Our trip to the Netherlands was unplanned and unexpected, as we were originally going to Germany for Oktoberfest. However a nasty stomach bug uprooted all of those plans, leaving us £400 out of pocket (no trip refunds), and with plenty of time off work and no place to go! With my stomach no longer trying to kill me, I started looking for a backup holiday. I’d been longing to go to Amsterdam, so I was ecstatic to see that there were cheap flights from our closest airport. I purchased our flights, jumped on Air BnB to find us a reasonably priced spot to rest our heads, and began my Pinterest research of Amsterdam’s hottest attractions.
We had an amazing time, and are now experiencing some serious post-Amsterdam depression! Allow me to share with you our favourite spots to eat, drink, get caffeinated and explore.
We’re in Amsterdam!
Bikes. Bikes everywhere! I struggled when we first got to London; always forgetting to check for bike lanes and cyclists before crossing roads. So I really had to make it my goal not to have a collision with any bikes in Amsterdam. Thankfully the riders have bells on their bikes and they don’t hesitate to use them and warn you of their approach/tell you to gtfo of their way.
You will smell marijuana constantly. We often joked about how breathing fresh air was a surprise, rather than smelling weed. Unlike our recent trip to Spain where coffeeshops are hidden behind doors and are smelt but hardly seen, Amsterdam’s coffeeshops are just like any other café on the street. If you’re looking for one, just let your nose guide you in the right direction.
Nutella! And other foods..
When doing my research about Amsterdam, I noted down a few things to do, and made a novel-like list of places to eat. Here’s the noteworthy places we dined at…
Omelegg – I’d never known a breakfast café to be dedicated to omelettes, but this place is renowned for theirs. Whilst they do serve other brekky options, the omelettes are what get people lining out the door. Literally; there was a line both days we went here (yes we went a second time it was that good). Don’t be deterred by the cue, as it moves quickly and is well worth it. I can recommend the Three Cheese omelette (with a side of bacon, the bacon is seriously good), the Gorgonzola and Bacon, and the Greek Wedding (Tom couldn’t go past this one, being the reason we returned). Omelegg do great juices, but we didn’t try their coffee, instead saving our caffeine fix for other places on my list.
Pancakes Amsterdam – I’m definitely more of a sweet breakfast person, so I absolutely had to try some Dutch pancakes. Here you can choose Dutch or American style pancakes, then choose as many toppings as you desire. I couldn’t resist strawberries and chocolate sauce, with bacon (duh).
Caffè Il Momento – Snag a seat out the front of the shop and enjoy a bit of sunshine with a Flat White.
Lanksroon – Originally on my list for the best place to try Stroopwaffles, we stopped here for a caffeine fix also. Not the top of my list, but worth a mention.
Screaming Beans – Our favourite coffee of the trip. This one is a bit more hidden, with a small shop front. Head up the front steps to enter this cool little café with talented baristas who understand that a Flat White shouldn’t have an inch of foam. The barista was even kind enough to write us a list of her fav coffee shops (Toki, Back to Black, White Label, Lot Sixty One, Sweet Cup).
Café Blond – This café has a quirky vibe, with large lit up letters spelling the café name across the wall, and plates with funny anecdotes along the apposing wall. The coffee was good but not quite strong enough for us. We had actually been aiming to go to CT Coffee & Coconuts, but it was closed, so let me know if you try it!
Burgers & Other Foods
Burger Bar – Here you can choose what type of meat you want on your burger and even how many grams. Choose your cheese, your side and accompanying sauce! They also serve alcohol, score!
Foodhallen – A food hall, obviously. But there’s no KFC here; there are lots of amazing food options, from Vietnamese to Mexican. We eventually gave into our burger obsession and chose The Butcher. I got The Ugly, which was actually served in a tortilla and was so delicious I am drooling right now. Still quite full from breakfast, I sadly couldn’t manage a bubble waffle and ice-cream, which I would have loved to had tried. Spanjer – A cosy restaurant where you can sit right down by the canals. We both got the burrito and salad which was homely and delicious.
Ice Bakery by Nutella – Waffles, Nutella, ice cream… *drools*
Dolce & Gelato – Can definitely recommend the crepes with Nutella, and ice cream obviously.
Sweetness – They do some serious sweets here. And there is seating so you don’t have to run through the streets looking for somewhere to eat your dessert before it melts/goes cold!
Things To Do
Wander the Canals – Did you really go to Amsterdam if you don’t take photos by the canals? Wandering the streets around the Jordaan area is truly beautiful. Stop for a drink at a cute little bar on the street corner and soak up the Amsterdam atmosphere! Café Tabac has a really cool vibe and is a great spot to chill and watch the boats go by.
Visit Dam Square – In the centre of town, Dam Square provides even more great photo ops. There are lots of entertainers here busking for spare change. There’s the young backpacker blowing giant bubbles, the pigeon man with his bag of grain, and several characters dressed up for tourist photos.
Cruise the Canals – Taking a boat ride through the canals is a great way to see Amsterdam and learn a bit about the place! We went with Lovers cruises, choosing a semi-open boat for €16. The cruise is one hour and provides headphones and commentary. If you want to splash a bit more cash, go for a champagne cruise or even a pizza cruise!
Go to a Museum – We visited the Rijksmuseum, which cost us €17.50. While it was quite interesting, I wouldn’t rush back again. Perhaps the Van Gogh museum might have been more our style, but for the cost we could only chose one.
Amsterdam Lookout – When we saw that the A’DAM lookout had a swing off the side of the building we had to go! The rooftop entry was €12.50, and then an extra €5 for the swing. We went to the inside bar about 6pm; before it got too busy, and soaked up the amazing view whilst enjoying our drinks.
The rooftop had an incredible view and big bean bags to relax in. There was also a giant red horse. Why? I have no idea. Did I climb aboard? Of course!
The best part of the evening was the swing. You’re not allowed to take any loose objects on the swing with you, but the staff will take photos for you whilst you ride. It only swings for about 2 minutes, but it is really so much fun, and a great view.
Amsterdam, we will be back!