Facebook Instagram Pinterest

My Top 5 Places in Amsterdam

Ok, so I won't be recommending any drugs or prostitutes. But I'm nor focusing on museums either, as you can find everything in the travel guides (I've been to Van Gogh's, Rijksmuseum and NEMO and they're all worth a visit). What I would like to do is to show a few places that I really enjoyed.

I'm not an expert on Amsterdam, but I've been there a few times and would like to share my favourite places with you. Other than that, don't forget to eat fries and stroopwafels, try Indonesian food and make sure to rent a bike.

1. Cafe Winkel 43

Best apple pie ever. And that's it - it really is the most delicious apple pie I have ever eaten. You have to try it. Amsterdammers enjoy freshly baked pie with rich whipped cream over a cup of fresh mint tea and so should you. You will not regret it!

2. De Brabantse Aap

My favorite pub in Amsterdam. There are tons of pubs and bars in Amsterdam and most of them offer the same standard - atmospheric interiors and good selection of beers. And so does De Brabantse Aap. To be honest, I'm not sure why I like this place so much, it must had something to do with the fact that it was conviniently located on my way. But they do have a lovely glass-walled room that allows you to look out on the passing traffic on rainy days and a unique trio of specialty beers from a local microbrewery. I'm far from being a beer expert, but to me wheat Witte Antonia is a masterpiece. They serve food too and while it might not be a masterpiece, it's decent for Holland. Try a sharing plater with local cheese and bitterballen - the ultimate Dutch bar food, meatballs served with mustard.

3. Spiegelkwartier - Art & Antique District

If you happen to collect antiques or art, this is a perfect place for you. I don't collect either (I guess that buying an old spoon or a scratch plate every now and then doesn't count), but I do enjoy looking. There are tens of small art galleries and antique shops along Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, starting from Rijksmuseum and reaching the Flower Market.

4. Amsterdam-Noord

It's the usual story: forgotten district reborns as the new artistic centre. Amsterdam Nord definitely has its charm: small rural houses contrasting with modern buildings (including the EYE, museum of Film Institute Netherlands) and large open spaces are quickly filling with hipster bars and cafes. More good news for the old-stuff-lovers: IJ-Hallen, a huge flea market, supposedly the biggest one in Europe (according to the market's website, so I can't guarantee its rightness, but you can expect around 750 vendors), happening here every month. The northen part of Amsterdam sits on the other side of the IJ lake. The easiest way to get there is to take a free ferry from the Central Station.

5. Any herring stand

Everyone knows that you should try raw herring - the Dutch staple. There's a herring stand on every corner and the Netherlanders have been enjoying this treat for over 600 years. I knew all this and always wanted to try, but not really. So, whenever I was close to ordering a portion of raw herring with gherkin and onion, I would talk myself out of it and go for something else instead. This year, I finally tried and it was good! Who would have thought? I was expecting it to be interesting, but not good. So, don't be afraid and try it as soon as you can!

Cycling in Amsterdam

Of course it’s not me cycling, it’s other people. I took pictures.

Yes, I can ride a bike, thank you for asking. Am I the best cyclist in the world? Probably not. I have never fully learnt to tell left from right, which is why I don’t feel comfortable in certain situations. This includes any circumstances in which my confusion can result in being hit by a speeding tram. I don’t have a driving licence either (I make a great passenger though, I’m always in charge of snacks and drinks, not so helpful when it comes to navigating, for obvious reasons).

A few years back, I wasn’t even able to take my right hand off the steering wheel and was therefore forced to use the left hand to indicate all my turns. I figured it was better if others thought I was going to turn left even if I was actually going to turn right than to give no signal at all, but feel free to question my logic. Luckily for us all, I am now capable of taking both hands off the steering wheel (but NOT at the same time).

In spite of the success story I just told you, I still don’t feel particularly confident on a bicycle, especially when I am not the only road user in the city. People on the pictures, on the other hand, all look young, strong, happy and bike literate. And this is how I’m going to be when I grow up.