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… In this blogpost I have combined all my tips and tricks from several visits over the last couple of years. This way I’m able to present you with the ultimate Amsterdam travel guide, so whether it’s the must visit landmark, the most fun place to stay or the best pancakes in town, don’t worry I got you covered. Let’s get lost in Amsterdam…
Get that obligatory Instagram picture at Damrak
First things first; have you been to Amsterdam, if you don’t have a picture of the charming gingerbread houses the Dutch capital is so famous for? I don’t think so right…
Explore Dam Square
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a little stop at the city’s main square. Back in the 13th century the city of Amsterdam was founded here, and even nowadays The Dam remains a very important location in the city with plenty of landmarks. History buffs should visit the Royal Palace 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.
Wander around the canals
The Canal District, and especially the area around The Nine Streets, is my favorite part of Amsterdam. I could walk around there for hours, taking in the beautiful canal views (Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht & Brouwersgracht are the prettiest). This truly is the ultimate Amsterdam experience for me!
Explore The Oude Pijp neighborhood
The Pijp is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Nowadays it’s kind of 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 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.
Visit Anne Frank House
If there is one museum in Amsterdam that you should visit it’s the Anne Frank House, which unfortunately needs no introduction. I red Anne’s diary in high school and that left a huge impact on me. 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 this months in advance, because the lines are very long!
Get your cultural fix at the Museum Quarter
If you want to add some more culture to your Amsterdam itinerary a visit to the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum might be a good idea. 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 in front of the Rijksmuseum.
Stop and smell the tulips at the floating Flower Market
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)!
Picnic at the Vondelpark
Although this is kind of a spring and summer activity. A leisurely stroll in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest green space, is always a good idea. I feel like the Vondelpark is the perfect place to take a break from the crowds.
Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch
Pluk – one of my favorite hotspots in Amsterdam. On the menu you will find yummy smoothie bowls, pancakes, sandwiches and desserts. Every plate is more beautifully presented than the other. 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, especially during Christmas time.
Ree7 – Another favorite of mine which is actually from the same owner as Pluk. On the menu you will find a selection of sandwiches, freshly made soups, salads and different kinds of cake.
The Avocado Show – as the name predicts, The Avocado Show serves everything with avocado! Pancakes, eggs, bowls, and toasts. I can highly recommend the ‘The Sinner Stack Pancakes’ and ‘The Smokey Salmon Eggs’.
Café Blond – it’s pink interior, will for sure make all the girly girls jump for joy. The pancakes are absolutely amazing! You can also buy all kinds of cute plates, cups and stationery there.
Corner Bakery – a fun all-day breakfast place just around the corner from the main museums. Head here if you are into smoothie bowls, American pancakes, sandwiches, salads and freakshakes.
Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Bar – If you love chocolate, (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t), you need to check out Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Bar inside the ‘Beurs van Berlage’. I tried a Tonychinno with Milk Chocolate and the Yoghurt with banana, chocolate & coconut flakes. So good!
Coffee & Coconuts – cozy hipster hangout located inside an old movie theatre from the 20’s. I really liked the relaxing ambiance there, making this spot perfect for a coffee break.
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels – if you have a sweet tooth you need to stop at Van Wonderen Stroopwafels for the oh so famous Dutch ‘stroopwafels’.
Cocktail & Dinner Spots
The Tailor – The cocktail menu at The Tailor is original and offers something for everyone. I also really liked the original names; I had the Killer Cocktail, which was absolutely fabulous.
Lolo – Instagram remains my go to search engine for hot and trendy spots, so when I came across the Italian restaurant Lolo I just had to check it out. The interior is absolutely wonderful and it feels like you just stepped into an Italian fairytale with delicious food and cocktails
Venus & Adonis – Right in the heart of the ‘Jordaan’ is where you will find Venus & Adonis, a cozy surf & turf restaurant. 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.
Foodhallen – located in a former tram depot from the 1900’s. 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!
Stay at Double Three by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station
In a city where there are so many hotels it can be a bit hard to choose sometimes. I have stayed in several hotels over the years, but my recent stay at Double Three by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station has been the most pleasant one for sure! The hotel is located on ‘Oosterdokseiland’ right next to Central Station. Besides the proximity of the train station, you can find the historic center and major tourist attractions within walking distance.
I arrived in Amsterdam around noon and figured I’d drop off my bags at the hotel first. The room was ready, so I was able to check-in immediately. The friendly receptionist informed me about the hotel’s facilities and gave me this delicious, freshly baked chocolate cookie, which was such a lovely welcome to the hotel.
There are several room types available at Double Three by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station, this so the hotel can accommodate to the needs of different kinds of guests. All rooms are equipped with a mini-fridge, flat screen TV, telephone, air conditioning and coffee & tea making facilities. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available around the hotel. We had the pleasure of staying in one the Queen Junior Suites on the sixth floor. Our spacious suite offered a bedroom with queen-size bed, a comfy living area and bathroom with shower and tub. From the floor-to-ceiling windows we had an amazing view over the city and harbor, which was obviously my favorite thing about the suite. Despite the fact that you are sleeping in the heart of Amsterdam, you won’t hear a peep from the hustle and bustle of the city. When you are staying in one the suites or executive rooms, you also get to enjoy the Executive package with complimentary breakfast as well as afternoon drinks and appetizers.
Before dinner we had a drink at SkyLounge, the hotel’s rooftop bar. Here you can admire the stunning views over the historic city and the IJ River while sipping on the most delicious cocktails. The good news is, is that you don’t have to be a hotel guest to experience a fun night out at SkyLounge.
After our drink we thoroughly enjoyed a 3-course dinner at Eastwood Beer & Grill. The restaurant specializes in meat, fish and vegetarian dishes grilled on the broiler. The staff was super friendly and very informative about the menu options. I decided upon the Beef Carpaccio for starter, the Argentinian Steak as a main and the Lava Cake for dessert. Everything was so delicious. The drinks and wine selection at Eastwood Beer & Grill are also very much on point. During summer the restaurant has a very nice terrace with views upon the water. In the morning the Eastwood Beer & Grill transforms into the City Café, where you can enjoy an extensive breakfast buffet.
• From Antwerp Central it takes about two hours to Amsterdam Central by IC train.
• If you decide to go by car I wouldn’t recommend to park in the city center, as it’s super expensive. You can park your car at one of the P&R car parks (Zeeburg or Boven ‘t IJ) and travel by public transport to the city center. On weekdays you will pay € 8/24 hours. If you arrive after 10.00 or during the weekend you only pay € 1/ 24 hours.
• Currency: €