Travel Guide: Amsterdam

ICYMI, I was in Amsterdam earlier this month…I fell in love with the city! I had never been to the Netherlands before, and I can’t believe it took me this long to visit. I would move to Amsterdam in a heartbeat! The lifestyle is so different than what I’m used to, and I can totally get on board.

I wanted to share some of my favourite pics I took while we were away…believe me, there are 100000 more on my desktop. For privacy’s sake, I left my bb nephew out of the photos, but included a few adorable snaps of my future family-in-law (for prosperity, am I right, Marta?)

If you’re travelling to Amsterdam, keep reading – I’m sharing a few of my favourite sights & eats to make your trip planning easier! If you like bread and/or beer, this is the city for you.

WHAT I PACKED

Let’s take a second to talk about clothes.

Y’all, Dutch weather is bizarre to say the least.

Pack layers, and pack for all kinds of weather. Luckily, we’re from Canada, where the weather can be just as messed up. Don’t leave home without the following:

  • Rain jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf
  • Flat shoes (leave them heels at home, chicks. Cobblestone streets are no joke.)
  • Backpack to carry all of the aforementioned items

In terms of style, Amsterdam is v chill. Don’t bother packing your fancy clothes, you won’t need them. I basically packed my fave striped tops, jeans and sweaters, and ended up buying a few new staples that I’ve already worn the crap out of (looking at you, Pull & Bear sneakers!)

 WHERE WE ATE

One of the best pieces of advice I received was from my friend Pat – he suggested I find a patio, order a beer and watch the world go by as often as possible. And that’s what we did! We ate so much delicious food (mostly bread based…) and drank way too much beer (Wieckse Witte is my new love), but it led to the best conversations and some top notch people watching.

TBH we stopped and ate at so many restaurants, it was hard to pick just a few to highlight. Honourable mention goes to:

  • The Irish pub in Rembrandtplein that served us one of the best Irish meals we could have asked for.
  • Dutch Delicacy, for amazing sandwiches on the go.
  • Chipsy King, for providing delicious fries with way too much mayo, day in and day out.

Stach
Not a restaurant, but my new favourite pastry shop. This was the BEST place to stop in and grab a snack before heading out for the day. Stefan’s sister Marta picked up a few delicious looking salads with couscous and veggies, and I fell in love with the coconut macaroons. I also wish I could get my hands on their charcoal lemonade in Canada, because that shit was AWESOME.

Il Panorama
Some of the best pasta I’ve had in a long time! Although, be warned: the stairs to get to the upper part of the restaurant are practically vertical. Not entirely sure how we got a stroller up and down…

Metropolitain 
This was the first place we stopped for a drink when we arrived in the city, and it was the best intro to Amsterdam. Beautiful patio, free wifi, and delicious food! The avocado/egg toast pictured above was from Metropolitain, and their French fries were also to die for. (Please note we ate our weight in fries on this trip…I blame my nephew).

Rembrandt Corner
We came across this place completely by accident and it turned out to be one of our favourite places! They had this super cool way of alerting the waiter you were ready to order (a light that when turned upside down turns red) and they had cheese sticks. Enough said. But for real, I had some really yummy pasta and tried my first bitterballen at this restaurant. I really liked it! PSA – definitely try bitterballen when in Amsterdam.

‘t Tuinfeest
This restaurant had the coziest atmosphere! We tried sitting on the patio but with a sudden downpour of rain (as is typical of Amsterdam…) we scurried inside to enjoy our wine and food. With a free glass of wine from the bar due to an overpour and a superfood salad to cleanse my body from the aforementioned bread based diet, I left feeling SO European.

Villa Nieuwmarkt
Another accidental find, as it was my turn to make an executive decision and find a random restaurant in the area. DELICIOUS pizza, and Marta had some cheese fondue that ended up being the perfect dip for my pizza. Don’t judge me, cheese h8rz.

The Seafood Bar
Our last meal….sigh. But for real this was one of the best meals on our trip. I am a major seafood lover, and The Seafood Bar did not disappoint. We ordered a few mixed plates to share and, paired with a few bottles of wine, this messy dinner was full of all kinds of buttery goodness.

 

WHAT WE DID

Aside from eating my weight in bread & beer, we tried our best to see everything that Amsterdam had to offer. Here are some highlights of what you should definitely check out while in the city!

Anne Frank House
…lol, jk. Marta’s hubby Kirk and I tried to go right for 9am to get in…it was booked until 3:30pm with ticket holders. Oops. So if you want to visit Anne Frank House, deeeeffffiinnniiitellyyyyy book ahead of time online. I do wish we could have gone through because I have heard it is an amazing experience, but it didn’t ruin my trip that we couldn’t see it. Kirk and I ended up grabbing breakfast on a patio and watching the city wake up over a croissant and some coffee. It’s crazy how different the city looks before the crowds wake up…I highly recommend it!

Rijksmuseum
Ah, something we DID buy tickets for in advance. And it was totally worth it! Granted, Stef and I aren’t the type to take 5 hours at a museum and read every placard. We did a lap, looked at some pretty stuff, and were good to go. This museum is def worth a visit, though…#art!

The Rijksmuseum is also where you can find the Iamsterdam sign, which was packed with tourists…go early, or during a rainstorm (like we did!). The gardens around the museum are also stunning. There are tulips, ivy covered archways and a fountain that you can get in the middle of and proceed to get stuck (not speaking from experience or anything…)

Boat Tour of the Canals
This was probably my favourite part of our entire trip. We took a private boat tour that lasted appx. 2 hours, and our driver gave us the best, in depth look at Amsterdam from the water! It was such a nice way to see the city at the beginning of our trip, and we even went by the zoo and saw some giraffes right up close to the fence. I learned way more on this trip than I could have learned from a public, group cruise – I’m so grateful that we got to do an intimate tour!

Red Light District
While you can walk through the Red Light District at any time of day (and trust, we did.), I highly suggest taking a stroll through at night on the weekend. It is like a completely different Amsterdam, and if you love drunk-people-watching as much as I do, you will have the BEST time. We stopped at a few patios to grab a beer, obviously had some Chipsy King, and walked up and down the alleys. Keep your purse close and don’t talk to strangers (I was only offered drugs/pills a few times, honest) and observe the chaos!

My best advice – RELAX! Amsterdam is a stunning city with so much to do and see, but sometimes it’s nice to take a walk without a plan. Stroll through the shopping district, sit on a patio in the Spui, and take the time to enjoy the chilled out, European lifestyle.

  

  

PS – 7 Day Iceland Itinerary and My Go-To Look: Amsterdam Edition!

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  • Thanks for sharing your travel guide! I’m planning a trip this summer to either Amsterdam or the south of France, so this was great inspiration… and a reminder that I need to finish my travel guide from my trip to Iceland last month!
    Sam xo
    http://www.the-current-classic.com