Travel Guides

The Complete Amsterdam Travel Guide

August 12, 2017

Canals of amsterdam with flower beds in summerAmsterdam is one of my favorite places in the world. The city is downright charming, and there are endless things to see and do. If you’re visiting around summertime, you can expect everyone to be outside — sipping coffee overlooking the canals, barbecuing at the Vondelpark, or biking around the city. In the colder months, locals trade outdoor seating for cozy cafes and bars or ice-skating in the square. There’s so much to love about Amsterdam, but my favorite is the people: diverse and friendly, they make this trendy city feel like home. Something tells me after visiting, you’ll fall in love with it too…

best rooftop city view of amsterdamSitting on the canals in front of canal houses amsterdamwalking into wildernes plant store amsterdamtop of canal houses in amsterdam

4 DAYS

needed to take it all in

Where to Stay

  • Hotel Pulitzer – the Pulitzer refers to itself as “Dutch elegance”, and this description is well-deserved. The hotel is spread over 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses in one of the most desired neighborhoods of the city.
  • The Hoxton Hotel – this trendy hotel hosts weekly events and has an upbeat bar and restaurant that’s worth visiting even if you aren’t staying the night.
bar at the hoxton hotel in 9 streets amsterdam

The bar at The Hoxton hotel

  • Generator Hostel – for reasonable accommodations and a memorable stay, try the Generator Hostel. Known as a ‘designer hostel’, it was converted from an old zoological university building and provides plenty of spaces to meet up with other like-minded travelers.
  • Airbnb – there are endless gems to be found on Airbnb. Besides the main canals of Amsterdam, more budget-friendly neighborhoods like the Jordaan and De Pijp are great options.
Couple on balcony in Amsterdam canal house Airbnb

Airbnb is perfect for finding places to stay on the canals

  • Hotel De L’Europe – this hotel is an institution and is known for its 2-Michelin star restaurant Bord’Eau. It’s situated on the Amstel river in the city center, right next to major squares and streets in the heart of the city.
  • Conservatorium Hotel – the ultimate in luxury, the Conservatorium is a design-lovers dream. An entry way with a full glass ceiling and rooms with modern touches make it truly unique. Bonus: it’s also located steps from the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum!

Where to Eat

  • De Carrousel – head here for a traditional Dutch pannenkoek (think open-faced crepe). Pannenkoeken come in sweet and savory flavors. Don’t forget to end your meal with a plate of poffertjes.
  • Pluk – perfect for an afternoon cup of coffee or sandwich in the picturesque 9 streets neighborhood. Browse their selection of swoon-worthy items for sale while you’re waiting. Pluk also just opened a new location on Berenstraat!
the inside of pluk cafe and store

View from Pluk’s balcony on Reestraat

  • Foodhallen – can’t decide what to eat? The Foodhallen has everything from Vietnamese spring rolls to traditional Dutch bitterballen. Order the Yuzu cake from Petit Gâteau, it’s such a treat!
inside the foodhallen food market in amsterdam

The interior of the Foodhallen

  • Lombardo’s – arguably the best burger in town, Lombardo’s is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. Try the lamb burger, it’s truly mouth-watering.
  • Sweet Cup – easily my favorite laid-back café to grab a latte. The coffee beans are hand-roasted by the owners daily. Don’t forget to say hi to ‘Sjef’, their basset hound!
having coffee at sweet cup in amsterdam near leidseplein

The interior of Sweet Cup is so cozy

  • Restaurant de Luwte – this ‘gezellig’ (Dutch for ‘cozy’) restaurant in the Jordaan neighborhood has a rotating dinner menu featuring French-inspired dishes and a picturesque view of Leliegracht canal. Definitely don’t skip dessert here…
  • Buffet van Odette – situated on a corner overlooking Prinsengracht canal, Buffet van Odette serves seasonal dishes and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tip: reserve a table outside for dinner with a view!
dinner outside at buffet van odette on the canal

Outdoor seating at Buffet van Odette

Where to Drink

  • Café ZILT – this whiskey café has a wide selection of specialty craft beer and whiskey. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about their spirits, and the warm interior makes for an excellent spot to spend time with friends.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight – a cozy, intimate bar with leather couches and award-winning cocktails. Reservations are recommended if you’re visiting on a weekend.
  • Brouwerij ‘t IJ – located next to a windmill, this brewery with lots of outdoor seating is perfect for a sunny day.
Brouwerij 't IJ brewery bar in windmill amsterdam

Brouwerij ‘t IJ brews their own beer and hosts tours

  • Vyne – this spot is great for a glass of wine pre-dinner. They also have a very reasonable flight if you’re feeling indecisive (like me).

Where to Shop

  • Gerard Doustraat – dotted with cute boutiques selling clothes, accessories and gifts, this street in De Pijp is exceptionally quaint. Tip: head down Eerste van der Helststraat afterwards for lunch.
  • The 9 Streets – filled with trendy shops and restaurants and the occasional vintage store, this neighborhood is a must-see in Amsterdam.
shopping at de weldaad on the 9 streets straatjes

De Weldaad on the 9 Streets is full of unique finds

  • Nearby Dam Square – start at the Dam Square and wind south on Kalverstraat. For a pick-me-up, grab a softijs (soft serve ice cream) at HEMA. It won’t disappoint.

Where to Go

  • Albert Cuypmarket – open every day except Sunday, this outdoor market has everything from clothes and shoes, to flowers and home goods. Don’t forget to grab a warm stroopwafel (Dutch caramel-filled waffle cookie) for a pick-me-up between stalls!
  • Vondelpark – bike, walk, or picnic at this park below Amsterdam’s canal district. It’s full of beautiful bridges, canals, and the occasional restaurant.
Bridge over the water in the Vondelpark Amsterdam

A bridge over the water in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark

  • Bloemenmarkt – get your flower fill at Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market).
  • Red Light District – besides being home to the world famous red-curtained brothels, the Red Light District is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam. My advice: start at the Oude Kerk (Old Church) and just wander.
Amsterdam's old canals in the Red Light District, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Old canals in the Red Light District

What to Do

  • Take a canal ride. There’s no better way to see the city and learn about its history than cruising through the picturesque canals.
  • Visit the Hortus Botanicus. One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Grab lunch nearby at De Plantage afterwards. Don’t forget your camera!
climbing stairs in greenhouse hortus botanicus botanical gardens Amsterdam

Exploring the Hortus Botanicus

  • Tour the Anne Frank Huis. If I had to pick one tourist attraction to see, it would definitely be the newly renovated Anne Frank Huis. It’s a humbling and fascinating visit. Book tickets in advance, it fills up fast.
  • Visit the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum – the Rijksmuseum itself is a masterpiece. The Van Gogh Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of his work and is just a stone’s throw away, so make a day of it!

What to Bring

  • An Umbrella. The Netherlands is notorious for rain and unpredictable weather.
  • A Scarf. But really – see above.
  • Floral-print anything. Flower-lined canals call for inspired floral design.

wearing papercrown dress in front of canal house amsterdamBoating down Amsterdam's Amstel river

For more of our favorite things to do in Amsterdam, check out where we recently had a home-cooked meal on a Dutch rooftop and our experience boating around Amsterdam’s canal district.

What’s your favorite city to explore? Let us know in the comments below!
The Complete Amsterdam, Netherlands Travel Guide via @FinduslostPin me for later

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply Ryan September 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    +1 for the windmill brewery! 👌🏼

    • Reply - Selena September 30, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Always necessary 😉

  • Reply Alexa Feiereisel October 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities too, tied with Montepulciano! (You must go there!)

    • Reply - Selena October 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      You are making us want to go back to Italy! Added to our list — 🙂

  • Reply A Canal Boat Ride in Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Find Us Lost - Trip Inspiration & Travel Guides December 27, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    […] There’s so much to see in Amsterdam, so if you are planning a trip I suggest checking out our Complete Amsterdam Travel Guide. […]

  • Reply Cecily Brown March 7, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Selena, I work at ChowNow! What a great read! So awesome to see you’re having fun! Making me think I should plan a trip really soon!

    • Reply - Selena March 8, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Hey Cecily :)! Thank you! You should definitely plan a trip soon. Let me know if you decide to visit Europe. 🙂

  • Reply Mallory Warner June 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Living in Amsterdam? Me too! Just moved here. Would love to catch up sometime and learn more about your travels and blogging. I’m a beginner blogger, haven’t launched yet! Reach out if you want to get coffee sometime.

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