Have you visited Amsterdam? Then you’ve probably been stuck in the centre of Amsterdam with all the tourist and tacky shops. But this city has so much more to offer than expensive souvenir and pretty canals. I have lived 2 years in Amsterdam and has managed to gather a lot of local knowledge about the city. It is with pleasure I will give you a full on guide to this city.
Morning in Amsterdam
I have always found that what you do in the mornings determine your day. I also think that eating breakfast out is one of the most luxurious things one can do. The tricky part is finding the best breakfast and brunch places and Amsterdam is full of them. Here I will list some of my all time favourite Amsterdam Brunches
Staring at Jakob
Do you want a boozy brunch? Pitcher of mimosa sound appealing? How about a waffle with some fried chicken? The all around veggie plate is delicious! Sounds good? This is a very filling brunch, and very tasty. Their venue is cozy too, but usually popular so book a table on advance. They have two locations in Amsterdam so there if always on nearby. You find it here.
The Breakfast club
This chain also has several venues across Amsterdam, but the one ate Bellamystraat is by far the cosiest. Their menu is super fresh but also cheat yummy and they have a different daily pancake. I full-heartedly recommend the ‘Mexcio City Breakfast’. You can find more information about this place here.
Bakers & Roasters
If you are in Amsterdam, you are likely to have a hangover. Then this place is perfect. Besides being very instagram-friendly, they have a variety of eggs, sweets and bowls. A perfect way to get a fresh start to the day and they have boozy options too, if you’d like a more party start to your day. You can find the restaurant here.
Coffee & Coconuts
Perhaps you fancy a healthier brekkie? No worries, this place have a smashingly healthy menu, for both brunch and lunch. The coffees are so so soo great and the venue has a cool Hawaii vibe. It is like you were to step in to a different place ad you left the busy borough of ‘De Pijp’. You can find this place here.
After brekkie there are several beautiful things to view in Amsterdam and perhaps you feel like you need to compensate for all those pancakes? I think a long walk is perfect after a full brunch, if the Dutch weather allows. I have many favourite routes to walk and here are a few must ‘see’ which are perfect for a slow morning.
The Seven bridges
These lovely bridges are nearby ‘Rembrandtplein’ follow a canal down to ‘De Pijp’. They are said to be seven identical bridges, you can see this through the bridges’ arches.
This iconic river gave the city its name. The river follows the east side of the city all the way north passed the central station and the Ij (another river). The river is fairly broad and filled with house boats and one of the most expensive hotels in Amsterdam, the InterContinental. This is definitely out of my price range, but the building is very impressive and its a nice walk along the river up to the city centre. You will also pass some famous bridges and the famous dancing houses.
This is the biggest park in Amsterdam but tourists rarely make it to the southend of the park. Many are biking, walking and rollerblading through this park, and others are sitting on the grass having a drink or a simple picnic. To take a ‘long-cut’ through the park is often worth it. If you walk along the east side of the park, you will get to see some amazing realestate facing the park.
Lunch in Amsterdam
After any busy day in Amsterdam you should definitely treat yourself to a tasty lunch. There are some restaurants that are a must visit for lunch. The Avocado show, they have two venues, one is very small right by Vondelpark -perfect for a takeaway to eat in the park. Their avocado dishes are nothing but masterpieces. Another great lunch place is Cabrón, a Mexican food bar on the big market street “Albert Cyup straat”. This Restaurant has several tasty tacos and is very price worthy, I love ordering several tacos and splitting them amongst my company, a lovely way of enjoying your company. The last lunch place is brilliant, the Box Sociaal, this awesome restaurant is Australian inspired. They have both health and more fatty thing on the menu, alongside funky Aussie beers.
Fancy a really unique lunch? I suggest you visit the foodhallen this is a permanent food-market, with 21 stands selling a wide variety of food. This is perfect if you can’t decide on the same thing to eat or if you have to escape the rain a visit here is perfect.
Museums in Amsterdam
After Lunch, a museum might be exactly what you need. Particularly if the weather is acting up and you need to escape the ever returning rain. Here follows my list of the best museums in Amsterdam.
This museum is iconic, not so for the content but the building is massive and resemble the central station, this is because it’s the same architect. The Rijks incorporates the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ not only the building, but the museum displays all the Dutch Masters and the crown jewel the Night Watch. In the museum you can walk for hours, it is huge. But a heads up, it is an art museum so you should enjoy watching paintings. Here you can find some more information about the Rijksmuseum.
You may not have heard of this museum before, it is not at the museumplein (museum square) and its not popular amongst tourists. This Museum deals with the former Dutch colonies, such as Indonesia and Surinam, and of course many more. I think the museum is beautiful and unique, but it does not properly deal with colonisation, the Dutch (not all), can have a lenient view of their colonies and there is definitely a underlaying conflict about their national role in the Dutch society. I would like to hear what you would have to say about that, so if you have had the opportunity to visit it, let me know what your impression was.
If you are a germaphobe, don’t go to Micropia. This museum is filled with rotten and mouldy things, I have never washed my hands as frenetically as I did afterward my visit here. However, it very unique and I have never experienced anything like it. Here you’ll open your eyes to a hidden world.
The Van Gogh
Never ever ask a Dutch person to pronounce the painters name, it will spoil it for you. No worries, the Van Gogh museum and its art though will not be spoiled. His art is beautiful and so is the museum, but you have to be a fan of art to appreciate it.
Other Museums Worth a Mention
There are many, many other museums in Amsterdam, the museum density is high. Surely, you’ve heard of Anne Frank, in Amsterdam you can see the attic where her and her family hid from the nazis. Their home has remained somewhat intact, but a heads up is to book tickets in advance here.
Another unique museum is the ‘prostitution museum‘ of course this museum can be found in the ‘red-light district’. Amsterdam is famous for their huge sex-district and liberal sex-view. So, if you find the girls in the window peculiar, visit the museum and to learn some more about it.
What more you can do an afternoon in Amsterdam
Of course, there are several other things to do then visiting museums. Here you get some of my top picks for an Amsterdam afternoon.
One of the by far best way to see the city, I cannot stress this enough. Some of my best afternoons and days have been spent on the canals. This is perfect if you are a bit of a bigger group, because then you can rent a boat on by yourselves. Otherwise, this may be a bit too pricey, but there are so many other fun options for this, not only the hop-on-hop-off alternative. I recommend these two, Boat Amsterdam and Mokum boat. Make sure to bring something tasty to eat and fun to drink, but make sure you follow the traffic rules.
Amsterdam is made for biking, seriously. After living here I have become an avid biker and I urge you to join the fad. More importantly, it’s a fun way of seeing the city, it is no joke the fastest way to get around in this city. There are many companies who provide bikes, so you’ll never go without a bike, to mention one try Mac Bike. If you wanna bike in Amsterdam, you have to be prepared of some aggressive locals screaming at you. The Dutch are basically born on bikes and are far better than you are at biking and most get very frustrated at the tourists who destroy their work commutes. Stay safe and keep the tempo up!
You could walk along Kalverstraat, here you have all the cheap big brands, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Pull & bear, Mango and etc. If you want more poshbrands you have to wander a bit more south, just to the west of museumplein a street called P.C. Hooftstraat. Finally, you have the 9 streets, or de 9 straatjes here you find trendy and pricy brands, such as Acne and Samsø&Samsø, but you also have a vast amount of second hand stores too. The area is adorable, it’s called Jordaan and you can find many nice cafés along the streets.
Holland is famous for clogs and tulips, and at Keukenhof you can see the latter. At least, during the spring since the season is pretty brief you will have to time this. To get here is a bit of a hassel, it in a different city but there are many resellers of tickets for entry and ride here. If you can’t be bothered? just walk through the famous flower market.
Sometimes you really miss the nature, then the Amsterdamse Bos is the perfect excursion. This is a man-made forest popular amongst the locals, just jump on your bike (or take the metro) and head over. Since it is man-made you have pavements and cafés along the forest, which for me renders it as a wild-grown park rather than forest, but the Dutch thinks of it as a forest. Here you can go to swim and you can hire a canoe or simply walk around enjoying the green trees.
Dinner in Amsterdam
Finally dinner time, and Amsterdam has so many great restaurants to offer, spoiler they are not in the centre. Here follows a list of not only the tastiest but also the most price worth food, since Amsterdam is expensive you can pay 25 euros for a below decent meal in the centre.
Wow, wow, WOW! This is one of my favourite restaurants ever, which is a big sell. But Fenan Klein really has a uniqueness to them, it’s run by a family and its only the four of them working there. The venue feels very homey, like you are in their living room and the service they give is top quality. They serve everything in traditional Ethiopian style, so you’ll eat with your fingers and your group will share a big ‘plate’ all together.
Barrica Wine & Food bar
This is a bit more pricey, but it is so worth it. This is a Spanish tapas bar with a focus on wine, their staff is very talented and can easily help you with the wine selection. Barrica’s food is well made, using fresh and good ingredients, put together in a fantastic manner. The venue is trendy and dark, with small lights making it romantic and perfect for a date.
This is a very unique restaurant, at de Kas every ingredient is grown their, with a very few exceptions. That means the menu is seasonal, a very fascinating concept , but more importantly, the taste is marvellous. This food is pricey, but it is beyond tasty, so if you have anything to celebrate do it here. The menu actually doesn’t exist, you pay for amount of courses, since they only cook the current seasonal food. The venue is really cool, it goes well with their notion of sustainability.
This is a hidden gem in the centre, a ramen restaurant with not only tasty Ramen but also pricey worth. Umaimon is one of the cheaper options in Amsterdam, you buy a bowl of Ramen and beer for around 20 euros. Perfect before a night out, you get really full and don’t spend to much money, besides its in the middle of Amsterdam so you are nearby everything.
Evening in Amsterdam
After dinner the night is yours, perhaps a walk around the redlight? this is a busy area in Amsterdam with many tourists, because nowhere else in the world do you have anything like this. But, please don’t take pictures of the girls in the windows, its really rude. Around these neighbourhood there are many coffeeshops too, filled with stoned tourists and usually very lively, the ones on the outskirts are more quite.
Best place to go is around Gerard Douplein, near Bar Mash a fun bar with great cocktails. Around here you have many more bars like it, the green butterfly , Pils Vogel, EscoBAR and calle8. These bars gets pumping and people are dancing later in the evenings perfect if you don’t wanna go clubbing but still stay out late.
Rembrandtplein is typically also popular amongst tourists and there are many cheap bars around here, like Coco’s outback an Aussie bar which usually gets rowdy. But you have much more around here, except local Amsterdamers.
There are two other bars worth a mention. If you find yourself here on a beautiful day with a hot sun, you need to visit Waterkant, it will be very busy if the weather is good, so its perfect for a summer party vibe. The other is Reyleigh and Ramsey, a very unique concept where you top up a card and can use it in the wine dispensers, they have about 100 wines and you can buy a taste, half and full glass. It is very funny and the staff is very knowledgeable and will be able to help you with all your wine-questions. It is perfect if you wanna get a bit boozy. in a classy environment.
Techno is the trend in Amsterdam, so this is probably what you will encounter at the club. One of the biggest and trendiest clubs is De School, for those who are familiar with Berlin, this club is the closest you get to a Berlin vibe. Another similarish club, but a bit more mainstream is the Marktkantine this is a popular club which fits most people. If you fancy a bit more posh clubs I suggest you visit Chin chin club, which have a karaoke and tree inside. You can also have dinner here, but that doesn’t look to nice since people are very loud around.. But hey that’s up to you!
I hope you’ve found this informative, if you like to see some more pictures suss out my gallery here.