It’s over. I’m done.
Amsterdam has officially won Lipari Vita’s not so illustrious ‘Favourite city in Europe and quite possibly the rest of the world’ trophy – congratulations Amsterdam.
Despite her reputation as the debauchery capital of Europe, my experience of Amsterdam couldn’t be further from the scenes depicted in the 2004 film ‘Euro Trip’. Her majestic canals, cute brown bars and wonky buildings have well and truly gotten under my skin.
In the words below you’ll find my best attempt at equipping you with the information you need to truly appreciate the real Amsterdam.
WHERE TO STAY
We were lucky enough to stay on one of the main canals on Keizersgracht. It’s super central and easy to get around. So areas which I loved while we were there and think would be good to base yourself:
- Jordaan – Beautiful area
- De Pijp – The most hipster area of Amsterdam.
- Vondelbuurt – Close to the gorgeous Vondelpark.
This city is ruled by bikes. Nothing is ever more than 20mins by bike and given every corner is like stepping into a painting; you’ll want to see as much of it as you can.
We’ve always rented from Black Bikes and will continue to do so.
Bocca – Even if you don’t drink coffee just go in for a look around. Big call but it’s the best coffee shop (for actual coffee that is) in Amsterdam.
Scandinavian Embassy – Coffee and food meet fashion is this Scandinavian setting.
Amsterdam is famous for its small brown bars. They’re cute, they’re cramped but they’re oh so authentic. Three of my favourites:
Papeneiland – Fairy lights, amazing apple pie and a letter from Bill Clinton saying it’s his favourite place in Amsterdam. I have nothing more to say.
Cafe De Nieuwe Lelie – Traditional brown bar with great food, beer and ambience.
Whisky Cafe L&B – probably one of the world’s best collection of whisky with over 1,400 different types and incredible decor. Even if you don’t like Whisky, you’ll love Whisky Cafe L&B.
If it’s cocktails you’re after..
Pilzer Hotel – If you’re looking for something a little fancier you can’t go past Pilzer hotel for a welcomed break to your daily ride.
Tales and Spirits – cosy, casual setting in the heart of Amsterdam these guys know their cocktails.
Cafe de Klepel – really cute, set seasonal menu and lovely wine.
La Maria – One spicy lady cooking Italian, no menu. The authentic Italian experience.
Cafe de Klos – ribs and brown bar experience. I need say no more.
Arlse – Great food in an extremely cute setting.
LOCALS ONLY KNOWLEDGE BOMBS
Apple Pie – The best apple pie in Amsterdam and possibly the entire world **serious face emoji** Head down to Winkle.
Saturday Farmers Markets – Open on Saturdays for fresh fruit and veg. Stock up here before heading home to cook up a wholesome feast.
Cheese tasting at Reypenaer – All the cheese. In and around your mouth.
Windmill Brewery – Short ride down the canal to a gorgeous Windmill on the water – perfect for a day out.
Rijksmuseum – hard to miss this newly renovated building in the south of the city. Great for a day of arts and history…you know…culture’n’shit. (Also my mothers favorite museum in Amsterdam).
Van Gogh Museum – houses the world’s richest collection of one of the greatest painters in human history – Vincent van Gogh.
Stedelijk Museum – It’s collection of 90 thousand modern paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphics, design objects and video artifacts is not to be missed.
Anne Frank’s house – a challenging but ‘must see’ whilst in Amsterdam.