Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) conference and festival takes place during October every year and hosts the world’s biggest clubs festival. The city becomes an exciting bubble of endless parties, featuring the world’s best DJs and revellers from across the globe. And so after spending 3 days ruining ourselves, we decided to take life to a slower, more stable level and recover in Belgium’s capital city Brussels and the stunning gothic town Bruges, which I’d wanted to visit ever since Colin Farrell shot the midget in 2008.
Below I will take you through the clubs in Amsterdam, as well as where to eat and drink, and where to visit in Brussels and Bruges.
What to do in Amsterdam?
This beautiful European city is a firm favourite of mine. Amsterdam is famous for its coffee shops, canals, red light districts, nightlife and legal weed shops. I’ve always been able to find a good Airbnb here when visiting for festivals but during festival season I’d book early to avoid disappointment. If you are feeling fancy, check yourself into The Dylan. I’ve only been for lunch but the hotel is really nice.
Now you’ve arrived, rent a bike and cycle around the beautiful cobbled streets along the canals or you can visit the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, Amsterdam’s stunning botanical garden for €9 per adult or €5 for students.
Where to eat?
If you’re flashing the cash, Café-Restaurant De Plantage was recommended to me by a local. The interior is stunning and although it’s slightly more expensive than the average, it is worth it as is Restuarant Zaza’s. Both restaurants are priced at around €20 a main dish.
Photo: DGTL Festival
Clubbing in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam hosts some of the best festivals including DGTL, Love International, Dekmantel and the best clubs including my one of my favourite venues Gashouder, which is an old industrial event space in the gas network on the outskirts of town. Parties regularly take place where the organisers, Awakenings, will sync fireworks to take off above your head to the music.
It is as incredible as it sounds and here is a video of a Panpot set from 2012 in case you don’t believe me. (Skip to 1mins 45seconds for the full experience.) Other good clubs are De School and Claire.
From Amsterdam, we took the 3-hour Flexibus to Brussels for €13 euros which was cheaper than the train which around €80 and took 1hr.40m. We arrived into Brussels by early afternoon, which was enough time to dump our bags at the hotel and have a walk around the city before dusk.
I hadn’t been to Brussels for 8 years, since visiting for ‘I Love Techno’ festival in 2009 where I nearly blew my friend’s brother’s apartment up by leaving the gas on for 8 hours (still REALLY sorry Mark), so I was excited to revisit some of the cute places I had been to.
We walked to the Eglise Sainte Catherine Cathedral, which was bursting with cute little bars and restaurants. Monk, which we just so happened to stumble across, was a great find. It is a classic Belgian bar with a huge variety of beers, cheese and cured meats to nibble on. We also stopped in at Delirium Cafe which has a selection of over 2000 beers and finally, we had a Dark & Stormy at 1930’s cocktail bar L’Archiduc whilst a local jazz band played. Bliss!
Since we only had time for one dinner we had to choose wisely and decided to take our local friend’s recommendation, meatball restaurant Balls & Glory, pictured above. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, they’re all delicious.
What the do in Bruges?
The quaint medieval town of Bruges is an hour from Brussels on the train, so perfect for an over night trip out of the city or even a day trip if you’re lacking time. The romantic town offers classic windmills, cobbled streets littered with cute Belgian bars, a torture museum, delicious chocolate shops and a great selection of cafes and restaurants.
You can walk around the outskirts of little Bruges in just over an hour, a nice way to burn some calories before getting stuck into the local brew. Make sure you stop at the Sint-Janshuis Mill (photo above) on the walk round.
In the town, some points of interest are Jan Van Eyck Square, Basilica of the Holy Blood, The Torture Museum Oude Steen Brugge which is genuinely terrifying.
Where to eat in Bruges?
Breakfast – Perfect for a chill-out breakfast, grab a book and have a quiet read at Books and Brunches.
Lunch – We skipped lunch instead choosing to have meats and cheese plates accompanied by some local Belgian beers. The following bars were firm favourites – Comptoir Des Arts for a proper Belgian beer, Opus Latino, t’ Brugs Beertje, The Beer Wall/2be which has a lovely outdoor area by the water and Cafe Vlissinghe the oldest running cafe in Bruges dating from 1515.
The following day we returned to Brussels and crammed in a classic Moles Frites before jumping on the Eurostar to London.
For any questions questions, please send me an email.