City of the Week: Amsterdam
By Katie Edgerley
Amsterdam is a beautiful city filled with canals to walk along, cosy coffee shops, lively bars and plenty of sights to see. Here is a rough guide on how to spend a perfect weekend in this charming city!
Drop your bags at your hotel and head straight out into this small but lively city. For a real gastronomic insight into Amsterdam life, have dinner at Restaurant Anna. Its central location in the old city center is perfect for your first night in a new city. The food is beautifully presented and extremely delicious. Another dinner option is Librije’s Zusje, a two-Michelin star restaurant located on the lower ground floor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The nine-course tasting menu will have your tastebuds dancing with delight, and unlike many fine-dining restaurants, Librije’s Zusje also offers a vegetarian tasting menu. If you’re looking for something more casual head to Rijsel, a rotisserie restaurant in the East. The simple décor of white walls and wood panelled flooring make for a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, and the rotisserie chicken is the best you’ll find in Amsterdam.
Get up and out of your hotel and stroll off to one of Amsterdam’s many beautiful breakfast spots. If you feel like something healthy try out Pluk, a bright and airy café/homeware boutique serving eggs, smoothie bowls and pancakes among many other delicious healthy dishes. You can also pick up some gorgeous scandi-style home accessories while you’re there! Another great healthy breakfast café is Café Trust, or if you’re looking to indulge a little more try G’s in Jordaan where you’ll find the most delicious cinnamon French toast, eggs benedict and breakfast cocktails!
Spend the rest of your morning sightseeing. Amsterdam is great for cycling so to get around the sights hire bikes from MacBike or Yellow Bike. Start with the Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national museum dedicated to Amsterdam’s arts and history. Also visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum (a museum of modern art), and the EYE Filmmuseum, which has a lovely bar and restaurant with beautiful views over the water. Beer enthusiasts should go to the Brouwenj ‘t IJ, a modern organic brewery located next to a windmill in Amsterdam Oost. Alternatively book tickets for the Heineken Experience, where you’ll be taken on an interactive tour of the famous brewery and finish off with beer tastings.
For something unforgettably moving and historically informative, look around the Anne Frank House, the house that was the young diarist’s hiding place during the Second World War.
Another great way to see Amsterdam is to take a boat trip around the canals! The trip lasts around an hour and a guide provides interesting information about the city.
Grab a quick lunch on the go at ‘t Kuyltje, a sandwich bar serving traditional Dutch broodjes (sandwiches) stuffed full with homemade, freshly prepared fillings. The low prices are great if you’re on a budget! From here walk five minutes around the corner and you’ll end up in one of the best shopping areas of Amsterdam, De 9 Straatjes (the 9 streets). Here you’ll find a mixture of amazing vintage and designer shops in a quaint and picturesque micro-neighbourhood.
Book a table at Envy, a cool, contemporary mid-range restaurant specialising in inventive modern-Dutch cuisine. You can order individual courses or pick from the range of tapas dishes on the small plates menu. From here, go for cocktails at the SkyLounge, a rooftop bar with panoramic views over Amsterdam. On the weekends SkyLounge is open until 3AM, so you can carry on your night here or, if you want to check out Amsterdam’s club scene, move on to The Winston Kingdom. In the heart of Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District, the Winston Kingdom is a small but lively club where you can dance the night away.
Sundays are for relaxation so lie in and then head out for a long brunch. Pancakes! is amazing for (you guessed it..) pancakes! They serve a huge range of pancakes all day long, from fluffy American ones to the thinner Dutch version, as well as French crepes and Turkish mücver. You can choose from savoury toppings such as smoked salmon with crème fraîche and guacamole, or Camembert and ham. Sweet toppings include apple crumble and banana, chocolate and almond among many others! If pancakes aren’t your thing go to Bakers and Roasters. They have a huge menu complete with egg dishes, full breakfasts, porridge, fruit bowls, coffee, juices, milkshakes and cocktails! There’s something for everyone here.
Spend your Sunday strolling around one of Amsterdam’s beautiful parks, such as Vondelpark, Amsterdam Bos, or Frankendael Park. Soaking in the lovely scenery and the peaceful atmosphere of these parks will be the perfect way to wind down your trip. Finish off your trip with a coffee and cake at one of the city’s many coffee shops, such as Cotton Cake or Café Winkel 43. If you have time before you have to leave, go to the top of the Amsterdam Public Librarywhere you’ll find a rooftop terrace. This is a perfect place to watch the sunset and a lovely way to end your weekend in Amsterdam!