Conservatorium Hotel • Museum Quarter • $$$$
Palatial neo-gothic hotel that used to be Amsterdam’s conservatorium of music. Suspended violin centrepiece, soaring atrium ceilings, superb dining and cocktail bar, plus the largest gym and spa in the city. If money is no object, the I ❤ Amsterdam suite comes with its own private rooftop terrace. Located right across the street from Amsterdam’s three heavyweight art museums.
Review of Conservatorium Hotel • map • +31 20 570 0000
Seven One Seven • Southern Canal Ring • $$$
Sumptuous canalside mansion with just nine individually styled rooms, personalised service and a carefully selected mix of antique and contemporary furnishings and designer pieces. Located on a quiet street overlooking Prinsengracht canal but a stone’s throw from the bars and restaurants of Leidseplein and easy walking distance from top art museums.
Review of Hotel Seven One Seven • map • +31 20 427 0717
Okura Hotel • De Pijp • $$$$
Luxurious, minimalist 5-star hotel, with some of Amsterdam’s best dining under one roof, including two Michelin-starred restaurants. Fantastic health club with pool and superb city views from its lofty, award-winning cocktail bar. Short walk from the quirky design stores and street market in De Pijp.
Review of Okura Hotel • map • +31 20 678 8300
Toren • Western Canal Ring • $$$
Opulent boutique hotel spread across two 17th century canal houses – a bold mix of gilded mirrors, luscious fabrics, chandeliers and modern amenities. Great views of the Keizersgracht canal from many rooms. Arranges private canal cruises in historic boats. Steps away from the Anne Frank House, easy walk to the medieval centre and hip Jordaan district.
Review of Toren • map • +31 20 622 6352
De L’Europe Hotel • Medieval Centre • $$$$
Elegant, luxurious 19th century hotel with contemporary makeover and an interior filled with Dutch Masters reproductions and crystal chandeliers. Sits on its own peninsula in the southern part of the medieval centre; great views of the Amstel river from many rooms. Michelin-starred dining onsite and exceptional, personalised service. Short walk to Rembrandplein and its surrounding nightlife; walkable to the Museum Quarter and ideal for exploring the medieval centre and the Red Light District.
Review of De L’Europe Hotel • map • +31 20 531 1777
Andaz Amsterdam • Western Canal Ring • $$$
Whimsical design hotel overlooking Prinsengracht canal in the historic canal ring. Original video art in the lobby, contemporary rooms with open-plan bathrooms. Numerous boutiques, cafes and restaurants of hip Nine Street shopping neighbourhood right on its doorstep, and the Museum Quarter, Anne Frank House and the medieval centre a short walk away.
Review of Andaz Amsterdam • map • +31 20 523 1234
Misc EatDrinkSleep • Nieuwmarkt • $$
The best boutique hotel in Amsterdam with individually decorated garden- or canal-facing rooms. Charming, intimate place with personalised attention and a great cocktail bar. Located near the Nieuwmarkt metro stop. Medieval city centre and the Red Light District bars, attractions and restaurants right on your doorstep.
Review of Misc EatDrinkSleep • map • +31 20 330 6241
The Dylan • Western Canal Ring • $$$
Boutique hotel with 40 individually-styled rooms inside a stunning 18th century canal house, located on a quiet street in hip Nine Street shopping neighbourhood in the historic canal ring. Michelin-starred restaurant and own canal boat. Walking distance from the medieval city centre, Museum Quarter and Anne Frank House.
Review of The Dylan • map • +31 20 530 2010
Hotel TwentySeven • Medieval Centre • $$$$
Exclusive, 5-star luxury right on Dam, the medieval centre’s main square. Just 16 individually designed suites, rich colour scheme, and carefully curated art by the CoBrA collective throughout. Personalised butler service and one of the best bars in the city onsite. Surrounded by restaurants and bars, stone’s throw from the Royal Palace.
Review of Hotel TwentySeven • map • +31 20 218 2180
Sir Albert Hotel • De Pijp • $$$
Nineteenth century diamond factory turned hip 4-star hotel, with contemporary artwork, guest library heavy on art and design books, bright and spacious rooms (many with open-plan bathrooms), iPads for guest use and excellent onsite restaurant. Easy walking distance from De Pijp’s street market, the neighbourhood’s independent boutiques and the Museum Quarter.
Review of Sir Albert Hotel • map • +31 20 305 3020
Seven Bridges • Southern Canal Ring • $$$
Intimate boutique hotel with hand-picked antiques and oriental rugs in its individually decorated rooms. Located in a quiet part of the southern canal ring, overlooking the confluence of two canals. Owners extremely knowledgeable about the city. A short walk from the bars, restaurants, museums and theatres around Rembrandplein and Hermitage Amsterdam.
Review of Seven Bridges • map • +31 20 623 1329
Faralda Crane • Amsterdam Noord • $$$
Amsterdam’s strangest hotel – inside a revamped red and yellow industrial crane. Three uniquely designed suites to choose from, plus a rooftop hot tub. Steps away from Amsterdam Noord’s arty NDSM-werf, urban beach and several good restaurants; cycling distance from Amsterdam Noord’s other attractions. A short, free ferry ride from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and the medieval centre.
Review of Faralda Crane • map • +31 20 760 6161
Zoku • East Amsterdam • $$
A ‘hometel’ with hip loft apartments ideal for longer stays, stylish rooms, cosy common spaces and rooftop café. Near the Weesperplein metro and tram stop. Walkable to Hermitage Amsterdam and the Rembrandtplein nightlife; short tram ride to Museum Quarter and bustling Leidseplein.
Review of Zoku • map • +31 20 811 2811
art’Otel • Medieval Centre • $$$
Large boutique hotel opposite Centraal Station, with original artwork, stylish, contemporary rooms and a basement art gallery. Nightclub in the basement. Popular with younger guests; ideal location for exploring the medieval centre and the Red Light District.
Review of art’Otel • map • +31 20 729 7200
Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam • Medieval Centre • $$$$
At the sister restaurant to the 3-Michelin-starred De Librije in Zwolle, the tasting menu is pricey but worth every penny. The cutting-edge style of cooking and daring pairings of ingredients result in memorable creations – shrimp in a yuzu sauce with fois gras mousse, beetroot merengue with ice of smoked haddock liver – and there’s a superb wine list to boot. Reservations essential. Dress code. • map • +31 20 718 4643
Ciel Bleu • De Pijp • $$$$
Blow-your-paycheck fine dining, with fine views over the city from its 23rd floor setting inside the Okura Hotel and 2-Michelin-star creative European fare. Seasonally changing multi-course menu and excellent wine list. Reservations a must; dress code is smart casual. Located at the southern boundary of the De Pijp neighbourhood. • map • +31 20 450 6787
Breda • Western Canal Ring • $$$
Innovative, playful approach to modern Dutch cooking, pioneered by two hotshot young chefs. There’s no menu; lunch comprises 3, 4 or 5 mystery courses, and dinner is a selection of dishes of the day – Small, Wide or All We’ve Got. Numerous select wines by the glass. Reservations essential • map • +31 20 622 5233
BAK • Houthavens • $$$
Hot foodie hotspot for several years running, well worth seeking out in its out of the way location north of Jordaan, overlooking the Houthaven harbour. Changing daily menu comprised of seasonal Dutch produce, paired with natural wines. The lunch menu (weekends only) is a steal. • map • +31 20 428 1111
Ron Gastrobar Oriental • Southern Canal Ring • $$
Stylish yet informal gastrobar by Michelin-starred chef. Come here for Asian-inspired, Dutch-fusion, tapas-style dishes with that range from sweet and sour pork belly with green apple to boneless spare ribs and thousand chilli fish. Excellent classics and original gin cocktails. Ideal for starting the night before hitting the bars around Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein. • map • +31 20 223 5352
Adam • Vondelpark • $$$
Modern Dutch fare in a refined setting, near the northwest corner of Vondelpark. The four multi-course surprise menus consist of beautifully presented, clever dishes, such as crispy pork belly with celeriac or grilled seabass with white asparagus. Top-notch service. Reservations recommended. • map • +31 20 233 9852
Blue Pepper • Museum Quarter • $$$
The pick of Amsterdam’s many excellent Indonesian restaurant. Two multi-course menus on offer: a vegetarian or non-vegetarian rijsttafel (“rice table”). The spread of small dishes may include soft shell crab with pineapple, fish steamed in banana leaves and lamb satay. It’s a 5-minute walking from bustling Leidseplein. Reserve ahead. • map • +31 20 489 7039
Yamazato • De Pijp • $$$-$$$$
Splurge on an exquisite multi-course kaiseki tasting menu at the chef’s table at this Michelin-starred, minimalist Japanese institution. Bento boxes and good-value daily set menus available at lunchtime, as well as a la carte sushi and sashimi. • map • +31 20 678 7450
Anna • Red Light District • $$$
Sleek, elegant Modern Dutch restaurant with white-cloth tables and creative fusion dishes. Excellent list of global and organic wines and. Views of Oude Kerk – Amsterdam’s oldest church – and the Red Light District windows. • map • +31 20 428 1111
Cannibale Royale • Medieval Centre • $$
This meatery is one of the top contenders for Amsterdam’s best burgers, as well as chunky pastrami and pulled rib sandwiches at lunchtime, and expertly grilled steaks in the evenings. Lots of cocktails, global beers and wines to choose from. Great location in the heart of the Medieval Centre; three more branches around the city. • map • +31 20 233 7160
Hemelse Modder • Nieuwmarkt • $$$
Cosy, welcoming restaurant with canal views, minutes away from the Nieuwmarkt square. Dutch dishes with global touches, with an emphasis on local, seasonal produce sourced from nearby markets. Intimate vibe and a lovely outdoor terrace out back for alfresco dining. • map • +31 20 624 3203
Greetje • Plantage/East Amsterdam • $$$
Old fashioned charm combined with a refined approach to Dutch cooking. Seasonal ingredients, terrific execution and a frequently changing 7-course tasting menu. Don’t skip the inventive desserts. • map • +31 20 729 7450
Le Perla Pizzeria • Jordaan • $$
Boisterous neighbourhood gem, popular with families. Thin and crispy pizzas made with fresh ingredients, baked in a wood-fired oven. Toppings include hard to find ingredients such as Tuscan salami and brick-oven-roasted pig from Aricia. • map • +31 20 624 8828
De Plantage • Eastern Amsterdam/Plantage • $$
Former 19th century greenhouse with soaring ceiling and wrought-iron struts. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner; beautifully presented dishes include burrata salad with eggplant and blood orange and ravioli with pistachio and Turkish sheep’s cheese. Socialise at the large communal tables inside, or head into the garden. Located next to Artis Royal Zoo. • map • +31 20 760 6800
Guts & Glory • Southern Canal Ring • $$-$$$
This hip, experimental restaurant keeps its menu a secret. You order a certain number of courses, based around a single ingredient or single cuisine that changes every few months. You might get cucumber-clad herring, ceviche with pisco sour ice or white asparagus with pistachio. Multi-course lunches are great value. • map • +31 20 362 0030
Old Amsterdam Cheese Store • Medieval Centre
Renowned for its award-winning mature Gouda, this store has several branches across the city. Numerous cheesy souvenirs to choose from: including green and red pesto Gouda, hemp Gouda and smoked cheese. Cheese paraphernalia also, from cheese hatchets to specialised cheese knives. Hour-long cheese and wine tastings arranged. • map
Nikkie • Vondelpark
Flagship store of Amsterdam-based actress and TV presenter turned designer, Nikkie Plessen. Street-smart women’s fashion here includes bomber jackets, trench coats, strapless dresses, jumpsuits and T-shirts with bold slogans. Accessorise your outfit with Hexagon overknee boots or Nikkie sneakers. • map
Scotch & Soda • Medieval Centre
Amsterdam brand of hip streetwear gone global. Men’s and women’s apparel includes velvet jackets, jeans with colourful flourishes, neon silk shirts and leather gloves. • map
Blond • De Pijp
If you’re blonde, like blondes, or are into kitschy and adorable gifts, check out this store whose blonde owners adorn mugs, plates, teapots and dishes with funky, colourful designs. Pottery aside, they also put their designs on mobile phone cases, stationary, homeware and more. Custom-made design possible; just let them know what you want. • map
Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies • Red Light District
The world’s first condom speciality boutique, selling condoms in every imaginable size, flavour, colour and design. Vegan condoms, eco condoms, forest-fruit flavoured condoms – they’re all here. There’s also a fun range of lubricants and condom-themed postcards, clothing, posters and even snacks. Gentlemen, if you use their website’s guidelines to measure yourself, the staff can help you get the right fit. • map
Heinen Delftsware • Southern Canal Ring
The Netherlands’ distinctive blue-and-white Delft pottery has been going strong since the 16th century, and this highly regarded outlet sells Delfts Blauw both for ornamental and everyday use in all price ranges. There’s everything from miniature porcelain clogs to hand-painted tulip vases and plates, designed by renowned artists. The staff can assist with packaging and shipping. • map
Bloemenmarkt • Southern Canal Ring
This famous flower market has been based here since 1860, when flower sellers would moor their barges here and flog their wares. While the market is no longer floating, it makes for a particularly colourful spectacle during the spring tulip season (April to mid-May). You can buy tulip bulbs and tulip-themed souvenirs (clogs, fridge magnets) year-round. • map
Pied a Terre • Museum Quarter
Europe’s largest travel bookstore, with a skylit interior and attached café. There are over 600,000 maps here, travel guidebooks in various languages, gorgeous coffee table books with glossy travel photos for inspiration, an array of globes, and indispensable local books, such as Learn to Cycle in Amsterdam by Ruth Oei-Abraham. • map
Magic Mushroom Gallery • Medieval Centre
Recreational marijuana and magic truffles are legal in the Netherlands, and this is a branch of the leading “smart shop” chain. Friendly staff will help you choose from a large selection of weed, truffles, bongs and pipes, and advise beginners which strain and intake method would be best for you. Just remember not to try and bring any home as a souvenir! • map
Marie-Stella-Maris • Western Canal Ring
Amsterdam-based and locally beloved range of high-end beauty products. For each item you purchase, a percentage goes towards clean water projects around the world. • map
Tasting Houses and Cocktail Bars
Café de Dokter • Medieval Centre
Tiny, clad in dark wood and filled to the brim with bird cages, antiques, old clocks and other curios, Amsterdam’s smallest pub was founded by a surgeon and has been in the same family for generations. There are just four tables and a good selection of whiskies and beers, with a rotating whisky of the month and superb smoked beef sausage to go with it. • map
Hoppe • Medieval Centre
Since its opening in 1670, Hoppe has been attracting a diverse crowd of socialites, entrepreneurs and journalists and continues to do so to this day. You can knock back beers, award-winning wines and numerous genevers within its ancient, wood-panelled walls, or else perch on the terrace of their modern pub section that makes for great people-watching on the Spui. Lots of special events, such as Herring Parties in June. • map
Wynand Fockink • Red Light District
This 17th century tasting house is a terrific place to educate yourself about genever (Dutch predecessor of gin); there are 70 or so liquers and genevers to choose from. They’re slurped from traditional tulip glasses, and you traditionally bow after the first sip. Boswandeling (Walk in the Woods) is a good one to start with. • map
Rosalia’s Menagerie • Nieuwmarkt
Attached to the awesome Misc EatDrinkSleep boutique hotel and just around the corner from the raucous Red Light District, this intimate cocktail bar is one of the best places in town to try contemporary concoctions or sip an artisan beer or wine. Their Vesper martini (gin, vodka and blueberry habanero jam) is a knockout. • map
Vesper Bar • Jordaan
A Jordaan neighbourhood institution that’s essentially located in someone’s front room, this cosy cocktail bar features a creative, seasonally changing cocktail menu. They also offer a boozy High Tea menu, ideal for a lazy afternoon. • map
Door 74 • Southern Canal Ring
It’s easy to walk past this unmarked door without even noticing it’s there, but if you’re in the known, send a text message to gain entry to this dark-timbered speakeasy. An original cocktail is created daily; alternatively, try their Searching For Black Matter, a concoction of Botran Solera rum, dried pineapple bitters and Marzipan syrup. • map
Twenty-Third Bar • De Pijp
Come to the the 23rd floor of the Okura Hotel for some of the loftiest views of the city, as well as beautifully presented classic cocktails and indulgent champagne cocktails. The suberb bar snacks come from the hotel’s Michelin-starred adjoining restaurant. • map
Bar The Tailor • Medieval Centre
Inside the Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam square and named after the original profession of the hotel’s founder, this slick bar is overseen by world-renowned mixologist Tess Posthumus. Her original cocktails grace the menu, including the award-winning Cuban Mist. • map
Tales & Spirits • Medieval Centre
Overlooking Singel canal on the western edge of the medieval centre, this classy bar has award-winning mixologists serving imaginative, original cocktails. Try General Lee, a Knob Creek Rye, Dom Benedictine and Amaretto concoction that comes with its own theme tune. • map
Craft Beer Breweries
Brouwerij Troost • De Pijp
Trendy Troost has three locations across the city, all of which offer guided tours and tastings and have brewpubs attached. As well as a dozen or so brews, ranging from pilsner to aged barley wine, Troost also makes its own lemonades, gin and jenever. The most atmospheric is the former monastery in De Pijp, with an attached restaurant serving comfort food and burgers. • map
Brouwerij ‘t IJ • Plantage/East Amsterdam
Located in a former bathhouse beneath Amsterdam’s tallest windmill, the city’s most famous independent brewery produces almost three dozen beers; their Zatte and Natte are particularly good double and triple flagship brews. The large terrace is awesome on sunny days. While there’s no restaurant, the pub serves cheese plates, sausages and other snacks. Private tours of the brewery available outside the public tours Friday-Sunday. • map
Butcher’s Tears • Amsterdam Zuid
Unique, unfiltered and unpasteurised beers brewed at this edgy industrial space, overlooking a canal south of Vondelpark. At the tasting room, open Wednesday to Sunday, you taste barrel-aged wild ale with dates or seasonal and limited edition beers. No food is served, but there are occasional special events, such as live music. • map
Oedipus Brewing • Amsterdam Noord
Started by a group of four friends, Oedipus is a quirky microbrewery found in an industrial space in Amsterdam Noord. At their funky taproom, they pair their six permanent beers and a couple of stouts with award-winning burgers from the Beef Chief. Besides that, they experiment with unusual ingredients (Szechuan pepper beer, anyone?) and host Beer Dinners monthly in collaboration with different restaurants. • map
Brouwerij de Prael • Red Light District
Great location in the heart of the Red Light District, surrounded by bars and cafes. This brewpub has a full range of own beers, IPAs and stouts and collaborates with other creative brewers. De Prael is also responsible for Amsterdam’s first ever rainwater bitter, and it ain’t half bad! The burgers, samosas, pulled pork sandwiches and chilli dogs at the attached restaurant are the ideal accompaniment to the brews. • map
Cafes and Brunch Spots
Café Eijlders • Red Light District
A local institution since 1940, during WWII this beautiful, stained-glass brown café was a haven for artists who refused to do the Nazis’ bidding. It’s still very much a bohemian hangout, with occasional exhibitions, regular poetry readings and impromptu music sessions. • map
‘t Smalle • Jordaan
This former 18th century jenever (Dutch gin) distillery, complete with porcelain beer pumps, is a great all-rounder. Grab a coffee and cake, a light lunch, or nab a sunny spot on the stone terrace overlooking the canal and nurse your craft beer. • map
Bakers & Roasters • De Pijp
One of Amsterdam’s favourite brunch spots. Kiwi/Brazilian-owned Bakers & Roasters is renowned for its French toast with banana marmalade, crispy bacon, Navajo eggs with chipotle cream and poached eggs with smoked salmon stack. Wash it does with a strong coffee or a Bloody Mary. • map
Scandinavian Embassy • De Pijp
Intimate, blond-wood-panelled, minimalist cafe, serving exceptional coffee sourced from Scandinavian micro-roasters (including an interesting cold press coffee made with tonic water). The snack menu is short and sweet: expect salt-cured salmon on Danish rye and freshly baked pastries. • map
Omelegg • Medieval Centre
The central branch of the Netherlands’ first omelettery is all about the egg. Choose from two dozen omelettes (try the Mariachi with jalapenos and sundried tomatoes or Viking Fisherman with smoked salmon, dill and lemon zest), or grab a lunchtime sandwich – all against a mural backdrop of traditional Dutch windmills. • map
CT Coffee & Coconuts • De Pijp
Former 1920s art deco cinema turned café. Served in a triple-level, open-plan space with a John Lennon mural, brunch dishes include almond and coconut pancakes, scrambled eggs with feta and avocado toast with dukkah. Light lunch dishes such as prawn tacos and paper-baked cod are accompanied by jugs of homemade cooler. • map
Café Sliterij Oosterling • Southern Canal Ring
Dating back to 1735, this low-ceilinged, atmospheric pub/café used to sell tea and spices from the Far East before being turned into a genever distillery. The gleaming copper casks still have pride of place and it’s a local favourite for a beer, genever or coffee, with sunny outdoor seating out front. • map
Screaming Beans • Western Canal Ring
Excellent espresso, from one of Amsterdam’s original speciality coffee shops. Expected carefully selected single origin coffees that span the globe, roasted on the premises. Plenty of coffee kit and craft chocolate to purchase, too. • map
Espressofabriek Sloterdijk • Westerpark
Superb coffee served in a beautiful space with soaring ceilings, courtesy of one of the pioneers of speciality coffee in Amsterdam. Beans are roasted in-house and sunny weather is perfect for enjoying the Westerpark ambience. • map
Things to Do
63. Take a canal tour
Seeing the city from the water is a quintessential Amsterdam experience and there are almost as many canal cruise companies as there are canals. Most depart from Damrak in the Medieval Centre, across from Centraal Station. Standout operators include Those Dam Boat Guys (entertaining, BYOB, expat-run, with plenty of quirky city history); Leemstar (small-group, 75-minute tours in a 90-year-old Dutch wooden saloon boat) and Blue Boat Company (mainstream tours, but with unique themed options, such as pirate-themed tour for kids). And if you want to drive your own, Canal Motorboats have small electric boats for hire (no boat license necessary). • map
64. Keukenhof Gardens
Every year, Keukenhof Gardens, an hour southwest of Amsterdam, open for just two months (mid-March to mid-May). There’s no better place to see tulips than the gardens’ 79 acres, planted with a mind-boggling 800 varieties of the flower. Since the gardens attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, the most convenient way to visit is on a tour package with included transportation and skip-the-line admission, booked at the I Amsterdam office in front of Centraal Station. • map
65. Zaanse Schans Windmills
Synonymous with the Netherlands, these authentic windmills out in the countryside make for an excellent half-day trip from Amsterdam. One of the larger operators, Amsterdam City Tours run excellent excursions in luxury coaches, passing through the fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. But if you’re looking for something more intimate, That Dam Guide runs small-group tours to a 400-year-old windmill that’s off the beaten track, complete with a family farm visit and wine and cheese picnic. • map
66. Amsterdam Red Light District Tour
These guys run several in-depth tours of the Red Light District where the world’s oldest profession has been practised for centuries. The best one – if you want to know the secrets of the trade – is with the Fokkens twins, former ladies of negotiable affection for 50 years. On top of that, you get to stroll the narrow alleyways with their window brothels, check out cannabis shops and learn about the history of this gritty part of town. • map
67. Hungry Birds Street Food Tours
The best of Amsterdam’s food tours, Hungry Birds is a small, friendly operator that specialises in small-group foodie adventures. Discover typical Dutch food, the best street food, and find out where the locals go drinking in the evenings. If you’re after something more exotic, their East Experience explores Turkish coffee shops, Pakistani samosas, Surinamese specialities and Moroccan street food in Amsterdam’s multicultural Oost. • map
68. Mike’s Bike Tours
One of the best ways to see the city (and the surrounding countryside) is make like the Dutch and get around on two wheels. Mike’s is based in Nieuwmarkt and does a highly recommended 3-hours city tour that takes you along the canals and cobbled streets (for participants aged 13 and above, since you get to hear about Amsterdam’s history and vices). Longer options include a 30km countryside tour, following the Amstel river and stopping at authentic windmills and a clog/cheese factory. • map
69. Heineken Experience
You’ve tasted the beer, now come to the world-famous brewery for the self-guided, super-fun, multi-sensory ‘Experience’ on the northern edge of the De Pijp district. Allow an hour and a half to follow the brewing process from water and hops to bottling; the show-stopping finale is the 4D multimedia exhibit in which you become the beer – shaken, heated up, sprayed with water and bottled. Prebook online to save €2. • map
70. A’DAM Tower
A 22-storey viewpoint with the Over The Edge swing for daredevils. The former headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell in Amsterdam Noord have been transformed into a hip hotel with a revolving restaurant on the 19th floor and a rooftop viewing platform with epic 360-degree views of the city. Pay €5 extra to dangle your legs over the roof’s edge from Amsterdam’s highest swing. • map
71. House of Bols
The interactive home of genever, the Dutch granddaddy of gin, conveniently located across the street from Amsterdam’s three heavyweight art museums. During the entertaining self-guided tour, you get to learn all about this Dutch spirit that’s making a comeback in bars across the country. Peruse centuries-old recipes, sniff the ingredients, knock back a shot in the psychedelic tasting booth, and learn to mix a cocktail with the expert mixologists. • map
72. Royal Palace
The home of the Dutch royal family. When the King is not in town, you’re welcome to wander around the opulent rooms, filled with priceless art, chandeliers, gilded clocks, antique maps and furniture, left by Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Louis. The king actually lives in the Hague, but uses the palace for state functions. During the King’s birthday in April, the streets around the palace fill with revellers dressed in orange – the royal colour. • map
Abandoned shipyard turned hip arts community. Reachable by frequent free ferries from Amsterdam Centraal Station, this hip, up-and-coming area in Amsterdam Noord has a bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe to it. Several warehouses have been converted into exhibition spaces, the abandoned trams provide a broad canvass for graffiti artists, an old submarine sits half-submerged in the harbour and there are several excellent restaurants here – particularly popular in the evenings. • map
74. Rijksmuseum • Museum Quarter
The Netherlands’ best art museum. One of Amsterdam’s heavyweight attractions, this is the biggest and best collection of Dutch art in existence. Make a beeline for the Gallery of Honour on Floor 2 to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Kitchen Maid by Vermeer, mind-blowing doll’s houses and Delft ceramics, and head upstairs for the latest in Dutch design. Book your ticket online to avoid the worst of the lines. • map
75. Van Gogh Museum • Museum Quarter
The world’s largest collection of Van Gogh works spread across four levels and a stunning glass atrium. Look out for the artist’s self-portraits, as well as some of his most famous works – Sunflowers, Starry Night – and his earlier, gritty paintings, such as The Potato Eaters and Skeleton With Burning Cigarette. Access is by timed ticket only; book your time slot online. • map
76. Stedelijk Museum • Museum Quarter
The Netherland’s biggest and best repository of contemporary art. A permanent collection of over 90,000 works call this striking building home, including Picasso abstracts, paintings by Piet Mondrian, Monet and Willem de Kooning and Auguste Rodin sculptures. Exciting changing exhibitions by big-name artists take place in the Bathtub, accessed via a trippy escalator. Don’t miss the terrific restaurant in the lobby. • map
77. Anne Frank House • Western Canal Ring
Step through the swinging bookcase and go up the steep steps to visit the living space where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years from the Nazis until they were betrayed to the Gestapo in August 1944. Standout exhibits include Anne Frank’s red-plaid diary. This is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions; prebook your ticket on the website to avoid queueing for hours. • map
78. Dutch Resistance Museum • Plantage
Dutch heroism during WWII on display at this excellent interactive museum. The exhibits, made to look like wartime city streets, span the 1930s and Nazi occupation and comprise stories of resistance and heroism – including keeping 300,000 Jews hidden from persecution – as well as collaboration and betrayal. • map
79. Hermitage Amsterdam • East Amsterdam
The Dutch branch of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia. The result of Peter the Great’s admiration of the Netherlands, Hermitage Amsterdam dips into priceless collections of art and Russian palace treasures, on loan from St Petersburg. Try to catch one of the excellent temporary exhibitions and get here before 11am to beat the lines. • map
80. Jewish Historical Museum • Nieuwmarkt
Beautifully-presented history of Jews in the Netherlands. Spread across four beautifully restored Ashkenazic synagogues, the exhibits walk you through Jewish cultural life in Amsterdam from 1600 onwards. The harrowing WWII exhibits deal with hiding from the Nazis and post-war integration. The absorbing Children’s Museum introduces kids to Jewish culture and tickets include entry to the stunning Portuguese-Israelite synagogue next door. • map
81. Amsterdam Museum • Medieval Centre
One thousand years of Amsterdam’s history in seven punchy, family-friendly exhibitions. Check out the interactive DNA exhibit, dress up as a civic guard with a ruffle collar for the Revolt against the King and Church, peruse porcelains and religious artefacts in the maze-like basement and look out for Rembrandt’s macabre Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deijman. Great rainy day fun. • map
82. Rembrandt’s House • Nieuwmarkt
This three-storey canal house was the home, studio and ultimate source of financial ruin for Dutch painter Rembrandt. He originally bought it with the help of his wealthy wife’s fortune, but couldn’t keep up the mortgage payments. Check out the original furniture, cabinet of curiosities and Rembrandt’s famous etchings on the top floor. Don’t forget to pick up a free informative audioguide. • map
83. Diamond Museum • Museum Quarter
Walk your way through the history of history of the Dutch diamond trade, from the carbon’s journey from the mines of Africa into the hands of Amsterdam’s diamond cutters and polishers. The world’s most famous diamonds on display here – the Orlof Diamond, the Maharajah – are clever, glittering replicas, as are the diamonds encrusting the crowns and swords. • map
Food and Flea Markets
84. Albert Cuypmarkt • De Pijp
Amsterdam’s legendary street market. Spread across several blocks of Albert Cuypstraat in De Pijp, this lively market is a great for people-watching, shopping for all sorts of offbeat souvenirs (furry clogs, anyone?) and fresh produce and munching on some traditional Duthc street food snacks. Don’t miss the raw herring with sweet pickles and the gooey, caramel-filled stroopwafel (choose between regular and chocolate). • map
85. IJ Hallen • Amsterdam Noord
Europe’s largest flea market takes place once a month inside a warehouse in Amsterdam Noord, easily reachable by free ferry from Centraal Station. With over 750 vendors, it’s a great place for bargain hunters in search of vintage clothing, collectable bric-a-brac, antiques and more. • map
86. Foodhallen • Amsterdam Oud-West
Inside the revamped former train depot that’s been turned into a cultural complex, Foodhallen is a superb indoor food market specialising in gourmet street food. You can spend days grazing on dim sum, macarons, Mexican tacos, Korean chicken wings, waffles, noodles nd other delicious offerings. • map
87. Noordermarkt • Jordaan
This busy farmers’ market takes place in front of the Noorderkerk in Jordaan on Mondays and Saturdays. Vendors sell a full spectrum of homemade pastas, olives, organic produce, locally made meat products and more. • map
88. Waterloopleinmarkt • Nieuwmarkt
Operating Monday to Saturday, this outdoor flea market comprises over 300 stalls and is a great place to soak up some Dutch culture. Popular with locals and visitors alike, it’s a good place to browse for vintage clothes, accessories, or even grab some fried fish for a quick snack. • map
89. Medieval Cantre/Red Light District/Nieuwmarkt
Amsterdam’s original downtown and historic district, home to a good mix of high-end and midrange hotels, as well as budget picks. Lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants for every budget, good shopping, numerous smart shops. X-rated entertainment in the Red Light District. Adjacent to the Western Canal Ring, Southern Canal Ring and Plantage; across the water from Amsterdam Noord.
Best stuff: Sexmuseum • Nieuwe Kirk • Oude Kirk • Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum • Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution • MILK • Royal Palace • Amsterdam Museum • Dam (main square) • Spui (great bars nearby) • Rembrandt’s House • Waag (great street market) • Jewish Historical Museum • Madame Tussauds Amsterdam • canal tours (Damrak is a popular jumping-off point) • Amsterdam Red Light District Tours • De Laatste Kruimel (café popular with families) • Vleminckx (great Belgian fries) • Anna (romantic fine dining) • Haesje Claes (Dutch home cooking) • Librije’s Zuzje (cutting edge Michelin-starred cooking) • Hoppe (historic bar with outdoor terrace) • Café de Dokter (atmospheric, centuries-old bar) • Rosalia’s Menagerie (intimate cocktail bar).
90. Western Canal Ring/Jordaan
The Western Canal Ring is a Unesco World Heritage site comprising four parallel, interlocking canals, lined with historic gabled townhouses and home to some of Amsterdam’s best boutique hotels. Adjacent Jordaan is a mix of gritty, hard-drinking, working class roots, antique stores and upmarket galleries, with independent shops and cafes dotting the narrow lanes.
Best Stuff: Anne Frank House (book online to avoid huge queues) • canal tours (typically departing from Prinsengracht canal near the Anne Frank House) • Nine Streets (hip shopping neighbourhood packed with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants) • Amsterdam Tulip Museum • Houseboat Museum • Noordermarkt (farmers’ market on Mondays and Saturdays) • Breda (one of Amsterdam’s most creative restaurants) • Pancake Bakery (family-friendly pancake heaven) • Stubbe’s Haring (legendary pickled herring stall) • Bluespoon (creative farm-to-table dining), Bar Brasserie OCCO (Modern European fare, “High Wine” instead of high tea) • ‘T Smalle (atmospheric brown café inside former genever distillery) • ‘T Arendsnest (almost 200 Dutch beers from small breweries.
91. Southern Canal Ring
Picture-perfect historic canals, quirky museums, some of Amsterdam’s liveliest nightlife (particularly around Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein squares), much of it gay-friendly. A great mix of luxury and boutique hotels, and narrow streets densely packed with restaurants, cafes and shops.
Best Stuff: Leidseplein • Museum Van Loon • Hermitage Amsterdam • FOAM • Museum of Bags and Purses • Bloemenmarkt (flower market – though tulips are only there in April and early May) • Willet-Holthuysen Museum • Rembrandtplein • Amstelsluizen (watch boats pass through the locks) • Magere Brug (photogenic, hand-operated bridge) • Guts & Glory (innovative restaurant, surprise menu every time) • Lo Stivale D’Oro (family-friendly pizzeria) • Hosokawa (refined Japanese food) • Ron Gastrobar Oriental (Dutch-Asian fusion tapas, great cocktails) • De Koffie Salon (latte art) • Café Sliterij Oosterling (centuries-old genever distillery and café) • La Cacerola (romantic, gourmet Brazilian) • Eijlders (arty bar/café) • Door 74 (speakeasy-style cocktail bar).
92. Vondelpark/Museum Quarter
Amsterdam’s largest and most popular park that never feels crowded, right next to a heavyweight trio of the city’s most popular art museums. Great restaurants (high concentration of African restaurants north of Vondelpark), hip cafes, high-end boutique shops, good mixture of high-end hotels and wallet-friendly midrange guesthouses.
Best Stuff: Rijksmuseum • Van Gogh Museum • Stedelijk Museum • Vondelpark • Diamond Museum • Concertgebouw (classical music venue, tours of stunning architecture) • House of Bols • Foodhallen (indoor gourmet street food market) • L’entrecote el les Dames (smart French restaurant, popular with concert-goers) • De Knijp (homestyle Dutch cooking) • Lalibela (the Netherlands’ original Ethiopian restaurant), De Bakkerswinkel (bakery mini-chain with lovely garden) • Blue Pepper (Amsterdam’s best Indonesian spread), Adam (inventive, contemporary dishes, romantic ambience) • Ron Gastrobar (tapas, good beer and wine) • Franklin (creative cocktails) • Lot Sixty One (eco-friendly coffee roastery).
93. De Pijp
Multicultural, formerly working class neighbourhood, home to Amsterdam’s biggest street market. Several superb 5-star hotels, a few midrange options. Great selection of cafes, brunch spots, ethnic restaurants, and offbeat, independent boutiques.
Best Stuff: Albert Cuypmarkt (huge street market) • Heineken Experience • Boaty (boat rental with no prior experience needed) • Yamazato (minimalist, Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant) • Bakers & Roasters (imaginative brunches, great coffee) • Scandinavian Embassy (minimalist coffee shop), Omelegg (two dozen different omelettes), Ciel Bleu (2-Michelin-star French dining) • Thrill Grill (some of Amsterdam’s best burgers), Gerard Doustraat (shopping street lined with one-of-a-kind independent boutiques) • Twenty-Third Bar (great cocktails, lofty city views) • Brouwerij Troost (celebrated microbrewery inside former monastery).
94. Plantage/East Amsterdam
Refreshingly green and peaceful part of town, with 19th century pleasure gardens, leafy boulevards, and one of Amsterdam’s largest parks. Just north are the Eastern Islands, rich in maritime history, contemporary architecture and some great bars. Just a handful of midrange hotels here, plus a few good restaurants, cafes and bars.
Best Stuff: Artis Royal Zoo (free entry to Micropia museum) • Dutch Resistance Museum • Hortus Botanicus • NEMO • Het Scheepvaartmuseum • Muziekgebouw Aan ‘t IJ (striking concert hall) • De Plantage (creative fusion dishes) • Gebr Hartering (intimate restaurant specialising in Modern Dutch cuisine) • Greetje (reimagined traditional Dutch recipes; reservations a must) • Brouwerij ‘T IJ (Amsterdam’s leading microbrewery next to windmill, tours Friday to Sunday) • Amsterdam Roest (industrial warehouse art collective/bar) • Hannekes Boom (laidback waterside beer garden).
95. Amsterdam Noord
Former industrial district across the water from the Medieval Centre, now one of Amsterdam’s hippest, most arty areas. Amsterdam’s most unique hotel, big art scene, viewpoint, some great restaurants and craft beer breweries.
Best Stuff: A’DAM Tower (viewpoint with extreme swing) • NDSM-werf (derelict shipyard turned exhibition space) • IJ Hallen (enormous monthly flea market) • EYE Film Institute • Tolhuistuin • This Is Holland (unique 5D flying experience) • Pllek (waterfront café with urban beach) • Cannibale Royale (serious burgers and steaks) • Café Noorderlicht (hippyesque café) • Oedipus Brewing (quirky microbrewery) • Café de Ceuvel (ship wharf café and exhibition space).