Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Finishing up in Copenhagen, my next stop would be Amsterdam where I would stay for close to a week in my sister’s apartment, before we jet off to the sands of Morocco.

I came to Amsterdam this time round with fairly low expectations, with my first visit 2012 leaving behind an imprinted generalisation of a cliché version of this Dutch capital – a city of canals, with a red light district, coffee shops selling brownies / muffins, and of course the infamous Anne Frank house.

Having the luxury of time and flexibility, I left with a completely different perspective. The bicycles rule the roads here (the most convenient way of getting around), a chic café culture is abound, the wine / beer / partying culture is strong (it is not uncommon for corporate businessman to turn up to work in a completely hung over state), and as with any cosmopolitan city there is abundance of contemporary museums, art galleries and boutiques. For a city that bustles with character and chic, Amsterdam has only a mere population of just over a million people so rarely will you feel claustrophobic. In many respects, it reminds of me Melbourne, except it is only an hours flight from Paris.

*my highly recommended to do’s are highlighted.

Getting around:
Cycle (rent one, well worth the money for the convenience)
Train / Tram (limited access to the city)

Typical tourist to do’s:
Old Centre – Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt, Red light district.
Canal boat cruises
Bloemenmarket (Flower market)
Kalverstraat (central shopping street, international brands & touristy)
Heineken beer museum
Anne Frank museum

Other sights / walks:
Canals worth checking out: Singel, Herengracht, Prinsengracht
Vondelpark (47 hectares of parkland – perfect for an afternoon cycle)
Keukenhof gardens (tulips, March until May)
Begijnhof (hidden court of historic buildings)

Haarlemmerstraat (shopping strip) – quirky cafés / patisseries, boutique shops
The Jordaan (neighbourhood) – home to many art galleries, hip boutiques, chic restaurants
De Negen Straatjes (the nine streets) – boutique shops, galleries.
Frozen Fountain (quirky design shop)

Rijksmuseum (home to Rembrandt’s night watch, a thoroughly inspiring curation of artwork)
Stedelijk contemporary museum
House of Bols (interactive cocktail & spirits museum, yes you get to taste)
Van Gogh Museum

Fresh mint tea (where? any café)
Tales and Spirits (cocktail bar, great bar snacks, house cocktails 8.5 euros)
Vyne (wine flights, bar snacks)
Hannekesboom (locals haunt for beer & bitterballen)

Cafes / sweets:
Puccini Bomboni (Boutique chocolate maker, indulgent truffles)
Lanskroon (honey stroopwafel)
Winkel 43 (apple pie)
Petit Gateau (French patisserie)
Vinnies Deli (dutch brunch – mouse of smoked mackeral)
Pannenkoekenhuis upstairs (pancakes)

Bord’Eau (2 michelin stars, modern European)
De Kas (modern European)
Moeders (cosy restaurant full of mothers’ portraits, traditional rustic Dutch cuisine)


Beautiful canals of Amsterdam


The cafe culture.


Streetscape is full of character where ever you look.


Two michelin star dining: Bord’Eau.


Truly amazing artwork: Rijksmuseum.


Plenty of contemporary exhibits: Stedelijk contemporary museum


Still hungry? Grab yourself a pancake, or a stroopwafel.

Next stop: Dutch countryside Zaanse Schans & Haarlem.

See AAR’s recent travel guides:
– Copenhagen
– France
– New Zealand

One Response to “Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands”
  1. Wendy & Ani says:

    Lovely photos! I’ve only been to Amsterdam for a couple of day trips when I was visiting family in The Hague, but we did find time to visit the Rijksmuseum, which I really enjoyed. I’ll be sure to visit some of these dessert places next time I’m there! Looks delicious.

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