Amsterdam – Europe’s most relaxing city
We visit Amsterdam a couple times per year. Maybe it’s because of the kindness of the Dutch people or the relaxing atmosphere, or the different range of activities you can do there, but we just love this city. We were able to test a couple of hotels, restaurants and bars, and we are constantly looking for new places. We can’t go to Amsterdam without sightseeing of course, but we prefer our way: just walking around and googling the things we’ve just passed.
Amsterdam is famous for the legalization of cannabis. Its normal that you notice or even visit the coffee shops over there. There are so many coffee shops in Amsterdam. Some of them are just for tourists, and you barely see locals but some of them are used by locals as well, and offer a terrace for smoking, besides the crowded inside.
The changes of getting hit by a bike instead of a car is so much bigger, so please watch out because the bikes are really everywhere in the city.
We headed towards central station on our second day in Amsterdam. Discovering the city by walking and taking a boat trip was our original plan, but unfortunately the weather didn’t play along. It started to rain very heavily and our only option was to go to the Sex museum near to the central station and the dom. Honestly, this place was one of the coolest museums we have been so far, and entry is only 4€. Definitely worth a visit!
House of Bols – Cocktail & genever experience
To be honest, we had to google the word genever because we didn’t know what it was. Genever is a predecessor to the style of gin and has its roots in the Netherlands.
the production process is presented in several rooms, as well as the various “Bols” flavors, which can be smelled. At the end of the tour, a cocktail can be enjoyed in the bar, 1 cocktail is included per ticket.
For those who are looking for innovative sightseeing, this tour is highly recommended. The length of it was perfect – not too long and not too short. The location has a lot to offer and 16 € entrance (including cocktail) also inexpensive.
The hotel was high level and includes a pool, a sky bar, a gym and an indoor parking of course. The parking is 25€ per day, which is pretty expensive. Although we have to say that the nice receptionist made us a special price: 30€ for 3 days (we lost our ticket anyways).
We have paid 280€ for 2 nights in total, which was fine compared to the offered comfort and luxury. Der staff was very professional and friendly. The hotel is located on the west side of Amsterdam, the closest tram station is 5 min away, and 20 min to the city center.
This Hotel was our favorite. The location is just awesome, directly at the Prinsengracht. Everything important (restaurants, bars, shopping) is within walking distance.
If you arrive by car: you need to park your car at the central station (1.2 km away) because there is no parking possibility in front of the hotel. 1 day in the parking is around 13€.
The entry of the hotel is hidden: You can access it via the restaurant il Forno.
We got a room on the top floor, directly under the roof and it was simply amazing: cozy, clean and very modern decorated. Seriously, we would go back any time. The price for one night is 130€.
Zoku as a very interesting hotel concept: it’s not a typical hotel in a traditional style, it’s more like a shared spaces / short term living concept. The hotel is located perfectly, only 10 minutes walking distance to the famous Rembrandtplein, we were super happy to basically just walk everywhere. The closest metro station is located approximately 200m away.
The hotel offers a supervised parking, but with a daily fee of 30€ its quite expensive. Due to the hotels concept, that the guest is treated like a local and not as a traditional guest or tourist, the hotel was able to cut down a reception and staff: Pre-check in must be done online one day prior arrival, the regular check is via a fully automated machine, everything (including charging the key card) was done by us. The open bar area is also used as a shared living room and was lovely designed. Since food and beverages must be ordered via self-service, the empty china had to be returned as well. Unfortunately, this concept didn’t work out very well: due to the fact that there is no staff, some guests didn’t return their plates and the tables were still dirty. We tried the brunch for 17,50: A very disappointing experience. The “egg” brunch contained 2 blanched eggs, one sort of cheese and one sort of ham + raw vegetables. Way too overprices for what it was.
The lofts it selves are stunning: big, bright windows, clean and furnished with cool stuff. There is nothing to complain about. Cleaning of the rooms is only every other day, which would not be a problem for us if somebody would have informed us prior. This hotel is 200€ per night, which was simply too expensive, compared to what it has to offer. The concept is cool and hip but if you take a closer look, you might notice some things which can easily be improved.
Besides the big shops on the main shopping road, you are able to find some smaller ones in the roads between the town canals. The style is very unusual but they offer you some really cool designer stuff.
Saturday is usually a very busy day and the shopping streets are crowded.
The local markets are on Saturdays as well, those markets include all kind of Dutch flowers, local specialties like cheese and fruits. Very nice alternative to the crowded shopping streets. One market is in front of the Hotel Cappucino at Prinsengracht.
Wonder where to find locals who celebrate after-work and applause 2 dudes kissing on stage? Yes, at Walkabout Shooters in Amsterdam. Although the bar looks a little bit trashy, good vibes are guaranteed, and the music is amazing. They offer 2 happy hours on Friday, the price for a pint is 6€.
Located next to Spui there is a bar called Poolhole. The bar is super cool designed and decorated, looks pretty crazy and innovative. A good beer to get a cheap bear, we paid around 2,50€ for one.
We have been to several bars but Escape, located at Rembrandtplein is one of the best ones. Rembrandtplein is a very good partying address, there are a lot of pubs, bars and clubs around.
De heeren van Aemstel
The highlight of one of our evenings was a place called De Heeren van Aemstel, which reminded us of a little concert hall. They offered all different kinds of live-music and you can enjoy the music in combination with an ice-cold bear. This place is frequently visited by locals. We had a great evening there.
This lesbian bar is worth to mention here. An absolutely amazing place. The vibes are just manifique and the audience is great. The bar offers a nice terrace where cocktails can be enjoyed at their best. We really recommend this lesbian bar, you will find more details in our conclusion regarding the event we attended.
Food & drinks
Breaks during Sightseeing or shopping are very important for us. We usually grab a drink or eat something small.
A small cute vintage styled cafe, next to cafe de Paris. We ate an excellent avocado sandwich with bacon and eggs for 9€. This cafe is very popular by locals around lunchtime.
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 50
This burger restaurant is close to Kreizgracht. The burgers are served with a special bread, the meat is very moist, well spiced and perfectly roasted. We both love burgers and tried a couple of restaurants in different city’s but this place comes in second place, after Lou’s diner. The only downside: The owner doesn’t have a license to sell alcohol inside, but there is the option to order takeaway and take the beer with you.
Going out for brunch and breakfast is very common in the Netherlands. Pancakes! Amsterdam is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Dutch pancakes. The restaurant is super small but the menu offers all kind of different pancakes with toppings.
We ordered American pancakes with maple syrup and original Dutch pancakes with lemon and sugar and both dishes were excellent. For those, who prefer solid food: try pancakes with bacon, eggs and cheese.
Very important: they don’t take cards – cash only.
Pizzeria casa di david
We found this place per coincidence, but we were glad we did. They have a nice terrace in front of the restaurant and I would recommend eating outside if the weather is good. Please make your you book a table in advance if you go there after 19:00 because they are usually full. The staff is very capable; the wine and food is excellent. A very good place for pizza and lasagna.
At first sight, Tratoria Caprese looked very welcoming, the door was covered with several trip advisor stickers and we thought it’s a cute Italian place. Well, unfortunately we have been highly disappointed! The risotto was very expensive and was comparable with a kid’s portion. Same happened with the noodles, which were supposed to be a main course. When the waiter came, and asked us if we liked it, we told him that we are still hungry and he gave us the strangest look ever and didn’t even offer a refill or a dessert or anything. We left hungry and had to pay for the Limoncello afterwards as well. NOT recommendable!
We attended a pretty cool Coyote Ugly party in Vivelavie. The evening can be described in one word: unbelievably cool! The Djane was pretty amazing and the coyote girls smoking hot. We really regret not staying a couple more parties over the next weekends. The atmosphere was just great, we talked to some really cool locals. It was so good to see that the bar was actually crowded and that everybody was dancing and partying. Amsterdam is a very open minded city and there is absolutely no discrimination against homosexual people. The rest of the world should learn a lesson from the Netherlands as an example.
You can find the video of our trip here