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City Explorer: Amsterdam

Amsterdam city guide

Here I am, back again! It has been a long period of traveling, trying to find new home and future planing… and in-between I finally managed to get to write something. I think it is time to share my travel experiences, so I am starting a new section of the blog: City Explorer.

The first one in the list of our cities is Amsterdam. This is where we started our trip around Europe. A few years ago I had an opportunity to live in this beautiful city, so this visit was like a meeting with an old friend. To fully appreciate this city you have to get onto a bicycle and join the locals. And if you are not riding one, then be careful to not get in the way, because Amsterdam is the city of bicycles.

Talking about Amsterdam and bicycles I remembered a short video we created while living in there…

Here you will find a variety of things for different tastes: parks and canals, beautiful architecture, lots of museums and galleries, flea markets, design shops, cafes and restaurants and, of course, coffee shops. I guess every newcomer of this city is interested to wander around the Red Light District and so called green light district, where you find most of the coffee shops. If you are interested to learn a bit more about the history of the Red Light District you can try to use this app while walking around the narrow streets of this area. After exploring the city centre it is time to see something different.

It is not so common to see Amsterdam from above, therefore it might be a good idea to find a viewpoint. You can do so by climbing up an old Westerkerk church tower from where you get the most beautiful views of the city. The church is located next to Anne Frank House.

Amsterdam, view from Westerkerk

Amsterdam NDSM: One of my favourite spots is situated on the other side of the main river IJ, the northern part of the city. To go there you can take a free ferry from behind the central train station, with the direction to NDSM. This is an area of a former ship wharf, right now a creative district of Amsterdam. The best time to go there is the weekend, because that’s when Europe’s largest flea market , IJ-Hallen, takes place. Depending on the weather it either happens outside or inside of an impressive industrial building. The entrance is €5.

Next to the flea market you will also find a few nice places to have a drink and spend time with your friends: Noorderlicht Café – cultural cafe-restaurant located in a beautiful greenhouse type building with a garden next to the river. Pllek – a bar, event venue based in the old shipping containers, with a beautiful terrace that becomes a beach in the summer months. These are the places for those who are looking to find interesting events and hang out with the local crowd.

Amsterdam NDSM

Amsterdam NDSM

Amsterdam NDSM, Noorderlicht Cafe

Amsterdam NDSM

De Pijp: To me this is a very familiar neighbourhood, where I lived for 4 months, next to a beautiful little park – Sarphatipark. De Pijp district is situated next to the city centre and the museum quarter. It has lots of cafes and restaurants with outside terraces, always full of people, as well as a market where you can shop food and clothes. I would recommend exploring this area starting from Albert Cuypstraat market and following its little streets to find small cozy bars and cafes.

Jordaan: Even though this neighbourhood became trendy very long time ago and now is quite crowded and pricey, you might still find quite a few interesting spots. Just walk around the narrow streets of Jordaan and you’ll find lots of quirky boutiques, cafes and bars.

Spui: It is rather a square than a neighbourhood, but it deserves your attention if you are a book lover. In and around Spui square there are quite a few interesting bookshops you should not miss. One of my favourite ones is The American Book Center, as it offers many art and design books in English.

A few other favourite spots:

Vondelpark – Amsterdam’s most famous park, a great location for a sunny day, having a pick-nick, swimming in a pond or just enjoying a cup of coffee. It also has an open air theatre with various events held during the warm season.

Foam – a great photography gallery for those interested in the subject.

Metropolitan – a great location for chocolate lovers, here you’ll find not only various chocolate deserts, but also chocolate beer, tea or cosmetics.

Cafe Restaurant Amsterdam – a restaurant situated in the old Water Pumping Station definitely a nice place to go if you are attracted by beautiful industrial spaces.

Westergasfabriek –  Amsterdam’s cultural hub, an old Gas Plant that now hosts artists’ studios, galleries, shops, cafes, bars, clubs and cinema.

Hannekes Boom – a perfect summer terrace bar with a friendly vibe, like a small city on its own situated in the very heart of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, Hannekes Boom

Have a look at the places I marked in the map and maybe you’ll find something of your interest!

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