As some of you know from my Instagram stories, not so long ago I spent a lovely week in Amsterdam. Therefore, it’s only natural I want to tell you all about it 🙂 The video from my trip with some cool footage is on its way, too so don’t forget to check it out on Sunday. Today however, it’s all about pictures and personal recommendations. Before we start, I want to say thanks to the wonderful Jo at Woody World Packer who filled me with tonnes of super useful tips and suggestions- thank you, you bloody rockstar you, you made my week!
Anyway, let me tell you, Amsterdam has always been at the very top of my bucket list so when I got to actually visit it, it was the dream come true. The city did live up to the idyllic vision in my mind, although it surprised me much more than I expected.
Like, the pavements everywhere were sooooo narrow that for the most of my stay I was secretly praying for not being killed by a bike or a scooter.
Also, the smell of weed was absolutely impossible to avoid, which I guess is cool if you’re a smoker, for me though, it reminded me too much of my nightmare neighbours (and we’re talking council housing in Tower Hamlets kind of thing).
Another surprise was how many places didn’t accept card payments… or, accepted card payments except for Visa (surely makes sense, right?).
Also, the bikes… they were all over the place. Well, ok, we all know that but you’d be amused how many of them are just left abandoned for years! And I was shocked to see how people were actually able to find their own bike among 100 others which looked nearly identical! It was insane! To give you some figures, one of the magazines provided by the hotel I stayed in stated that there are around 847 000 bikes in Amsterdam (which means nearly 2 bikes per household). Also, each year between 12k and 15k bikes are removed from the canals! C-R-A-Z-Y!
What’s more, gorgeous flowers were literally everywhere– outside people’s houses, shops, museums on the pavements, around the squares, in parks, cafes… not to mention flower fields and a huge Flower Market. It was stunning!
People in Amsterdam were just the loveliest, friendliest crowd I’ve ever met. They were all smiley, extremely helpful with whatever you needed, respectful, kind, down to earth and humble… they were simply wonderful, I wanted to take them all home, multiply and spread all over London 😉 Not to mention how insanely good looking everyone down there was! Tall and skinny, usually blonde with huge blue eyes, impeccable skin and perfect sense of style… I don’t know what it is and why it is like that but you could easily assume that every other Dutch person is a model. Flipping envy here!
Coming back to reality though, I have to mention the museums. First of all, if you can think of the most peculiar museum in the world, it’s pretty safe to assume you’ll find it in Amsterdam. Like, the museum of cannabis. Or cheese. Or prostitution. There are dozens of museums over there and I am absolutely gutted I didn’t make it to every single one from my list (like, the enormous Rijksmuseum or Rembrandt’s house). In my defence, the weather for the first 3 days was a dream (over 22 Celsius, huh?) so I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible which I guess is not a bad thing is it! Anyway, the museums… they are rather expensive (entry fees to the major ones cost nearly 20 euro) and usually you can’t even get the tickets at the museum! They need to be purchased online and booked for the particular time slot so you have to plan the visit 1-2 days in advance. The very convenient thing though, is that some of the major museums are located next to one another which definitely saves time.
I only made it to the Museum of Bags and Purses (which was a lovely tiny museum with beautiful interiors and some of the most famous bags in history), Moco (where tonnes of Banksy’s works are) and the Van Gogh Museum, which I’m going to tell you about- if you’re an art enthusiast, this museum is a must!
It’s so bloody huge, with an outstanding collection of paintings and sketches (some of which I didn’t even know! And I do love Van Gogh!) and some important memorabilia like everyday items, family photographs or the brushes and paints that the artist was using. The museum is uber modern- you can watch some of the missing paintings closely on tablets, or even under the microscope, you can listen to the letters written by Vincent to his friends and family members… I mean, it’s like Christmas. If you want to look at each item closely, listen to the letters, read descriptions, and, perhaps, visit the museum shop, be ready to spend there at least 4 hours. And if you don’t give one about art, you should still go there, it’s fantastic!
If you get hungry after sightseeing, the good news is, Amsterdam is paradise for foodies and coffee lovers! Also, what was amazing about dining there is that a huge majority of cafes and restaurants promote locally sourced ingredients and healthy, usually meat-free eating, often making 75% of their menu vegetarian. And you can get a perfect flat white with oat milk in most coffee places too! Speaking of specific restaurants, I was originally planning to visit De Kas (which sounded divine) recommended to me by Jo but what I didn’t realise is you need to book a month in advance to get a table there- oh well… next time I guess! Anyway, let me list a few places which I did visit and absolutely loved:
It’s a cute little cafe in the city centre in the close proximity of the canals (and Hard Rock Cafe). Perhaps not best for proper lunch but their coffee is lush! Be prepared to have some cash on you as they only accept a few specific cards.
This place is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They offer nice smoothie bowls, cakes, burgers, salads, curries and chips and are open until late. Just a little warning though, the coffee is not best, still worth coming for the food (polenta chips, anyone?).
If you love a good Indian, this one is a must. The best saag paneer and daal makhani I had in ages! Accompanied by crispy naan bread, papadums and fragrant samosas- heaven! Also, the service is super friendly, discreet and professional which contributes to the great ambience of the place. To give you the picture, I’ve eaten in dozens (hundreds?) of Indian restaurants all over Europe and this place made it to my top 3. It’s a dream!
Dignita is a famous brunch spot and it’s easy to understand why- just look at these pancakes! For me though, their freshly baked cakes and pastries were the reason I would happily come back there at anytime. And of course, the coffee was great too. Just to warn you, if you’re visiting for breakfast or lunch, you may be prepared to queue for around 15 minutes.
Ok, the coffee in here was terrible but fair enough, it’s not the coffee place after all. The food was nice (especially falafels- they were, actually, exceptional) but what made me truly fell in love with this place were its ambience and surroundings. Imagine a giant container building by the riverside with boats and ships around, a little sandy beach outside and dozens of people lazily sunbathing with their drinks. Absolutely loved it so if you want to grab a couple of beers and talk to your friends while getting a lovely tan, Pllek is your place. Make sure to check out their website too as they have lots of cool events including some live music, yoga classes and various workshops!
Cafe de Ceuvel
This is the place you will want to spend the entire day in. Hipster to the bone, designed by the collective of architects it’s like a hippie, countryside oasis in the concrete jungle. They have great coffee, lovely food, super duper friendly staff and my goodness, the cafe itself is everything one can dream about- it’s all build of wood, filled with plants and eclectic furniture (including massive bean bags you can lay on… I’d be sold by now!) It has a massive outdoor space, too with tables, piers, old ships and boats and lots of water everywhere. It’s dreamy. If I could come back to only one place in Amsterdam, it would be Cafe de Ceuvel.
Coffee and Coconuts
The loveliest coffee. The yummiest matcha bowl. The nicest presentation. The Cali vibe interiors of your dreams. All those in a central location. What else could I add? I was visiting Coconuts almost every day! If you’re into cold coffee, try their Cool Java, it’s the best cold drink I’ve ever had (I asked for it to be without agave though as I don’t like sweet drinks but if you do, go ahead and have a regular one).
Right, my lovely bunch, that would be it. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you did, make sure to check out the video, too. Speak to you soon! x