I’ll start off by leaving you completely gobsmacked. I did not ride a single bike in Amsterdam… EVER.
It feels good to get that off my chest. Although, there really would have been no better place than Amsterdam to actually learn how to ride a bike… hashtag hindsight.
I’ll give you a couple of minutes to let this sink in…
We caught a flight from London to Amsterdam (for less than $100 AUD) and then the train from the Airport to Amsterdam Central. As soon as we stepped out of the station (quite hungover I might add, eating our leftover plane food), we were pretty overwhelmed with how beautiful it was.
We jumped on a tram, missed our spot, then luckily somehow ended up finding the place we were staying. It was in an amazing location on Kannalstraat, Amsterstam, Noord-Holland and less than $50 AUD a night each (#brokegal).
That day we discovered what was to become our favourite locay. The FoodHallen.
You can’t visit Amsterdam without visiting this glorious place. It was about a 10 minute walk from our humble abode, walking over the beautiful canal bridges… trying not to be knocked over by bikes.
The FoodHallen is an incredible hall full of, you guessed it, FOOD! They have dedicated wine bars, beer bars, cocktails, and every type of street market-style food you could ever dream of.
After stuffing your face here, just outside the FoodHallen is a stretch of markets that will 100% put a lil dent in your piggy bank. In saying that, it’s full of unique products you won’t find really anywhere else, which definitely makes it worth more in my books. There was really great jewellery and some amazing clothing stalls. I left with a sailor-style hat and some Ray Ban lookalikes for a total of about $50 AUD.
Our next stop was Vondelpark, which is apparently where the entire population of Amsterdam is chillin. It’s the perfect place for a picnic. You’ll see hundreds of people drinking, eating, running around, lots of PDA, and birthday parties you’ll really want to crash. There’s a cute bar in the middle of the park you can grab a wine and some bread and hummus for cheap.
I had lunch at a place called Saffraan. Can’t recommend it more. It had incredible pasta and even the coffee was good. It’s a super cute corner café. Perfect for people watching.
Of course, you have to visit the IAMSTERDAM sign. If you don’t, did you really go to Amsterdam? It’s absolutely flocking with tourists, so try and go early morning to get a good snap.
Another tourist-driven area is of course the Red Light District. I got to say, it’s incredibly confronting. Before visiting the area I was actually quite happy to go and even see a show there and experience the nightlife. I was curious. However, once we reached the district I did a complete 180. I think you need to at least see it to make up your own mind about it. I definitely see why the locals completely avoid the spot. I personally donot want to be part of funding that industry. It’s quite unbelievable really, and quite a contrast compared to the entirety of Amsterdam itself.
Try and go during tulip season so you can see the beautiful tulip fields, we missed it just by a couple of days which was disappointing.
We tried the Bloemenmarkt flower market, although found this was something you could probably give a miss. It was focused more on growing your own flowers etc. which was not quite something we would be doing in the two days we were there.
EVERYONE speaks English. Everyone is incredibly friendly, will more than likely mock your accent for a harmless LOL and are absolutely more than happy to help you out.
Check out the main shopping strip, Kalverstraat. You’ll find lots of international brands. I, of course, found a couple of keepers in H&M for $30 AUD. The collections are different in Europe, so it’s definitely worth having a look!
Eat ALL OF THE CHEESE. That is all. It won’t be hard to find.
Top 3 eats:
Rene’s Croissants: Get churros, and basically any sweet you can dream of
Saffraan: Try the vegetarian lasagne!
Coffee & Coconuts: It’s an old theatre transformed into a cool 4 level oasis. Sit on a beanbag and enjoy a hearty breakfast and one or ten cups of delicious coffee.
Written for Student Flights.