Amsterdam is the kind of city that steals your heart; you’ll arrive full of anticipation and leave wanting to stay forever. There is a whole lot more to Amsterdam than its seedy reputation will have you believe. Away from the flashing lights of the red light district lies an incredibly beautiful city with far too many hotspots to contemplate squeezing into one weekend, but here’s to trying our very hardest.
THE BEST AREAS
Jordaan is a great area to escape the often tourist flooded streets of the city. It has a more hipster feel to it but still with the beautiful Dutch architecture of gingerbread houses. Don’t miss the courtyards which are open to public viewing during the daytime and make sure to enjoy a beer on one of the cafe terraces.
These cobbled streets set around the canals are a shoppers dream with independent boutiques, vintage shops and lots of cute cafes for plenty of coffee breaks amongst all of that browsing.
This spot is the perfect photo opportunity for that memorable photo of Amsterdam. You can see so far down the canal that you’ll see seven brick bridges in one go and after all nothing screams Amsterdam more than canals and bridges.
I AMSTERDAM LETTERS
Located just behind the Rijks museum, it has become somewhat of an icon of Amsterdam and a tourist tradition to get a snap in front of it. The real challenge is to get a photo without anyone else in it.
Blueberry and lavender spelt waffles, need I say more? Cotton cake has the prettiest interior and beautifully presented dishes to match. Part concept store, part cafe; as small as it may be, it will keep you contended for a whole afternoon.
Address: 1e van der Helststraat 76-hs, 1072 NZ | Open: Monday-Friday 10am-6.30pm, Saturday 10am-5.30pm, Sunday 11.30am-5.30pm
This health conscious cafe offers fare to nourish the mind and body. Head there for a super healthy breakfast which I guarantee will be generously sprinkled with superfoods.
Address: Rijnstraat 58A, 1078 RD Amsterdam | Open: Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm, Sunday 11am-6pm
The yoghurt barn is a wonderful concept, it’s a spot entirely dedicated to pure, organic yoghurt. Not too dissimilar from frozen yoghurt stands, here you can choose amongst the selection of healthy toppings such as fresh berries and home-made granola which come sprinkled over thick, creamy yoghurt.
Address: Eerste van der Helstraat, 80, 1072 NZ | Open: Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-7pm
This very recently opened cafe is right in the heart of the Nine Streets and is a welcome addition to the area which is already buzzing with great eateries. Think watermelon and feta salads and delicious smoothies.
Address: Reestraat 19, 1016 DM, Amsterdam
Literally translated to lettuce, this salad and juice bar is one of a kind. The enormous bowl of green goodness that you’ll get served is as healthy as it is delicious. So good.
Address: Westerstraat 34, 1015 MK Amsterdam | Open: every day 11am-9pm
Downstairs there is a tiny cafe stripping coffee drinking back to basics with just tea, coffee and water on offer and croissants if you’re peckish. Upstairs lies a beauty store selling a selection of heavenly products favouriting aroma therapy. For each product purchased, a sum will be donated to drinking water projects.
Address: Keizersgracht 357HS, 1016 EJ | Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm, Monday 12pm-6pm
My biggest regret was not having the time to go here. The coffee is supposedly superb, the cinnamon bun even better and the salmon and eggs look so good. Please go for me and let me know just how good it is. Below photo by Silvia Falcomer
Sarphatipark 34, 1072 PB Amsterdam | Open: Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Amsterdam is quite literally bursting with specialty coffee shops, below are just a few of the best that the city has to offer.
HEADFIRST COFFEE ROASTERS – speciality coffee shop serving what some argue to be the best flat white in Amsterdam. Opened by two coffee fanatics who always share their love for good coffee with their customers.
COFFEE AND COCONUTS – an enormous three story café which serves fresh coconut water straight from the source alongside its coffee. Lively, fun space with loud music.
BACK TO BLACK – this cafe not only serves great coffee but also curates and sells local art from all over the Netherlands, including the furniture which you’ll be sat on.
ROOST – located in the Oosterparkbuurt area of the city where there seems to be an abundance of cute cafes opening recently. Unlike the others in the area however, Roost focuses solely on good coffee with just a few baked goods on offer.
BAKERS AND ROASTERS – an Australian style cafe which not only serves the same standard of coffee that they do down under but also the same standard of breakfast. Here you can get every egg dish imaginable, fresh fruit platters and large stacks of pancakes.
IJSCUYPJE ICE CREAM
This ice cream parlour is always busy which must say something about the quality of the ice cream. A great variety of flavours and happy customers leaving its doors are two very good signs to me. Best enjoyed along one of the many canals.
If you haven’t heard of these then let me introduce you to the wonderful world of stroopwafels. Two thin waffles sandwiched together with sweet caramel. So dangerous but so good. The best apparently come from Lanskroon, we sampled them and they were delicious but not much like the usual stroopwafel. For fresh warm ones made in front of your eyes head to the Albert Cuyp Market. I always enjoy eating them with fresh berries, so don’t forget to take some home either from Markt or Stach.
Amsterdam is the ultimate shopping city; it has all of the high street brands and designer stores but the real attraction lies in the little boutiques which are entirely unique and include a plethora of vintages shops and concept stores.
For all of the high street brands head to the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat. Of the two, the Leidsestraat has the higher end brands. Make sure not to miss & Other Stories and Hay which aren’t far.
For individual boutiques and hours of browsing head to the Nine Streets for unique finds.
A few of favourite concept stores of mine were Anna & Nina, Charlie & Mary and Cotton Cake although it’s pretty difficult not to spend your whole travel budget inside them.
The P.C. Hooftstraat is where you’ll find all of the designer stores so for a spot of window shopping on Amsterdam’s most exclusive street this is the place to come!