Tag Archives: travel tips

The Best Things to See & Do In Amsterdam

Prior to visiting I’d seen pictures of Amsterdam, but had no idea really what to expect. I feel like it is a very hip and active city. We would have loved to see the tulips there, but it was still pretty chilly when we went. Everyone in Amsterdam told us that closer toward the middle of April they start to really bloom.
Amsterdam was another city that I feel like you can see a great deal of on foot or on bikes. We also used Uber there a lot, and it was a really easy way to get around. If you are going to be there for a few days, you can buy the I AMSTERDAM pass which includes public transit, and entrance to a lot of the museums. Just an option to look into if you are going to be spending some time there.
Things to see:
The IAMSTERDAM sign – While this is super touristy, it’s still really cool. It’s located right in the city center, & is a great spot for pictures. It’s pretty tough to find a time without 50 people climbing all over it, so I’d suggest you to go the backside, take a pic there, and then flip it! Works like a dream. 
The Ann Frank Museum – If you know you are going to Amsterdam, buy your ticket to the Ann Frank house ahead of time. It’s absolutely incredible. It’s so worth it. It sells out way ahead of time, and the line to try and wait and get in is ridiculous.
Van Gogh Museum – I actually am not a big museum goer, but I loved this museam. It was really neat to learn about his life, and see his works in person.
The Rijksmuseum – This is right by the IAMSTERDAM sign. We didn’t go inside, but we rode our bikes through it. It’s a really cool building to see from the outside!
Don Quixote Square – We had a streak of warm sunshine, so we sat outside in the garden here. It’s a little garden square right next to the Rijksmuseum that we happened upon on accident. There is a greenhouse, and some beautiful landscaping. Find a bench and take a minute there!
VondelPark – This is a long park that we rode our bikes through. It is so beautiful! It’s right next to the city center as well. There are so many places to rent bikes, and I’d totally recommend doing so!
The Canals – You can and will see these everywhere, but I loved walking down the canal streets. It’s so picturesque! We actually did a boat tour down the canals, but it was’t all that great. I wouldn’t recommend doing one through the big tourist companies. But, I bet if you could find one that was a little more commercial it would be awesome!
The Hidden Church in the Attic – this is kind of a random thing, but it was super interesting to see.
It was fun to walk through! 
Things to eat:
The Pancake Bakery – we ate here both mornings we were in Amsterdam. There might be a little bit of a wait, but it’s WORTH it! They have all sorts of pancakes. I tried the butter & sugar poffertjes (these are traditional dutch pancakes) and they were UNREAL, get these to try for sure! I also had a regular pancake with nutella & bananas. This was basically a really big crepe. It was delicious! Whitney loved their hot chocolate and fresh squeezed orange juice as well. Go here. You will not regret it.
Stroopwaffle – You need to try these at least once while you’re in Amsterdam! They have them all over, but make sure you get them from someone who is making them fresh. We got ours from a food stand that was right by the IAMSTERDAM sigh. It was tasty!
Foodhallen – You have to go here at least once while you are there. It is basically like a big hall full of food trucks. There are so many different options of things to try there. i wanted to try everything! I ended up getting a salad from a place called Fento, and Whitney got tacos from the Mexican place next to it, as well as some Sushi. It was all divine!
The Avocado Show – I’m still bummed about this because it looked SO good. Every dish somehow incorporates fresh avocado. We got here an hour and a half before it closed, waited for an hour, we we were next on the list, and then found out that they close the kitchen a half hour before the restaurant closes. So, we didn’t get to eat there. I was way bummed. Try and go there, but go for lunch to be sure you get in!
Ice Bakery – This place was bomb. There are a few of them throughout Amsterdam. it’s a dessert place where everything somehow incorporates nutella. SO GOOD. We walked by one place that had frozen yogurt , and then we ended up eating at a place that had gelato. The gelato was so good! I got a stroopwaffle flavor, and it was WAY good. Other flavor favorites were the nutella, the homemade oreo, & the american cookie.

The Best Things to Do In Prague

Prague was absolutely incredible. I have seen pictures of this dreamy little place for so long, and I’ve always wanted to go there. However, I really had no idea what to expect when we got there. It was absolutely beautiful. I thought it was so quaint, and the most amazing mix of old and new…and by old I mean REALLY old.
The first thing we did in Prague was the Rick Steve’s walking tour. As cheesy as this may seem, it was actually an awesome way to see the city. I think I wouldn’t have known exactly where to start otherwise. It’s free to download his app, and tours. He does a great job of guiding you through the city. You end up hitting a lot of the things that were on my list to see. I would totally recommend downloading this if you are ever in Prague. It was super interesting, and very easy to follow. Almost everything in Prague is within walking distance, which makes it really easy to see. Plan on walking a lot.
Things to see:
Wenceslas Square – This is what they consider “new town,” in Prague. You can stand at the top of the square and look down all the busy street. This square leads down to some other streets filled with awesome shopping, restaurants, & the rest of the newer part of Prague.
Old Town Square – This was one of my favorite spots. Here you have buildings from centuries ago, colored housing that makes a beautiful backdrop. There are street vendors, performers, places to eat, and lots of historical things to see.
Anatomical Clock – This clock is located in the middle of old town square. It was made in the 1400’s, and is pretty darling. Wait around to see it strike on the hour. Go up in the clock tower! It’s super cheap to do so, and the view is absolutely amazing. So worth it!
Church of our Lady before Tin – We didn’t go in here, but you can see it from the Old Town Square. It’s a really pretty church. 
Powder Tower – You can actually go up in this tower as well, but we didn’t do so. This building sticks right out, an extremely old building among the new.
The Franciscan Garden – This quaint little garden would be an amazing little spot to sit, and enjoy some gelato or a drink. It was raining when we were there, so we didn’t spend much time there. But, i can imagine on a pleasant day it would be a great place to hang out!
Municipal House – You can walk in here, and look around. It’s a really pretty building. They also have concerts, ballets, operas, etc. here at night if you are looking for something to do!
Karlova Street – This street is full of street venders, and lots of food. It’s fun to see all of the people wandering though. This will also lead you to the Charles bridge if you follow it!
Charles Bridge – This bridge is amazing. We ended up walking over it a few times, and I loved it every time. One of the statues has a dog at the bottom, and they say if you rub it, it is good luck. 
Petrin Tower & Petrin Hill – The hike up to the Petrin tower is a steep one. They have a tram that goes up there as well, but we walked it. Once you get up to the tower, climbing the spiral steps to the top gives you an insane view of all of Prague. It’s gorgeous. Worthy every step. There is another funny little building at the top of Petrin Hill with a mirror maze in it. It’s only a couple dollars to go in, and it’s pretty funny.
Prague Castle/St Vitus Cathedral – It’s a hike to get to the top of the castle, but it’s amazing. The cathedral inside the castle is a gothic building with surrounding stained glass windows that are breath taking. Parts of the castle that are still there date back to midevil times, which blows my mind. Starbucks at the Prague Castle – While you are up at the Prague castle, best sure to stop by the lookout from the Starbucks on the cliff. It’s another uninterrupted, breathtaking view that I couldn’t get enough of.
Mala Strana & the Lennon Wall – Mala Strana is the neighborhood on the same side of the Charles Bridge as the Prague Castle, & the Petrin Tower. The Lennon was is a fun picture spot!
Things to eat:
Trdelniks – These are absolutely everywhere. It’s basically cinnamon sugar swirled bread made into a hollowed out roll. You can get them lined with nutella, filled with whipped cream, custard, or ice cream. I’d just be sure that wherever you are buying them from is making them fresh! We tried one just hot with nutella, and it was delicious. My VERY favorite was the one I had lined with nutella, & filled with chocolate soft serve ice cream. If you don’t try these while you are in Prague, you’re CRAZY.
Neb.o – We actually ate here twice. It’s a Thai restaurant that was right by where we were staying, and Whit LOVED it. We tried the pho, pad thai, spring rolls, & fresh rolls. All were delicious, and super fresh!
Paul’s – This was a chain they had in Paris, and after we just come from there we were still looking for chocolate croissants that might be worth our time. We ended up eating breakfast here, and it was good!
Captain Candy – I have a weird obsession with candy shops. So, when we saw these everywhere we had to stop in. They have all sorts of Haribo goodies that were delicious.
Some other suggestions that people gave me that we never made it to were Pekarna Kabat for kolaces, Cafe Louvre, Pernickuv (a bakery for kolace & gingerbread), Mama Coffee, & Pizzeria Manna.
Prague was such an awesome city. I think the best thing to do there is to just planning on walking all over, and try to take as much of it in as  you can!

The Best Things to See and Eat in Paris … or At Least Just All The Things I Loved :)

We started out our European adventure in Paris, which was beyond all expectations I had for it. After flying for about 15 plus hours, through the night, and feeling a little ragged…the jet lag was real. BUT, everyone I talked to told me it was best to just stay up and soldier through until it was night there, so that is just what we did. I for sure think that it helped us to get adjusted.
We ended up staying in an AirBNB in Le Marais, which we learned later is considered one of the quarters where the fashion/art students live. It has such a cool vibe, and it felt really safe. It just so happened that this tiny bakery was right next to where we were staying. I’d had a lot of people tell me to try the almond croissants while we were there, and to try and find the chocolate ones if possible. We decided to wander into this little bakery, unaware at that point that there are bakeries on every single corner. I saw that they had the almond croissants, but had already sold out of the chocolate ones. We decided to split one, just to see if it was good. It is probably in the list of top 10 best things I’ve ever had. We devoured it, and ended up going to back to this bakery every single day we had in paris. The next morning i tried the chocolate croissant for breakfast, and it blew my mind. The name of the bakery is Willy’s Boulangerie. The croissants are called “ Pains chocolate amandes.” Get them.
Let me just say that we made it a point to try a lot of different pastries while we were there, and nothing could beat the croissants from Willy’s.
That night, despite our jet lag, we had planned to do a night bike tour of Paris. This is another thing I’d %100 recommend. It was so helpful doing it the first day because we got to see a lot of the major landmarks up close, we were able to experience some of the city, the night tour made a stop at Berthillion’s Ice Cream (amazing), and you end on a boat cruise down the Seine. It’s pretty dreamy.
On the bike tour we saw the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, the love lock bridge (although there are no longer locks on it), we rode past Saint Chappelle, past the ferris wheel, and by a lot of other museums and buildings I can’t remember now…My family told me this was a MUST, and I was so glad we listened. Do it. We did it through Fat Tire Tours, & I’d highly recommend them. We met some others who had done their daytime bike tours, and they said they were awesome as well, so I’d highly recommend them!
The next day we took the train to Versailles. This was probably one of my favorite things we did in Paris. Versailles is HUGE. If you are planning on going there, plan on spending at least half a day there. It is amazing. Explore the palace, because it’s gorgeous. The hall of mirrors is unreal. Whatever you do, do NOT skip the gardens. Marie Antoinette’s gardens were the best part of the grounds.
They have a Lauderee’s on the grounds of Versaille, as well as an Angelina’s. We got some macaroons at Lauderee’s, which were delicious! The shop itself is so darling. We were planning on going to Angelina’s for dinner, but it closes early there, so be aware of that if you have the same plan. We didn’t ever make it to Angelina’s, but if you do, I hear the hot chocolate is out of this world.
Also, if you are interested in seeing the Paris Temple, know that it is right by Versailles. So, see it while you’re there!
Just another note, if you want some delicious macaroons, but don’t want to pay the price they are at Lauderee’s, they have some amazing macaroons at all of the McDonalds in Paris. I know that sounds weird, but they are pretty bomb.
Some other places we hit while we were in Paris…
Sainte Chapelle – This was probably  one of my favorite buildings we saw the entire trip. This is a quick stop, and is worth every minute. The stained glass windows are out of this world. It’s beautiful.
The Louvre – We actually just saw this from the outside, & didn’t end up going in. We rode our bikes around it at night, and it was delightful. Even if you aren’t going to go in and see the artwork, go walk around outside. It’s stunning.
Arc De Triomphe – Climb up into it. Worth it. The view from the top of the Arc is so amazing. You have a 360 view of all of Paris. It’s pretty legit. 
Notre Dame – We didn’t actually end up going in to Notre Dame because the line was insanely long, but walking around the grounds was amazing. It’s such a beautiful building! Something you for sure have to see.
Shakespeare & Company Bookstore – This book store is absolutely the cutest thing ever. If you purchase a book, they will stamp it saying you bought it there. It’s right next to Notre Dame, so stop in if you are close!
Sacre Coeur – Getting here is about a 25-30 min ride on the metro because it is on the edge of the city, but it was the most incredible view of paris. The basillica itself is incredible to look at, but you are at the top of the hill in Paris, and can see over everything. It’s breath taking. It’s an awesome place to sit, and chill on the steps and take it all in. SO worth going here. I’d totally recommend it.
The Catacombs – I didn’t really know what to expect with the catacombs, but it was really cool. You get to walk the tunnels of Paris underground, which is lined with the bones of over 6 million bodies that died during the time of the plague, & the french revolution. It’s pretty cool!
Disneyland Paris – We actually didn’t plan on going here initially, but because we had a change in our plans we decided to do so. It was super fun. It is definitely different from Disneyland in America. It’s smaller. BUT, it’s still fun! It’s cheaper to get into, and they have two parks you can go to. They have some rides that are different than the ones in America. If you have spare time in Paris, it is a really fun place to see. However, if you are trying to hit as much as you can in a little bit of time, I wouldn’t put this at the top of your priority list. Also, one thing I LOVE about Disneyland/Disneyworld is the food experience. I think that is part of what makes it so fun & magical. The ice cream, the special mickey treats, etc. This is not a big thing at Disneyland in Paris. The food options are actually pretty slim, and not that great. You may want to bring some of your own food, or buy some baguettes & crepes before you go to take in with you.
Food…
Crepe a Ding – There are a million places to get crepes in Paris, and I’m sure a lot of them are the same. We had a lot that were so-so. However, this place was BOMB. The owner is super fun. If you can beat him in connect 4, you get your food for free. If you don’t, you get your picture taken for the, “wall of losers.” There are all sorts of different combos. I had the banana nutella crepe, because it’s my favorite. Whit got one that had white chocolate, pears, raspberries, and speculous. It’s a super fun, hip place. They serve the crepes HOT and fresh. So good.
Ober Mama – This was an AMAZING italian restaurant. When we ate there we actually saw that there are 4 connecting restaurants all over Paris, so you may want to look that up as well. It took us two tries to get in here because it fills up QUICK. We got there right when it opened, and got in. I think they may have taken reservations. The pizza there was awesome, the salad I had was delicious, & the desserts all looked unreal.
Au Petit Grec – This would be the other crepe place that I’d ABSOLUTELY tell you to go to. We stood in line for an hour here. It’s a tiny little place that you order and take away, or eat at their little bar stools. If you go here, I’d recommend getting both a savory, & a sweet crepe. The savory crepes have meat/cheese/egg/veggies. The sweet ones were pretty normal as far as what goes in them, but they were so good. I think if you go here a bit earlier the line isn’t quite so long.
Willy’s Boulangerie – I already mentioned this place, but go here. Just do it for me. 
Gaston’s – This was Whitney’s favorite place we ate. She ordered the Croque Monsier, which is a typical french meal. It’s like a ham & cheese panini. She had hers with an egg on top, and she also loved their hot chocolate. I had french onion soup there, which was good. This place is right by Notre Dame as well.
La Brioche Doree – I actually saw these around Paris, but didn’t eat here until we were leaving the Paris airport. They have a selection of baguettes stuffed with different things, and then they pop them into the oven to make it into warm/melty goodness when you order it. I had a sandwich with ciabatta, tomato, mozzarella, & basil. It was out of this world. I don’t know why I thought it was so good…but it was SO GOOD. So, If you are looking for a quick bite in paris that isn’t as expensive, stop at one of these spots. Whitney also had an eclair from here that she loved.
Paul’s – I had a lot of people tell me to try stuff from Paul’s. It’s a bakery chain that they have everywhere. I wasn’t a huge fan of everything I tried. I think my chocolate croissant from Willy’s was just hard to beat. 😉
Berthillions – I mentioned this was on our bike tour. The ice cream here is amazing!! I had the chocolate and the salted caramel, and I loved both of them! The people with us said that this place claims to have the, “best ice cream in the world.” I don’t know if I’d go there…but, it was good!
I’m sure I am leaving out some details, but the truth is you really just can’t go wrong. Paris really is just so incredible. I can’t wait to go back!!