Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Amsterdam, The Netherlands by A4A guest writer, Manon van Schagen.
Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.
Overview of Amsterdam
It is the city of pot, prostitutes and canals for many. However, for people who live there or visit often, it is a city of ‘gezelligheid’ (literal translation is “cosiness” but it means way more than that). There is great and refreshing food, endless amounts of parks and the never ending adventure of finding the next hot spot. It’s about time that Amsterdam is known by a new name to visitors and that name is gezelligheid.
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Top 5 places to visit
5. Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA)
This is one of those places you probably won’t find in a Lonely Planet, but is definitely worth a visit, especially because it is free, and we all love free places. Obviously you want to have a great view of Amsterdam, because well, doesn’t every city look more beautiful from above?
Luckily for you I have the best spot to enjoy the view at its fullest. You should head to the public library close to the central station, called OBA. Then go to the top floor where there is a place to get some food and a terrace with an amazing view. And no, you don’t have to get a drink or some food to enter the terrace.
4. Westerpark and Oosterpark
Parks are fun and beautiful (well, most of them) but there are more parks in Amsterdam than Vondelpark, just like there is more than Hyde Park in London. Go to Westerpark or Oosterpark instead, and you will be surprised by all the beauty these parks have without being run over by the big clumps of tourists.
3. Dappermarkt and Waterlooplein market
Everyone loves these hot spots because you are able to find cute stuff, food and lots of other amazing things. The Albert Cuyp market is the city’s most familiar one, but try the Dappermarkt instead or go to the Waterlooplein market. These two are a whole lot less touristy, although Waterlooplein market gets more touristic by the weekend, but I can guarantee you that you will adore both of them.
Prinseneiland is one of those places that you think is too good to be true. Even for me it is a truly magical place and I cannot get enough of it. The true Amsterdam beauty of centuries ago is around every corner while surrounded by canals, bridges and pretty houses. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than this.
1. Amsterdam Noord
For all my industrial lovers, go to Amsterdam Noord (the North of Amsterdam). You can get here by a boat that is completely free, so it is perfect for budget travellers. There are so many hot spots here that you forget where you need to look. It is perfect if you want something else for a few hours than the endless amount of canals and cute houses.
Eating and drinking
The most popular areas of Amsterdam where you will find locals are definitely the Weesper area, de Pijp and de Jordaan. These are kind of authentic streets but with an amazing vibe and great places to eat. Let’s get real, the list of good places to eat is endless here but I will just give you a few of my most favourite places. The first one is Termarschco where you can get the best burgers in town. This is obviously a must-visit place.
If you’re in a cheap mode but want to get a real taste of the food, then head over to the FEBO. Here you can get your food out of the wall. Yes really! We have an endless amount of fried stuff which we absolutely dig. Every time that I’m abroad I miss this.
For one of the best pizza’s of Amsterdam you need to make a reservation (or be really lucky) at de Pizzabakkers. They have around five locations in Amsterdam and have wonderful Italian pizzas. Even my Italian friends approved these so you and I both know that means something major.
Another amazing place to get great food is de Ysbreeker which is located in the Weesper area and next to the Amstel River. They have a big terrace but during the beautiful days it is always incredibly busy, and it isn’t just because the sun is shining.
Amsterdam is that kind of place where you are able to walk to all the hot spots. If you don’t want to walk, try the Dutch experience of riding a bike. One major important tip though, don’t cycle like a maniac (and therefore almost causing accidents) by thinking you can handle a bike better than us, because trust me, you cannot.
Also, when you’re walking somewhere, watch out for the cyclists. Look first before you’re stepping on the cycle-path unless you have a death wish.
If you really want to take public transport, because you don’t feel like walking (I know how you feel, trust me) then I recommend you to grab yourself a day ticket (or the amount of days you’re staying, it gets cheaper with every day you add) at the tube station.
If you want to get really cheap accommodation I’d suggest you try couch surfing. Because let’s be honest, finding cheap places to stay in Amsterdam is not that easy. You can try hostels, but if you don’t want to stay there I reccommend bed and breakfasts or hotels outside of the city center. Try looking in Haarlem, Zaandam, Alkmaar, Amstelveen or Utrecht instead. You will need to take a train trip towards Amsterdam but it is the cheapest option you can get while you’re enjoying the landscape on the small trips.
Hi there! My name is Manon and I have a blog that is called the Dutch countryside, for a very simple reason. Namely, I’m Dutch and from the countryside. Besides blogging and travelling I’m a fulltime student of the University of Amsterdam who currently lives in Frankfurt for an internship.
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All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer, Manon van Schagen.
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