Red light district, coffee shops, crowded tourist areas and the smell are among things you’ll hear about Amsterdam apart from classics; Anne Frank House, Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, canals. But you can also experience a completely different city, with hip cafes, concept stores and endless little streets to discover!
If you’d rather have the second version of Amsterdam, stay in Grachtengordel area overlooking canals, walking distance to bars, cafes, shops and galleries. Whether it’s a breathtaking canal flat on Airbnb or one of many top notch hotels, options are endless. And to truly enjoy life, like locals do get ready to walk a lot, or even better, bike! Bikes for hire can be found in every corner.
Not to say that the museums and the city’s main attractions should be missed… but if you’ve been there a couple of times or want a break from the jam-packed lines, the following spots aren’t to be missed.
Start the morning with breakfast at Bakers & Roasters, and go early to skip the line. Decoration is warm, welcoming, and the chirpy staff make you feel like you’re at home. The menu has everything from poached eggs with pulled pork, halloumi to banana nut french toast. Despite the huge breakfast, its hard to resist their, made in-house, layer cakes. Two words, red velvet. You’ll leave wanting to go back to try the french toast, or maybe the pancakes.
De Pjip and Nine Streets
Best to walk off the breakfast in the neighbourhood, De Pijp. Find your way towards Albert Cuypmarkt where you can see locals and Dutch culture, especially stroopwafels at its finest. For the best shops go to Gerard Doustraat, check out Brick Lane, The Fragnance Store, and All the Luck in the World. You won’t be able to resist going into every other boutique you spot. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, the decoration, items, concepts, friendliness will be too inviting – don’t miss out on Wild and Blackbirds. Buy your tickets online and skip the line at the Van Gogh Museum.
Make your way towards Nine streets, like the name suggests these are nine streets connected by canals. First stop Marie Stella Maris, a natural fragrance and beauty store. If you’re in the need for a caffeine fix, don’t miss the secret café downstairs.
Walking around the area you can find cosy jewelry, and clothes shops as well as vintage finds. Go to the Darling for unique clothing and you can grab a cupcake too. Stores and cafes in the city are inspiring, it leaves you wanting to try everything and take in every single detail just so you don’t forget. Stop by Denham to find unique jeans and you can grab a coffee too.
Walking up Prinsengracht you might spot a huge line, this leads to Anne Frank House, and goes around the block. If you do not want to wait in line, go across the river where you can have a moment.
Grachtengordel and De Wallen
Walk through De Jordaan where you’ll see real Amsterdam locals – try SLA for salads and lunch, Winkel 43 for outdoor seating and deserts. Make your way to Harlemmerstraat. Or for great cocktails have an experimental one at Vesper Bar. Enter the small charcuterie shop Ibericus for some tasters and the cheese store to try some samples and see locals shopping for wine, cheese and bread for the perfect dinner. Go to stout for the granola, or the coconut macaron. For a perfect lunch, get small takeaways from the local shops to have a picnic at Vondelpark. Or for an indulgent lunch go to Bulls and Dogs, and get ready to go all out. Whether its one of their Funky dogs, Freakalicious Milkshakes, sides and save room for the dessert!
Walk lunch off at Nieuwe Spiegelstraat for antiques, teaspoons to clip on earrings to unique one time pieces. From spiegelstraat you can find Bloemenmarkt — flower market by the Singel canal — here, you can admire, smell and buy tulips (or just seeds of countless range of flowers and plants). Have an afternoon drink at a spot next to the canal to enjoy some gouda and wine.
Walk down Rokin through the narrow streets near the canal to find the Love Me sign. Follow the road to Rembrandt Square to see the masters house.
For a relaxed dinner go to Terpentijn for Vietnamese. There’s a restaurant upstairs and a smaller menu downstairs with outdoor seating for the warmer months. For a more indulgent and cosy dinner go to Casa Di David, near Singel canal, sit upstairs by the window for the best table. Share starters, pasta and pizza – try the delicious tiramisu too, it’s ok you’re on vacation!
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