When Irina asked us for suggestions for her city visits, we realized this could be much more – that we could start an exciting collaboration. We met Irina in Vienna and we simply adore her love of life, of everything that is beautiful and good about the world. Beyond her day job and activity as a fitness trainer, she travels extensively, cooks divinely, dances, and explores Vienna for the best coffee places and healthy food restaurants. We are happy she agreed to write about her adventures on our website, and share some of the positivity and sunny vibes she always exudes. Below you find her account of a long weekend in Amsterdam, packed with recommendations for places to eat, including vegan Amsterdam options, drink, and enjoy.
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“My 2018 New Year’s Resolution is to travel to at least one city every month (by far the best New Year’s Resolution I have ever had!), so at the end of March, I packed my bags for Amsterdam!
I had been there last October and did a historic self-guided tour of Amsterdam and immediately fell in love with this charming capital, its lovely canals, picturesque streets, lively atmosphere and friendly people, so I knew I had to come back as soon as possible! I chose the end of March so that I could take advantage of the blooming nature and also hoping it would be a bit warmer (which unfortunately wasn’t the case). Since I had already seen the main touristic attractions, including the Anne Frank House, as well as done the famous Grachten-ride, I asked Anca and Sinan to plan a weekend behind the scenes for me. Although they have more experience with child-friendly holidays in Holland, they put together an amazing route for me, including less known spots, cozy cafés, and even some day trips to neighboring villages.
I arrived in Amsterdam on a Thursday evening and after check-in, I immediately headed to Foodhallen for dinner. I simply love the atmosphere of this food market – always crowded and lively and with plenty of choices regarding fresh food and drinks. I had an amazing pulled pork platter followed by the best frozen yogurt I have ever tasted from The Yogurt Barn. At the end of a long walk through the city center, I stopped for a great cocktail at the Hoxton bar (photo). Of course, I raised a glass to Dream, Book, and Travel and our wonderful collaboration.
On Friday morning I walked from the flat (near Rembrandpark) towards the center passing on Kinkerstraat. I stopped for a great cup of coffee and cake at Lot Sixty One. I passed the Vondelpark and went by the Rijksmuseum (which I had visited the last time), heading to my favorite district: De Pijp. Last time I had had breakfast at CT coffee & coconuts, which was really nice, but this time I wanted to try out something new and went to Little Collins, where I liked the food and friendly staff. After strolling aimlessly on the streets (I simply love to do that: just go wherever it seems nicer), I passed through the Albert Cuyp market, where I treated myself with a warm stroopwafel.
After a really good cappuccino at Back to Black I walked around the canals towards the Spui – a picturesque street with book vendors and small shops. For a few moments, I entered another world, an oasis of calm in the middle of the city: the Beginjhof (photo). I returned to the agitation of the center, passing through the Bloemenmarkt and heading towards Leidseplein. In the evening I went to a home party in the Eastern part of town, Ij Borg – a new neighborhood with fancy houses, but not easily accessible without a car. The night continued in a bar next to the Dam square, which is definitely one of the places to be if you’re looking for a party!
On Saturday morning I left for Zaanse Schans, a lovely village 30 minutes from Amsterdam, known for its windmills and green wooden houses. There are various types of windmills around a lake, many of which can be visited (one ticket costs 4.50 euros). I went inside the Sawmill and it was very interesting to see how the wood is being processed. After walking around the whole village, I headed to the peninsula Marken, where I was impressed by the picturesque colored houses. The sun was finally shining, so I could take advantage and have lunch in the harbor. After a long walk by the water, I tasted a famous Dutch dessert: poffertjes. Mmmh!
Back in Amsterdam, in the evening I went for a drink in the Waterfabriek neighborhood at the lovely bar Terrace, where we sat next to an open fireplace. The night ended in Soundgarden, a shabby bar packed with youngsters and backpackers from around the world. It was loud and rather grubby, but the atmosphere was very lively and cool.
On Sunday I took the bus from the airport and went to the famous flower park Keukenhof, where the season had just begun a few days before. The park is big and there are lots of attractions, so one needs at least 3 hours to enjoy it. Since it was rather early for the tulips to bloom, there weren’t so many of them outside, but I was amazed by the multitude of flowers to be found inside the pavilions. I saw hundreds of tulips, orchids, and hortensias – a true explosion of color and beauty!
Nonetheless, I would recommend visiting the park in April to enjoy it to its fullest. Having just a few hours left until my flight, I returned to Amsterdam, where I walked from Centraal to the elegant Jordaan passing on the animated Warmoesstraat and gazing at the boutiques on the Nine Streets. I had one of the best burgers I have ever tasted at Burgerlijk, after which I drank one last coffee in the Netherlands at Bocca Café.
To sum up, Amsterdam is a wonderful city and definitely a must-see for all those in love with architecture, art, good food, small shops, plenty of bars and simply a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The best months to pay a visit are, in my opinion, April and May, so that it’s a bit warmer, but nature is still in bloom. I look forward to my next encounter with this magical town and with Holland in general, which has plenty of beautiful places to offer.”