Amsterdam has been, unexpectedly, one of my favorite European cities so far. The vibe of the city is exciting & lively. You feel like a part of something just by wandering around the streets.
Unlike cities like Paris or Stockholm, Amsterdam is about immersing yourself in the crowd and experiencing the city vibe. There aren’t a million must-see monuments or world-famous sights. Time in Amsterdam is spent walking through the streets, picnicking by the canal, drinking beers at the local pubs and just taking in the exciting city buzz.
Where to stay
Amsterdam can be expensive. So to cut our costs a bit, we decided to book an Air BNB outside the city in Breukelen. Little did we know that the train to get into Amsterdam city costs $15/person round trip. So $30 extra a day just to get to the city. If we had known the trains would be so expensive, we would have put that $30/day towards staying somewhere closer. Once you’re in Amsterdam, you can walk everywhere. I would definitely recommend eliminating the extra cost of transportation and staying in the heart of the city.
Where to eat & drink
Muntplein 5, 1017 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands
The streets of Amsterdam are filled with fry shops. We tried a few and Chipsy King was by far our favorite.
Coffee & Coconuts
Ceintuurbaan 282-284, 1072 GK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Go here for the beachy interior & the coconut coffee.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Rapenburg 18, 1011 TX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Go here for the speakeasy vibes. Also, the bartenders are great. Order the Zombie cocktail – it’s an experience in itself.
Go here for the pancakes (obviously). They are ginormous and come both sweet and savory.
Hannie Dankbaarpassage 47, 1053 RT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Go here for the coolest food court in Europe. So much good food and drink under one roof – you’ll want to try a little of everything.
Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 93HS, 1017 NH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Go here for a homegrown cup of coffee. Off the main road, it’s a quiet place for some mid-day rejuvenation.
Spui 18-20, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Go here when your feet are tired and you want to people watch with a cold beer. We came here almost every afternoon.
There are cheese shops on every corner. Hop into one, sample a few kinds of gouda and get a sandwich to-go to eat by the canal.
What to do & see
Just walking around is honestly the best way to experience Amsterdam. I know it seems aimless. But walking around is the best way to immerse yourself in the vibe of the city.
Pedal Boat Rentals
You’ll quickly learn that Amsterdam is a city of canals. Renting a pedal boat is an affordable, fun way to see the city from the water. WARNING: These are harder to maneuver than they look. But worth it for the memories.
De Pijp is one of Amsterdam’s trendy neighborhoods, full of yummy food and great people watching. Head to Coffee & Coconuts or the Albert Cuyp Market for a fun afternoon away from the tourists.
We walked through these streets on the daily. You’ll find cute shops & iconic food wound through the beautiful canal streets in the heart of Amsterdam.
From the central station, you can take a free ferry ride over to the NDSM wharf to see the more industrial, artsy side of Amsterdam. Once there, the Noorderlicht Cafe is a fun place to grab a beer and party with the locals.
My best piece of advice for visiting Amsterdam is to not have an agenda. There’s nothing you’re going to “miss out on” by not having a plan. Just explore, eat, drink and take in the atmosphere.