Amsterdam is a brilliant place for a city break; there is an abundance of museums and galleries, great places to eat and drink and the people are super friendly. I loved the atmosphere in this city and pretty much everything is accessible on foot. Alternatively, you can hop on the tram or even better go Dutch and hire a bike (my personal favourite and one of the highlights of the trip!)
I stayed at the Sir Albert Hotel in De Pijp which was a brilliant location to be in. The hotel is right next to the Albert Cuyp Market (check out Wally’s Waffles!) and numerous little bars and restaurants. De Pijp has a great neighbourhood feel to it. The hotel rooms and service were excellent and I would definitely recommend a stay there.
The absolute best thing about Amsterdam is the architecture. I fell in love with it – it’s so charming and higgilty piggilty. The photos below don’t even begin to capture how the buildings fall into each other spill over like a giant wobbly jelly! I loved the little pulleys at the top of the buildings to manoeuvre furniture in and out of windows:
You are completely spoiled for choice when it comes to museums and galleries in Amsterdam. Here are some of my highlights. The collection at the The Rijksmuseum is fantastic – from old Masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer etc) to modern pieces by De Stijl and historical artefacts.
The museum re-opened in 2013 after a 10 year rennovation project. The atrium is really breathtaking and such a contrast to the exterior of the building:
I studied history of art at university, so I was really excited to see a lot of these paintings!
Vermeer’s View of Houses in Delft & The Milkmaid:
I loved Amsterdam’s photography museum, Foam. When I visited there was a really interesting exhibition by Japanese artist, Nobuyoshi Araki – Photography for the afterlife: Alluring hell. I loved the beautiful photos he took of his late wife, documenting their relationship, marriage, honeymoon and her death.
I adore cats, so a visit to the Kattenkabinet was top of my list of things to do in Amsterdam! The Kattenkabinet commemorates the cat, John Pierpont Morgan (1966-1983), who was the companion of the museum’s founder, Bob Meijer. If you are a fellow lover of all things kitty cat, it’s a must! The museum houses a small collection of paintings, objects and other interesting cat-related items (including a mummified cat!)
I loved the slightly freaky ans spooky nature of the place. I got some nice posters from the gift shop too and there was a tiny little kitten playing in the reception area – perfect!
I also visited the Van Gogh Museum which was fantastic. There were lots of other places I didn’t manage to get to but it’s nice to know that I can do this the next time I visit. It’s worth getting a museum card if you’re planning to go to a few museums and galleries. It’s also valid for a year so it gives you the perfect excuse for a second trip!
I love going out for breakfast, especially when I’m on holiday. There were two places that I absolutely loved. The first one was Little Collins, a nice little spot for food and drinks, with a Melbourne-inspired menu. I tried the cinnamon French toast with pink grapefruit, fruit compote and mascarpone. I also tried the beet cured salmon, kale and celeriac rosti with a poached egg, crème fraiche and horseradish. Both were delicious but the cinnamon and grapefruit combo was the winner!
I also had brunch at Bakers & Roasters, a Kiwi style cafe with Brazilian influences. I loved the vibe of this place and the food was super tasty. I tried the banana bread French toast with banana marmalade, bacon and blueberries (I was on holiday afterall!) and the veggie breakfast – eggs, grilled haloumi, potatoes, garlicky spinach, mushrooms and relish. There was a great choice of juices and cakes on offer too.
You can’t go to Amsterdam without sampling some of the local beer! I loved Brouwerij’t IJ brewery. You can take a tour of the brewery, enjoy sampling their products or both! All beers on offer are brewed in Amsterdam and are unpasturised and unfiltered. I loved the tasting beers, which came with smoked sausage and cheese – a heavenly combination. The brewery is right next to a pretty windmill which I got quite excited about!
Foodhallen is a cool place to hang out, especially if the weather isn’t great. It houses market stalls and shops from independent sellers, a great food hall and bar and a cinema! I got an amazing Bánh mì from Viet View.
I am always on the look out for cool signage when I visit cities. Here are a few of my top spots:
And here are some slightly more random spots:
Check out my other city guides on the blog!