Landing in Amsterdam, I felt a calm sense of familiarity and ease. It was the perfect way to kick off my European journey. With no set agenda besides enjoying this beautiful city, I was looking forward to wandering (and biking) the canal-lined streets, catching up with a few friends, running through Vondelpark, eating gluten free pancakes and much more.
I find my travel style to be less about seeing as much as possible, but rather experiencing the energy, lifestyle and soul of a place. Which tends to lead to a lot of aimless wandering, although especially in the direction of gluten-free treats or green smoothies (all about balance haha), vintage shops, parks and small streets with old buildings. Here are a few of my highlights…
Impressions + Encounters
- Met 2 wonderful girls at my hostel, one from Stockholm and the other from Prague, who I’m looking forward to visiting later on in my trip!
- Caught up with a couple old friends 🙂
- Had great conversations with locals at several shops and cafes…Amsterdam is full of really friendly and helpful people (plus everyone speaks amazing English, so it’s easy to communicate).
- Rented a bike for the day!
I almost got an identical bike to mine back home! Basket and all 🙂
The bike rack of all bike racks
- Ran around Vondelpark – great soft-surface paths and lots of people to keep me distracted from how hard running is these days haha
Houses around Vondelpark
- Visited the Anne Frank house for the first time (highly recommend buying a ticket online in advance, otherwise you wait in a long line and it’s probably not worth it)
- Went to Pllek (bar/restaurant with a variety of beachy seating options) for sunset along the water; looked as if they were to show an outdoor movie later as well
- Browsed the many vintage shops: Episode, Zipper, We Are Vintage, Antiek 58, Pop Boy, Marbles, Rumors
- Strolled different neighborhoods: Jordaan, Oud-West, De Pijp, De 9 Straatjes (nine streets with great little shops)
Smallest but cutest local shop, the Unicorn Boutique
- Others on my list that I didn’t fit in: Yoga (get a free class at Delight Yoga with a purchase at Cold-Pressed Juicery / also walked by Bikram Yoga Amsterdam) or cycling studios (Ro Cycle)
Eat + Drink (Gluten free!)
- Dutch pancakes are the best and an absolute must: Pancakes Amsterdam and Pancake Bakery both have gluten free ones! Opt for the classic ham, cheese and syrup 🙂 But you really can’t go wrong.
- Cold-Pressed Juicery: Love finding healthy juices and superfood smoothies when I’m traveling! There are several locations and so many good options. Even gluten free wraps, chia pudding, raw fruit and nut bars, and more 🙂
Cold-Pressed Juicery goodies
- Vegabond: Small vegan cafe (lots of gf options including sandwiches!) and coffee shop (not the Amsterdam kind, but with actual coffee haha)
- COTTONCAKE: The cutest shop and cafe in one. I took a break from the heat (yes, it hit 30 degrees! Celsius because #Europe. I think I brought the California sun 😉 ), sat in their cosy loft and got a delicious iced matcha latte with almond milk, plus gluten-free banana bread #win
COTTONCAKE’s gluten free banana bread and iced almond milk matcha latte!
- Yay Health Store & More: Yay! Fresh juices, healthy raw food meals and desserts 🙂 , yoga classes, fairtrade products and some zen…(Menu is mouth-watering just to look at)
- Stach: Quick to-go /pre-made food bistro and shop with a surprisingly large amount of healthy and gluten free options (including salads, risotto, banana bread and chia pudding!)
- Foodhallen: Like an upscale food court inside a large warehouse-style building with sooo many good options. I went to The Green Brothers and had the most delicious sweet potato fries (with mayo) that I have ever had in my life. Truth. You can also check out their famous vegan (healthy but not gluten free) Dutch Weed Burger made with seaWEED 😉 .
Inside the Foodhallen
Those sweet potato fries with mayo…unreal!
- Other recommendations I received: Sla (organic salad bar), Lavinia (good food – sample menu with gf banana pancakes, acai bowl, matcha and chai lattes with homemade nut milk, juices, etc), Pasta e Basta (all waiters are highly talented singers and entertain guests each evening), Venkel (salads, smoothies, homemade nut milks, local products – gluten clearly noted on menu), The Meatless District (plant-based breakfast, lunch and dinner), Cafe de Ceuval (sustainable and organic cafe, across the river in Amsterdam-Noord), Hoxton (fancier, boutique hotel with cafe – Lotti’s – that has a retractable glass roof, variety of seating options and even USB/charging stations to work), La Place (cafe on 7th floor of OBA Library with great views)
- Got a 4-bed hostel room at ClinkNOORD. It was a huge place, super clean, had wifi, outlets, storage, very well organized, helpful staff and really conveniently located right across from Central Station (direct lines to airport and almost anywhere)…ferries left every 8 minutes on the dot, so you never had to wait long.
- Easy access to city from the airport by train…the station is so conveniently IN the airport! It takes you to Central Station, where it’s easy to walk most places (or take a bus/tram/bike)