Amsterdam has been on the top of my list of cities to visit for YEARS now, and I’m so happy to say it has surpassed all my high expectations!
It’s unlike any city I’ve ever visited: It’s clean, super vegan-friendly, and more people ride bikes than drive cars. The buildings are so charming, I found myself letting out an “awwww!” everywhere I looked. I’ve never felt so safe and comfortable in a new city before either.
If Amsterdam isn’t on your list to visit yet, add it ASAP if you’re looking for a chill city with great vibes and culture! So far if I were to live in any European city, Amsterdam would be it!
We only got to experience this incredibly charming city for 4 days, but I got a lot of good stuff for you guys in this travel guide, so get ready! A few of my friends have studied abroad here, plus you guys gave me a lot of great suggestions too, so I have compiled the best of the best for an ah-mazing trip here, no matter how long!
Vegan Junk Food Bar – Vegans rejoice, this place is exactly what it sounds like! You can see what I ordered in my video here where I go here for lunch & drool over the whole menu! Spoiler: You’ll want everything pictured above.
Pluk – IMO this is the most Instagrammable brunch spot in the city! They have a good selection of veg options too. Check out my Amsterdam Instagrammable Spots Guide here for more of my recs!
Mook Pancakes – Another breakfast spot everyone raves about! We didn’t stop here, but they serve American style pancakes in a fun hip-hop atmosphere.
Ree 7 – Come here for breakfast, lunch, or to get one of those insane freakshakes you may have seen on Instagram! GORGEOUS interior & is next to Jordaan neighborhood.
The Avocado Show – For all you avocado connoisseurs like myself, you need to try this place! Every meal has avocado in it & is presented so beautifully!
Bagels & Beans – Looking for a quick, inexpensive breakfast? These are all over the place, and there’s one right next to the museumplein. We stopped here before hitting up the Van Gogh Museum, and they have a variety of bagels and toppings! I got the Oatie bagel with hummus, tomato & rocket, a coffee and green juice for under $10! Score.
DUTCH EATS YOU GOTTA TRY:
Stroopwaffel – I mean, you gotta try the stroopwaffel while you’re here! The best way I can describe it: thin waffle cookies with a caramel syrup between them, topped with chocolate, candies, or nuts! Try van Wonderen by the city center or Albert Heijns store brand!
Bitterballen – So these are definitely not vegan, but if you eat meat you can order these at pretty much any bar! For you veg heads, you can get your fix too at the Vegan Junk Food Bar! I tried both kinds at the Vegan Junk Food Bar, and they were delicious. I guess they are normally described as fried balls of…beefy gravy? Okay I don’t know if that sounds appetizing to you but everyone seems to love ‘em so give them a go!
Winkel 43 – Order the appeltaart for one of the best apple pies ever!
Pannekoken – Another Dutch classic! A lot of places serve American-style pancakes, so make sure you find a Pannekoken house to get some that are authentic! The Dutch like to eat theirs for dinner!
Poffertjes – While I only had the pleasure of smelling these wafting through the streets and in Albert Cuypmarkt, these are similar to mini doughnuts!
Hannekes Boom – If you’re of drinking age, YOU HAVE TO COME HERE! I won’t take no for an option. It’s a college-age/young adult crowd and right on the water with a big outdoor area and lots of seating. It’s the perfect spot on a sunny or summer day for a good time & it’s not touristy!
Roest – Another awesome non-touristy spot on the water!
De Biertuin – Known for their huge beer list and spacious patio!
Brouwerij – A brewery in a big windmill! So adorable! Come here around happy hour, as they close early at 8pm!
Chicago Social Club – Smaller, less busy, but sometimes selective on who they let in. It’s best to know who’s performing that night apparently.
WHERE TO STAY:
I always like to give a few suggestions here, depending on what kind of traveller you are! If it’s your first time here, or if you want to be in the heart of it all and not have to walk super far everyday, look for a hotel as close to the city center as possible.
If you prefer to be away from all the tourists or stay somewhere a little quieter, I would recommend checking out either De Pijp or Jordaan neighborhoods. An Airbnb in these areas would be so charming! You’ll have to do some walking (or biking!) to get to the touristy areas/attractions, but you’ll be away from the madness, yet close to a bunch of cafés, bars, and restaurants. The Albert Cuypmarkt is in De Pijp as well!
WHAT TO DO & SEE:
Rent bikes – It’s the Dutch thing to do! There are so many bikers though, you gotta keep an eye out so you don’t get hit! Great way to see the city!
Vondelpark – Visit Vondelpark one afternoon, it’s the biggest park in the city! Bring a picnic or a sketchbook to enjoy a nice day, or bike around here too! The Vegan Junk Food Bar is close to here too!
Albert Cuyp Market – Stroll through this market in the De Pijp neighborhood to grab some bites of food and shop around!
Museumplein – Here you’ll find the main museums surrounded by a gorgeous park! I HIGHLY recommend the Van Gogh Museum! He’s Dutch, and it’s so well done! The Rijksmuseum is absolutely gorgeous as well, and MOCA currently has a BANKSY museum which I’m so bummed I didn’t have time to check out! If you like photography, you’ll love the FOAM Museum as well!
Anne Frank House – Make sure you check the website here to book your tickets in advance, they seem to be reserved up to two weeks! If you forget or are on a last minute trip, check the site for last minute available tickets on the day of! They seem to pop up throughout the day, so if you have some flexibility, you should definitely do this!
The canals – I mean, obviously! You won’t have to look for them, they’re flowing all throughout the city. Prinsegracht is the most famous one, but I loved Herengracht or Brouwersgracht for photos, as there are way less people around.
The Fault In Our Stars Bench – If you’re a fan of the film, you gotta recreate the iconic scene on this bench!
Have a picnic – Either in Vondelpark or on the canal at sunset! You can find pretty much all you need at the Albert Heijns supermarkets that are everywhere!
Canal Boat Ride – There are SO many you can choose from, from paddleboats to dinner or sunset cruises, and they’re the best way to see the city! Stop by the store before your cruise to grab a bottle of wine and snacks for the ride!
Bloenmarkt – The only floating flower market!
CAIT’S TRAVEL TIPS:
-Download the Google Translator app on your phone ahead of time, and download the Dutch language so you can use it without Wi-Fi. This SAVED ma life!! You can take a photo of any sign/menu or just hold your phone camera up to it, and it will translate it to English (or whatever language you want). You can also just type in the word to have it translated or spoken out loud as well. Plus it’s FREEEEE!
-Be alert when you’re walking around so you don’t get hit by a biker! If they’re ringing their bell at you, let them pass! (I wasn’t paying attention and almost got hit like twice…MA B!)
-Walk or bike to get a real feel for the city. There’s so much you can miss by taking a taxi/uber or public transportation, plus you’ll save some major cash!
-We walked 20k+ steps a day here, so bring at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes, socks, and Band-Aids just in case! I wore these Crocs (they’re seriously so cute & comfy and I never got a blister) and these platform Converse I wear on all my travels!
–9292.nl is a super convenient website if you need help with public transit! They also have an English option available & they have a free app too!
-Make sure you have the right adaptor for your electronics! I thought mine I got for my UK trip would work here, but it didn’t. This is the one you’ll need!
Have you been to Amsterdam? What are your favorite spots? Let me know!