Amsterdam has always been on the radar of many curious travellers. The free spirited Dutch capital looks like a fun place to be but also has many cultural, natural and historical treasures you can’t miss.
Today, Maartje will introduce us to Amsterdam from her local perspective. She will show us the best places to go, have fun and take a bite in order to help us to have the best time in Amsterdam.
So let’s get started…
Q1: Hey there! Please introduce yourself, your blog and the city you live in!
Hi guys! My name is Maartje and I am the founder of travel blog Quokka Travel. I share my personal travel adventures to inspire others and to show the beauty of countries where I traveled to like Australia, Indonesia and Italy.
My next trip will be the Trans Mongolian Railway. For the last 9 years I have been living in Amsterdam for over 9 years and know the city by heart.
Although I am not born in Amsterdam, the city is my home and I love it. I traveled to many countries across the world and there is only very few places that can compete with the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is just amazing!
Q2: What do you love the most about Amsterdam?
I love the free spirited mindset of the people, the authentic canals and tiny houses, the beautiful architecture and great restaurants and bars. But most of all, it’s the relaxed atmosphere that makes me smile every day while cycling along the canals.
Compared to other European capitals, Amsterdam is a small settlement with its canals as veins. The thing I love most about Amsterdam is exploring the city by boat. Being on a boat offers you an unique city view and gives you the feeling of ultimate freedom and joy.
Q3: What are your favorite local meals?
Honestly… the Dutch cuisine is unknown for a reason. We are known for pancakes, herring, cheese and waffles. Not really Haute cuisine 🙂 Although I like some of our local specialties from time to time, Dutch food is not my favorite.
We do have quite a few local breweries that serve pretty great meals. One of our favorite go-to places to go for ‘beer and burger night’ is Troost Brewery for example.
Q4: What’s the best place to have breakfast?
There are so many to choose from, but our number one is Bakers and Roasters. This place is located just around the corner of my house and is owned by a Kiwi/Brazil couple. They have a lovely menu to choose from, a few plates to mention are their Huevos Rancheros, the granola with fruit or the salmon stack with bearnaise sauce.
Another lovely place is Little Collins in de Pijp area, De Laatste Kruimel and Vinnies in the city centre.
Q5: What’s the best place to have dinner?
Again, there are many great places for dinner and of course your choice depends on what you feel like and your budget. My new favorite place is Restaurant Sinne. Sinne is a one michelin star restaurant in with innovative and delicious dishes.
Another absolutely great restaurant is Sent on Saenredamstraat 39. Centrally located in De Pijp, Sent serves delicious food, has friendly staff and lovely wines!
Q6: What are the top three attractions in Amsterdam?
I am going to share the obvious ones for an Amsterdam city trip for a few days. This is nice to do for your first time visit. For those who have more time or want to get a more authentic experience, I will give your some more local options:
- Canal tour – this is very popular and a beautiful way to see the city! If you prefer a bit more personal freedom: rent a boat yourself and cruise along the canals wherever you like!
- (Not the) Red Light district – a part of Amsterdam that fascinates many people. Not my favourite area though because it is packed with tourists and not the ambience I am personally looking for. If you feel the same, skip the red light district and go to ‘the 9 streets’, a little more to the west of the city centre. Great shops, restaurants and cafes.
- Museum Square – Amsterdam’s key museums are located on Museum Square. This is where you will find the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. The Rijksmuseum is home to the world famous Nachtwacht painting. You will find the Nachtwacht on the top floor. My recommendation is to buy your tickets online, go early and start your visit at the top and work your way down.
Q7: Where can you get the best view of Amsterdam?
- Rooftop Bar of Ciel Blue (two michelin star restaurant)
- A’dam Toren in the North of Amsterdam
- Westertoren – near the Anne Frank museum
Q8: Your favorite cultural attractions or activities?
- Photography Museum Foam
- Hendrikje – for girls who love bags and purses
- Renting a boat and cycling along the canals
If you are a museum lover, I would recommend getting a Museum Card. You can get this card at any museum for € 64 and it allows you to visit over 400 museums in Holland.
Q9: Are there any possibilities for exciting day trips from Amsterdam? Where to?
Yes! Utrecht and Rotterdam are Holland’s other two large cities and great for a day visit. If you are lucky with the weather, Wijk aan Zee and Noordwijk are great for a day at the beach.
The more beaten track is Volendam, which is personally not what I would recommend. If you feel like getting out of the city, rent a bike or car and discover the Waterland region.
Otherwise Giethoorn and the islands in the northern part of Holland are beautiful! Another great option is cycling along the Amstel river all the way to Ouderkerk.
Q10: What are the best traditional festivals or events in Amsterdam throughout the year?
- Kingsday is the 27th of April and all Dutchies celebrate this national holiday. Amsterdam turns orange, canals are packed with party people on boats, people sell second hand stuff on the streets, the city feels like one huge festival for everyone!
- The Gay Pride – now called Euro Pride – is held every year in July/August and is a week of many festivities. Especially the canal parade is a great event where people on 80 large boats celebrate freedom!
- Last but not least: de Parade! This traveling theater festival starts in Rotterdam at the end of June. With stops in The Hague and Utrecht, De Parade starts in Amsterdam’s Martin Luther King Park on the 12th of August. There are over 100 theater, dance, mime and music performances to choose from. Traveling with kids? De Parade has a special Kids Parade.
Are you going to Amsterdam soon? What place do you want to see the most?