I’ve been coming to this city for work and vacation – and I’m always looking forward to it! The beautiful and special people, the healthy food you get everywhere and that special flair make the city so adorable. Yes, adorable. It’s a like a good friend, with whom you can chill, party and just feel fine. It’s not too big so getting around is easy, by foot, bike or boat. So, let’s look beyond that cheesy clichés:
- Eat the best brunch
Eating healthy is so easy in Amsterdam, you’ll find organic bakeries and juice bars everywhere. One of my favorite spots to sit and enjoy locally made (not always 100% healthy, but that’s your choice…) food is Buffet van Odette. They serve food all day (also breakfast. Yes, all day!) and my favorite time is late breakfast or as many call it: Brunch. Truffle cheese omeletes, vegetarian dishes or simple and delicious sweets – they have it all. Plus a nice view to Prinsengracht. I just found out that they opened a B&B – which looks really cool, too.
- Sleep like a king
Lucky me: On a recent press trip, I had the pleasure to sleep at the Conservatorium hotel. It’s on the more expensive side, but it’s really worth it, even if you stay just for one night. The design is modern, but not overly hip, the rooms turn out to be cosy yet cool and you can feel it’s heritage, like you really feel like being in Amsterdam. You know what I mean? Sometimes, luxury or design hotels feel like they could be anywhere in the world… Moreover, the location is great (super close to the museums quarter) and service is super nice without being stiff. So if you feel like it’s time for a little treat, go here.
Van Baerlestraat 27
- Discover beauty
If you decided for the hotel mentioned above, you’ll be next to one of the best perfumeries of Amsterdam: Skins. This shop is rather simple to describe: They only have the best, all the niche perfumes (Le Labo, Byredo) you’d want, all the cool hair care (Oribe, Mallet) and the best local brands like Marie Stella Maris. This makes a nice souvenir, too: just grab one of the lovely designed hand creams and make not only your beauty-freak-friends but everyone else happy.
Van Baerlestraat 27
- Check selected vintage
Kolifleur is not your average vintage shop – the selection is very special. They sell some jewelry from local designers, some home accessories but also second hand fashion. The pieces are very curated and the selection is not too big – But you’ll find Isabel Marant and Acne-pieces for a good price as well as goodies by Massimo Dutti or Zara. But because it’s so well selected, you’ll get the nice things. Filled with instagramable plants and succulents, this shop is a nice spot for its atmosphere alone.
Frans Halsstraat 35
- Eating out elegantly
Somehow I’m fascinated by greenhouses, I’m not too much into plants (although I like them, of course, what kind of person doesn’t?!) I like the atmosphere that comes with this light filled glasshouses. Maybe because they combine the urban life and nature? Anyway. De Tropen is an elegant café and restaurant right by the Oosterpark. I love the selection of international specialties, trendy dishes (Poké Bowl it is) and that they serve small snacks – so you don’t have to do a full menu night but go there during daytime and just eat a bit and enjoy the sunlight glittering through the big windows.
- Shop handmade
Is it L.A., is it Bali? Sukha feels very much like both… This beautiful, light filled shop offers plenty of pretty things, from fashion to homeware, small beauty pieces to decoration. Selected with love – and all made in sustainable production from all around the world. It’s like soul-shopping – pleasing the eye and the heart, too.
- Drink in the green
Greenery, plants, succulents – it must be a thing in Amsterdam. So many places are filled or somehow devoted to greenery. Like Bar Botanique – I love the chic art deco-ish x mid century interior filled with palms and plants, reminding me a lot of cool Miami Beach hangouts. The two-story cafe/bar is very atmospheric and perfect for an afternoon coffee or evening drink and snacking (they do have some vegan options too). People are kind of hipster-chic, but this can be a good thing, right?
Eerste van swindenstraat 581, Amsterdam.
- Go Noord
This is the neighborhood to go to now. It’s a little off, like most things that are not that touristy but a bit more exciting. You can take a free ferry ride from Centraal Station – easy, right? In Noord, you’ll find a beach, old warehouses filled with galleries and organic cafes and restaurants (like Norderlibht, Cafe de Ceuvel and Pllek) – A little arty, a bit alternative and slightly hip: that’s the vibe here. It’s not a polished place, rather a raw, urban one. There’s a lot to discover and I only got a tiny glimpse of that. You’ll find some more info here.
- Do some market-research
Markets feel very “Netherlands” to me – I can’t explain, but it’s a very authentic vibe coming from the wooden stalls and charming people. I bet there are even more charming place, but I liked the Noordermarkt. This one offers a mix of antique stuff, vintage fashion and very tempting (organic) food-stalls – dressing, living, drinking, eating – what else do you need!? It’s open from 9am on Monday (till 2pm) and Saturdays (till 4pm).
- Find a secret garden
…ok, now that I write about it here it is not so secret anymore. But isn’t it the best to lift a secret? There are plenty hidden squares and gardens in Amsterdam. Artist and students and the young and old meet here. I admit I looked it up in a guide myself, I’m only human and need some input before a trip, too. These gardens and the surrounding houses are called Hofjes and were built for poor widows in the 17th century so they can hang out and chill, or something like that. There are plenty… One you’ll find in Prinsengracht 159, then there is the Begijnhof (Gedempte Begijnensloot), Regenboogliefdehofje (Tuinstraat 100-102), Looyershofe (Nieuwe Looiersstraat 20-40) or Hofje van de Weduwe Roosen (1e Passeerdersdwarsstraat 24-30) – Some are bigger, some smaller – but all have a very calming, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for that short or longer break.