I got to visit Amsterdam last week in the most beautiful weather! I’m going to share with you guys what I did during my two-day trip. I visited this gorgeous Dutch city in fall 2015 as well, and made a promise to myself that I would return someday. Here is that trip 🙂 Amsterdam is filled with an incredible history which shapes it as one of the most culturally vibrant cities in Europe. Picturesque canals, crowds of bikers, and trendy restaurants define Amsterdam outside of its reputation as a party city.
I hopped on a flight with my friend from Copenhagen to Amsterdam after a long week of finals. After we landed, we took the train to the Central Station and walked to Bob’s Youth Hostel where we stayed for the night. I’m usually an Airbnb person since I have had an amazing experience with the platform, and prefer to have my own space, but hostels especially in “Euro-tour” cities such as Amsterdam can be a fun place to meet like-minded travelers.
After we checked in, we were in need of some food. As a student, of course we were looking for something on the more affordable side. We found the perfect place called d&a Hummus Bistro that serves up healthy Mediterranean food (hummus, babaganoush, falafel, pita, etc) at a decent price. I ordered the fresh mint tea, eggplant stuffed with tahini and pomegranate seeds, and a few pieces of falafel. Everything was extremely tasty and filling, and I really liked how they provided a few dipping sauces as well. It’s not that difficult to stay healthy while traveling without breaking the bank.
I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m always pretty hungry when I wake up. Even if its just a smoothie, I definitely need something to to power me through the day.
We found a spot called Omelegg that serves premium omelettes with interesting add-ons. All the omelettes come with a side salad and a generous piece of bread. This was a filling breakfast to keep me full until lunch, which is important since it’s easy to walk around 10 miles a day when exploring a new city! I tried the omelette with smoke salmon and chives… so delicious.
After, I got the chance to walk around the canals and admire all the gorgeous architecture during a walking tour of Amsterdam. It was a very worthwhile experience to be able to learn more about the city’s vast history, culture, and how it has evolved from its trading days. I highly recommend this tour and especially as a student, you pay however much you feel the tour was worth.
For lunch, we stopped by Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis, a tiny little pancake eatery, supposedly some of the best pancakes in Amsterdam. Nudged in a tiny room up a narrow flight of stairs, this small eatery does not disappoint. I ordered a pancake with fresh strawberries and I have to say it was pretty amazing. I’m usually a more savory type of person but I couldn’t resist a little sugar 😉
In the afternoon, I spent some time at the colorful floating flower market. It was near the end of tulip season in the Netherlands, but they were definitely still gorgeous. The market sells fresh tulip bulbs, as assortment of seeds, postcards, eco-friendly canvas bags, and all other sorts of typical Dutch goods.
Our guide from the walking tour pointed out that Amsterdam was on the forefront of fair and sustainable fashion. I was eager to check out some sustainable stores, so I shopped around. One store was Nukahiva, a fair fashion store which sells all sorts of clothes and goodies. Our guide stressed that fast fashion (buying cheap af clothes from H&M and Primark) contributes to the unfortunately reality of sweat shops, child labor, and climate change. Buying fair and sustainable clothes fights this.
It is very easy when we see the end product in our favorite stores without considering how the clothes were made. However, I completely understand how fair fashion can be quite expensive, but hopefully it will eventually become more commonplace, which will lower prices and allow everyday people to buy these products.
Of course I had to make a pit stop at Manneken Pis, some of the best fries in Holland. I was impressed that they offered a vegan mayo which I tried on the side 🙂 No trip would be complete without some Dutch fries.
Van Gogh Museum was the next stop. The museum is situated around a very beautiful park where you can just chill out by after.
The museum was very interesting, and my favorite part was getting to see “Sunflowers”. It reminded me of an art project I did in school when I was younger, with my childhood friends. I’m usually not a museum person at all, but spent close to two hours here. It is large, but a pretty doable museum as there are only three floors. I also really enjoyed the Japanese + Van Gogh exhibition, where I learned how heavily influenced he was by Japanese art.
After the museum my friend and I wanted to grab some dinner. There is lots of amazing Indonesian food in Amsterdam, so of course I had to give it a try. There was a place called Sprang Makandra, just about a 15 minute walk from the park.
I decided on the ‘Indo Rames’ dish which came with a scoop of yellow rice, tempeh, green beans, mixed salad, rice crisps, and yellow curry. It was super hard to finish but I can definitely dispel that cheap does not mean low quality! Everything tasted quite fresh and well cooked, I would definitely advise coming here.
An essential stop to Amsterdam is walking around the Red Light District. I came here during my last visit to Amsterdam in 2015, but thought it was worth to check out again. It’s always a bit of a shock to see prostitutes trying to lure men into the booths, but I guess in a way it’s okay since the industry is so regulated here. There were so many bars that were packed with people in this area that I wish I got a chance to visit.
After staying at Utopia hostel (down the road from Bob’s hostel), we headed out to get some breakfast at Bagel and Beans. They serve up some of the tastiest bagels in Amsterdam at quite affordable prices. I got the prana bagel with avocado, sprouts, and tomato. Although these Dutch bagels don’t really compare to bagels from where I grew up in NYC or Connecticut, they were decent 🙂
Next, I spent about an hour at the famous Albert Cuyp Market. I liked this market because it is essentially a long stretch of stalls on either side of the road. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Portobello market in London, which has the same layout.
This market had everything from fresh Dutch cheese, poffertjes, stroopwaffels, and herring, to secondhand clothes, handmade jewelery, and random market goodies. It’s a nice place to absorb some Dutch culture and get a taste for their typical food.
This part of the trip was spent at Keukenhof, the tulip fields outside of Amsterdam. Although the beginning of May isn’t really a prime time to see the tulips, it was still such a lovely experience. The flowers were so beautifully arranged in different patterns and colors. I would recommend visiting Keukenhof at the beginning of April in order to see them at the peak of their bloom.
I hope you enjoyed following me through what I did in Amsterdam + Keukenhof during my trip! If you know of any vegetarian restaurants, fair fashion stores, or cool bar recommendations, please let me know so that I can visit them when I return someday 🙂