Last September I finally made it to Amsterdam, having travelled extensively with my career in fashion buying and my personal love of travel, I can’t believe it took me so long to get there. I was talking to my friend Sam and she mentioned her upcoming trip with her family to Amsterdam and it sparked me to write the blog I’ve been meaning to write.
We stayed in the Negen Straatjes, the picturesque 9 little streets, neatly woven over the canal network in a small place called The Tannery Amsterdam located on Looiersgracht It was clean, comfortable and central, from here we immersed ourselves in to local life, something we like to do.
I hadn’t pre-booked any restaurants, we played it by ear and we were happy with every spot we found. Pluk Cafe located on Berenstraat was a recommendation from my cousin’s wife Pam. A healthy option for breakfast with a great bakery selection, I can recommend their Açai bowl and French Toast. We sat upstairs on the mezzanine watching my Açai bowl be prepared. Pluk also offers a small selection of homeware.
Our favourite breakfast find was Bakkerij Wolf on Wolvenstraat We went here having smiled and said hello to a lady who was sitting outside, she turned and said, “you can‘t walk by and not try their almond croissant”, she was right. Apparently their croissants take three days to prepare.
We stumbled across Bar Parry on our first night. A couple of glasses of the fizzy stuff were accompanied by a few small plates that were recommended to us by the owners, we chatted to them about Amsterdam life and how they live in the gorgeous house opposite, you can find Bar Parry on 1st Looiersdwarsstraat 15
From here we had a walk and a wander carrying our cone of frites from Fabel Friet, easy and relaxed, it gave us the opportunity to explore and find our bearings. Located on Runstraat in the Negen Straatjes.
Our last night dinner was at De Struisvogel it was delicious, situated on Keizersgracht, this restaurant is old school cosy with no fuss or frills, just seriously tasty, traditional European food and the service was brilliant. It felt as though we had struck upon a well kept secret with it being situated below the cobbled streets, my Mum describes places like this as, “it felt like it was giving me a hug”.
Café De Doffer on Runstraat was a favourite of the locals. I love the pavement eating culture and if I could bottle this experience I would. The staff were super friendly, the food was fresh and did what it said on the tin, the service was right on and super relaxed.
Vintage shopping was not the main purpose of this trip, but I managed to duck into a few when my husband Steve was at the barbers and later with a little look of ”please can I just pop in here, I’ll be quick”!
I found this wonderful store De Tuinen Van selling plants and vintage clothing. I’ve been in plenty of vintage stores and this has to be one of the coolest. In my last blog, Brighton’s 3 best vintage stores, I talked about the kind of vintage store I would want to own and this one is up there too. It has it’s very own personality and individual style.
The store is set over three floors and as is the way in Amsterdam it’s a narrow build with a lovely connecting wooden spiral staircase . There was a bright and colourful rail of vintage product that lured me in and a further three rails in the basement, sharing the space with a large mirror, a cute sized fitting room and gorgeous array of green foliage.
I bought this wonderful blouse, I couldn’t believe the price tag when I saw it said €28.00.
It’s owned by a former Dutch actor and a lot of what he collects and sells is old theatre wardrobe pieces.
I was expecting him to say the trousers were around the €75.00 mark, turns out I was way off. He wanted €25.00, but he was happy to accept my £10.00 that I keep for emergencies, this wasn‘t an emergency, but it was money well spent.
There is a great preloved designer store too Tamago A store with a high-end feel set over 2 spacious floors, the pieces on offer were great and priced well. Located in downtown Amsterdam in an area surrounded by antique stores and art galleries. It has been there for some time and was founded by Christine Van Lindt back in 2009.
I went to the vintage Episode store on Berenstraat they have four stores in Amsterdam. This store feels more like a Beyond Retro, with lots of choice by product type. Roomy and well laid out, it’s more of a traditional vintage store. I also found Rumors Vintage, located on Haarlemmestraat 29 I only had chance to stick my head in, but it will high on my list for my next visit.
What we did
Your Amsterdam trip isn‘t complete unless you hire yourself a bike. Even though it‘s a city full of bikes and the cyclist is well respected, do keep your wits about you. We hired our bikes from Black bikes rental They have lots of locations around the city, we picked ours up from their store on Wolvenstraat.
We covered a lot of ground being keen road cyclists, needless to say this was a very different experience. We went over to Oud-West, a dynamic neighbourhood that is bordered by Vondelpark. It’s definitely an area we will explore more of next time we visit.
We spent an hour on the canal, another great way to see Amsterdam and it’s layout. We saw some amazing houseboats, some of which are available on Airbnb. I accidentally deleted photos of some of my favourites, you will have to take a trip to see them for yourself. The history of the city is fascinating. I forget the name of the company, but it had an orange and grey colour theme and their boats were located near Anne Frank’s House.
We also visited the Rijks Museum located on Museumstraat where we saw Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. We were sad to miss Anne Frank‘s House on Westermarkt and the Van Gogh Museum on Museumplain 6. Book in advance, a lesson we learned here, it may have been down to Covid restrictions at the time and their opening hours, but I would book ahead of your trip to avoid disappointment.
All in all I loved Amsterdam, a beautiful city with an amazing relaxed vibe and a warm welcome from the locals.
If you have any recommendations to add please pop them in the comments box below.
Due to me accidentally deleting some of my photos I have used some imagery from the featured companies websites or Instagram accounts.