Amsterdam City Guide

September 26, 2018

As I mentioned in this post, Jordan and I spent some time in Amsterdam this summer, but today I’ve rounded up my recommendations of where to eat and drink and all the best things to do in case you were going on an autumn trip there.

We stayed just out of the centre, but it was the perfect place to explore the city for the second time around and only a short 15 minute walk to the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Two days isn’t the longest time to spend in a city, so we wanted to see and do as much as we possibly could. Last time I was there in 2013, I did all of the tourist attractions (Anne Frank house, Van Gogh museum, Heineken experience etc.) so this time it was more about exploring new areas, finding cool bars and eating as much as possible which is what we do best.

We arrived in the city and the sun was shining, putting us in the best mood to explore. Once we’d checked in at The Wittenberg headed straight out to get to the know the city even better. Below I’ve listed all the different things that we got up to which will hopefully give you some inspiration for your next trip.

Discover

De Pipj

De Pipj is an area to the South-East of the centre, and one that I’d never been to before. I know a couple of people who stayed in this district last year, and we decided to spend the day discovering the bars and restaurants around this area. It was about a 40-minute walk from our hotel, but it was lovely to walk down all of the canals in the sunshine: There is also a tram stop here and it’s well connected with the rest of the city.

This area is a lot slower pace than the centre, but there is still loads to do. Firstly, the Heineken experience lies just on the outskirts, but my advice would be to book ahead of time to avoid the queues. It is a lot more bohemian and quirky than the city centre and reminded me a lot of Berlin.

There is also a lot of bars and cool places to eat in this area including The Avocado Show, Bakers & Roasters and De Tulp, which were all busy when we visited. You can also easily get to the Rijksmuseum and the I Amsterdam sign from here.

There are a couple of metro stations serving this area, but be warned that you cannot pay with cash when you get on and must pay with a card or buy a travel pass from an outlet beforehand.

Side Streets

I’ve mentioned before that getting lost in a city is one of my favourite things to do, and although it’s quite hard in Amsterdam as everything is linked by the water, we did do a lot of wandering up and down the side streets that were much less touristy. I always feel as though that’s the best way to see the city like a local and experience a different side to the city.

One of the best areas to do this in is De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets) and the Jordaan and Singel district which is west of the centre. The canals are absolutely beautiful around here and there are loads of places to enjoy a drink outside in the sunshine.

Boat Trip

One of my favourite memories of the whole weekend was a boat trip that we took on our last morning there. We went with the Boat Amsterdam company, who take you on a riverboat tour of the canals for 70 minutes, and all drinks are included all for €15. Although it was 10:15 am when we took the trip, Jordan tried to take full advantage of the offer.

If there was a big group of you, I would definitely suggest doing this tour as not only is it incredibly interesting seeing the city from another view (and the crew members are very knowledgeable about the area) the fact that you can have unlimited drinks (you can also have soft drinks as well) is well worth the money.

EAT

Food Hallen

If you know me, you’ll know I am a huge fan of a food market because I love to have the choice, and when it came to researching places to go on our trip, one that kept coming up, again and again, was Food Hallen. We jumped on the metro there on our first day and spent a couple of hours eating and drinking our way around.

The market has loads of different street food vendors, ranging from sushi and burgers to burritos and pizza. I went to Taqueria Lima for tuna and lime tacos, and Jordan got a bowl of pho from a Vietnamese street stall. We also had a portion of pinchos as we were sat in front of them, and I’m a sucker for tapas.

Castillo

Speaking of tapas, on our last evening, we couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat and started having a look for recommended restaurants on Trip Advisor. One that came up again and again was Castillo, right in the centre, which was an authentic tapas restaurant. It had lovely Spanish tiles on the wall and wooden tables with a huge bar filled with different wines and spirits.

We were lucky they had a table as it was a Saturday night and very busy, but they were very accommodating. We ordered a few different dishes and had a jug of Sangria and the whole bill was under €50, and they weren’t stingy with the portion sizes either: a definite must visit if you fancy a taste of Spain in Holland!

Borrl

Just around the corner from The Wittenberg was Borrl, which we walked past a couple of times before heading in. It reminded me of a place you would find in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and they had an extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

Borrl itself is a Dutch term for ‘sharing’ and they have a whole section of the menu dedicated to that. As it was our last morning when we visited, we took advantage of their brunch offering, but next time I visit, I would definitely head there later at night to try some of the other dishes.

Pancakes

If there is one thing you’ll find a lot of in Amsterdam it’s pancakes. On our first night, we were feeling a bit peckish on the way back to the hotel so decided to find somewhere for a sweet treat.

I’d read about The Happy Pig Pancake Shop and we managed to stumble upon it as if by magic so thought we would give it a go. They had a range of toppings including savoury and sweet and even vegan and gluten-free options too.

If you want to do something really different as well, there is the Pancake Boat, which will take you on a cruise tour of the canals whilst serving you all you can eat pancakes – pretty heavenly in my opinion.

Drink

Waterkant

If there’s something that Amsterdam isn’t in shortage of, its places to drink. Another one that we stumbled upon on was a really cool area called Waterkant, which was a disused car park and loading bays that have been transformed into different bars and restaurants alongside the canal.

We ordered a couple of beers and sat by the canal watching the sun set behind the beautiful houses, and it was one of my favourite places from the whole trip. The drinks were really reasonably priced too and the atmosphere is so chilled and different to other areas of the city.

Market

I wanted to give the market another mention here as they had loads of drink places too, including a gin and tonic bar where you could make up your own drink for €10 from their selection of different flavours and garnishes.

We only stayed here for a couple, but it is definitely worth a visit if you are already at the market having food, and the drinks come in huge glasses too – winner winner!

I hope this guide has helped you if you are heading to Amsterdam and given you some inspiration of where to go. It’s such a great city, and there is so much to do and see there, as well as incredible places to eat and drink.

Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you think? 

5 responses to “Amsterdam City Guide”

  1. Lauren says:

    I’m going to Amsterdam in November with my boyfriend so I’m definitely bookmarking this! Those pancakes look amazing, I need some when I go!

    Lauren | http://laurensjourney.com

  2. Anca says:

    Awww, those pancakes. They look so good. I’ve been to Amesterdam, but many years ago, I would love to go there again.

  3. Lauren says:

    I can’t believe I miss Food Hallen when I was there!! Next time I’m definitely going to utilise this post ☺️ That and the Market! I totally agree with going to De Pipj though ☺️

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