48 Hours in Amsterdam

October 23, 2017

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Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by BriYYZ.

Composed of a vast labyrinth of canals, steep 17th-century houses that lean on one another like age-old friends and a maze of dazzling cobblestone streets and bridges, Amsterdam is a small city that packs a big punch of charm. The Dutch word gezellig perhaps best describes the capital’s unique allure. Although it doesn’t have a direct English counterpart, the word can be loosely translated as “cozy,” or “togetherness”. This sentiment encompasses both the city and the people, who cycle rain or shine and collectively maintain a tolerant and liberal mindset.

With some of the most notable museums in the world, relaxed canal-side cafés, bustling markets, towering windmills and a plethora of culinary jewels to be discovered, it’s no wonder that this European hub draws millions from around the world, year after year. Whether you crave a Dutch dose of history or simply want to sample the notorious nightlife, Amsterdam is a treasure-trove of earthly delights just waiting to be uncovered.

Day One

Bakers and Roasters. Image by Ali Ronca.

9am: Kick off your day at Bakers & Roasters, a Kiwi-Brazilian fusion breakfast haunt in de Pijp. You can’t go wrong with the huevos rancheros or New Zealand brekkie if you’re especially hungry.

11am: Weave your way into the heart of  de Pijp and grab a coffee to-go from de Wasserette, then stroll down the Albert Cuyp Market. Ogle the market’s many knick-knacks, the enamel handicrafts at de Emaillekeizer and the lush home and fashion finds at concept shop Hutspot Amsterdam.

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje. Image courtesy of the venue.

1pm: Casually stroll across the Amstel River, admiring the architecture and the speedy boats that race down the water. If your tummy is once again rumbling, enjoy a leisurely riverside lunch at Café-Restaurant de Ysbreeker.

3pm: Head north for a dose of culture. Choose from subjects likes cats at Het Kattenkabinet, purses at Tassenmuseum Hendrikje or the latest photography exhibit at Foam — all are within two blocks from Amsterdam’s famous canals.

Door 74. Image by Ali Ronca.

5pm: Ready for an early evening beer tasting at Brouwerij ‘t IJ? Take the 14 bus five stops from Flevopark to Pontanusstraat, and order a paddle of the brewery’s organic brews. Slowly sip outside on the terrace, under Amsterdam’s tallest windmill.

7pm: It’s dinner time and there is a bounty of food options in the east. Fifteen minutes away is Café-Restaurant de Plantage, where you can have a delicious, fancy-pants meal, but if that’s not your scene, opt for a laid-back burger at Smokin’ Barrels.

9pm: As the sun sets, hail a cab to the city center for some nightlife. Start out with a cocktail at Cut Throat, then catch a movie at the plush, Art Deco-style Tuschinski Theater.

11pm: Take time to savor a post-film nightcap at neighborhood speakeasy, Door 74, where space-themed libations are mixed up.

Day Two

Dignita. Image by Ali Ronca.

10am: Let yourself sleep in, then wake up with an invigorating bike ride or walk through Vondelpark on your way to breakfast at Dignita. The Smoke Stack Royal is a tall pile of glory, perhaps welcome after last night’s drinks.

11:30am: Swing into A Loja Portuguese Delicatessen to stock up on picnic supplies for a light lunch. It’s best to go with a full stomach, otherwise you’ll wind up buying everything!

12pm: Cycle up Overtoom and pop into Rusty Gold Motor Shop for urban and old-school motorcycle finds.

Rusty Gold Motorshop. Image by Ali Ronca.

1:30pm: Time to trade your bike for a boat at Sloepdelen Amsterdam, just past the Anne Frank House. Spend the afternoon cruising through the canals, admiring the neighborhood and enjoying your picnic lunch. Quickly dock near Van Stapele Koekmakerij and nominate a boater to run in and pick up some warm chocolate cookies for dessert.

4pm: Cruise over to Dok Amsterdam, where you can park your boat, disembark and dig your toes in the sand for a bit. It’s a wonderful respite before jumping back on board and making the return trip.

Spahgetteria. Image by Ali Ronca.

6pm: Surrender your trusty maritime steed, hop back on your bike and make your way west to kick off the evening at Foodhallen, an indoor market housed in the former tram depot. Slowly sip on a G&T and grab a soft shell crab bun if you’re feeling peckish.

8pm: Save some room for your mouthwatering main at nearby Spaghetteria. The fresh pasta is to die for.

10pm: It’s time to dance off that dinner (and lunch . . . and breakfast!). Cycle 20 minutes west on Jan Eversstraat to de School and catch a gig while moving your body to the beat.

12am: Still feeling rowdy? Just a fifteen-minute bike ride to the east is Café Pieper, a traditional brown café, to end the night in true Dutch-style.

About The HUNT Amsterdam Writer: Born in Boston, raised in Maine, schooled in Vermont and England, and finally settled in AmsterdamAli Ronca is a roaming girl with an unshakable smile whose soul food is all things fascinating and foreign. When she’s not writing or traveling, Ali can be found cruising around Amsterdam on her ombre bicycle, absorbed in a novel, sprawled out on a yoga mat or feeding her bottomless stomach great, simple food. You can follow her daily Dutch adventures at amsterdamandbeyond.com.

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