Shop, Eat, Play, Stay in Amsterdam

November 8, 2015

The first stop when we cruised with the Marco Polo was beautiful Amsterdam which we had the whole day to explore.  I travel frequently to this location for work however typically in and out in in one day so I don’t always get to see the canal houses and have coffee in the brown cafes.  Never the less, I was tasked by our squad to plan the days activities so here is a little guide to Amsterdam by me!

SHOP  Once you’ve photographed the bike rack outside Central Station head away from Damrak towards these streets; Prinsenlgracht, Keizersgracht, Haarlemmer Dijk, Binnen Oranjestraat, Noorder Markt and Lindenstraat.  This is where all the local independent boutiques are, you’ll get away from all the tourists and the typical high street stores.  Some fun shops we came across were Cow Parade which is full of cow inspired nicknacks raising money for charities and The Otherists which has vintage items alongside various handmade curiosities including ceramic sheep skulls and conker sculptures.  Make sure you take a stop at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum and pick up a bulb in a floating vase from 5euros.  You can keep it packed away on your travels and bring it to life when you get back home.

EAT  Amsterdam can be very hit and miss when it comes to the quality of food.  My regular haunt for dinner is Zaza’s as it only has 12 tables, perfect if you are travelling solo and they change their menu with the seasons.  Sometimes the menu looks strange and you might be put off by the suggested combinations but don’t be as the food is delicious.   For steak and salad try Black and Blue or if you want to eat in a traditional canal house go to De Gouden Reael.  Enjoy a homemade high tea at Maximiliaan, lunch with locals at De Luwte or eat an organic breakfast at Vinnies.

PLAY Amsterdam is one of the safest cities to bicycle in and you can rent a bike from plenty of stores to pedal your day away.  If a walking tour is more your cup of tea try Sandemans.  This tour is free with you paying a tip at the end based on how good you think the tour was.  I really enjoyed it and the guide incredibly informative over the three hours he showed us around the city.

STAY  Not one of the cheapest cities to stay in and I have a few tried and tested price points for you.  Ink Hotel is a 5 star boutique right in the heart of the city housed in an old newspaper office.  The College Hotel is a training location for a 6 star hotel group and where I typically stay when on business.  The staff are lovely and the rooms are beautiful.  Slightly out of the main center but an easy walk, this hotel is more affordable due to the training aspect.  For a B&B option go to West Violet run by Frank and his wired haired dachshund who have turned the bottom two floors of a traditional dutch house into two ensuited rooms and a shared kitchen.  Breakfast is well supplied and can be taken at any time plus it is possible to use the kitchen facilities that include a hob to cook a light supper if you are wanting to save money.  Lastly something I haven’t done but am keen to try is staying on a canal boat!  There are plenty of options on AirBNB here and here.  Let me know if you give it a go.

What are you favourite places to shop in Amsterdam?  I still on the hunt for some good homewares.  Has anyone stayed in a boat on the canal?  It’s now on my bucket list!

PF xo

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