Spring Break Festival - AmsterdamTuesday, April 25, 2017
My first time travelling to a country for a music festival took me to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It wasn't my first time visiting Amsterdam but it has been some time since my last visit so I was definitely looking forward to being in The Netherlands surrounded by unique architecture and good times.
Spring Break Festival, Amsterdam at a glance
✓ Language: Dutch
✓ Flight from Liverpool: 1 hour 20 mins
✓ Currency: Euro
✓ Festival without transport: €100-€180
✓ Drinks: €3-€7
✓ Accommodation: Hans Brinker Budget Hostel
✓ Festival Venues: Melkweg, Escape, Air, Nyx, Claire
✓ Top Tip: Buy the 3 day city travel pass for €26
All prices in Euro
Click on the image for more information on Spring Break Festival
Review and recap of Spring Break Festival 2017, 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.
Booking options for Spring Break Amsterdam 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 headeliners 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-culturalism 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 olds let loose in Amsterdam kind of vibe. I would definitely recommend Spring Break Amsterdam to 18-19 year olds, first year uni students and 6th form leavers - you are the ideal demographic for this style of event.
I'd seriously recommend the three day city travel pass for €26 to anyone visiting the city!
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).
If you plan on visiting Anne Franks house book in advance - the queues are endless and there a limited daily tickets.
Exhibit A below and a much younger version of myself.
Amsterdam 2010 featuring a much younger version of me - It was a College excursion hence my obsessive need to wear my College hoodie!
Amsterdam in the spring is an exceptional place to be. The Netherlands is renowned for its tulips and its not hard to see why, with tulips in all sizes and colours brightening the streets in the most unsuspecting ways.
Dutch Tulips of course, wooden and real!
The streets of Amsterdam are gripping as each turn of a corner leads you along a new street in a new direction with a new set of architecture to admire. 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 lost along the banks of the canals.
Spring evenings in Amsterdam
Vondelpark is a must in the spring - add it to you bucket list a great budget item for budget concious travellers
I am Amsterdam & 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 at Museumplein. I'd definitely recommend both for anyone visiting amsterdam for a short period of time as they are both within walking distance from each other. Vondelpark and Museumplein are both also located in the most incredible area of the city, think Upper East Side Amsterdam style!
Exploring Vondelpark in the spring sun
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.
Bars & Coffee ShopsWe 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 Green House 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.
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.
April is a great time of year to visit Amsterdam and other Central European cities - jackets are needed though
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.
Top places to see and 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.
Vondelpark - a great and free thing to do during the day plus, its close to Museumplein and the I am Amsterdam sign you must take a photo with.
Visit 'Dam Square' the main tourist spot in central Amsterdam, our visit to Dam Square was interrupted by the addition of a fair ground.
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.