Our first, and last stop of our 2018 Eurotrip was Amsterdam—a city we discussed wanting to visit on our first date, almost two years ago. We came for the bike culture, stroopwafels and Banksy museum; but we stayed for the Dutch beer, bitterballen, and Friday night skate in Vondelpark. We were pleasantly surprised with how walkable it was—of all the spots we visited on our trip, we spent the most time here and it truly felt like we “got” the city. Amsterdam? More like AmsterDAYUM. This city was fiiiine and we enjoyed every minute of our stay.
Where we stayed:
- On our first visit (which was the majority of our time there), we stayed in an apartment in Jordaan: a charming, quaint, convenient neighborhood filled with tree-lined canals, shops and cafes.
- The second time, we stayed at a bed and breakfast in “rural” Amsterdam-Zuidoost: a borough about an hour metro ride away from the city center.
What/where we ate:
- Bitterballen (essentially fried gravy balls), stroopwaffels, pancakes/crepes
- Foodhallen: Only we would kick off our limited amount of meals in Amsterdam with Vietnamese bun cha (hers) and Spanish tapas (his). Foodhallen offers a variety of cuisines, and because we dropped by for an early lunch, we didn’t even have to wait in line.
- Cafe De Klos: From our first bite of their ribs, we knew this was a place we’d be dreaming about coming back to. A contender for best meal of the trip (definitely the best meal in Amsterdam), the delicious ribs (regular & smoked) came with a salad, some tasty sauces, and perfectly doughy-in-the-middle, crispy-on-the-outside warm baguette slices.
- Moeders: If you’re interested in traditional Dutch cuisine, look no further! We came here on an evening we had already eaten (so much to eat, so little time), so we just split a meal, but if we had a longer visit, we would have come back for more.
- Winkel 43: Their acclaimed Dutch apple pie did not disappoint.
Where/what we drank:
- De Zotte: Recommended from a friend, this was an adorable bar with a great beer selection.
- Proeflokaal Arendsnest: Another recommendation, this bar serves only Dutch beer. With 52+ on tap and incredibly knowledgeable/helpful bartenders, you can’t go wrong.
- Cafe ‘t Spui-tje: We stumbled upon this Frank Sinatra-themed bar by accident, but it’s cozy interior and Rat Pack memorabilia made this a unique and memorable spot.
- Jenever: Although we’re beer people through and through, we had to try this notorious Dutch liquor. The few we tried were pretty sweet and not too potent, making for a delicious deviation from our hoppy drink of choice.
What we did:
- Canal cruise: This hour-long guided tour around the city’s canals was Morgan’s favorite activity of our trip. Not only was it a nice break from walking, but it also gave us the chance to learn some historical facts about the city.
- Friday skate at Vondelpark: Initially thinking this was a popular activity of locals (LOL at remembering all the locals we asked about this who gave us strange, confused looks), we stumbled upon this seemingly Filas-sponsored experiential marketing activation at Vondelpark (which takes place each Friday evening). Brand reps lent us skates and sent us off on our 20 kilometer* journey. *Spoiler alert: we didn’t quite make it that far, due to the combo of getting off to a late start and a metal ankle.
- Moco Museum: Morgan is a fan of Banksy, and Mandy likes Roy Lichtenstein, so visiting this museum (set up in an old house), was a no-brainer.
- Waterlooplein flea market: In our quest for unique souvenirs, we wanted to check out one of Amsterdam’s flea markets. While we didn’t end up buying anything here, it was a fun way to see some unique vendors.
- Cheese museum: We viewed this as more of a sampling ground of free cheeses and less of a museum, but nevertheless, we left here smiling (and moderately gassy).
What we wish we did and/or what we wouldn’t do again:
- Anne Frank House: Based on feedback from others who have visited the Anne Frank House, we decided to not get tickets to visit. We heard it was always packed, and you didn’t get enough time to truly take in the experience, so although on pretty much every list of “must dos in Amsterdam,” we opted out.
- Skylounge: We DID visit the bar on the top of the DoubleTree Hotel, and while it offered a nice panoramic view of the city, it was incredibly touristy and ultimately just not the kind of vibe we were interested in.
- We didn’t rent a bike. We know, we know… But even though everyone and their mother rides one, it’s a hilly city and kind of intimidating as you have to be pretty aggressive with cars and tourists on foot. Still, riding a bike was something we were hoping to do here, but the weather and our own reservations prevented us from doing so this time around.