Known for the red-light district, Coffee houses and beautiful canals, Amsterdam will not disappoint. It’s the perfect distance from most European cities for a short 2/3 day stay which makes it easily accessible for a weekend city break. Having said that, one of the downfalls of being such a convenient, exciting city is that it has become host to the dreadful stag/ hen parties which we personally would rather avoid, so going mid-week is ideal if you can take a few days off.
The ‘healthy eating’ scene is very well catered for, with quirky brunch spots like Buffette Van Odette (all the best shops are in this area too) and Lavinia. The latter is somewhat of an Instagram phenomenon too, so if you’re into checking out menus before you arrive then head to their page for some serious hunger-inducing pics. Rijks is great for lunch near the must-see Rijksmuseum and also the Van Gough museum which is just across the park. Winkel has the best apple cake, and if you’re on a hunt for famous Dutch waffles then Kuyt and Holtkamp are your go-to.
For dinner, we’d 100% recommend Toscanini. A fabulous Italian with no real menu because everything is a special of the day combined with the friendliest team and great ambiance, it makes for a great date spot or group dinner. Also, there’s no need to dress up as this is where the locals who know good food head, and you can feel the cosiness the moment you walk in. Stork is across the river, specialising in seafood and with great views on a nice summers evening. De Kas is a cool, organic spot in a greenhouse just outside the city centre, make sure to book though as it gets booked up months in advance.
The new Soho House has also just opened with a cool rooftop for pre or post dinner drinks and is a great work spot if you need to do some laptop time during your stay. The rooms are gorgeous in their typical Soho house style, with huge open bathtubs and fluffy white duvets. The Pestana Riverside Hotel is closer to the museum area but a little further from the red-light district and city centre. You can get some great deals here and it’s about a 15 min walk to the floating flower market.
The Pulitzer Hotel is probably the swankiest and the interiors are cool, sleek and comfortable. It used to be five townhouses and they turned it into one building but kept many of the original beams and brickwork which almost makes it feel New York ‘lofty’. Make sure to book a room overlooking the canals to really feel like you’re in the ‘Dam.
While you’re in town make sure to rent a bicycle to explore the endless canal banks and bridges, and definitely take a canal cruise of some description (there are loads of different ones so just ask your hotel which they recommend for you)!