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Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Zaanse Schans

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When we decided that our next city break was going to be Amsterdam I knew I would like to plan a trip to see the windmills at Zaanse Schans. Lots of people said if you are visiting Amsterdam with the kids then you need to see the windmills so that's exactly what we did. It was easy to plan within our time at Amsterdam and we managed to go on a nice sunny day which made it even more magical. 

boy looking at a windmill
Zaanse Schans, Schansend 7, 1509 AW Zaandam
The Zaanse Schans is a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life. It is such a beautiful and unique place to visit with museums, shops and windmills. It's like stepping in to a postcard. 

Zaanse Schans


What To Expect When Visiting Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is a 'must see' if you are visiting Amsterdam. It's amazing to think that Zaanse Schans is just a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam's City Centre. When visiting Zaanse Schans there is so much to see and do. We visited on our last day of our trip and presumed we would be there about 1-2 hours but we were there for 4 and we didn't do everything. 

watchtower at Zaanse Schans


On arrival you are greeted by the Zaanse Schans Museum. We hadn't planned to go in so we did walk straight past this however it looks very impressive and if you would like to learn more about the history of Zaanse Schans then I would definitely pop in. 

outdoor play area
We spent most of our time walking round admiring the windmills and the beautiful landscapes. As you wander round there are lots of shops and windmills open for you to go inside. 

First we stumbled upon the Cheese experience, tasting and shop. It was a walk through telling you all the history of cheese making with lots of interactive displays, audio and video. Once finished it brings you in to the cheese shop. Wow, it was so busy! I don't think I have ever seen so much cheese! There are lots of samples of all types of cheese. I didn't try any but I did spot some unusual flavours such as coconut cheese. 

animals on a small farm


Outside the Cheese experience was a little farm area. We got to see baby goats and cows. 

view from windmill


As we walked further along we spotted a windmill which had a viewing platform half way up. John and little J went inside and then I spotted them half way up the windmill admiring the beautiful views. I was going to join them however to get to the viewing platform you have to climb a steep ladder which is not my thing so I stayed firmly on the ground. 

Walking alongside the windmills was really windy even though it was a bright sunny day. It was nice to see them spinning. They really are very pretty. 

making hot chocolate


There is a strong smell of cocoa in the air as you walk around Zaanse Schans which brought us to a chocolate shop where you can make your own hot chocolate. Little J loved this, it was fun and interactive and delicious. 

tapas board

apple pie and whipped cream


As I mentioned earlier it was really windy during our visit and we did want to hop on the windmill hopper canal cruise however there was quite a queue and the boat only holds 12 people per 25 minute cruise. Instead we went to admire the rest of Zaanse Schans, head to the play area and then have a bite to eat before we headed back to Amsterdam City Centre. 

Opening Hours
Not all attractions are open every day, but most attractions are open from 9am till 5pm. It would be best to check the calendar online before your visit.

Prices
Zaanse Schans is free to walk around and there are several attractions that do not cost to enter. However if you did want to make the most of your visit you can buy a Zaanse Schans Card for only €29.50 adults and €20 children you can visit several museums, 2 windmills and crafts.

Admission to the Zaans Museum and the Verkade Chocolate and Biscuit Factory
Admission to the World of Windmills museum Zaansche Molen
Admission to two Windmills
Admission to the Weaver’s House and Cooperage
Admission to the Zaan Time Museum
10% discount at restaurant De Kraai (minimum spend €10.00)
Discount on parking ticket € 9.00 instead of € 15.00 (parking spaces not guaranteed, campers not allowed)

view of the windmills in the distance


How To Get There
Depending where you are coming from it's listed on their website as The Zaanse Schans is a stone’s throw from Amsterdam and is easily accessible by bus, train, car and bicycle.

We hopped on the metro from Amsterdam City Centre then got a bus. It was easy to find on route on google maps and took about 50 mins.

Tips For Your Visit
Toilets cost €1 per person including children. The pancake restaurant has toilets that are free to paying customers or you can leave a €1 coin in the tray. 

Take you time. There is so much to see and do. There is no rush.

Take lots of photos. There are some nice photo spots and photo opportunities including standing in huge clogs or having the windmills as a backdrop. 

Make some hot chocolate. It was really fun and little J said it tasted delicious. 

If you want to go inside a windmill it costs €6 adults and €3 for children. We only wanted to go in the one so it wasn't worth us buying the Zaanse Schans Cards. 

windmill at Zaanse Schans


Our Thoughts
We loved our visit to Zaanse Schans and we are so glad we planned it in to our trip to Amsterdam. The bright blue skies really did help it feel quite magical at times so I'm not quite sure how we would have felt if it was raining. 

A little sad we didn't make it on the windmill hopper canal cruise however other than that we saw everything we wanted and it was definitely worth the 50 minute trip. 

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Michelle
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Stromma Pizza Cruise, Amsterdam

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They really do say that there is no better way to see Amsterdam than from a canal cruise. For those that don't know Amsterdam has 3 main canals but the city actually has over 160 in total. We knew before we booked our trip to Amsterdam that we wanted to do a canal cruise but we wanted to make sure that we chose one that was a family friendly Amsterdam Canal Cruise. After lots of research we found Stromma who organise a variety of sightseeing and tourist attraction excursions. We chose the Pizza Cruise Amsterdam and it was perfect. 

canal boats



Pizza Cruise Amsterdam, Stromma Damrak - Pier 5
Eating delicious pizza and experiencing a boat tour through the famous Amsterdam canals? It’s possible at the Amsterdam Pizza Cruise!

map of canals in Amsterdam


What To Expect When On Board Pizza Cruise, Amsterdam
Choosing a pizza cruise was a no brainer for us. Boat rides aren't very appealing to little J however if you add in pizza he'll happily come along. The evening cruise gives you the chance to relax on board, sightsee and have your dinner too. 

The Pizza Cruise is a 75 minutes boat tour along the canals. Upon arrival at the pier you check in and let the staff member know which choice of pizza you would like. 

Once on board you choose a vacant table and get yourself comfortable for the next 1hr 15 mins. There were two waiters onboard the boat, a captain and a training captain. Once everyone was onboard they all introduced themselves and we started to pull away from the pier. 

Drinks on board are included within the price and are unlimited. There is a choice of beer, wine or soft drinks. 

Whilst sailing the captain is supposed to point out some of the city's highlights and tell you all there is to know about them however no one spoke on our cruise which was slightly disappointing. We did have a map of the city on our table but it was hard to know exactly where we were. At one point the waitress did point out Anne Frank's house, but that was it. 

Looking back it was actually nice to just sit, relax and chat amongst ourselves whilst taking in the views and enjoying unlimited drinks. 

After about 30 minutes the boat stopped and the two waiters left the boat to go and grab our pizza. It took about 10 minutes to collect and then they handed us our chosen flavours. 

The pizzas are from New York Pizza which are dotted around Amsterdam.

You could choose from 
Chilli Chicken
Californian Veggie
Hawaii
Margherita
Pepperoni

The boat then restarted and we finished our tour whilst enjoying our 'huge' pizzas.

view from canal boat in Amsterdam


Opening Hours
The Pizza Cruise departs at 18:00. The boat departs from Stromma Damrak, Pier 5.

Prices
The price is currently €38.50 per person and includes the 75 minute cruise, pizza and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks.

How To Get There
Stromma Damrak, Pier 5 is situated in the heart of Amsterdam City Centre just 5 minute walk from Dam Square and Amsterdam Central Station

view from canal boat in Amsterdam


Tips For Your Visit
Arrive early so you can join the queue to board. We were lucky to get a table to ourselves but some did have to share a table for 6. 

After your first drink don't be afraid to ask for another. Some people didn't ask and were not given another till after the pizza was served. It's unlimited so make sure you get your money's worth. 

If you want to see Anne Frank's house sit on the left of the boat. 

There is a toilet on board however this wasn't pointed out to us. 

pizza

pizza box


Our Thoughts
We really enjoyed the Pizza Cruise. It was a relaxing and entertaining 75 minutes see Amsterdam from the canals. The pizza's were delicious and there were a great choice of drinks. As I said our captain unfortunately didn't tell us about the sights but it didn't ruin the cruise for us. We enjoyed just watching the world go by. 

For more information visit Stromma

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Michelle
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Hard Rock Cafe, Amsterdam

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Disclosure - We were invited to Hard Rock Cafe, Amsterdam. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

We love to travel, it's one of our favourite things to do however when I am planning a trip away I always worry about dining out. Little J and I can be fussy so I always need to make sure there are restaurants that suit our needs. When planning our trip to Amsterdam one of the first things we noticed was there was a Hard Rock Cafe. It was no surprise as they are everywhere, we even spotted one in Nice when we visited last year. Little J loves the Hard Rock Cafe and even more so since the introduced the kids Messi Menu at Hard Rock Cafe. 

hard rock cafe, Amsterdam
Hard Rock Cafe, Max Euweplein 57-61, 1017 MA Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam has everything you would expect, amazing music memorabilia displayed throughout the restaurant, a fantastic atmosphere and delicious food. 

Our visit came after a long day of visiting the Johan Cruijff Arena Stadium, Rijksmuseum and Vondelpark so we had definitely worked up an appetite. 

hard rock cafe menu

hard rock cafe menu


The Hard Rock Cafe, Amsterdam is just a stone throw away from Vondelpark and over looks a canal. It's surrounded by other restaurants and venues and the area has a nice vibe about it. There is an option to sit inside and outside, in the bar or restaurant. So plenty of options to enjoy a meal or just drinks. 

Our reservation was for 6pm and although we arrived a little early we were shown to our table. We were next to the windows and had a lovely view of the canal. 

Our waiter introduced himself quite quickly after we were seated and he took our drinks order. 

inside hard rock cafe

inside hard rock cafe


Like I said earlier there is a fantastic atmosphere in Hard Rock Cafe and we love listening to the music especially John who grew up listening to bands such as Nirvana and Metallica.

The menu caters for everyone and we enjoyed browsing although I knew what I was going to choose before we even sat down. Hard Rock Cafe's chicken caesar salad is by far the nicest I have ever tasted and Amsterdams didn't disappoint. 

legendary burger at hard rock cafe


John went for the original legendary burger which was huge. A fresh steak burger, with smoked bacon, Cheddar cheese, crispy onion ring, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. John's is a plain burger type of person so no salad for him. 

boy eating a burger at hard rock cafe


Little J really enjoyed the Messi Chicken Burger last time we visited so went for a beef burger this time. The Kids Messi Menu at Hard Rock Cafe is really good for little ones and included a Messi ball too.
 
hot fudge sundae at hard rock cafe

ice cream desert  at hard rock cafe


All our food was delicious and we always know what we will get when we visit Hard Rock Cafe. There's no surprises, Amsterdam's Chicken Caesar Salad was just as good as Manchester, London and Nice!

For more information, to browse the menus or book a table visit Hard Rock Cafe.

Have you visited a Hard Rock Cafe? What's your favourite dish on the menu?

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Michelle
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Everything You Need To Know About Visiting The A'DAM Lookout, Amsterdam

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When I was researching things to do with the kids in Amsterdam, A'DAM lookout looked like the perfect attraction for us and I was not wrong. One of Amsterdams popular tourist attractions for kids, A'DAM Lookout will give you panoramic views of Amsterdam from 100 metres in the air. 

A'DAM Lookout Entrance


A'DAM Lookout, Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam
Just 20 seconds in a lift with a cool light show and then you are 100 metres in the air ready to enjoy views of Amsterdam. Whether you prefer to enjoy the sights from the inside or outside viewing platform you will be able to see the whole city and more. 

view from A'DAM Lookout

view from A'DAM Lookout



What To Expect When Visiting A'DAM Lookout
As mentioned A'DAM Lookout is an observation tower that stands 100 metres above the city of Amsterdam. Although the observation deck both inside and outside are the main attraction A'DAM Lookout does have more to offer including Over The Edge swing and Amsterdam VR ride which makes it one of Amsterdams popular tourist attractions for kids. 

Elevator
Your visit starts with a 20 seconds lift ride up to the 20th floor of A'DAM Tower. The lift has an amazing light and sound show so don't forget to look up. 

boy using a telescope


360º Sky Deck
Whether you choose to view the city from inside or outside you will not be disappointed with the views the 360º Sky Deck has to offer. There are telescopes dotted around so that you can get a closer look at the Amsterdam skyline. 

over the edge swing at A'DAM Lookout


Over The Edge Swing
Over The Edge gives you the opportunity to swing back and forth 100 metres above Amsterdam. It looks like an amazing attraction and is actually Europe's Highest Swing.

We were all prepared to swing over the edge on top of the A'DAM Lookout however the day we chose to go up the tower it was so windy. Although the wind didn't put off some visitors we couldn't do it. I have to say the visitors who went on were so brave because the wind was crazy!

boy and man on a VR ride


Amsterdam VR Ride – The Ultimate Rollercoaster Experience
VR's are so popular amongst the young ones at the moment and Amsterdam VR Ride gives you the ultimate rollercoaster experience letting you race around the city seeing all the sights as you go. 

Both John and Little J went on and they really enjoyed seeing the sights of Amsterdam from a rollercoaster. 

Panorama Restaurant at A'DAM Lookout

burger and fries


Food and Drink
Food and Drink is available at A'DAM Lookout from the rooftop bar and also the Panorama Restaurant on the 20th floor. It offers a wide range of meals, snack and drinks. 

We hadn't planned to eat at A'DAM Lookout however there was a really nice atmosphere in the restaurant we decided to grab our dinner there. 

The food was lovely and we enjoyed the views as we ate. It was reasonably priced however if we had of known beforehand we could have bought a combi ticket but I'll put more about that below. 

Unfortunately the rooftop bar wasn't open probably due to the high winds. 

model of A'DAM Lookout


Opening Hours
The A'DAM Lookout is open 10am-10pm every day with last admission at 9pm.

Prices
Booking online is not essential however you will get a discount if you book in advance. Like I said earlier you only need to choose a date and your ticket will be valid for the whole day so you can pop in anytime. 

There are so many combinations of tickets so check the tickets page on A'DAM Lookout for tickets that best suit what you are looking for. 

We bought just tickets however we could have saved money if we had purchased Lookout and Burger combi ticket. 

How To Get There
We were staying in the city centre of Amsterdam and could access the A'DAM Lookout in a variety of ways. 

You can either walk, tram or metro to Amsterdam Central. Once at Amsterdam Central make your way to the ferry port which is a few minutes walk to behind the station. Then you take the ferry. This is free and there is a ferry every few minutes. The ferry ride is extremely short and once you get off the ferry you can see A'DAM Lookout on your left. 

A'DAM Sign


Tips For Your Visit
Lots of fun for all ages but kids will love it and it's definitely one of Amsterdams popular tourist attractions for kids.

Book online before you visit. You just need to book a date and your ticket is valid any time that day. 

There are lockers available on the 20th floor

There is a short movie about the history of the tower in the cinema room. It is free to enter. 

You cannot book a table in the restaurant however there were plenty of seats.

Don't miss out on using the telescopes, they are free and really good. 

Definitely make time for the panorama restaurant, even if just a drink. It's got great views and a lovely atmosphere. 

There is small smoking area on the rooftop observation deck should you need it. 

Great photo opportunity on the observation deck with the A'DAM sign.

If you're feeling brave definitely try Over the Edge. We were all gutted the wind so crazy. 

Our Thoughts
We absolutely loved our visit to the A'DAM Lookout. Our visit was around 2 hours which included visiting both the inside and outside observations decks, enjoying a meal and riding the VR rollercoaster. I do think we would have stayed longer if the weather was nicer. I think we would have enjoyed the outside deck more and had a drink or two. I can understand why it's one of Amsterdams popular tourist attractions for kids as little J loved it. It was such a shame we didn't feel brave enough to ride the swing but maybe next time!

A'DAM Lookout


You can find out more about A'DAM Lookout by visiting their website and you can click to see our A'DAM Lookout highlights over on Instagram.

If you are looking to visit A'DAM Lookout you won't be disappointed and if you want any more info send us a message on our socials.

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Michelle
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Visiting Tony's Chocolonely Superstore, Amsterdam

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When we visited Amsterdam one of the things we were looking forward to the most was visiting Tony's Chocolonely Superstore. When researching things to do with the kids in Amsterdam, Tony's Chocolonely Superstore came up and I had no idea what it was. We had never tried Tony's chocolate but the superstore looked fun so I planned it in to our visit. 

tony's chocolonely sign


Tony's Chocolonely Superstore, Oudebrugsteeg 15, 1012 JN Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Tony's Chocolonely Superstore should definitely be on your list of things to do with the kids in Amsterdam. Even if you don't have kids and are just a lover of chocolate then you won't be disappointed.

tony's chocolate


What To Expect When Visiting Tony's Chocolonely Superstore
We planned to visit Tony's Chocolonely Superstore during our recent visit to Amsterdam. I had read lots of reviews of the superstore so I knew exactly what to expect however I can imagine some visitors maybe disappointed as it isn't what they expected so I will give you as much information as possible. 

When we arrived at the superstore we were greeted by a queue outside the store. The queue was about 20 minutes long with about 20 people in front of us. Once it was our turn to enter the store we were guided to a small room were we were showed a short video about Tony's chocolate. Then the assistant pulled across a red velvet curtain and showed us inside the store. 

tony's chocolonely wall


When you first walk in two things will come in to sight, firstly a wall full of Tony's Chocolonely and a queue of people who are waiting to make their own chocolate bar. Ideally we wanted to have a look at the chocolate but the right decision was to join the queue for the chocomachine before the next load of people come in. 

The queue did go quite quickly and there was an assistant walking around the queue offering free samples of Tony's which was nice. Soon it was our turn and with the power of an iPad you can customise your bar using a flavour of your choice (milk, dark or white) and up to 3 ingredients. Then you can customise your wrapper to make your own unique bar. The iPad is really fun, interactive and easy to use. Little J absolutely loved making his own bar and made some for family too.

tony's chocolate ingredients


There is a huge list of ingredients that you can choose from including almond, pretzel, raspberry, disco dip, cinnamon sugar and popping candy to name a few. 

Once you have decided on your flavour of chocolate and up to three ingredients you then design your own wrapper. You can choose the wrapper colour, the text colour and personalise it. 

boy using iPad

boy using iPad


Once finished you pop in your email address or phone number and they send you an email, text or what's app message when it's ready to collect. 

Just behind the iPads you can see the the machines creating the bars behind the glass. It felt like a real Willy Wonka moment watching as the assistants are working behind the glass too to help create the unique bars.  

After we had finished we then browsed the shop looking at all the different Tony's Chocolonely chocolate you can get and lots of gifts too. We picked a bar from the Tony's Wall which was fun and also some chocomilk too which was delicious. 

selection of Ton'y chocolate


Opening Hours
Tony's Chocolonely Superstore is open everyday 10am-7pm. 

There are a few dates when the store is open 10am-5pm including May 18th, May 28th, December 24th
and December 31st.

The store is also closed on April 28th,  December 25th, December 26th and January 1st

Prices
Tony's Chocolonely Superstore is free to enter. Once inside you can buy as much or as little chocolate as you wish. If you just want to browse that is fine and there is no expectation to buy. 

Each item is priced individually except for unlimited bars which you create using the chocomachine. All these bars are priced at €8.99

How To Get There
Easy accessible from Amsterdam City Centre. Just a 5 minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station.

Tips For Your Visit
Tony's Chocolonely is in a very old but grand looking building. However don't expect a factory tour or something similar to Cadbury World in UK. The store is very small.

Expect to queue no matter what time of day you arrive. Most reviews online will tell you to arrive as the shop opens at 10am however the queue was no different at this time than it was at others.

Queueing is outside so if it's raining bring an umbrella. 

The store is not accessible at all. There are steep steps down a narrow staircase to enter and steep steps to exit. Inside there is no room for a wheelchair as it is very small.

Create your own bar, it's lots of fun and you can be very adventurous with your ingredients. 

Once you created your bar it will give you an expected pick up time. When you receive notification that your bar(s) are ready you return to the store and can use the exit to collect. 

Be sure to look out for free samples while you wait in the queue for the chocomachine. 

Take a selfie with the Tony's wall as a backdrop. 

tony's chocolonely superstore


Our Thoughts
We loved our visit to Tony's Chocolonely. It was everything we expected and creating our own bars was so much fun. We are new to Tony's Chocolate but I love their story which you must read if you want to know more about their mission. The chocolate is really tasty and the whole experience of our visit was really good. 

You can check out Tony's Chocolonely for more information

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Michelle
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