Discovering: Amsterdam

Arriving in Jordaan, Amsterdam

Following a lengthy discussion about where to go away on another city break (as an attempt to make the most of the Summer before it ended), we finally landed on the decision to go away to Amsterdam for a few days. Having looked at a few of the different neighbourhoods and districts, we decided to stay in the pretty area of Jordaan – Amsterdam’s answer to the Northern Quarter.

Westerstraat market

Upon arrival, our Air BnB host told us about a ton of activities to do over the weekend and gave us a map to help plan our stay (If you’re ever wanting to visit Amsterdam, I’d highly recommend Michel’s apartment – it was clean, spacious, and perfectly located). On the Monday morning, we woke up to a beautiful market on our doorstep. Inside the Westermarkt, you’ll find a range of gems to buy from antique furniture to flowers, and it was full of locals buying their weekly food shop from local organic suppliers.

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In an attempt to be true tourists, we made our way over to the Anne Frank House (ignorant to all of the reviews online, which pre warn you about the massive queues that accumulate), to find that we couldn’t get in unless we wanted to wait for 4 hours – so, that failing, we took the bikes out and did a loop of the city – ending in Westerpark to make the most of the sunny weather.

Coffee concepts

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The area surrounding Westerpark is gorgeous – its full of hidden cafe’s where you’ll find the locals relaxing after work with a newspaper or catching up with friends. Though mostly a residential area, we stumbled across Coffee Concepts – a coffee shop with an integrated  agency in the lower floor. Full of books and magazines, the walls were littered with various prints and pieces of art, and the shop itself is located in an amazing area to have a wander around in. 

Shopping

If you’re after a shopping break – head over to Wolvenstraat to find boutiques and stores such as COS, Carhartt, Rapha, and American Vintage.

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If you feel a bit sluggish from all of the churros, pancakes, and chips Amsterdam has to offer, head over to SLA – where you can pick up a salad, juice, coffee, tea, or dessert. A good stop gap if you’re sightseeing, SLA is located on Westerstraat in the Jordaan district, and is only about a 5 minute bike ride/10 minute walk from the heart of the city.

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Having never been to Amsterdam before this holiday – I’d definitely recommend it for a relaxed city break. You can reach any side of the city within about a 40 minute walk/15 min bike ride, and once you get away from the touristy areas the restaurants and shops are incredible. Despite being in a city centre, you feel like you’re wandering around a small town, and all of the locals make you feel really welcome. 

Beware of the bikes though! If you’re not comfortable on a bike, the other cyclists can be intimidating and I wouldn’t recommend cycling through the busier parts of the centre unless you’re familiar with the roads there.

 

Submitted by Freya, from Manchester

 

 

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