Amsterdam Layover and Destination Guide – experience Amsterdam like the locals

Amsterdam your Layover city guide

Amsterdam is a beautiful, very urban city at the North Sea. It's built on 165 canals and it is one of Europe's urban crown jewels. I just came back from a trip there and wanted to share my experience.

The bad new first Amsterdam is overrun by tourists and a major part of the city is now 100% devoted to tourism with no locals and local businesses left. If you are
anything like me – avoid these area completely – they will spoil your memory of the town. This guide will help you make the most of the city.

You'll arrive at Centraal station after taking the train to the airport. Rent a bike as that's the way to get around in Amsterdam. after dropping your bags at the hotel.


Eat/Coffee

Let's face it – the Dutch cuisines is not known for its many treasures but Amsterdam has attracted many culinary entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Vinnies Deli

A great organic ingredients only deli close to Centraal station. Go for lunch or breakfast.

TwoForJoy Coffee

Great pastries, fantastic sandwiches and salads and Amsterdams best coffee. It also looks great and is a quiet oasis.

Castell

This place looks touristy from afar but you can sit outside along a canal. It has however fantastic barbequed steaks on offer that taste as well as they look. Prices are reasonable for such a downtown location.

Winkel

Fantastic apple pie at this institution of Noordermarkt. Don't miss!

Sleep

Radisson Blu Amsterdam

Radisson Blu Amsterdam often has deals around EUR 100 on sites like booking.com. Also several hotels around Vondelpark aren't too expensive.

There are also a number of Novotels spread throughout the old town.

Vondelpark is a bit away from the main city but it's a great neighborhood and has a strip of good hotels and restaurants on their own.

Don't stay at the airport – it will take away most of the atmosphere this town has to offer.

Do

Nemo

Nemo is a science museum – don't go into the museum. Rather go up to
there roof top terrace which is open till 8. Good views over Amsterdam
for free.

Noordermarkt

Very pretty area to just wander around the canals. Prepare for the calorie infusion when eating at Winkel (see above). It's even more happening on Saturdays with the local farmers market.

Vondelpark

Great park to hang out on a warm day. It's were Amsterdam comes to ease out of the week on weekends. There are a number of places to grab a drink as well.


De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets)

This is another cute little area of Amsterdam that looks even nicer than the other canals.

Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum

I recommend to go there and see the outdoors – it's pretty and on your way back from Vondelpark to the Central Station.
The Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum are ever well considered by the locals but it means entrance fees and time to spend at a museum.

Nightlife

Red light district

The Red light district is probably the only part of on the tourist trail that you should see for 15 minutes or less 🙂 Don't go into the coffee shops – the 'coffee' on offer is bad quality, its expensive and most places are plain dirty.

Hannekes Boom

This is the place to be around 6-10pm on a warm day. Sit outside and watch the boats come by in this Amsterdam landmark. It's close to Centraal Station but feels like a world away.


Canvas Cafe/ Trouve

Canvas Cafe has been club with not just one but two roof top terraces until July 2013. It's being renovated and the outcome isn't sure yet but watch out for it. Next door Trouve is a great spot to eat and party afterwards. So come hungry, eat, drink and wait for the party to start.

jimmywoo

This is a night club near Leidseplein that is known for good hip-hop music and it's stylish audience. They usually have a crowd on Thursdays and Sundays as well.

Roest

This is a place I wasn't able to test out myself – but comes highly recommended by the locals.

Thanks for everyone who helped me discovering those gems in Amsterdam!