Amsterdam

Family-Friendly Events To Enjoy In The Hottest Capitals Of Europe This Weekend, September 21st & 22nd

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Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Dungeon

Who doesn’t love a bit of a scare? If you’re interested in learning about the history of Amsterdam, how about putting a historical horror twist to it? The Amsterdam Dungeon is a museum set up with multi-city themes that can be a sensational fun for the whole family. You can experience watching a live cast of talented actors put up a horror fiction show for you that relives the history of Amsterdam in a way that will send shivers up your spine.

The Amsterdam Dungeon takes you on a 90 minute tour of eerie scenarios of true historical incidents that took place in Amsterdam. Some of the most gruesome and often hidden or untold tales will be revealed to you. Superbly decorated rooms and highly professional actors will take you through some nasty tales like the black plague that spread all over Netherlands or the scurvy at sea incident.

The guided tour will kick off with the opportunity to take a ghastly photograph of having your buddy’s head chopped off, that you can later pick up as a memory of your trip to the Amsterdam Dungeon. From there on, your tour guide will then take you through different rooms in the museum, each with its own horrifying story.

Moving equipment, sound effects and lighting are some of the clever tools they will be using to give you a very lifelike real experience. The tour ends with a really fun roller coaster ride through the dark. This is definitely one of the most interactive and entertaining ways of learning about the history of Amsterdam during your visit.

Photo Credit: Jemimus @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Jemimus @ Flickr.

If you are looking to book family apartments for your stay in Amsterdam, click here.

Barcelona

Piknic Electronik Barcelona

It’s your last chance to enjoy Barcelona’s most popular and unique outdoor festival. The lovely Jardins de Joan Brossa Park on Montjuic Hill, a former amusement park, has now been transformed into a spacious park dedicated to enjoying great electronic music, picnic, and the sunshine with friends and family. This year, Piknic Electronik proudly presents an area dedicated solely to ‘kids and families’. This area has been designed specially keeping in mind the needs of every generation. From young adults to parents and children, it caters to all. It is essentially an area that promise relaxed yet fun environment where all ages can enjoy themselves.

Piknic Electornik has collaborated with PetitBCN to offer different kinds of workshops and activities for children throughout the week so they can participate and enjoy themselves while their parents relax, enjoy their picnic and listen to awesome electronic music. Professional artists from all over Barcelona have participated in this festival by offering specialized music workshops for kids. Other activities going on include sports, inflatable castles, concerts and shows, and so much more.

You will find that the Family Zone is quite calmer as compared to the Adult Zone where the main focus is music, dancing, and food. The main theme of this unique festival is to offer the citizens of Barcelona an environmentally friendly way of having a great day out. This is why most of the children’s activities organized revolve around the concepts of sustainability and ecology. So come along with your children to this great festival and let them learn something valuable while having an amazing time.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PiknicElectronikBarcelona
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PiknicElectronikBarcelona
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PiknicElectronikBarcelona
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PiknicElectronikBarcelona

If you’re looking for family-friendly Barcelona apartments to rent for your stay, click here.

Paris

Festival lle-de-France

Parisians most anticipated event, Festival Lle-De-France is a festival not to miss! It celebrates the end of summer in a bombastic way. From the 7th of September till the 13th of October, the whole of Paris has music blaring from all corners. Concerts pop up literally all over Paris and are arranged in all kinds of gorgeous venues popular not only for their beauty but their cultural and historical significance. From private mansions and castles to gardens and barns, all kinds of quirky and classical venues have music booming out. You can hear all genres of music during this festival from jazz, classical, and spiritual to modern, folk, and Japanese music.

Apart from music, there’s a lot more to enjoy at this festival. A lot of unique and otherwise not accessible venues will be open during this festival that you can visit with your family for some education entertainment. Space of 26 Colours is one of the cultural venues you can visit this weekend on the 21st of September, 2013.

Another not-to-miss festival event this weekend on September 22nd, 2013 is the Exhibition Apocalypse. Organized in the church of Saint-Mathurin Larchant, this exhibition will showcase the brilliant paintings of Claude Manesse. One of the highlights of this exhibition is an amazing structure created using 24 tables to depict the Apocalypse of Saint John. The best part is that most of the events and venues organized for the Festival Ile-de-France are absolutely free.

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/festivalidf/
Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/festivalidf/
Photo Credit: Yannick_M (Paris, FR) @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Yannick_M (Paris, FR) @ Flickr.

Top 4 Party Destinations of Europe – Vibrant, Hip & Luxurious!

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Thinking of arranging a party weekend getaway with your friends? Here’s our pick of the top 4 destinations in Europe that will guarantee you a smashing good time.

1. AMSTERDAM

No matter what time of the year, Amsterdam has always been the party headquarters of Europe. This is a city that never stops partying. And partying in Amsterdam is not like any other regular party in the world. A lot of activities otherwise considered taboo or illegal in other countries, is actually a norm here. So if you’re looking to have a flying high time, then Amsterdam is the place to be. And when I say, flying ‘high’ time, I really do mean it in the literal sense. This capital is where marijuana is actually legally sold in coffee shops and many other designated areas. You can sit in public and go through a menu that describes all the different types of marijuana they have along with the effect it will have on you. So if you fancy some pot brownies for breakfast, fly off to Amsterdam.

Photo Credit: joncandy @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: joncandy @ Flickr.

Marijuana is not the only thing that Amsterdam is famous for. Nightlife in Amsterdam is not only limited to the weekends. From Wednesdays till Sundays, the night clubs and pubs of Amsterdam are at their peak partying point with the exception of Mondays and Tuesdays when people like to take it slow and try to catch up on their sleep. Amsterdam is also home to the world’s most famous Red Light District.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Doumani @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Nicholas Doumani @ Flickr.

So if you’re looking for a fabulous party destination for throwing a stag or hen party, celebrating your graduation, or simply partying with your friends, Amsterdam is the place to be! And with Loving Apartments you won’t have any difficulty finding accommodation suitable for your large group of friends. Click here to find affordable Amsterdam apartments for groups of friends.

2. BARCELONA

Spain is another European country quite famous for its parties and nightlife. Amongst its many cities famous for their wild parties, Barcelona is usually recognized by tourists for its breathtaking sceneries, Gaudi architecture, beautiful beaches, and great shopping. But what many people don’t know is that Barcelona also offers an amazing nightlife. It’s actually considered to be the best place for night owls because here nothing happens until 2am. The parties start quite late and go on well into the morning. Even the locals in Barcelona have their dinner at midnight, then party until dawn and sleep until noon.

Photo Credit: Jordi Paya @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Jordi Paya @ Flickr.

In Barcelona, you’ll find clubs and bars featuring all kinds of music with different neighborhoods having their own distinct styles. You will find clubs all over the city and the pubs of Barcelona are especially famous for the authentic local flavor they offer. Barcelona’s waterfront area is especially famous because of all the clubs lined up on it. Here you’ll come across clubs with all kinds of music blaring out loud throughout the night. From salsa to techno, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn_Back_From_Iceland Flickr
Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn_Back_From_Iceland Flickr

With shot bars available at only €1, wild parties, wine flowing, and a long list of world-class clubs, Barcelona will never disappoint you. Arrange your next hen or stag party in this fabulous destination and enjoy affordable yet comfortable accommodation in one of our many Barcelona apartments that are well suited for large groups of friends. Click here to have a look.

3. FLORENCE

Florence is probably the last place you’ll think of to host a hen or stag party. But despite the beauty and rich culture of Florence, this actually does happen to be a great place to party. Florence is home to a large population of students and that is why its nightlife is so vibrant. With the legal drinking age here being 18, students at their prime party age really rock out the clubs and bars here in Florence. So, if hit a club in Florence, don’t’ be surprised by the huge number of youngsters rocking out there.

Photo Credit: TuscanyTunes @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: TuscanyTunes @ Flickr.

But partying in Florence does have some subtle differences as compared to partying in other cities of the world. Here the clubs stay open only till 3am which by Italian standards, is considered quite late. The dress code in bars and clubs is a little more conservative as compared to other party cities and people tend to dress more stylishly for their Florence night out parties. If you are looking for some good night clubs in Florence, head to Oltrarno, located in the south of Arno River and you’ll find plenty of clubs to suit your taste. Another hot spot for enjoying the Florence night life is the Piazza della Signoria.

Photo Credit: ralphunden @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: ralphunden @ Flickr.

So surprise your friends by arranging a getaway in Florence where you can enjoy everything from delicious cuisine to gorgeous views and the fabulous nightlife. Click here to view our Florence apartments suitable for large group bookings.

4. BUDAPEST

Budapest is again a destination not normally thought of when thinking of clubbing or partying. But this city definitely is an up and coming hot party destination in Europe that you should try out. Today their clubs are featuring some of the world’s best DJ’s with parties and dances going on till 4am in the morning.

The ruin bar scene is one of the best features of Budapest. Old abandoned buildings turned into bars and adjourned with a garage-sale style decor is just really incredible, arty and fun for partying. One of the best clubs to try out during your stay in Budapest is the A38. This club is housed in an old stone-carrying Ukrainian style ship which was permanently moored and refurbished in the Danube. If you’re in the mood of dancing your night away with some beautiful people, make sure you check out the Bahnhof Music Club which features some great local DJ’s and a dance floor that will have you going all night long.

Photo Credit: JMParrone @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: JMParrone @ Flickr.

The Danube River in Budapest is famous for its casinos. This area is locally known as the Dunakorz and here the casinos are more high-end, located within luxury hotels. These fancy casinos have a more formal dress code and are slightly on the pricey end. Whatever you fancy, Budapest’s nightlife offers it all.

Photo Credit: kclauson @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: kclauson @ Flickr.

Headed to Budapest with your group of friends? Click here to check out our range of comfortable budget Budapest apartments perfect for big group bookings.

untry quite famous for its parties and nightlife. Amongst its many cities famous for their wild parties, Barcelona is usually recognized by tourists for its breathtaking scenery, Gaudi architecture, beautiful beaches, and great shopping. But what many people don’t know is that Barcelona also offers an amazing nightlife. It’s actually considered to be the best place for night owls because here nothing happens until 2am. The parties start quite late and go on well into the morning. Even the locals in Barcelona have their dinner at midnight, then party until dawn and sleep until noon.

Uitmarkt Festival, August 30th – September 1st

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Utimarkt Festival 2013

Discover the cultural wealth of Amsterdam!

Whether you’re headed to Amsterdam for the weekend or are a local there, this event is not one to miss!

The coming weekend in Netherlands is all about the celebration of the Dutch Culture, Art and Literature in every shape and form. This festival, known to be the biggest cultural event in Netherlands, reflects on all aspects of the Dutch culture through stunning musical performances, captivating dances, intriguing exhibitions, concerts, workshops and a lot more. Each year the Uitmarkt kicks off in the last week of August, attracting more than 500,000 visitors. This year thousands of performances will be taking place over the three day festival in more than 30 venues including Leidseplein, Museumplein, Vondelpark and several other museums and theatres in nearby locations.

Utimarkt Festival Amsterdam

Head to 2013 Uitmarkt Festival to enjoy more than 450 performances by around 2000 artists from jazz to theatre, dance to hip hop, kid-friendly to classic, whatever your likings, this festival won’t let you feel a minute of boredom. Musical performances will be covering all genres including pop, hip hop, soul, jazz, classical, and theatre. Lovers of cult films will be in for a real treat with the De Balie featuring a wide range of short films, classics and previews all for FREE. Dance fans will be swamped by an array of famous dancers hitting the Amsterdam stages from all over the world. Finally literature lovers will be greeted by famous authors giving interviews while presenting their new work to visitors.

Utimarkt festival Amsterdam

For those of you who have little ones with them, head to the De Krakeling Youth Theatre that will be showcasing a variety of programmes designed specifically for children and all those young at heart. You’ll get to enjoy a plethora of child-friendly performances, movies, street theatre, and loads of activities and workshops for kids to enjoy a more hands-on Uitmarkt experience.

If you are interested in having a closer look at the extensive line-up for the festival, you can have a look at the Uitmarkt website here or get your hands on their free magazine which is also available for download through the Uit App for Android and the Uit App for iPhone. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dutch language, check out the Uitmarkt ‘language no problem’ booklet (PDF) that highlights all the relevant information and tips useful to international visitors.

So join in on the FREE celebration of Amsterdam’s biggest cultural season during the Uitmarkt and don’t forget to share your experience with us!

Trend and fashion in Amsterdam Eateries

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Amsterdam by Chris Yunker @ Flickr
Amsterdam by Chris Yunker @ Flickr

Eating in Amsterdam is far more than just herring and cheese!  It’s a stimulating fusion of Asian, Oriental and European culinary influences that make for excitement and flair in the kitchen. Staying in one of our Loving Amsterdam Apartments will give you the perfect base to experience the unique Dutch food scene.

So where should you eat in Amsterdam for that meal which will linger in your holiday memories for years to come?

Amsterdam is a city full of trendy cafes offering great menus.  A currently hip venue, and great for people watching in the swish Oud district, is Joffers, Willemsparkweg 163.  Another is the deliciously novel Concertgebouw Café.  On Wednesdays opt for the free lunchtime concert at 1 pm, but be prepared to queue from noon for a seat (definitely worthwhile).

If you’re sightseeing near the museums, the small Café Loetje, Johannes Vermeerstraat 52, is another excellent choice.   Greenwoods, Singel 103 (& Keizergracht 465 for dinner too), is the perfect centrally located ‘tearoom’ for breakfast, lunch or high tea.  Or if you want to be well set up for a day’s exploring, try Gartine, Taksteeg 7, near Dam Square, for tasty bites and great cakes!

Cafe Loetje by Toni Hartley @ Flickr
Cafe Loetje by Toni Hartley @ Flickr

The Dutch are serious bakers, so for a big pot of tea, freshly baked scones and home-made jam, De Bakkerswinkel (Zeedijk 37 (centre) or Roelof Hartsraat 68 (south) or Regulateurshuis 1, Polonceaukade 1 (west) in the old Western Gas Factory), is the place for you.  Freshly baked lunchtime quiches are also delicious.

De Bakkerswinkel by Adam Ross @ Flickr
De Bakkerswinkel by Adam Ross @ Flickr

More great choices include; Blauw aan de Wal, Achterburgwal 99, (a small treasure and an adventure to find in the Red Light district, but undoubtedly worth the journey).  Daalder Amsterdam, Lindengracht 90-92, is another great choice, and popular with locals, for informal dining but with quality food.

Amsterdam restaurants can be equally known for their intriguing locations!  Local foodies flock to De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, found in a 1926 greenhouse nestled in the historic Frankendael Park.  The daily changing menu features fresh, often organic food in typically Dutch dishes but with a Mediterranean twist.

You’ll be all at sea in Pont 13, Haparandadam 50, a restored ferry moored in the Houthaven.  Enjoy indoor and outdoor dining while feasting on the French inspired menu – and you can even buy your table if you take a particular fancy to it!

Don’t forget to save room for some fabulously inventive (albeit expensive) menus at the 2 Michelin Star Ron Blaauw Restaurant, Sophialaan 55, Oud.

Ron Blaauw Restaurant by Ross Bruniges @ Flickr
Ron Blaauw Restaurant by Ross Bruniges @ Flickr

Canal side restaurants include Greetje, Peperstraat 23, where an atmospheric interior allows you to linger over food inspired by Dutch home-cooking.  If you like history, try De Silveren Spiegel, Kattengat 4, an elegant building dating from 1614 with equally elegant dishes featuring local ingredients.

Your Amsterdam dining won’t be complete without savouring Indonesian cooking influenced by the Dutch colonial past.  Sizzling modern adaptations of traditional favourites are to be found at Blue Pepper, Nassankade 366, with its peaceful minimalist décor.

Array of Dutch Food by Reut C @ Flickr
Array of Dutch Food by Reut C @ Flickr

Booking for good cafes and restaurants is usually necessary as many are small.  Always check on restaurant opening days and times, as many are closed on Sunday and Monday, or finish serving early in the evening.  Tipping is not essential but a 10% tip at smarter restaurants for good service is welcome.

Check out our latest deals on Amsterdam Apartments to experience the delights of Dutch cuisine.

 

10 Free Things To Do In Amsterdam

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We believe that our no-compromise Amsterdam holiday apartments and houseboatsshow that we are committed to value for money. So in the spirit of getting the most from your Euro, here are some free activities to make your visit a treat:

  1. A walk around Dam Square will introduce you to many of the city’s important monuments and attractions. The 17th century Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis); 15th century New Church (Nieuwe Kerk); 19th century Beehive (De Bijenkorf) department store; and 20th century National Monument; all bring into focus the long historical significance of this spot.
  2. Treat your ears to a free concert in one of the best concert halls in the world. Every Wednesday the stunning Concertgebouw holds free lunchtime concerts, giving you the chance to experience the superb acoustics of the building through a beautiful classical composition.
  3. You don’t need sea-legs to enjoy a browse around the Bloemenmarkt. For a visual and aromatic treat, the world’s only floating flower market is truly unique.
  4.  Explore the world of diamonds with a free tour of ‘Gassan Diamonds’. With more than 60 years experience behind them, a Gassan tour can answer all your questions about these sparkling wonders that for over 400 years have made Amsterdam the ‘City of Diamonds’.
  5. Once a slum, the Jordaan is now a relaxing haven in the city. Strolling alongside the area’s small canals, ancient narrow streets and tiny picturesque courtyards takes you into the artist Rembrandt’s neighbourhood and this connection might just stir your artistic leanings.
  6. There is no need to skulk around Amsterdam’s ‘Red Light District’, simply enjoy the ancient architecture of this (the oldest) part of the city. The area has plenty of restaurants, bars, theatres and museums – you’ll soon see why the ladies in the windows aren’t the only attractions for the thousands of tourists who walk these streets each year.
  7. Enjoy a ride on the ‘Buikersloterwegveer’ or ‘IJ-Veer’ ferries – these short regular trips give you great views of Amsterdam waterfront, taking you from the city centre to the oldest part of the port.
  8. Take a stroll around Amsterdam’s beautiful Vondelpark and if you time it right you can also enjoy a free show at the park’s open air theatre.
  9.  You might need to elbow your way around Spui if you arrive there on Friday. This historic area is considered the intellectual heart of Amsterdam and draws in bookworms from miles around. On Fridays it hosts an outdoor book market but even if you don’t buy anything, there is plenty of scope to just relax and take in the atmosphere of this pretty Dutch square.
  10. The Begijnhof is a beautiful and tranquil enclosed courtyard, just right for a peaceful wander when you want to get away from the bustle of the city. It is also the location of Amsterdam’s oldest house (dating back to around 1420).

Book a Loving Apartments holiday rental here and start planning your time in wonderful Amsterdam.

10 Wacky Things to do in Amsterdam

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As wonderful as traditional galleries and museums are and as much as the city tour bus is a great way to see the sights, sometimes you want to be a little different. Amsterdam has all the traditional sights but it also caters for the wacky and non-conventional holiday-goer. It is, after all, one of the few cities where you can rent a holiday houseboat, if a holiday apartment is just too main-stream for you. Here are ten off-beam and in some cases down-right weird Amsterdam attractions:

1. A ‘pedalo treasure hunt’ is a crazy way to see the city from its waterways. You’ll learn quirky facts, have a great laugh and although you’re competing with fellow tourists, it’s all about having fun.

2. If you are adventurous and enjoy high-octane entertainment, you should try out a carver experience. Carvers are three-wheeled vehicles, stable like cars but with the excitement of high-speed leaning through the bends (just like motorbikes).

3. Amsterdam is full of museums but keep your sunglasses handy for a visit to ‘Electric Ladyland’. It’s the world’s only museum of fluorescent art – you’re sure to be amazed and leave the museum aglow.

4. If you have the energy and you’re handy on roller-skates, why not go on the Friday Night Skate? This free tour sets off from the round bench in the Vondelpark every Friday night.

 5. Crazy about cats? De Kattenkabinet is a small but perfectly proportioned tribute to our feline friends – and probably one of the best the only one in the world.

6. Have you ever eaten great food in complete darkness? Why not put your total trust in the chef and try the dining-in-the-dark experience at ‘ctaste’ Amsterdam.

 7. Earn your flirting diploma in just two hours – that’s right you can show the world that you are a world-class flirt by completing a fun filled flirting workshop in Amsterdam.

 8. If you think that Michelin stared restaurants are all a little too formal and stuffy, think again. Palazzo brings you top-end dining with a high-energy show that has something for everyone. Breathtaking acrobatic acts, humour and magic are on the house!

9. A visit to the Vrolik Museum is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. If you have a ghoulish side or you are perhaps studying to become a surgeon, this museum of human body parts is nothing if not fascinating. Not one for the kids!

10. If building sand castles on the beach is not your thing, would a wind powered dash across the sands at speeds of up to nearly 60mph grab your interest? We thought it might. All you have to do is plan a one day trip away from Amsterdam and head to Ijmuiden. Blokarting is increasingly popular because it’s fun, fast and won’t pollute the beach either – if you love speed, give blokarting a go.

So if we’ve appealed to your quirky side, why not book your Amsterdam apartment or houseboat here.

Win a Fabulous 3 Night Stay in Amsterdam for You and 3 Friends

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Win a 3 Night Stay in AmsterdamHas Amsterdam always been on your travel wish list, but you just haven’t got around to visiting yet? Or maybe you’re a seasoned Amsterdammer, just waiting for an excuse to return. Either way, be sure to check out our current competition for the chance to win yourself and 3 friends a 3 night stay in Amsterdam.


The lucky winner will be staying in the Leidseplein Oasis – a fantastic 3 bedroom apartment located in the middle of Amsterdam’s most famous shopping street, P.C. Hooftstraat. The apartment is in the ideal location for exploring the city, just a short stroll to the Leidseplein, Vondel Park, Museum Quarter, and many other attractions.

This stylish and centrally located Amsterdam apartment is spread over three floors, and will offer comfortable and spacious open-plan living for you and your guests. Relax in your home from home accommodation, which offers a variety of facilities including a DVD and CD player, internet, washing machine and dishwasher – ensuring your stay is as comfortable as possible.

The Leidseplein Oasis apartment has 3 bedrooms, with 2 double beds and 2 singles. The prize provides accommodation for up to 4 guests, with the option to pay a supplement to accommodate more if desired. If you choose your stay during the summer months, you can enjoy a drink or al fresco dining on your own terrace. The apartment owner also offers an optional pick-up service from Schiphol airport directly to the apartment for just €30.

The Amsterdam competition is running from the 12th January – 13th February, with entrants required to answer an Amsterdam related question. The winner will be picked at random and informed after this date. Enter now for your chance to win.