I can’t believe how fast these past 3 months flew by. My journey abroad came to an end faster than I could’ve ever imagined. For my last weekend trip in Europe, my friend Micah and I decided to head over to Amsterdam.
We flew from Sevilla into Eindhoven, then hopped on a train into Amsterdam to stay for 3 nights. This ended up being under $200, which is pretty good for a super last-minute trip. I have to say, as much as I am not ready to go home, I will NOT miss the hell that is low-budget European airlines. I’m about you, RyanAir.
We stayed at the coziest Airbnb in a perfect location – the neighborhood was quiet but central and walkable to all of Amsterdam’s top spots. The apartment was clean and simple, and we had the authentic experience of having a dutch staircase – which, if you didn’t know – are impossibly steep, winding, and nearly impossible to navigate after a drink or two (or a space cake…) I shared most of my Amsterdam finds on my Instagram stories and received some great feedback and responses about the cafes, shops, and sights. I always think about going back someday.
What to Do
Art Canal Light Tour – we found this on Airbnb experiences and totally recommend for a nighttime activity! You’ll get onto a comfy houseboat, equipped with blankets, mulled wine, Dutch snacks, and guides that navigate you comfortably through the canals. While cruising through the canals you’ll see light art installations of the Light Festival.
De Pindakaaswinkel (the Peanut Butter Bar) – stumbled upon this gem! They make fresh peanut butter and it comes in so many flavors including coconut, coffee, stroopwaffel, even spicy chili. You can make your own if you’re feeling up for it, but I just got 3 mini jars. Downstairs is a candy store where you can sample delicious chocolate too. You really can’t go wrong with pb & chocolate.
Wake Me Up When I’m Famous Bench – this bench located in De Pijp makes for a fun photo-op. No one was there when we went, and the neighborhood is quiet and hip. Definitely head to Rainbowls after (keep reading).
Anne Frank House – unfortunately we couldn’t get tickets to the Anne Frank house. We tried and tried, but it was sold out and we couldn’t even get the reserve tickets released every morning. If you are planning on going to Amsterdam, buy tickets to the Anne Frank house as far in advance as possible.
Bloemenmarkt – prepare to have your mind blown by the floating flower shops of Bloemenmarkt. It’s so colorful, and you can find an incredible variety of flowers and gardening goods. Of course, the Netherlands are known for their tulips! Here you can buy bulbs, seeds, and gifts. Even if you aren’t planning on buying any flowers, it’s an awesome tourist experience.
Boerejongens Coffeeshop – It’s not a cafe. It’s a coffeeshop… Listen, we all know it’s legal in Amsterdam. Not SAYING I did it, but if you ARE going to do it, this is the spot. Clean, upscale, simple. Not that I know or anything…Rocycle – one of the nicest cycling studios I’ve been to! The class was taught in English, and the staff were all welcoming. They had a nice smoothie/juice bar inside too.
Where to Eat
Rainbowls – the most instagram-worthy smoothie bowl of your life. I promise. They have plenty of vegan-friendly fare, really good coffees and homemade tea too. I loved that everything was served in coconut bowls or with bamboo straws. This spot attracts tourists and locals alike, but it was in De Pijp, which is a bit outside of the busiest sections. I got a bowl and a tea – we came back twice because it was the perfect spot to recharge halfway through a busy day!
Pluk – if you are looking for a cozy breakfast spot, Pluk will surely satisfy. It’s decked out with white, pink, avocados, and everything millennial. There are two locations, we preferred the one on Berenstraat. They have baked goods along with a menu full of healthy bowls, sandwiches, and typical breakfast foods. I got the Double Paradise Bowl, and Micah got the Eggs Benedict. They also sell pretty kitchenware and goodies of all sorts.
Polaberry – a teeeny tiny compact shop with gorgeous Belgian chocolate covered strawberries, cake pops, sweets & espresso drinks. I loved how carefully crafted the chocolate treats were, they were little works of art! Not to mention, sooo delicious. We split a box of 4 strawberries which was perfect for the two of us. I liked the dark chocolate crunch one.
O Mai – between the rainy and chilly weather and the lack of decent Asian food in Spain, we were elated to find this Vietnamese restaurant and enjoy some pho. The restaurant was reasonably priced, the staff were friendly, and they had a lotttt of options. Definitely not your traditional Dutch experience, but it hit the spot.
Van Wonderen – stroopwafel time. I read online somewhere that Van Wonderen was a tourist spot, so it may be a little pricier than your average stroopwafel, but they were made fresh and were absolutely delicious. We got regular sized stroopwafels with toppings, and a bag of minis to snack on. I also got my mom a tin to bring home to the U.S., and she loved them, along with the beautiful tin. While there are probably more authentic stroopwafel shops around Amsterdam, we had a great experience at Van Wonderen.
Where to Shop
The three shops I’ve listed were on The Nine Streets – De 9 Straatjes. This part of the Centrum has the best shopping, all in 9 little streets in Amsterdam canal belt. There are so many beautiful shops there, and you can spend the entire afternoon exploring, but the ones I chose to highlight stood out to me.
Ko – this concept store has so many fun odds and ends that make for great souvenirs. The items sold are carefully selected and range from clothes to home decor, from toys to books. Everything is color coordinated, creative, and original. I found really cool music themed tarot cards!
l’Étoile Luxury Vintage – such an awesome shop full of pre-loved designer bags and accessories. They have Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Fendi, and more. Some come with original boxes too – and from what I saw, items are reasonably priced. If you aren’t planning on going to Amsterdam anytime soon, you should check out their website.
My Jewellry – this boutique sells sooo much jewelry, in every trendy design you can imagine. I got a pair of earrings and a cuff, but I wish I bought more. They also had cute clothes – mesh tops, funky handbags, dresses, you name it! The girls working were really sweet and helpful. I wish they shipped to the U.S. because I would totally order more.
I will most certainly be back someday. Hopefully soon. XO & HAPPY NEW YEARS!