LOOK's Giselle rediscovers the city's cool side
Amsterdam is just a 45-minute flight away. How on earth I missed that in my geography lessons is beyond me. Because I love Berlin, I’ve fallen for Paris, but Amsterdam always felt out of reach. Note to self: pick up a map more often.
I digress. I’ve come to Amsterdam on a whim after Ben, one of my BFFs, assured me it was the place to be. I’d been convinced it was stag-do central, but after an hour or so meandering the pretty canals, I see there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Firstly, it’s just so easy to get around. Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol is only 20 minutes by train from the centre and as much of Amsterdam is reachable by bike or foot, we stay in a hotel a little outside the city centre in the up and coming ‘east London’ of The Dam.
The Hotel V Fizeaustraat is next-level hipster. The lobby is an Instagrammer’s dream only bettered by the hotel’s pet cat and sublime breakfast.
There’s loads to do in the Dutch capital, and our hotel loans bikes, but walking through the canalways with coffee is the best way to get a feel for the city. We head for a drink at the Cut Throat Barber & Coffee – it’s also a great place for brunch. Try the red velvet waffles and fried chicken.
Nine Streets neighbourhood is the place to shop, for not only your favourite brands, but also to discover the cool independent boutiques, too.
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Our way back to the hotel takes us through the infamous red-light district, but we head for drinks at Bourbon Street bar, a tiny blues club with amazing cocktails. Another option is to book into SupperClub. Housed in a cavernous gallery-type space, eat a five-course dinner while music blares before it turns into a club with performance art (from £70 per person).
We soon discover cocktail hangovers are easily cured in The Dam. Trakteren Koffie is famous for its latte art, so is worth a visit for that alone, followed by breakfast at Mook Pancakes, which is the ultimate post night-out saviour.
The Jordaan is up next. It’s an area of the city that’s still quiet during peak season and the perfect place to spend the afternoon walking around with street art on every corner. Our trip leads us to the Van Gogh Museum (from £18 per person), which is a nice way to squeeze some culture in should it rain.
Post-art browsing we stumble across Foodhallen – a huge warehouse full of street-food stalls. We enjoy sipping craft beer while snacking on bao buns for around £15 per person.
Amsterdam is full on, but we soldier forward and spend our last night chilling, treating ourselves to a swanky dinner at Izakaya, which is the best Asian food around. We gorge on sushi, scallops and tempura before rolling back to our hotel.
After an amazing trip, one thing’s for sure, I’d definitely return to Amsterdam again.