When people say Amsterdam a few things spring to mind. Houseboats, coffeeshops, bicycles and Anne Frank. But when I think of Amsterdam I think of cafe bars, a huge selection of restaurants, beautiful four storey houses and twinkling bridges.
After spending a month here I can truly say it’s one of the cities I would definitely live in. I like the people, the atmosphere and the city as a whole. Here are some of the places we visited and what we got up to that I recommend for you.
If you’re planning on staying in the city for a while, Airbnb is always a must. We stayed in Heleen’s apartment which resides near the Hermitage museum of Amsterdam. This is a glorious location in east Amsterdam which is almost central but outside the touristy boundaries.
The apartment is very tidy and spacious for two people. There is wi-fi, a TV, bathroom with both bath and shower and clothes washing facilities.
The house itself is shared but the apartment is shut off from everyone else giving absolute privacy (the guys upstairs are musicians so you will hear the odd piano playing which I really liked). You can easily walk to locations such as the Jewish Historic Museum (literally 2 minutes away) as well as Dam Square and Anne Frank’s House (approximately 30 minutes).
- Cafe Bouwman – With a beautiful white cat floating about the cafe it’s a very homely environment we definitely came here on more than one occasion. I adore the veggie burger!
- Alfonso’s – Scrummy yummy Mexican food and delicious cocktails (or mocktails in my case).
- Cafe Krom – For a cafe with a local vibe and music from a jukebox, Cafe Krom is a perfect choice when you fancy a coffee or a small snack.
- Van Daele – Another great little lunch room with a selection of delicious sandwiches.
- Zuiver Koffi – This is the perfect place for brunch!
Shopping in Amsterdam is rather wonderful. The Dutch Harrod’s or the more officially known de Bijenkorf is a beautiful department store which is stunning in the Christmas season with its extravagant window displays and sparkling exterior.
If you’re more of a high street kinda person then you’re not going to feel left out, especially if you’re obsessed with H&M (there are about 4 on one street I kid you not). Head over to Kalverstraat and you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer.
Anne Frank’s House
You all know I love Anne. But visiting the Secret Annex is an experience all of its own. For just 9 Euro per adult you can see where she spent two years of her life in hiding with seven other people. Be sure to book online as the reserved ticket line is much shorter!
Visit the Skinny Bridge
As Amsterdam’s most photographed attraction I think it’s law to visit and snap a picture of the Skinny Bridge. It’s beautifully lit up at night too. Oh and watch out for the bikes!
Go to Dam Square
Dam Square is the Trafalgar Square of Amsterdam. It is here where you can see the Royal Palace (no longer lived in but used for royal events), Madame Tussauds, de Bijenkorf and the nearby Red Light District.
Okay, okay so this sounds like a pretty boring thing to do but I promise, you can find the best places to eat and drink when you just wander. You may also find some hidden treasures!
Other than Anne Frank’s house there is a large choice of museums for you to visit such as the Amsterdam Museum, Hermitage Museum, Jewish Historic Museum, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. There’s also the Sex Museum, Torture Museum, London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.
TIPS & ADVICE
- Coffeeshops and cafes are different things entirely! Cafes sell coffee, coffeeshops sell other things 😉
- If you’re looking to cook your own food I recommend shopping in Albert Heijn or Marqt.
- When visiting the Red Light District avoid dark alleys, don’t photograph the ladies of the night/windows and most importantly watch your belongings.
- Bikes rule the road and will keep going even at a red light so be aware.
- Purchase fast track entry to museums to avoid queuing at popular attractions.
- It is advised to avoid driving in Amsterdam. You’re better off walking or getting a cab (Amsterdam also have Uber)
- There will be guys who will offer to take your photos (usually in bars and pubs). Tell them you don’t want it, they will charge you.