Amsterdam is one of the most picturesque cities in the world and that’s probably why I love it and keep coming back to it so much. With its historic canals and elegant townhouses it feels like a living postcard… which also explains why it is so popular! In this blogpost I have combined all my trips and tricks from several visits over the last couple years. This way I’m able to present you with the ultimate Amsterdam travel guide, so whether it’s the must visit landmark or the best pancakes in town, don’t worry I got you covered.
EXPLORE THE DAM
A lot of tourists arrive at Amsterdam Centraal, which makes it the ideal starting point for your Amsterdam trip. When you exit the Central Station make your way to Damrak, the city’s main street. You will immediately catch a glimpse of the charming gingerbread houses the Dutch capital is so famous for.
Continue on Damrak, to get to Dam Square. No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a little stop at this well-known spot. Back in the 13th century the city of Amsterdam was founded here, and even nowadays The Dam remains a very important spot in the city with plenty of landmarks. History buffs should visit the Royal Palace or/and the Nieuwe Kerk, (the national church of The Netherlands). The palace was built between 1648 and 1665 and is one of the most important cultural and historical monuments from the Netherlands’ Golden Age. Shopping Queens have to go to the Kalverstraat, Amsterdam’s most famous shopping street, or the ‘Bijenkorf’ located on The Dam itself. For more shopping fun, head to Magna Plaza, a shopping mall located into the old post office building.
VISIT ANNE FRANK HOUSE
From Dam Square it’s about a ten minute walk towards the Prinsengracht, where the Westerkerk, is located. The famous painter Rembrandt is buried inside this 17th century protestant church.
A little bit further down the road is the Anne Frank House, which unfortunately needs no introduction. If there is one museum in Amsterdam that you should visit it’s this one! I had read Anne’s diary in high school and that left a huge impact on me. However seeing the house where she and her family lived with my own eyes moved me even more. When planning a visit, make sure to buy the tickets online and months in advance, because the lines are very long!
LUNCH AT PLUK
At that point we were moving closer to the area of the Nine Streets, and starting to feel hungry. In this area there are plenty of restaurants and hotspots, so there is definitely something there for every budget and taste. Ever since the opening I have been wanting to go to Pluk, so when it finally happened I was as happy as a hippo! On the menu you will find yummy smoothie bowls, pancakes, sandwiches and desserts. Every plate is more beautifully presented than the other. I have tried the smoothie bowls and pancakes and both were delicious. Pluk is so much more than good food! You can also shop there and believe me it’s really hard to resist yourself from buying all the cute stuff they are selling!
In case both locations of Pluk are full, you might wanna try your luck at Ree 7, which is actually from the same owner as Pluk. I only had a coffee there, but I really liked the ambiance. On the menu you will find a selection of sandwiches, freshly made soups, salads and most importantly, different kinds of cake!
WANDER THROUGH THE NINE STREETS
The Canal District, and especially the area around the ‘9 straatjes’, is my favorite part of Amsterdam. I could walk around there for hours, taking in the beautiful canal views (Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht & Herengracht are the prettiest) and shop at cute little stores such as Mint and We are Labels. This truly is the ultimate Amsterdam experience for me!
STOP AND SMELL THE TULIPS
Flowergirls should pass by the daily Flower Market at the Singel to buy themselves some ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’ (or turnips to plant yourself and bring a little bit of Amsterdam home)! Tulips are my favorite flowers, because they always make me feel like spring is around the corner, so this was a must-do for me even in fall!
Super close to the Flower Market and in my opinion worth the little detour is Rembrandts Square, a busy square with plenty of bars and cafes, named after the famous Dutch master painter, Rembrandt van Rijn. In the middle of the square you can find a large statue of the man, gazing down on the sculptures of The Night Watch, which were placed there for the celebration of the artist’s 400th birthday.
APERO AT THE TAILOR
As cocktails are always a good idea we made way to The Tailor inside the NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky . I hear ya… Amsterdam counts plenty of cocktail bars, so why should you go to this one in particular? Well that’s easy, at the Tailor they pay tribute to the old craft of tailor-made and bespoke cocktails. So if you prefer something completely different from the cocktails on the menu, they are happy to make it especially for you! But believe me, this will not be necessary. The cocktail menu is original and offers something for everyone. The cocktails are too good to be true and I also really liked the original names; I had the Killer Cocktail, which was so damn good! The Tailor kind of makes you feel like you’ve entered into the world of a gentlemen’s club back in the prohibition days (and yes with cigars if you please)! And well yes, that is if we women were allowed in right?!
DINNER AT VENUS & ADONIS
Right in the heart of the ‘Jordaan’ is where you will find Venus & Adonis, an amazing surf & turf restaurant. The restaurant’s name comes from the painting Venus & Adonis, made by Rembrandt’s student Ferdinand Bol. If you are a foodie, this place should be on your to do list! The concept at Venus & Adonis is food sharing, therefore all dishes are served on a wooden board in the middle of the table. I had the Venus steak, which was to die for and quite frankly one of the best steaks that I ever ate. Venus & Adonis also offers a very nice wine, whisky and gin selection. I was really happy that my preferred gin, Mombasa was on the beverage list, so some extra points on that as well you guys!
NIGHTCAP AT LEIDSEPLEIN
If you are seeking for a nightcap, the Leidseplein is the place to be! Amsterdam’s popular party hub is located upon walking distance from our hotel and so not that far in case you must stumble home after all the Heinekens you had… Hihi😊
STAY AT HOTEL CORNELIZ
Hotel Cornelisz *** is located in the PC Hoofdstraat, Amsterdam’s most exclusive shopping street. The hotel has a total of 51 rooms in different categories and sizes. We booked a superior twin room with a view upon the PC Hoofdstraat. The room was very comfortable and all necessary facilities were present (coffee and tea making facilities, minifridge, flat screen TV, safe, speedy wifi)! For sure everything that we needed! Breakfast buffet is available at € 12,50 per person per day, but with so many cool breakfast spots in the city, we decided not to do that. There is also a very pretty lounge with a terrace on the first floor, where you can have a drink or read a magazine and chill. I really liked that. In the future I would stay here again. The hotel is really close to everything and the receptionists are very welcoming and always happy to help.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: BREAKFAST
From the hotel it’s only a ten minute walk towards the Oude Pijp, where you have a lot of fun breakfast spots. My favorite is The Avocado Show. As they work with a “first come, first served” policy, make sure to be there at 09:00 am, because half an hour later the place is full! As for the menu, believe me you will have trouble choosing, because everything is too good to be true! However I can highly recommend the ‘The Sinner Stack Pancakes’ and ‘The Smokey Salmon Eggs’.
Another favorite of mine is Coffee & Coconuts. This cozy hipster hangout is located inside an old movie theatre from the 20’s. The interior gives you that all the way cozy, Scandinavian feeling. I really liked the relaxing atmosphere there. Although the ambiance is chillax, the staff makes sure that every guest is served promptly and professionally. On the menu you will find eggs, pancakes, salads, soup, sandwiches and different kinds of cake.
Finally I would also like to suggest Caffe Blond. The pink interior and delicious pancakes will for sure make all the girly girls jump for joy. At Caffe Blond you can also buy all kinds of cute plates, cups and stationery.
EXPLORE THE PIJP
While we are in the area it’s time for a quick stroll near the Pijp, one of the older neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Nowadays it kind of has become a hipster Walhalla thanks to its trendy boutiques and fancy restaurants. Thankfully the Pijp manages to maintain its local character too. The best proof of that is the famous Albert Cuyp Market with more than 200 stands selling from food to householding supplies. Oh and hey: the Instragrammers amongst us must get their obligatory picture taken at the ‘Wake Me Up When I’m Famous’ bench. I know, I know… Don’t hold it against me will ya?!
CULTURE AT THE MUSEUMKWARTIER
If you want to add some culture to you Amsterdam itinerary now might be time, because the Oud-Zuid area is where you will find Amsterdam’s most renowned museums, such as the ‘Rijksmuseum’ and the ‘Van Gogh Museum. I didn’t visit any of these during my latest trip, but I have been to the Van Gogh Museum back in the day and I really liked it! Next time I want to visit the Rijksmuseum, because I’m pretty excited to see Rembrandts ‘The Night Watch’ for myself. The period before Christmas you can also find a lovely ice skating rink before the Rijksmuseum.
LATE LUNCH AT CORNER BAKERY AMSTERDAM
Hungry and looking for a delicous lunch spot? Corner Bakery is an amazing all-day breakfast place just around the corner from the main museums. The interior at Corner Bakery is a combination of sweet, fruity and pastel and that actually also reflects on the menu. Go here if you are into smoothie bowls, American pancakes, sandwiches, salads and freakshakes. I had the ‘Avocado Smash Salmon Toast’ and I really loved it.
VONDELPARK & ZEVENLANDENHUIZEN
We walked off our lunch with a leisurly stroll in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest green space and the perfect place to take a break from the crowds. Also worth the visit are the Zevenlandenhuizen (Seven Countries Houses) in the Roemer Visscherstraat. As the name might imply, seven houses are lined up next to each other, with each representing an architectural style from a different European country, such as Spain, France, Germany, England, Russia, Italy and of course the Netherlands.
Before heading back home you might wanna catch a bite to eat, so in that case I would suggest that you check out the Foodhallen in the heart of Oud West Amsterdam. It is housed within a former tram depot, a national monument built between 1902-1928. As per typical food market traditions you can basically find everything your heart desires, so whether it’s Sushi, Pizza, Indian or Mexican, you name it, you’ll find it there!