Travelogue: Amsterdam Winter 2023

I went to Amsterdam for a winter trip, and it was during the Amsterdam Light Festival which is great as I love the festival and it is a perfect time to take a boat tour of the canals.

I have been to Amsterdam many times over the decades, and it is somewhere that I know better than my own town! I do love it there and winter is a lovely time to do, even though it is cold. The light festival especially makes it very pretty at night.

I arrived at Schiphol airport where I took the train to Centraal Station. The train is always busy and boarding is usually a rush, so I was a little worried as I know how little seating there is on the trains.
I eventually made it and thankfully got a seat. Not that anyone offered one to me even though I am clearly disabled with a walking stick, so I had to hunt for one.

Once I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal, I headed straight for food as I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and was very hungry. I grabbed something quick inside the station, before heading to GVB to buy my travel passes for Amsterdam.

GVB Travel In Amsterdam

I always head first to get a ticket for the public transport from GVB. This is the white building right in front of Centraal Station in Amsterdam. You can purchase travel passes there.
You can buy different travel tickets, but I prefer unlimited travel for a specific amount of days, because I can’t walk far so I need to get on public transport quite a bit, and unlimited travel works out cheaper for me than paying for each trip.
The unlimited travel passes allow you to get on any GVB transport, such as trams or buses. Make sure you tap in and out by tapping your travel card on the machines on the entry and exit doors.
You must tap out too! This is something that some tourists forget to do, so make sure you check out.

The unlimited travel cards expire at the same time you first used them, so for example, a 24 hour card that you first checked in at 3pm, would expire at 3pm the following day. So you get a full 24 hours with a 24 hour card, etc.

Check out the GVB visit Amsterdam website here, where you can find more information about ticket options and prices.
If you expect to use the trams and buses a lot, I do recommend you go for the unlimited travel passes. Cheap and saves worrying about having to top it up, plus you save money if you travel a lot.

Now I was ready to see the attractions in Amsterdam!

Cat Cafe

I found a wonderful cat cafe called Kattencafe Kopjes.
This is reservation only and you can reserve a time online. You cannot walk in and get entrance unless it is quiet, but you can see all availability on their website and they get booked up quick, so do check first.

They have a small fee of €4 entrance fee which is more than reasonable! You get a menu then they come take your order once you are inside. You can choose from a wide range of cold and hot drinks. I love the hot chocolate the most!
Everyone was great inside and respected the cats. You can’t go wake them up or bother them with flash, which I would hope is the same in every cat cafe. Leave them if they are sleeping and just watch them instead.
There are LOTS of toys you can use to play with the cats, and they have cat trees that go up the walls too so there can be cats walking above your head, so just look around.

Their website is in Dutch, but there is a Google translate tool built into the bottom of each page, so just select your language. I changed it to English and booked TWICE to see the lovely cats. I also tipped when I left.

As the darkness descended, I headed to the canals for the light festival!

Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Tour

I attended the Amsterdam Light Festival (which you can read more about here in my full article), and I took a boat tour of the canals with both Strommer and the Blue Boat Company.

There are various companies you can choose from, and they depart from various places all over Amsterdam. I chose these 2 down to reviews, boat tours and the location, and I am glad I did as they were both really great tours.

The boat tour lasts for 75-90 minutes (depending on which company you choose) and you see so many of the lights as well as general sights of Amsterdam from the canals. It is such a relaxing and entertaining boat ride. I could do one a day I love it so much!

I have taken boat tours in the past, but the light festival boat tours give you a different view of Amsterdam and I highly recommend you go on a light festival boat tour, even if you have been on a canal cruise before. It really is a very different view, plus it is such a relaxing way to spend some time.

I have a detailed post on the festival here, which has lots of detailed information about the festival.

A’DAM Lookout

A’DAM Lookout is a really fun attraction. You can get a 360 view of Amsterdam as well as the option to take a ride on the overhanging swing or the rollercoaster VR ride!
It is honestly somewhere I would recommended to everyone as you can check out the view, have a drink and a snack while watching, or take a ride on the swing or on the rollercoaster VR ride. Perfect for people of all ages!

You could spend hours in the tower, just eating, drinking and watching the view. It really is lovely. If you have kids, they will love the VR ride, but you should try it too as it is a lot of fun for everyone!.
The swing is such fun, but it is a thrill ride as it hangs over the edge of the tower! Really exciting!

Check out my blog post with detailed information and photos from my recent visit, here.


I honestly could have spent over 3 hours in the Rijksmuseum, as after 1 hour I had only seen a part of the huge museum! I like history and artifacts and there was a lot to see including amazing works of art.

I really never expected to love it as much as I did and I spent a long time on each floor. You can follow the signs, or just wander around, whatever you prefer.

There is a elevator so if you are disabled, you don’t have to worry!

They also host evenings for disabled people as well as those who have sensory issues. This is hosted after hours and you must book specifically for this if you wish to attend after hours.

There are so many amazing pieces of art and history. You can just spend so long wandering around looking at these marvellous pieces! Some famous ones you will know as well.

I have a blog post on the Rijksmuseum which you can read here. This has information as well as photos from my most recent visit.

Amsterdam Accessibility

One thing is that Amsterdam is not very accessible. Mostly due to the buildings being made narrow and tall with no space for elevators to be fitted. Be aware of this and plan in advance so you know where you can and can’t go easily.
The more modern buildings do add elevators of course, as do buildings where they can fit them, it is just that most buildings are old and narrow so they just don’t have the space or infrastructure to add one.
For example, The Anne Frank House is NOT accessible. They do have a separate area for those in a wheelchair, but you can’t see the famous room without climbing stairs.
I plan in advance so I know where I can and can’t go, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Due to Amsterdam itself being quite inaccessible for many attractions and sights, and due to how the buildings are made, they can’t add elevators to most of them. This is just due to many buildings being very narrow with no space to add one. Modern buildings do add them of course, it is just that most buildings are old.
If you have been in Amsterdam hotels, you will know that many are up very steep stairs and don’t have a elevator.
This is also the case for many attractions too depending on the building. Check before booking.

Do NOT book a hotel assuming it will have an elevator!
Sure, most big chains do in modern buildings, but many hotels are built liked terraced houses, narrow with lots of flights of stairs. And they are steep stairs! Do your research before booking a hotel to be safe.

There is still lots you can do being disabled though! Just check before you go to make sure that it is accessible for you. You can’t assume anywhere is accessible in Amsterdam, always check first!

Share this post:


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

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