Amsterdam has been on my travel bucket list for the last couple of years. Somehow, though, it never really worked out. This week, however, I finally made it to the charming Dutch capital and can now safely say that it has made me fall head over heels in love with its canals, cute historical houses, and yet modern atmosphere.
We decided to explore Amsterdam in a local kind of way and strayed mostly from the touristic hotspots of the city. Of course, I had a peek at the main square, the museum quarter and the red light district. These parts of the city, however, were rather underwhelming to me. Walking around the canals, enjoying the sun in the Vondelpark and eating my way through their incredible restaurants has been an absolute pleasure, though.
I have decided to compile a little Amsterdam guide with not only the things we did see but also the places that were recommended to me on Instagram. Firstly, because I think it gives you more options to choose from if you decide to follow my Guide. And secondly, because I definitely am planning on going back in spring or summer and don’t want to forget what I still had to tick off my list as well.
My Amsterdam Guide
If you arrive at Schipol airport, you can take the train to Central Station for just about 5 €. It is, as seems, the easiest and most convenient way to get from city center to the airport and back. A train leaves every 10 minutes or so and will comfortably get you to your hotel upon arrival.
EXPLORING THE CITY BY FOOT
Many people have recommended renting a bike and exploring Amsterdam with it to me. I personally decided to walk, rather than bike, though. To me, this is the best way to fully take in a city. This way you can stop whenever you like to take pictures. Sit down at various cafés and pop into any concept store you’d like without having to bother with your bike. Plus, the city actually is rather compact and you can explore almost all of it by walking alone. Just make sure to have a rough idea of where you want to go to the city and try to plan your day accordingly.
MUST-SEE: ANNE FRANK HOUSE
Whether you are into history and museums or not, the Anne Frank house is a must-see for everyone visiting Amsterdam. Just make sure to book your tickets way in advance. We wanted to go inside but didn’t get any tickets for the entire week on our first evening and sadly missed out on this experience. However, as I will most certainly come back to Amsterdam soon, I will definitely catch up on that.
DE 9 STRAATJES
The 9 Straatjes probably were my favorite area in the city. The nine charming picturesque little streets around the canals are filled with quirky concept stores, little shops, delicious cafés and wonderful eateries. You can spend an entire morning walking around the streets, taking pictures and simply enjoying your time. Such a wonderful, local, Amsterdam experience.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
- Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Van Gogh Museum
- Go Vintage Shopping (Episode, Kilo Shop, ….)
- A’dam Lookout
- Go on a Canal Cruise
Where to eat in Amsterdam
What I’m always most excited for when traveling is diving into the local cuisine and trying out different new restaurants, dishes and coffee shops. Not the ones you might think – but actual coffee places with lots of delicious cake, flat whites and oat cappuccinos.
Pluk is one of the places I had already known before I even booked my flights to Amsterdam. I found the café on Instagram a few months back and have been craving their incredible cakes ever since. They have two equally beautiful shops in Berenstraat and Reestraat. We went there for coffee and cake and basically went to food heaven and back. Their carrot cake is insanely good and actually really big. Looking back we should have probably shared a piece, rather than getting one each. The cake was around 5 € and the coffee around 3,50 / 4.00 €, which I find rather reasonable for the amount you get.
Another beautiful café in Amsterdam is Ree7, which is tellingly located at Reestraat 7. We went there one morning and sat down outside to enjoy a lovely cup of coffee and piece of cake in the crisp morning sun. Their shop is insanely cute but also always super crowded and stuffed. That is why we were lucky to score one of their outdoor tables. Here I had the BEST apple pie ever and Sarah decided to try the carrot cake, which was also really good.
One afternoon we wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre and decided to walk to the Meetless District for lunch. They serve organic, home made, vegan food and offer a little break from the touristy stress in the main streets. When we went there at three in the afternoon it was wonderfully quiet and friendly inside. I ordered the Rainbow Wrap, while Sarah decided to get the Avocado toast with asparagus and strawberries. After seeing each other’s food arrive, we decided on sharing and OH BOY was this good. I definitely recommend going there for lunch. Tipp: Try their vegan cakes – so good!
Vegan Junkfood Bar
In contrast to our healthy vegan lunch on one day, we decided to treat ourselves on the next day and headed to the Vegan Junkfood Bar for Burgers and Fries. I’m usually rather skeptical when it comes to Vegan burgers but oh man this one was INSANE. We both ordered their classic burger and shared one serving of the Kapsalon fries. Be aware that the Kapsalon fries are really spicy – but other than that we were both taken aback by how good this was.
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels
I was often told that one thing I cannot miss trying when going to Amsterdam were Stroopwafels. So that’s what I did. And I was not disappointed. We bought the incredibly expensive wafel at Van Wonderen in the city because they decorate them with fancy bits and also make them fresh. You can also get delicious varieties of this delicious local treat in various supermarkets and bakeries across the city, though.
OTHER AMAZING FOOD PLACES:
- C T Coconut & Coffee
- Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters
- Beter en Leuk
- The Avocado Show
- Mook Pancakes
- Ashoka Restaurant
- Bird Amsterdam
- De Pizza Bakers
- Mama Kelly Amsterdam
- Mossel & Gin
- De Plantage
LET’S GET COZY AT THE MR. JORDAAN HOTEL, AMSTERDAM
Staying at the Mr. Jordaan Hotel
Located slightly off the beaten track you’ll find the hotel located in a marvelous typical Amsterdam house. Upon arriving you’ll immediately be greeted by the exceptionally friendly staff and a free tea/coffee bar. After fuelling up, we were brought to our wonderful Attic room.
The signature attic room
Of course, Sarah and I had a browse through the hotels Instagram page before arriving and already discussed how absolutely awesome it would be if they’d let us stay in the Attic room. And surprisingly enough, we were given the chance to experience this unique room. You know what – WE LOVED IT. In fact, we loved it so much, that one night we decided to spend the entire night in the room with cake and a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. The room was small, yes, but furnished effectively and so cozy that you immediately felt at home.
The only drawback: the view from our room sadly wasn’t as breathtaking as imagined. We overlooked a church, rather than the canals. But honestly, that didn’t matter too much as the room was absolutely perfect otherwise.
The big plus: Once we arrived in our rooms, we found a little care package lying on our bed, complete with crisps, chocolate AND a plastic bottle to fill with tap water to take out with you. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored this little gesture. I find the biggest struggle of staying hotels always is finding the nearest supermarket and buying water, but as you can safely drink the tap water in Amsterdam (it’s really good, too!) they supply their guests with reusable plastic bottles for the trip. So cool!
And quite frankly I could not agree more. Sarah and I loved wandering around the streets of Jordaan, getting lost in the cozy streets, taking lots of pictures and wondering about the wonderful slowed down life one must live here, despite being in a big city. We did a lot of walking through Amsterdam and explored most of the areas. I must admit, though, that Jordaan was by far my favourite. I felt so at home in the tiny streets among the canals.
Breakfast at the Mr. Jordaan
We decided to also have our breakfast at the hotel because it gave us the chance to slow start the day and discuss our plans without having to rush out for an emergency caffeine fix. Their breakfast buffet, which is offered from 7.30 to 10 a.m. every day is continental, yet local and costs 17.50€ per person.
Actually, the smell of freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat woke us every morning and had as swooning until we got down to the breakfast room to dig in. We loved that there weren’t too many people around and we had a still beautiful and fully stocked buffet every day. Naturally, I went for a healthy bread with veggies and salmon – and a croissant. Balance is key, eh!
Mr. Jordaan Hotel
1015 TN Amsterdam
+31(0)20 626 5801