Spring Break Festival – Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canals

On my first trip to Amsterdam back when I was 17 I travelled as part of a large group on a college travel and tourism field trip. This time when visiting Amsterdam I’d be travelling for an entirely different purpose.

This would become a unique travel experience for me as it would be my first time travelling to Europe for a festival. That’s right, we’d booked tickets to a new festival called Spring Break, Amsterdam and this is my review covering tips and the best places to see and smoke in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A REVIEW OF SPRING BREAK FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Spring Break Festival 2017 Line up

Review of Spring Break Festival, Amsterdam

We booked Spring Break within hours of seeing the event posted on Facebook, I didn’t really know what to expect but in a spontaneous moment I had agreed to a 3 day music festival in Europe with two of my friends, one who later dropped out.

We booked the festival and accommodation option without adding on the transport option available. Without sounding ungrateful, I was not keen on a coach journey from Manchester to Amsterdam with other festival goers. On this particular occasion I felt it was far more civilised to fly and with the £100 we had saved from our festival ticket and we booked ourselves a little EasyJet Liverpool to Amsterdam.

Booking options vary with Spring Break Festival you can choose festival ticket only, festival plus coach or festival plus accommodation and the whole lot together. This worked well for me and I think the flexibility surrounding the booking options is definitely something other large scale events/festivals should follow suit on. Not everyone wants to stay in the designated hostels, or travel on a coach.

Click here for the Spring Break Amsterdam 2019 Line Up

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Spring Break
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Booking options for Spring Break 2017
Spring Break Festival itself only takes place after 9pm each night, the term ‘festival’ should be used loosely. Its more like a glorified pub crawl or an organised set of club nights than a what I’d describe as a festival in the traditional sense of the word.

Each night the ‘festival’ is held in two venues across the city. Usually, not too far from each other and as these events go, the headliners are split between the two clubs each night for crowd control purposes. Spring Break Festival lasts 3 nights so many people would be leaving early on the 4th and final morning of the trip. Probably not the wisest choice.

Spring Break Festival appeared to be a wider European event from the Facebook page but the tickets were largely sold in the UK only as the majority, if not all the attendees were Brits. Not to say that that’s a bad thing. I was just under the impression a European festival would be, well, more European.

The lack of multi-culture is definitely something this festival lacked but perhaps as a frequent traveller I just crave that more than others.

Spring Break Festival was fun, I enjoyed the freedom to explore Amsterdam during the daytime and my city travel pass allowed me to do so. I enjoyed the music which is partly the reason I booked but I felt as festivals go the audience was pretty young and had an 18 year old’s let loose in Amsterdam kind of vibe.

I would definitely recommend Spring Break Amsterdam to 18-19 year old’s, first year uni students and 6th form leavers – you are the ideal demographic for this style of event.

Amsterdam in April

Although Spring Break festival takes place outside of the peak tourism months, I wouldn’t let this put you off visiting Amsterdam in April.

Amsterdam in the spring is an exceptional place to be as you can see from my photos. The Netherlands is renowned for its lush tulips and its not hard to see why, with tulips in all sizes and colours brightening the streets of the city as you explore.

The streets of Amsterdam are exciting for tourists as each turn of a corner leads you along a new street in a new direction with a new set of architecture to admire. Walk the canals and apparently you’ll never get lost.
If only my map reading skills were as developed as my love of culture then perhaps I wouldn’t have spent so much time being blissfully unaware of how lost I had gotten walking along the banks of the canals.

As the festival takes place at night, it does leave you all day to explore the city of Amsterdam so even though the majority of your evenings will be out watching music and  getting drunk, you can fill your days with a little more culture.

Amsterdam reminds me of Venice in so many ways, you can spend hours walking the lengths of the canals and never get bored of the scenery. There is truly no better way to explore a city than to get completely lost in its epicentre with time to lose.

Most of our days were spent hunting down street snacks from bakery’s and of course the odd pizza slice or two which is ideal for anyone looking to see Amsterdam on a budget.
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Exploring by day – Festival by night
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Amsterdam Central

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
People watching and admiring the blue skies of spring in Amsterdam at Museumplein

Exploring Amsterdam

Top things to do in Amsterdam

Festival aside, whilst in Amsterdam I had two full days to explore the city. It would be my second time in Amsterdam as a tourist and because of this I felt far less obligated to do all the traditional tourist to-dos, such as Anne Franks House or the Heineken Experience.

I had already ticked those items off my bucket list when I originally visited Amsterdam back in December 2010. (Typing that made me realise how long ago that truly was). Photos below featuring a much more youthful version of myself in Amsterdam.

I’d seriously recommend the three day city travel pass for €26 to anyone visiting the city as it can be used on all trams and public transport which certainly makes getting around a lot easier. 

Anne Franks House

On my first trip to Amsterdam I had already pre-booked my tickets to Anne Franks house and The Heineken Experience as it was part of a wider group trip. As two of the most sought after things to do in Amsterdam, tourists can often be left disappointed by not pre-booking tickets.

This is notably an issue for anyone hoping to turn up on the day and see Anne Franks House. For anyone unaware of this incredible story, Anne Frank is a notable hero from World War Two and one of the most talked about children from wartime Europe. Anne was a German born Jew who found herself in the city of Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation throughout World War Two.

For a Jewish family living in the city of Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation it was a very troubling time and Anne documented her life in her diary. The tale of Anne Frank was first published in her book – The Diary of a Young Girl, and has since been celebrated as one of the most  inspiring stories of World War Two.

The Frank family went into hiding during the Second World War and thanks to concealed rooms behind bookcases in their house, it wasn’t until 1944 that they were found and moved to concentration camps. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Anne Frank and do plan on visiting her family home which is now a tourist attraction, I highly recommend you look into it ahead of your visit.

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Amsterdam 2010 featuring a much younger version of me on a College excursion (hence the obsessive desire to wear my college jumper)
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Tulips of course
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Spring evenings in Amsterdam

Dam Square

One of the biggest tourist hot spots in the city of Amsterdam is the famous Dam Square located in the city centre. This area is always packed with tourists and can be easily located on any map of the city.

You’ll definitely want to visit Dam Square, however the legnth of time you spend here will be completely down to personal preference.

The majority of shops and a lot of bars and eateries can be located in this area and there are also Christmas markets and various fairs on here throughout the year.

I am Amsterdam and Vondelpark

Thanks to the clear crisp spring weather we were able to spend our days tram hopping and wandering on foot, we allowed some time to spend an afternoon with an Iced Coffee stroll through Vondelpark and then spend a little while people watching at the famous I Am Amsterdam Sing.
If you are looking for free things to do in the city then you’ll want to add Vondelpark to your list.
You can reach Vondelpark on foot easily if you fancy the walk, however the locals prefer to bike or take a tram ride which is the preferred method of transport for most tourists.
Public transport in Amsterdam is fairly simple – you can buy travel cards from many different locations including the main Amsterdam Central train station. More information on Amsterdam Public Transport here.
The I Amstderdam sign is a popular tourist attraction for most people visiting the city, it is also located right by the Van Gogh museum which is another of the top things to do when exploring the city of Amsterdam.

Museumplein

I’d definitely recommend a trip to Vondelpark for anyone visiting Amsterdam for a short period of time. The area is better known as Museumplein and the surrounding area is stunning. Imagine the Upper East Side, but in Amsterdam.
You’ll find many small restaurants and bistros in this area if you’re looking for places to stop to grab a bite to eat and the public transport, as mentioned, very frequently serves this area.

Van Gogh Museum

In this area you’ll also find the famed Van Gogh Museum which is a tourist favourite. Tickets can be pricey and on certain days it is not uncommon for there to be large entrance queues.

If you do plan on visiting the museum then you’ll want to plan ahead.

OTHER TOP THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
  • The Redlight District – by day and by night. No photos and always remember to be respectful, as a tourist you are there to experience something not judge or mock.
  • Take the tram around the city – Buy a pass and ride the tram round the city.
  • Rent a bike if you’re brave enough – its how the locals do it so why not give it a shot. When in Amsterdam.
Exploring Vondelpark in the spring sunshine
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam

 

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Early evening canal stroll through Amsterdam

 

Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam

 

Where to drink and smoke in Amsterdam

Bars and Coffee Shops in Amsterdam

We visited The Green House Coffee Shop one for an afternoon of a truly authentic Amsterdam experience. For non-smokers like myself don’t feel intimidated by having this kind of experience in a city like Amsterdam that is so open and accepting of tourists. Most of the people in the Coffee Shops are willing to help even the ficklest of tourists.

There are extensive lists online of the best places to smoke in Amsterdam so don’t be shy. The Greenhouse was a chilled and quirky cafe just off The Red Light District with outdoor seating and great canal views.  Other famous spots include The Bulldog, a chain of world famous Coffee Shops littered around the city.

As hostel bars go, the bar and club in Hans Brinker Budget Hostel were pretty decent. Cheap drinks and snacks and always filled with friendly faces and other backpackers/festival goers. If you’re looking for a more traditionally Dutch experience head to one of the smaller pubs and bars further out of the city centre and try yourself a Dutch beer from the menu, extra points if you correctly pronounce it.
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam
Take the ferry from Amsterdam Central to the lookout for the best views of the city

Why visit Amsterdam in spring?

Aside from the fact that I chose to visit Amsterdam in the spring because of ‘Spring Break Festival’ I don’t think there would have been a better time to visit the city. As the weather warms up in Central Europe the flowers spring to life and the blue sky days matched with longer nights make exploring all the more fun.

For visits in April a jacket is definitely needed but we were lucky to experience not one single drop of April showers during our time in the Dutch capital city.

As city breaks go there isn’t a European city as sought after as Amsterdam, whether you visit for the culture, the smoking, The Red Light District or simply just because you can the city of Amsterdam will continue to surprise you in the most delightful ways, especially in the spring.
Spring Break Festival - Amsterdam

 

Dam Square during the day, Amsterdam

 

Bryony Clapperton

A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.

You may also like...

No Comments

  1. Amsterdam is at the top of my bucket list! It looks like such a beautiful place. My reasons for visiting are definitely different haha but regardless, top 5 on my list for sure! I'm glad you had an amazing time 😀

  2. Thanks for reading. Definitely come back once you've visited and let me know how your trip went. Spring and summer are both perfect times of the year to visit – its always fun to tie in a trip with an event too. Kings Day maybe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *