in the cities), so whenever we reach a new destination we set out looking for street food. Amsterdam has a great street food market and is definitely worth a visit to during your stay… essential if you’re on a budget. The stalls sell a range of different food such as fluffly waffles, fresh fish and cheese. It’s also a great new experience for little ones and we found that the boys were more likely to try food in a market place environment than in a restaurant.
The flower market of Amsterdam
The flower market of Amsterdam is just amazing. It’s a lovely experience for children and it’s completely free to wander around. The market stalls are lined with different plants and flowers, with many of the stalls also selling tourist items like wooden tulips, clogs and china windmills. It was really good fun wandering around the market looking at everything and Bear loved how bright and bustling it all was. Amsterdam can get a bit pricey, so it was good to do something that didn’t cost anything as well.
After the hustle and bustle of the flower market and the journey across Amsterdam by train, boat and bus the boys were exhausted and ready for a good nap. Myself and Mr. C thought this would be the perfect opportunity to visit a more grown up museum and took a trip to Amsterdam’s Rijkmuseum. We only had one pushchair with us and we weren’t allowed to carry Monkey in a carrier on the back, but the staff were amazing and found us an extra pushchair for Bear, which we could use completely for free. Both of the boys were asleep in no time, which gave us a couple of hours to wander the corridors taking in the beautiful artwork. I’ve always found art an amazing medium to tell stories and found myself learning a lot about Dutch history through the paintings, models and sculptures that decorated the museum. The Rijkmuseum is a really great experience and one I’d recommend while in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam’s Flea Market
Amsterdam is very busy and very full on… all of the time. After a few days of hustle and bustle we needed a change of pace and decided for our last day to visit Amsterdam’s flea market. The flea market is quirky, rustic, off the tourist track and the perfect place to just wander around. From entire rooms filled of lampshades and walls adorned with mounted taxidermied birds to, framed photographs from a different time and random items with no obvious intended purpose, it’s a great place for budding imaginations.
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Have you ever visited Amsterdam with young children? What would you recommend doing while in Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow me on Pinterest.