Early morning’s are the best in Amsterdam. Nothing can beat a sunrise run, walk or bike ride in the (over 400 years old) canal district area. Particularly on Sunday mornings…serene peace & quietness. Even its sister canal city Venice can’t beat.
Best running in the Vondelpark. Enter anywhere and just follow the outer ring, one round sets you back a little over 3K. Have some breakfast after in the Blauwe Theehuis, right in middle of the park. Looking for a more serious track? Take a tram (16) to the Amsterdamse Bos and you can run a marathon without seeing the same trees twice. Great pancake place at the end of the rowing basin to load up your lost carbs.
My favorite meal of the day. Even though Amsterdam doesn’t have that great early bird breakfast culture like in Sydney, with its many hole in the wall venues, it’s coffee all around here. Thank you Mr. Douwe Egberts! Many coffee places serve breakfast items (order an ‘uitsmijter’), and produce great coffee & tea’s. My fav’s are located in and around the Utrechtsestraat neighborhood: Koffie Salon join the regular newspaper reading in-crowd and order your latte from the best barista in town. For some substantial morning food go to Zuivere Koffie also in Utrechtsetsraat, Cafe Marcella (only when the sun is out) and enjoy a ‘broodje osseworst’ and regular coffee on the street terrace (corner Amstelveld and Prinsengracht). In De Pijp area go to De Wasserette (eerste vd Helst straat) with eggs different styles, granola with fresh fruits & excellent coffee. A perfect way to start a lazy Sunday morning.
Visit the Albert Cuyp market, a larger than life street market, selling everything under the sun. Try some Dutch street food like freshly baked ‘stroopwafels’ or ‘poffertjes’ and grilled chicken ‘kip’. Stroll the side streets into de Pijp hood with a very eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. Don’t forget De Wasserette. Each Monday morning there’s a nice flower market on the Amstelveld or every Saturday enjoy a great farmer’s market on the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan district.
Amsterdam is famous for it’s museums and I recommend the Hermitage at the Amstel, housed in a beautifully restored former retirement home for the elderly, and is a branch museum of the famous St. Petersburg museum. The Rijks Museum recently opened its doors after a 10 year renovation by Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz: worth a visit. For something different: ‘Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder” (Our Lord in the attic) one of the oldest and most remarkable museums in Amsterdam. Behind the characteristic facade of the house by the (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40,) canal lies a largely original 17th-century home and a complete hidden church. This hidden church ‘in the attic’ was built during the Reformation, when Catholics were forbidden to hold public services.
When the sun is out (cherish that moment..), spend some time on the terrace of Cafe Nel on the Amstelveld good soups and salads. For a more substantial lunch the College Hotel, next to Cafe Wildschut (Van Baerlestraat), has a nice garden area. as well as the Pulitzer Hotel with its 24 canal houses, just walk into the hotel and explore the inner courts. Good lunch option also is Pompadour corner Kerkstraat and Spiegelstraat and they serve best apple tart in town!
My favorite area’s: Negen Straatjes (Nine Little Streets), close to Jordaan, it’s the area in between Prinsengracht and het Singel and between Leidsegracht and Rozengracht. This district is full with boutique fashion shops, little cafe’s and restaurants. Of course the Utrechtsestraat (see above) is a must and all of the Jordaan area with the Herenstraat. There’s only 1 department store you should know of: The Bijenkorf (Bee hive) and it’s right smack on the Dam square. Oh yes, Amsterdam’s version of Rodeo Drive…is the PC Hoofdstraat, worth a visit on Saturday and interesting people watching.
Towards the end of the afternoon settle into a sofa or cozy up right next to the bartender at the Andaz hotel on Prinsengracht housed in the former library building. For some intimate setting visit the Pulitzer bar. When the sun is out in summer and not too windy take the ferry behind the central station to the Eye film museum as they have a great outdoor area overlooking the IJ river. The Sky lounge on the 11th floor of the Double Tree hotel gives you an unexpected cosmopolitain view across old city Amsterdam. Mentioned already is Cafe Wildschut for a ‘flute’ beer or two and any brown cafe you bump into on the canals.
Some of my fav’s are Italian restaurant Segugio ($$$) in Utrechtsestraat; Vandermarkt ($$$) at the Weesperzijde.; Van Vlaanderen ($$$) at Weteringschans, Vooges ($) in Utrechtestraat is more of a bistro and serves very good fries and home-made! mayonnaise. Dine where your food is grown at restaurant De Kas ($$, Kamerlingh Onneslaan) or be adventurous and try Dutch cuisine at Haesje Claes ($$) in Spuistraat to sample comforting pea soup and endive stamppot. You can’t leave Amsterdam before enjoying a Dutch inspired Indonesian rice table dinner at Kantjil & de Tijger ($) in the Spuistraat.
Hotel JL, part of Vondel hotels, located at the Jan Luijkenstraat just parallel to the PC Hoofdstraat, walking distance from Rijks, Stedeliijk (modern art) as well as the Van Gogh museum. Of course the Pulitzer hotel remains my favorite and if you into very artsy design, try the Lloyd Hotel at Oostelijke Handelskade. Renting your own house boat is also an option and feel like a local.
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