Every time I visit Amsterdam, I discover new charms. Restaurants and shops come and go, but there’s more than a handful I look forward to returning to. Several parks highlight the vibe of the city and it’s always interesting to take in the mood with the various seasons. To really know Amsterdam, a bike is the way to go. Some of my favorite memories are riding at night along the canals after dinner with a glow from the street lights reflecting on the water. It’s magical.
I’m sure I’ll be back to add to this list, but below are some of the memorable things I love about Amsterdam. (updated 2019)
The Dylan Hotel. A five-star luxury boutique hotel set within the “nine streets” canal-belt with a history that dates back to 1613. I’ve been to other beautiful hotels in Amsterdam, but The Dylan is special. The food and service are exceptional and the setting and decor are beautiful. Take advantage of the signature Dylan bikes to explore around town. What I love: the old-world Dutch decor with antiques and original wood floors, the bikes, the presentation and quality of the food, the cozy bar with fireplace, and the boutique size of the hotel (no large cruise crowds here).
The Pulitzer: Twenty-five canal houses joined together to form the posh Pulitzer Hotel. A beautifully designed hotel by Jacu Strauss effectively marrying the old and new. Elegant and modern with a tranquil inner courtyard and garden. What I loved: the spectacular view of the canal and the Hotel’s classic boat for guests use. Con: Wouldn’t recommend for the claustrophobic. The hallways connecting the canal houses are low ceilinged, narrow and rarely level.
Rent a Houseboat (on my bucket list)
I could spend hours browsing through the shops, galleries, and cafes throughout De 9 Straatjes. This is the heart of Amsterdam’s charm.
Take a canal boat cruise
Get around like a local and rent a bike. Tour the canal streets, the parks or even venture outside of town.
If the timing is right, take a day trip out to see the Tulip Fields
Some of my favorite restaurants to pop in are located in The Canal District and De Jordaan neighborhoods.
Cafe Papeneiland: Go for the iconic apple tart in a historic atmosphere.
Cafe T’Smalle: Originally a 1780’s brewery, now one of the most charming little restaurants. Make sure to get a seat on the terrace over the canal.
De Belhamel: European/French cuisine in an elegant Art Nouveau setting.
de Struisvogel: A cozy and intimate small restaurant in the basement of a canal house. Loved the atmosphere.
Kantjil: Casual Indonesian food for a quick bite.
Get in line to try the famous Flemish fries at Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx.
Grab a drink and appetizers and enjoy the view from the Sky Lounge
Check out any of these popular museums:
Anne Frank (book FAR in advance)
Oouderkerk aan de Amstel: charming village just outside Amsterdam to take in quaint architecture, historic churches, and De Zwaan. (for my next visit)
Remy Meijers Simply Elegant