Last weekend my lady and I went to Amsterdam for a little city trip. It was my first time traveling there and I immediately fell in love with this incredibly beautiful, cool and charming city. Of course I also took some pictures and notes of my favorite places in order to compile a brief little Amsterdam-essentials guide for you. However, keep in mind that as i have only spent one weekend in Amsterdam, this is rather meant as a collection of recommendations of my favorite spots and places for you than as a comprehensive travel-guide.
As the weekend also was a birthday present for my lady who only deserves the best i didn’t want to choose some random place to stay. I wanted it to be perfect. And looking back i have to say our hotel in Amsterdam topped all expectations. Situated in Amsterdam’s former city hall the SOFITEL LEGEND THE GRAND AMSTERDAM is a palatial, luxurious and classy hotel that leaves none of your wishes unfulfilled. The Grand is located between two gentle canals in the heart of the city with all major sights in walking distance. We had the pleasure to stay in one of hotel’s spacious suites, kept in french design with a love for detail and a supreme butler service included. You probably know the saying that no bed feels better than your own. Well, after three night in a sheer never ending kingsize bed i can tell you, that’s not true. Further benefits of the Sofitel Legend the Grand are a SPA and fitness area, a michelin-starred restaurant, a cosy library to enjoy a lovely tea time and above all an incredibly nice and attentive staff. All in all our stay at the Sofitel Legend the Grand was magnificent and i can only recommend this hotel in literally every aspect.
A good day starts with a solid breakfast. Luckily we had a superior breakfast buffet included with our room at the Grand. The buffet is located at the Michelin-starred restaurant BRIDGES which is situated on the bottom floor of the Sofitel Legend the Grand hotel. It convinces with a wide range of fresh fruits, delicious warm dishes, a huge variety of cheese and bread, fresh smoothies, juices, fruits, outstanding coffee and an exquisite ambiance. That said, it comes as no surprise that this brunch buffet is also highly popular among people not staying at the hotel.
Of course I had to do a little shopping. As we are not particularly blessed with a high quantity of cool clothing stores in Vienna I’m always curious about exploring new store concepts, brands and styles when i go abroad. My favorite shopping area in Amsterdam was around Elandsgracht and Berenstraat. Most of the shops there offer a great selection of scandinavian and dutch brands and design. One of my favorite multi-brand stores was NUMBER NINE located on Elandsgracht 34 which you can also see on the pictures. As Amsterdam is certainly one of Europe’s Sneaker Capitols I’d also like to recommend what I think is one of the coolest sneakers stores in Amsterdam. Its also on Elandsgracht (No. 57) and called BASKÈTS. From rising local brands such as ETQ AMSTERDAM or FILLING PIECES to awesome and also some rare editions from the big international sneaker brands, Baskèts has got you covered.
If you are a fan of culinary pleasures paired with modern street food concepts FOODHALLEN is the place you should go for lunch. What you get is a nicely designed market hall with several street food stands, offering a broad variety of dishes from different cultures and places. While the lady went with the middle-eastern cous-cous falafel plate i decided to get some delicious, fresh experimental sushi.
5. Enjoy the Canals
Of course there are plenty of nice sights in Amsterdam you can visit. However, if you ask me the best and most beautiful places in Amsterdam are the Canals. I could sit in the sun beside the water for hours and not get tired of the ridiculously beautiful architecture with its amazing brick houses. A must-do when in Amsterdam is a boat tour. It’s great to get a quick overview of the city or to just relax and enjoy the sun while cruising through the fabulous canals. My recommendation is not to get on the boat at the central station as the queues there are endless. You can buy your tickets in one of the ticket stores in the inner city and then hop on one of the boats for instance at Westermarkt (there’s one next to the Anne Frank House and one next to the Gay Monument).
6. Get a Trim
There are plenty of cool barber shops that offer fair deals in Amsterdam. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to get a nice trim and upgrade your grooming products.
There are plenty of restaurant guides for Amsterdam. Nevertheless i always find it quite hard to pick the perfect restaurant in advance when traveling. This can be particularly problematic when you’re super hungry from an exhausting day of walking and exploring the city and suddenly the hunger turns into hanger. My favorite place we had dinner at in Amsterdam was BLACK AND BLUE, a cosy and delightful steak restaurant situated on Leliegracht right next to the canal. I picked the “catch-of-the-day” and was extremely satisfied. As far as i know all the main dishes come with a free refill of the housemade fries and salad. The prices are absolutely reasonable and you can calculate approximately 25-30 € for a main dish and a drink.
8. Return to the Castle
Finally after a very long day of gathering great impressions and seeing so many beautiful places and things, returning to the hotel room and relaxing a bit in the spa area is a great way of concluding the evening and helps to recharge the “batteries” for the following days. I hope my recommendations are of use to you and feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.