Must See Places in Amsterdam

This is the second time we have been to Amsterdam in just over six months. We remember the first time we told people we were heading there and they just couldn’t believe we hadn’t already been.

After visiting, neither could we! Our second time there, really cemented our love for this city. This guide is complied of places we visited on our first visit and second trip combined. It’s by no means comprehensive, there are still so many places to see.

Keukenhof Flower Fields

This is the main reason we booked a three-day trip this April, sadly we were a little too early to see the tulip fields in full bloom. There is a live feed of flower field updates here, however, we rented bikes from the Keukenhof car park and saw some awe-inspiring hyacinth fields. If you are heading there in the next couple of weeks we think you’re going to hit tulip gold!

The gardens themselves are beautiful, but akin to visiting Leicester Square on a weekend (very busy). So if this is on your bucket list we’d suggest getting up early. We got a coach from the airport, and saved on our entry ticket by purchasing our transport at the same time. Remember the gardens are only open from March-May each year.

Food

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Gs Brunch Boat
Apparently there are over 150 canals in Amsterdam, and whilst you’ll ride or walk besides so many of them, the best way to see the city is on them! We combined our canal tour with our favourite hobby, BRUNCH! Thanks to DesignLoveFest for this one. G takes his boat out on a Friday, Saturday & Sunday, three times a day. You will need to book in advance, of which you can do so here.

Tolhuistuin
This is also a free ferry ride from the back of Central Station, and was one of the best meals we had whilst we were in Amsterdam. We did have several G&Ts in the sunshine, so we’d like to offer a disclaimer if you return to Tolhuistuin and aren’t as impressed as us. We ordered lots of dishes and shared them with friends, the building itself hosts lots of events and screenings so make sure you take a look around whilst you’re there.

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CT Coffee & Coconuts
This recommendation was presented to us as ‘a Pinterest board brought to life’ (thanks @gonefieldtrip & @beccasaud) and it really was! Set in a converted three-story cinema, this was all our breakfast dreams brought to life. We had the Full CT, we’d have happily gone back for lunch and dinner / dinner and tea (north or south divide, pick your combo) as the food was so fresh and delicious! And the setting was perfect, we’d highly recommend.

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Food Hallen
On our most recent trip we travelled with a group of 8, what can we say finding people to come and visit flower fields with you doesn’t need a hard sell. Food Hallen is exactly what it sounds like, a hall full of food. What it really should be called is Hall ‘full of temptation, delicious treats and one of the best gin bars we’ve ever visited’. Pitch up hungry, and early-ish to eat your way around the stalls, we stayed for a few hours trying to sample each one – an impossible task, but we like a challenge.

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Albert Cuyp Market
A market in De Pijp, where we ate some amazing local food. Including lots and lots of cheese. Well worth a visit! Find out about days and times here. 

NDSM
There are free ferries that leave from the back of central station over to the other side of Amsterdam that you can see on the map. One part of it is called NDSM, which is an abandoned shipping yard full of interesting places to explore. We sailed over there on both visits as it really provides a different perspective to the city.

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Noorderlicht
This place is good for lounging in the sunshine also, we only ordered nachos, as they didn’t seem to be serving much else. But head over to relax with locals after visiting the flea market (see below). Visit their site to see what is going on when, we saw some amazing live music there.

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IJ Hallen Flea Market
Apparently one of the biggest in Europe! We know we’ve said this once already, but get here early. It starts at 9:30am and entry is €5. Also sounds obvious, but take cash with you. There is the weird and wonderful here, sadly lots of furniture that we couldn’t quite figure out to get home. But we got a few vintage blouses, totalling less than €10, which made us very happy. More info can be found here. 

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Laura Dols
There’s a lot of vintage in Amsterdam, and we stand by the fact European vintage often has a wider selection than what we find in the UK. Thrifting and market stalls will pull up some gems, however if you’re after a more carefully curated selection at reasonable prices head to Laura Dols! They have a beautiful bridal selection too if you’re in the market for something for your special day. The clutch bags are meticulously organised, and we purchased from here on both of our trips to the city.

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Kitsch Kitchen
We bet you’ve heard us wax lyrical about Kitsch Kitchen on Instagram before now. Last summer we purchased so much from here, we had to return in our car on our last day in Amsterdam to pick up our ‘essential’ purchases. These included a Mexican rug, hand painted tin bowls, vases, salt and pepper shakers…we don’t think we left much for anyone else. On our return this year we happily see they have really developed their own label collection and again bought more things than we needed. Upon reflection we really regret not buying that Flamingo Piñata….

Other Places - Bogortuin
Amsterdam has a few beaches, however these are a lengthy train ride away. If things hot up in the city, then head to one of the urban beaches, this one is known to the locals as ‘Bogor Beach’. Last summer we stripped down to our bikinis and jumped into the river along with many locals to cool down. Take refreshments with you as there aren’t too many places near by, it’s the perfect excuse to pack a continental lunch (read: bread, crisps with sliced meats and cheeses – our favourite).

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Westerpark
Another local hotspot on a sunny day. We biked through lots of picnics, and groups of friends and families celebrating the hot weather and birthdays. The park houses a theatre, a cinema, an exhibition space and even an events stage. Discover more here. 

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Also check out…
Sadly we didn’t have time to visit these places. But they all came highly recommended by friends who have visited them before. So take a look and let us know how you get on!
Hotel Goudfazant Cafe Modern | Gartine Red Restaurant | Van Gough Museum | De Weldaad

Top Tips

Getting Around
Bike is arguably the best way, the bike paths are separate to the road mostly. And where it isn’t, the bikes generally seem to have the right of way. You can rent a bike for around €10 a day, we loved seeing the city this way!

If bikes aren’t your thing, then the trams are the next best option. They run often and all over town, you can get a City Pass for 1,2 or 3 days. You must tap in and out with your passes (not like on London buses), or you can pay cash on entry. A single trip was €2.90 when we visited last week. From the airport to our hotel we used Sprinter trains, and these were included within our City Passes, however you can only get to and from the airport once with this pass. SO if you are getting a bus from the airport to Keukenhof, you’ll need to pay for a separate train journey, otherwise your pass expires.

Time Zone
Amsterdam is GMT +1

Currency
Euros, generally most things are slightly cheaper than the UK. Especially if you’re used to London prices.

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Pllek
Pllek was recommended to us by some local friends, it’s an industrial beach where you can happily while away a few hours in the sunshine. We visited last summer so can’t recall what we ate, but we just remember it being really good food!

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Shops - Nuvo Niche
This shop! We were in here for an hour we’re sure. When you see the size of it you’ll be impressed. However this mother and daughter outfit quite simply have THE BEST taste. They have local designers, sat alongside imported designers from LA you’ve never heard of but will soon be your new favourites. They also stock friends of Betty, Free People. Spare some room in your luggage for a treat or two from here, we fell head over heels for dutch ceramists, &Klevering. You can also buy a small selection on their online store. 

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Love Stories
There are so many local designers, and Love Stories is a no exception, set up by fashion and interior stylist Marloes Hoedeman in 2014. Love Stories is home to the dreamiest lingerie which will make you want to throw those grey ‘but loveable’ pants you’ve owned for more years than you care to count, straight in the bin. There are so many local designers, and Love Stories is a no exception, set up by fashion and interior stylist Marloes Hoedeman in 2014. Love Stories is home to the dreamiest lingerie which will make you want to throw those grey ‘but loveable’ pants you’ve owned for more years than you care to count, straight in the bin.

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Wildernis
This is near Food Hallen if you want to kill two birds with one stone. It’s a botanical shop that sells lots of things you might not have room to take home with you, but it is worth popping in for small trinkets and ideas on how to house even more plants at home. Wildernis also run workshops if you’re in town for a little longer than a few days.

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Botanical Gardens
As if we hadn’t quite seen enough flowers after visiting Keukenhof, we decided to visit Amsterdam’s Botanical Gardens. Entry was €8 and whilst quite small was very enjoyable and peaceful! The kitchen looked like it was cooking up a storm, we didn’t stay for anything to eat but we’d love to know if you’ve eaten here and what you thought.

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We Stayed
These two hotels were out of the centre of town, and much nearer the airport, however this was no problem. We stayed in Citizen M last year and biked into the centre, but there was another area nearby (the hotel has lots of places it recommends) with good places to eat. This time round we stayed in Motel One and used the number 4 tram to get into the centre, and the cool neighbourhood of De Pijp was a twenty minute walk away.

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Be sure to discover more of our travels by checking the hashtag #BettyVoyage on Instagram.

TravelCharlotte Jacklin