Ultimate Amsterdam Itineraries
Updated: Jan 28, 2019
Is Amsterdam on your travel bucket list for 2019? Whether it’s the first time you’re heading to the city of canals or you are a regular (like me), I have three itineraries for you which will fill your time with authentic vibes.
Yes, Amsterdam is one of those super popular, touristy, instagrammable places, but it is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And it helps if you know where to go to avoid the selfie-stick crowd.
For me, Amsterdam is a second home. I lived and studied here for more than three years and if one year passes and I don’t return, I feel the jitters. I need my yearly dose of magic in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is magical in itself, you just need to rent a bike and lose yourself in Jordaan and you’ll understand right away. But if you’re like me, you are looking for the best views, the coziest cafes, and the local hangouts. Choose your own magic from the following itineraries, based on your interests, mood or the area you wish to explore.
Yogi’s Choice in Amsterdam West
A couple of years ago, Amsterdam West was just for locals. A residential part of the town that not many people were heading to unless they lived there. And that is part of the charm of this area, which has retained its peaceful air. However, in recent years it has also become a hip neighbourhood, with lots of things to do.
Start your day with yoga at Delight Yoga on De Clerckstraat. Their studio is beautiful, with a great sitting area where you can enjoy a tea pre or post practice. A single class is 15 Euros, but they also have weekly or monthly packages should you stay for longer in Amsterdam. Plus, you can use their various locations around the city.
For brunch or lunch, walk to Meatless District and reward yourself with a tasty vegan meal, which can range from parsnip soup to burgers. This is also a great place to go for drinks or dinner, as it has a beautiful decor and it gets busy during the evenings!
After lunch, you might want to have a coffee and desert. I recommend you walk to Coffeecompany on the corner of Jan Pieter Heijestraat. It’s small and cozy, you will see people reading the newspaper by the window or work on their laptops at the communal table. I had a flat white and a lavender lemon raw cake (which was so yummy) and watched people on their bikes along the canal.
You are at the corner of Jan Pieter Heijestraat, which is one of the most beautiful streets of Amsterdam West. You can definitely spend a whole afternoon walking down this street, as it is full of colorful boutique shops, mouth-watering bakeries, local cheese shops and flower stands. My personal favorites were Gekavt, Dolores and Objet. And Ekoplaza, the organic supermarket (yes, I know, I’m weird, I love supermarkets).
Shopping and cooking in Amsterdam South - De Pijp
De Pijp has long been one of the most sought-after areas in Amsterdam, for both locals and tourists. With its signature Albert Cuyp market, De Pijp is more than just that.
Start your day with a delicious flat white and a home-made pie at Wasserette, an ultra-popular cafe that is as cozy as it is crowded.
After doing the usual route through packed and kitchy Albert Cuyp market (althought it is a must when you visit Amsterdam for the first time, and you should try the fresh “stroopwafels”), go see the real stuff on Gerard Doustraat, the street right behind the market. With lots of boutique stores and local fashion brands, this is one of my favorite places in Amsterdam. There is also a cute cook book store on the corner of the street behind Gerard Doustraat, run by a couple and their dog, who is always there to welcome you. They also organize cooking classes and workshops in this place, in case you want a fun afternoon activity with your friends or family. I bought two books that were on sale for 2 Euros, one with buddhist recipes and at the opposite spectrum, one about booze cakes.
From red lights to Amsterdam Centrum
The center of Amsterdam is as diverse as it can get. Yes, you’ll get canals everywhere and it is easy to bike or walk it all in one day (the city really is not that big), but the choices range from red lights to coffeeshops to museums, overcrowded shopping streets, artsy neighbourhoods or local Sunday markets.
From Amsterdam Centraal you can rent a bike or walk to Latei at Niewmarkt for breakfast and coffee. It is one of those cafes you enter and feel you are at somebody’s place. Right behing Niewmarkt is the Red Light District, if you want to take a peek while on your way to Magere Brug, the oldest bridge in Amsterdam. If you’re lucky to have a sunny day, stop and take in the reflection of the water and the rays of sun hitting the old houses - it is magical.
Then bike further and arrive at Utrechtstraat, one of Amsterdam’s most inspiring (and expensive) streets with high-end boutiques and concept stores.
From here, you are just a stroll away from FOAM museum of photography, which is always a good idea if you want to include some culture in your day without having to invest 2-3 hours in a place such as Rijksmuseum. This time, they had a very interesting exhibition centered around house maids of Indonesia.
Have lunch at Bagels & Beans, a famous Dutch chain serving delicious bagels and coffee, or bike a bit longer to Dignita, a favorite brunch place of Amsterdammers, after which you can continue your afternoon waking or biking along Prinsegracht, Keizersgraht and Herengracht (the three main canal rings of Amsterdam).
What the locals say
I have asked my good friend Julia, yoga teacher and Ayurveda student from Berlin, who lives in Amsterdam for almost 10 years now, what are her favorite places and things to do in Amsterdam. To read Julia's blog and attend her yoga classes while in Amsterdam, visit: www.juliablohberger.com
Favorite breakfast and lunch places in Amsterdam I love Lavinia Good Food, which is located nearby one of the studios I teach in Amsterdam. This is always my little treat on Tuesdays after I taught three classes in a row. The lunch is fantastic and they have all kind of different vegan options and changing their menu with the season. The atmosphere is super cosy and the staff is also really friendly.
Favorite area My boyfriend and I live in Old West. I have lived in a few areas in Amsterdam throughout the last decade but nowhere in Amsterdam I have felt that much at home. I like that everything is a little more laid back and that it is still an upcoming area and not that touristic yet. Fingers crossed that it will stay like that….
What inspires you most about Amsterdam I love that it is such a cozy capital. I am originally from Berlin. Both are capitals but so different from one another. I love that everywhere in Amsterdam you can get by bike. I love the canals, and the reflection of the street lights at night in the waters. Everything seems to be much more organic and at ease compared to Berlin. I love the mentality of the Dutch people and I also love the language. Amsterdam has an inspiring art scene and seems to be a great city for artists to further explore themselves.
How does your usual weekend look like I am a full time yoga teacher and student of Ayurveda. Just a few weeks ago a little puppy came into my life, which completely put my weekly schedule upside down. It is beautiful that through the little one who conquered my heart I get to see and explore Amsterdam West from a different perspective again. Suddenly I get to know more the people in my street and get to know their stories. I love that and I love learning where people are from and who they are.
Meatless District (vegetarian restaurant & bar)
Mevrouw Hamersma (cook book store & cooking events space)