I think it goes without saying that Amsterdam is a city with plenty of heritage and character, but it’s not until you step foot on their turf that it becomes so apparent. The streets are lined with beautiful bikes, terrace houses frame every inch of the canals as well as monumental buildings scattered throughout the city. You can so easily lose yourself in the spider web of canals that will make you want to walk for years. And the people; ever so relaxed and nonchalant, you can’t help but become immersed in the culture and adopt the Amsterdam way.
Amsterdam is surrounded by over 100 hundred kilometres of canals, which were developed between the 14th – 17th centuries. These canals are a huge part of the city landscape and have become a big attraction to Amsterdam; they’re one of the most popular ways to see the city and are a desired destination for those with a house boat.
It kind of goes without saying, you can’t really go to Amsterdam and not visit one of their historic museums; Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum and the Heineken Experience (to name a few), but the highlight was Anne Frank House. Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary in this very spot, and it was such an incredible feeling to go inside what was her family’s hideout during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam in World War II. If you don’t want to endure hours of queues, I recommend heading along earlier in the day and getting in before the mad rush. Although trust me when I say, it’s well worth the wait.
If you’re a sucker for a great coffee and primo eggs Benedict, Amsterdam is the place for you. In my time there, I stumbled across many a cafe where the menu itself was enough enticement to walk through that door and take a seat. If you’re looking for a quick and relatively cheap fix then you have to check out G’s: really nice place, located in Jordaan – not only is the food great, the staff are super friendly and they have the best breakfast beats in town.
For something a little closer to home, check out Bakers and Roasters. This wee gem is, and I quote, “a New Zealand style cafe served with a heavy dose of Brazil.” Just how I like it! The two guys who own it absolutely nailed the concept; from the decor to the food on the table. If you manage to make it there, I highly recommend the Salmon and Eggs Benedict stack– my mouth is watering just at the thought of it! (And if you’re desperate for a bit of home they serve L&P too).
Oh, the shopping
Living in London, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love a good ol’ shop at H&M or Zara, but the shops in Amsterdam sort of give London a run for their money. There are never-ending streets dotted with incredible jewellers, boutiques and vintage stores. You really are spoilt for choice and will no doubt return home with a handful of goodies. My favourite areas were most definitely De 9 Straatjes and Jordaan.
Time for a bevy
I think it goes without saying that the nightlife in Amsterdam is not for the faint hearted but there are plenty of things to make your night eventful without getting stuck in the red light district. I found a haven in a bar called Hannekes Boom – right in the middle of Oosterdoksdoorgan (right by Central station). On a nice day at sunset, this really is the place to be. Set up camp on one of the picnic tables outside, crack open a bottle of bubbles and let the good times roll. And if you’re hungry make sure you try their meatballs, they’re to die for!
My desire for wanderlust has taken me to many a place thus far, but it’s safe to say this was my favourite one by a country mile. If you haven’t been already, then make sure you add it to the bucket list – you won’t be disappointed.