Amsterdam is all about canals. The whole city was clearly constructed like a spiderweb and the spinning threads are the waterways, which make the city so unique.
I’ve been to Amsterdam more than once but my favourite stay was at a Houseboat hostel. When you stroll about the picturesque streets you’ll see that the canals aren’t just empty confluent streams but rather living spaces for a lot of people – boatpeople.
So when it came to decide where to stay I was totally in love with the idea of living on a boat for a few days. There a plenty of pretty houseboats which you can book as your temporary home. We booked the “Southern Comfort“, which was only ten to fifteen minutes walk from the centre and which had two rooms, a shared kitchen and bathroom. The owner, Yona, was really nice and helpful. Besides: the fridge was always filled to the bursting point with lots of healthy and delicious foods, so we were able to do breakfast for ourselves, which was really nice.
The experience to live on a boat is really incomparable, because when it’s windy (and it is windy very often in Amsterdam! ☺) the whole boat starts to sway to and fro with the waves, which I think was really cool.
So when you are looking for a special experience for your stay I would totally recommend you to book your stay on one of these beautiful boats.
First of all: there a a lot of really nice opportunities to have lunch in Amsterdam. Especially in the realm of the 9 straatjes you’ll see nice cafés and restaurants at every corner. Anyway, I would really like to recommend you to go to “The Prins Heerlijk Sandwichshop“, which is a tiny spot in the south of Amsterdams centre. They serve a lot of great sandwiches, burgers, even breakfast (!) and of course the famous Dutch pancakes, which are called pannenkoekke, there. Charactaristic for Amsterdam are also the huge windows every small canal house has and so the Sandwichshop is no exception. While you sit and eat you can perfectly watch the hustle and bustle outside and enjoy the coziness inside. There is also the possibility to sit outside when you go during summer or are one of the lucky ones which see Amsterdam by sunlight 😀
If you are a into coffee and cake you should definitly visit “De Taart van m’n Tant” (which means something like “the cake by my aunt”). It is in the north of the city near the Heineken Experience and as a cake lover you won’t regret it. The interior is really tacky and kitschy but you have to love it, because it is really unique and you really feel like you were sitting in the huge living room of your auntie <3. They have plenty of super tasty and cute looking cakes, pies, muffins and tarts, so it is really hard to decide which one you are going to eat. As I was there I decided to take my favourite cake of all time: the Swedish “princess tarte”. I really wanted to eat more than one piece but I couldn’t, because my stomach was fuller than full. The coffee is good as well. So it is worth to go there and check it out for yourself… 😉
If you are looking for cool shops in Amsterdam you won’t have to search very long. As a (mainly) fashion blogger I was really impressed about the big variety of vintage and second hand shops all around the city centre, of course there are the big shops as well, but when I’m in another city or country (or both 😀 ) I enjoy the little stores which I don’t have around my corner. A good quarter where you can find a lot of little boutiques is called “9 straatjes“. 9 straatjes can be translated as nine streets and this is basically what it is. Between the canals “Singel”, “Herengracht”, “Keizersgracht” and “Prinsengracht” are the best shops and cafés of Amsterdam scattered. You’ll find everything from “Marco Polo” to “King Louie“, a Shop for vintage clothing. So if you are in shopping mood you might take a stroll around these beautiful streets.
Amsterdam has the highest density of museums worldwide, so if you like history, culture and arts, this is the place to go. As an art student my focus is obviously on arts. I would totally recommend the “Van Gogh” museum to you because it opens your eyes for a whole new perspective of Van Goghs life and they have a great collection composed of his masterpieces and of works which aren’t so popular. Besides: on fridays the museum opens its doors until 10 pm and they have a DJ inside, which is very cool.
Another funny thing is the “KattenKabinet” where you can see a collection of artworks from Rembrandt to Picasso based on the main issue “cats” and it is also the home of a handful of real living cats… 🙂 If you are more interested in the city history I would like to recommend the “Museum Het Grachtenhuis” to you, because you can walk through an old canal house and look how it has to be to live in one of these tiny but beautiful houses. And after you dreamed yourself away in the beautiful rooms of the house you can take a seat in the little park/garden which belongs to the museum as well.
The flower market is very touristic but definitly an eyecatcher and if you are looking for a souvenir it is worth a stroll. Most souvenirs you’ll get there are tulip bulbs or clogs but on the other side of the road is a little shop, which sells old Vogue covers or etchings of Amsterdam which is definitly good for a souvenir or two! Back to the market: the ceiling is amazing! When I walked around in the first market hut I won’t keep my gaze down! By the way: you are not allowed to take photos there, but hey: how could I resist this beauty? 😉 ♥
One other thing I would entrust to you is a trip to the coast and the North Sea. The train tickets aren’t that expensive and it only takes about one hour to go to coastal cities like Zandvoort, where we went to. Before we started our trip we visited “Albert Heijn” (a Dutch supermarket, which also sells fine foods and is worth a look) and bought ourselves a tasty picnic. After an one hour drive we arrived at the stormy and rainy North Sea, so we ate our picnic while walking about the beachside, which was pretty nice as well, especially if you like the rough sea. There are a few cafés and restaurants right at the beach so if it’s cold outside you can sit cozy on the inside and watch the massive waves go by, while rain drops at the huge windows and you sip on a cup of coffee.