Amsterdam Guide

BakingBar’s Amsterdam Guide

Over the past few years we have visited Amsterdam
several times and during these visits we have live blogged from Amsterdam. This
page is now a combination of all those visits, recommending to you what we
think is the best of Amsterdam. We’ll add to this Amsterdam Guide every time we visit
of course. This is a constantly evolving guide to the best bits of Amsterdam, according to us. 🙂
You can also view our FLYBE Amsterdam Ambassador piece which was published in all FLYBE Inflight Magazines.
Now sit back, make a cup of tea and transport
yourself to Amsterdam while reading about our adventures.
The first question we are always asked is Where to stay in Amsterdam. We have
always stayed in one of two places during our visits. We always use these
hotels and would only recommend them to you as we have tried and tested them.
They are:
Hotel de Westertoren  – http://www.hotelwestertoren.nl/Hotel de Westertoren is the perfect hotel for us in Amsterdam, is combines the traditional architecture and historic feel with a very friendly family run atmosphere. Not to mention that it is so close to Dam Square that you can see the Royal Palace from some of the windows! We used Booking.com to book our stay.
Hotel de Westertoren

When we first arrived in Amsterdam on our very
first visit we were shocked at the hustle and bustle of a busy city which was
so different to what we had just come from in Belfast. However it is hard to
miss that although Amsterdam appears busy it is a very intimate city, with its
tall buildings which dwarf the people who hurry around beneath them. There are quiet spots hidden around every corner which transport you from the hussle and bussel of a busy city to a relaxed and quiet environment.
When we travelled back to Amsterdam in 2016 we were excited to get the IAmsterdam Card for the first time from the IAMSTERDAM tourism office. We really cannot recommend these cards enough for the amount of value which they give a tourist, even if you’ve been to the city before. You have to order one card per person for your trip and can select various durations such as 24/48/72 hours etc. This is the duration which you can use your card for after you first activate it by using one of the associated offers. You can always find great accomodation offers on Booking.Com, that is always our first go-to.
Some of the things included on the card at the time we visited Free entry to Amsterdam’s best museums and attractions, Free, unlimited use of the GVB public transport in Amsterdam (bus, tram & metro), Great discounts and special offers throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding area and our favourite was the Free canal cruise, such a beautiful way to see the city’s historic centre.

From the moment we landed our eyes were trained on any
unfamiliar advertisements for foods, chocolates and crisps which we
don’t have back home. Of course there are the similarities which result in
us turning around to each other and muttering “oh they have those here
too”.

 

 

Amsterdam is a bit of a culture shock coming from
the UK, so if you are travelling from further afield it will likely be a larger
shock, in a good way of course. You wont want to leave!!
One of the most evident differences is the sheer
number of bicycles, now we don’t mean 30 or 40, we mean hundreds! In fact as
your visit goes on you will begin to feel more and more out of place without a
bicycle.
Central Station is certainly an amazing piece of architecture which
we stood and gazed at in amazement for a quite a while. Snapping
some pictures which we know we will look back on with great pleasure.
Your first day will always be a tiring one, tiring
but amazing. There is so much to take in you will feel a little overwhelmed so
we always recommend that anyone visiting Amsterdam should, at least on their
first visit go for at least 5 days so you don’t feel rushed and get a good
impression of the city.Our first day was a tiring one from travelling but you’ll spot plenty which you want to see and explore during the rest of your trip.

Amsterdam has quite a comfortable climate. This means it was not too warm to do
plenty of walking, which we certainly did! On our journey across the city we
discovered many mouth-watering window displays and probably sampled a few too
many of them.

One of the immediate problems you will find in Amsterdam is navigating around,
we spent many hours wondering around in circles, up and down the same streets
scratching our heads. Its not necessarily a bad thing as we found loads of
things we had missed the first time down the streets. You will get use to the
layout of the city after a few days, your second visit to Amsterdam is always
more enjoyable as you actually feel like you know where you are going.
Amsterdam Centre is laid out in a spider’s web structure so you will get use to
counting how many canals you have crossed to work out how to get back.
You’ll come across all sorts of bakeries as you
wonder around a bit lost, pretending not to be. We came across these HUGE meringues
in several flavours, this one is strawberry. Seriously though, they were absolutely
huge! These were crafted by Bakkerij Marco Berens, Snoekjessteeg 1-3 5, 1011 HA
Amsterdam.

 

At the very centre of Amsterdam you will find Dam
Square. During the day the square is nearly always bustling with people but is
normally just a meeting place except for during festivals where sometimes
carnival rides and shows are set up there.

We discovered a hidden beauty… a bakery called Metropolitan Deli  which sold
everything from pastries to cakes. Keep a look out for the giant slab of
chocolate they keep near the door!

One place we recommend everyone go while they are
visiting Amsterdam is The Anne Frank Huis. Whether you are interested in
history or not this is something we feel that everyone should visit and
experience. We recommend you booking your visit to the house online before your
visit, its always good to be able to skip to the front of the queue. You can
book tickets here
But we eventually found a cheese shop called Henri
Willig. The shop front makes you want to walk in. The many samples of cheese on
offer are very tempting. Being something which we wanted to buy while in
Amsterdam we opted to buy some Dutch Green Pesto Cheese. The vibrant green
colour of this cheese is fascinating and its taste is amazing. A deep
herby basil and garlicky taste makes you want to eat more and more. We
have already cut into this cheese which we doubting it will last before we
arrive home. Maybe another wheel of it is needed?
We are happy to say that you can now order Henri
Willig cheese online! http://www.henriwillig.com/en/
There is simply a wealth of restaurants, cafes,
bars, bakeries and just about everything else a foodie dreams of. The Grasshopper Restaurant is a key example of a good, not too expensive restaurant in the City Centre. We
both chose to have Chicken Satay Skewers with Fries and Salad. This was
amazing! And this set up right for the rest of the day to come. We recommend
checking out the Grasshopper Restaurant during your visit.
That evening we discovered what we consider to be
one of the best reasonably priced Italian restaurants in Amsterdam city centre….Il
Panorama situated Herengracht 194, Amsterdam 1016 which is actually helpfully
on the same street as Hotel de Westertoren which we recommended above. Il
Panorama has a very Italian feel where you are made to feel like one of the
family in the intimate and always buzzing restaurant. Sit here and enjoy the
romantic setting looking out over one of Amsterdam’s main canals.
The same day we went to de Bijenkorf which is a
huge shopping centre located on Dam Square. This was also conveniently located
just opposite Hotel Amsterdam de Roode Leeuw.
We continued up the floors of the store and finally reached the top floor which was a cafe area. However this cafe was very different and was more like a buffet from soups to desserts they had just about everything. We managed to take a few photos which are below.
Onward and upward in de Bijenkorf. It wasn’t long
before we discovered the cupcake/baking themed display area. One brand which
caught our eye and is now a firm favourite with us is called Blond Amsterdam.
You can find their website here
We decided to buy some cake forks by Blond
Amsterdam and I’m sure they will be taking pride of place in some of our baking
pictures to come.
This wasn’t all the store had to offer though as we
discovered! They were also selling the Limited Edition Karl Lagerfeld Coca Cola
bottles! However when we enquired they were completely sold out (from a few
hours of them going on sale apparently!)
We spent many a day wandering down narrow back
streets of Amsterdam looking for hidden gems of bakeries. Well that is what we
say we were doing; truly we were lost most of the times but it’s still an
adventure!
We adored this cupcake display made out
of knitted wool! The Dutch certainly do have a sense of humour!

 

We found this shop just off Dam Square selling
IAMSTERDAM merchandise which seems to be just about everywhere in Amsterdam.
This shop itself is amazing! The roof is decorated like grass with full size
cows standing on the ceiling. This photograph really doesn’t do the visual
effect justice.
On our latest visit we also spent a whole day at Artis Zoo! This is the most amazing zoo I have ever visited. You were able to get very close to the animals and they had a great selection to keep you busy for the entire day. Including giraffes, elephants, reptiles, butterflies and even an aquarium. I’m not going to list them all and spoil the surprises.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More pictures from our trips are on Facebook under
our Amsterdam Albums. www.facebook.com/baking.bar
We have since written an article for Zomppa
International Food Magazine regarding our visit to Amsterdam and this can be
found here.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://www.bakingbar.co.uk/amsterdam-blog">
SHARE
SOCIALICON