Amsterdam is probably one of my favourite cities in the world. I love the way of life there, full of food, canals and bikes. There’s a ton of apple pie, pancakes, croquettes and dutch genever. It’s wonderful.
We’ve visited a couple of times recently and because of all the great places we found I wanted to collate some that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. So, there’ll be a mix of food spots, museums, galleries, stores and public spaces that we would absolutely recommend to everyone. I say a mix, but honestly, it’s mainly food. I can’t help myself.
I’ve only ever visited during spring/summer, but I think Amsterdam would be a great place to take a city break over the Christmas period. However, it’s not a ‘one-season-only’ city, so whenever you visit will be just as lively and charismatic.
I’m splitting my edit over two parts as I cannot possibly fit everything into one post. It would literally just be endless and you might lose your favourite place amongst all the others.
I hope you enjoy a wander through this gorgeous Dutch city and find some places that inspire you to visit or help you to plan an upcoming trip….
– METROPOLITAN –
Metropolitan is hands down our favourite place for waffles in Amsterdam. The waffles are a little crisp on the outside but super soft on the inside and they are covered in a dark chocolate sauce that is just the most wonderful combination. I would also recommend their ice cream and their hot chocolate is divine. It’s basically pure chocolate so you only need a little cup, but that cup is oh so special. On our trip to the city this year, this place was our first stop, because we couldn’t wait to go back again….and again. We just couldn’t get enough of it! You can eat in the small seating area inside the shop/cafe or you can have it to take away and enjoy along the canal somewhere. Either way, it’ll be truly scrumptious.
Warmoesstraat 135A, 1012 JB, Amsterdam
– ‘T GOEDE SOET –
This little shop on the corner of Keizersgracht and Herenstraat is a dream. It makes me think of the chocolate shop in Chocolat, as it is just filled with baskets of different styles of little chocolate confections. I highly recommend getting the florentines, which are unlike any I’ve tried before. They come with milk or dark chocolate bases, topped with an extremely smooth chocolate-nut praline (?) and topped with a sweet oat-y mixture. Heaven. They also do these fabulous chocolate disks topped with nonpareils and sugar coated fennel seed – or anis seed, I’m not sure which. They are just perfect too. Of course I bought bags of these as souvenirs to take back to England, and I encourage you to do the same! Look out though, as it’s closed on Sundays.
Keizersgracht 95, 1015 CH, Amsterdam
– SOSTRENE GRENES –
Søstrene Grenes is a Danish store with locations throughout Europe (and further afield), so it’s not really an Amsterdam specialty boutique or anything, but I have found some really great items in here both times I’ve visited. It’s in the style of Tiger and Ikea (and has a similar Nordic feel to the products), whereby you follow a specific route around the store so you see every single product, and it’s apparently centred around creativity, aesthetics, and organisation. It’s extremely affordable and covers everything from homeware to art supplies and from food to organisational products. They also do a wonderful selection of loose leaf tea. This sounds like a weird item to be excited about, but loose leaf tea is often quite expensive (more so than teabags). Here, however, you fill a small bag full of the tea of your choice, from black tea to fruity infusions, for only about 1 euro. Superb. I’m super chuffed with the purchases I’ve made here (a sleeping mask and a laundry bag), which I use regularly, so I’m sharing the love. Check the website to see if there’s a store in your area or country.
Nieuwendijk 219, 1012 MH, Amsterdam
– BROUWERIJ DE PRAEL –
Brouwerij de Prael (Prael Brewery) has a literal wall of beer waiting to be tried. There were so many options to choose from that we stood staring at it for a good long while before making our decisions. We didn’t see anywhere to sit inside the location we visited (we had to take the bottles to go) but they do make some great stuff so it’s worth popping down to try a few kinds. I tried some darker beers and paler ones, and enjoyed all of them! We took ours, in brown paper bags of course, to the canal side and watched all the various boats floating past while we sipped them in the sunshine. You can do tours of the brewery so make sure to check in advance if that’s something you would be interested in.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 30, 1012 GD, Amsterdam
– NOORDERMARKT –
This organic market in the Jordaan district is jam packed with delicious food. It’s only held on a Saturday so make sure you’re in Amsterdam for the weekend to experience this. There’s freshly made pesto, fruit & veg, herbs and spices to start, then cheese, a whole stall dedicated to raspberries, and some amazing local oysters to eat right there and then. There are also a small selection of non-food stalls towards the back, when you or your bags get a little too full! The square is a lovely location for a market, with the canal on one side and various cafe’s and bars dotted around the perimeter. It gets busy though, so it’s definitely worth going earlier and picking up some ingredients for a delicious lunch.
Try Le Perron for bread and apple pie/cake and then head to Winkel 43 next door for another slice along the apple pie trail….
Noordermarkt, 1015 NA, Amsterdam
– WINKEL 43 –
Winkel 43 is a traditional style cafe/bar that serves up some of the best apple pie in Amsterdam. It’s not your regular apple pie, as there is so much more complexity to it than just pastry and apples. It’s cake-like, cookie-like, crumble-like and pie-like all in one. I can’t honestly explain how delicious it is! The apples are soft, but still with shape and bite, and they’re sweet, but not too sweet. It’s fantastic with or without the special whipped cream and it’s equally good hot or cold. Have I mentioned how great it is? It has a reputation for being one of the best and it completely lives up to that. There are a lot of great apple pies in Amsterdam, but just make sure you give this one a try.
Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA, Amsterdam
– CHEESE MUSEUM & DE MANNEN VAN KAAS –
These kinds of cheese shops are dotted around Amsterdam, but my favourites were the Cheese Museum and De Mannen Van Kaas – Dutch Delicacy. They give you the option to try a number of different kinds of gouda, sauces (the mustard & dill and the fig ones are delicious), crackers and sometimes even a stroopwafel. They are great stores to help you find out what kind of cheese you like and might want to purchase, plus a couple of them even have an area where they have information displayed to teach you about the cheesemaking and ageing process. They sell all the equipment you might need to enjoy cheese, like knives, boards, cheese guillotines (life changing for cutting cheese) and even mini raclette pans. Dutch Delicacy also had a full bakery that had some delicious muffins and yummy looking breads. One cheese we tried and loved was ‘The Special One’, so maybe give that a go if you find yourself in a store soon!
Cheese Museum – Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA, Amsterdam
De Mannen Van Kaas Dutch Delicacy – Spuistraat 330, 1012 VX, Amsterdam
– IJSCUYPJE –
I stumbled upon a branch of IJscuypje (Yscuypje) when I was wandering down Prinsengracht. The ice cream looked so colourful and gorgeous inside that I just had to go in and grab a scoop for myself. Every flavour I’ve tried so far has been delicious, so whichever you choose is sure to be a hit. Personally though, I loved the pink grapefruit; the perfect match of sweet and sour. It was just so refreshing on a scorching hot day. The first time I had a scoop I brought my boyfriend back for another and the queue was out of the door. It’s clearly not just me who loves the ice cream here!
Prinsengracht 292, 1016 HJ, Amsterdam (there are other branches listed here)
– ANNE FRANK HOUSE –
The Anne Frank Huis is a museum built into and around the house where Anne Frank and her family hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII. It’s also where she wrote her famous diary. The house is something which I believe you absolutely must see while you are in Amsterdam. You need to book your tickets well in advance to avoid missing out or queuing for a very long time. It’s a very somber experience, walking through the exhibits and the main house. You’ll read all about the people involved in helping the Frank family, the family’s lives before the Nazi invasion, what happened to them whilst in hiding and then the aftermath of the concentration camps. Everything is very silent as you have your own audio tour to listen to in each room. You will read and listen to excerpts from Anne’s diary, among other things, about her experiences and, I won’t lie, it can feel quite sad at times. However, it is definitely something I would recommend to everyone who visits the city.
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV, Amsterdam
– MARGARETH M. –
Margareth M. is a lovely store, set over two floors, full of all kinds of products, like leather bags, leather accessories, cards, serving ware, clothing and a variety of homeware. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the huge pile of wooden letters made from parts of boats, so that each letter or number is a different colour and has a different look. No single one is alike and they all have a weathered and worn finish that you would expect from an old boat. I didn’t purchase one, but I imagine this could make a great souvenir, especially with Amsterdam being so closely linked with the water. I did see them in other stores too, so if you don’t see the letter you need here, then maybe you’ll still be in luck elsewhere. The serving ware downstairs was also very beautiful, with a number of pieces catching my eye. The trouble with carry on luggage is that you can’t buy everything!!
Oude Spiegelstraat 4 hs, 1016 BM, Amsterdam
– WYNAND FOCKINK PROEFLOKAAL –
This tasting house is amazing. The bar area here is tiny and it’s been here since 1679 so it’s fascinating to step inside this old building. They offer tasting glasses of their Dutch genever alongside a huge variety of flavoured liqueurs. The glasses are of a very specific shape and the bartenders will fill them right up to the brim so that you can’t pick it up. This is because you have to bend over and take your first sip straight from the glass on the counter (it’s a traditional thing – I promise!). I highly recommend trying both a jenever and a liqueur and they will allow you a little taste to make sure you like it first. I went for a slightly more expensive jenever than the basic (but one that the bartender liked to drink himself), which was delicious and a ‘drop’ liqueur (liquorice) which was absolutely insane. It was like drinking a piece of black liquorice in liquid form. Heavenly honestly, but then I am a bit of a liquorice fiend! The fruity ones are also delicious too, but there are so many to choose from.
Pijlsteeg 31, 1012 HH, Amsterdam
– RIJKSMUSEUM –
The Rijksmuseum is absolutely huge and if you want to really experience the whole thing, you’ll need at least a day. We only had a morning, but we were still able to see the bits that we needed to without feeling super rushed. They give you a map with the highlights if you’re short on time, but I would do a little research beforehand to make sure you won’t miss anything that you would be interested in. There are so many beautiful pieces, including the dolls house that is featured in the book ‘The Miniaturist’. One of the main draws to the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt’s Night Watch (it’s absolutely huge), but there are so many other pieces of art and historical objects that might be of interest. This is another location where I would recommend buying your tickets online so that you can avoid the queues. It honestly makes your life so much easier!
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX, Amsterdam
– DE LAATSTE KRUIMEL –
I had originally wanted to stop at De Laatste Kruimel one afternoon for apple pie (yes, another slice), but we were in a bit of a hurry and only managed to pick up something to go. The window was piled high with baked goods tempting us inside, almost overflowing with them, in fact. We got the sweet bread pudding, which looked insanely gorgeous on its cake stand in the window. Actually, everything here looked delicious and if I lived anywhere near here I would be in every day to try something different! The sweet bread (almost cake like) was absolutely soaked with juice from summer berries and topped with a pile of them. It was insanely wonderful and I cannot wait to go back to finally try the apple pie….and everything else.
Also, fret not, they do gluten free bakes too!
Langebrugsteeg 4, 1012 GB, Amsterdam
– HERENSTRAAT 10 –
Herenstraat 10 is a gorgeous little concept store selling fabulous accessories (great sunglasses and handbags) and lovely decor bits for the home. The window was decorated in blossom for spring and everything was displayed so beautifully, both in the window and throughout the store. I could have bought so many things there, but alas my purse and my hand luggage wouldn’t allow for it. Maybe next time!
Herenstraat 10, 1015 CA, Amsterdam
– PANCAKES AMSTERDAM –
All I can say is, at Pancakes Amsterdam order the apple and bacon pancake. It’s so good. It’s actually not the one pictured here (but how could I not post this gleaming tower of wonder and bacon), it’s a crepe like pancake instead, but it’s just the best combination of flavours. Pork and apple are a classic pair, but it’s not something I’d ever thought to try on a pancake before. I’m so glad that the Dutch are on the ball. Tart but sweet apple, salty bacon and sweet amber syrup all combine to make the most perfect flavour and texture explosion in your mouth. All you’ll want after is another one.
Oh, and you’ll get a cute little keepsake clog keyring with your bill. I bit more inventive than a mint!
Prinsengracht 277, 1016 GW, Amsterdam (there are quite a few locations listed here)
– ALBERT HEIJN –
Yep, it’s a supermarket. It may seem a strange place to put on a list of recommendations, but I find them to be a treasure trove of food finds and souvenirs. They’re much cheaper than gift shops and tourist stores and you can pick up some fabulous items. The stroopwafels here are great quality and they are the only place I’ve found that do gluten free ones (my mum is a fan). You can buy a wide range of local beers, bags of liquorice in a variety of sizes and designs, Dutch chocolate (including Tony’s Chocolonely bars), and other bits and pieces. I always visit the supermarket wherever I travel, because you always find great stuff!
– HAESJE CLAES –
Haesje Claes is a lovely traditional restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. It’s a pretty huge place, but we sat in a gorgeous room with old tiles and wood panelling along the walls. It had such an old-style European, homely feeling space. They have a long list of jenever to try alongside your meal and they do a really fabulous stamppot. This is something you would want to eat in cooler weather as it’s a warm, hearty dish. Potatoes are mashed with a vegetable/s (in my case red cabbage – the best) and come topped with sausage or bacon (I received both) with little gherkins and pickled onions on the side. Oh, and a dollop of sweet mustard too. It’s such a wonderful dish when it’s cold, windy or rainy outside; proper comfort food.
Spuistraat 275, 1012 VR, Amsterdam
– HOUSE OF BOLS COCKTAIL MUSEUM –
My friend recommended that we make a visit to the House of Bols Experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s very interactive, so you’re given things to drink at a certain point, you listen to an audio guide, you smell aromas, watch videos, touch ingredients, and use computer screens to choose the information you wish to learn about. Bols is a distiller of Dutch genever and now also make a huge range of flavoured liqueurs. Working your way through the museum you visit very different spaces, sharing different aspects of the company’s products, history, progress, and production process. Probably my favourite room was the wall of aromas. Perfume style bottles allow you to smell the aroma used to create each liqueur in the collection. The flavour isn’t displayed, so when you smell you have to try to guess, then afterwards you can look at the answer and see how good your sense of smell was! At the end of the museum they have a bar where you are entitled to one drink included with your entry ticket. Choose a recipe that tickles your fancy from the computer screens, print it out and give it to the barman who will create your cocktail using Bols. I went for the Negroni that had been shown during the exhibition (it comes in a lightbulb glass!) as I was intrigued as to how it would be presented! They also have a store where you can buy genever, glasses and all other kinds of cocktail related merchandise.
Paulus Potterstraat 14, 1071 CZ, Amsterdam
– ALBERT CUYP MARKT –
As a whole, I didn’t love this market. I wouldn’t really recommend it, if it wasn’t for the stroopwafels. On a red and white gingham checked table, a man presses the stroopwafels fresh in front of you. He serves them to you warm and chewy, so that you don’t have the need to warm them over a cup of hot tea or coffee. They’re wonderful. You might be able to find this on other markets, but his was the best stroopwafel I tried on my first trip to the city and I loved that it was hot off the press – literally. Just look how golden it is. If you’re in the museum area, take a wander down to the market and see for yourself!!
Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 CC, Amsterdam
– REYPENAER –
Reypenaer sell the most wonderful gouda I have ever eaten. The company specialises in ageing cheese and they have 6 kinds – 2 of which are hard goats cheese, which weirdly don’t taste like goats cheese, but like a parmesan instead. I highly recommend the tasting experience they offer downstairs in their store. You sit with all the cheeses and taste each one with someone explaining all of the features and tastes of each one. You have a little glass of wine or port with each to see how the flavours meld together. We were pretty full and happy when we left! Once you’ve completed the tasting, they give you a certificate which allows you a discount in their store for the rest of your life. Pretty great really!
Reypenaer 1 is a gouda aged for 1 year and it’s already got a super rich flavour with little crystals dotted all the way through. This is the one I have repeatedly purchased, knowing I can eat it at any time. If you go up all the way to Reypaenar XO Reserve, you’re in for a whole different experience. The man in the tasting said it was the cheese equivalent to smoking a fine cigar or drinking a glass of good scotch. It is unbelievably rich and you can really only have a few slices before you feel like anymore would be too much! Definitely visit their store along the canal side for a little taster of what they have to offer and you’ll be purchasing for sure!
Singel 182, 1015 AH, Amsterdam
I hope this gives you a little taste of Amsterdam and what it has to offer, and don’t forget to check back for part two which will be up within the next couple of weeks!