After my first trip to Amsterdam last year, I knew I had to come back (and this time without the parents). It was most affordable to fly to Europe via WOW air so my boyfriend and I chose to have Amsterdam as the first city on our 3 week Europe trip.
We have both been to Amsterdam before so we already covered a lot of popular tourist spots previously. Because of this, there wasn’t as much for us to do and I found myself bored with the city, even the Red Light District lost its shininess the second time around. On a more positive note, the view of the sun setting on the canals is and always will be a beautiful sight.
Wok to Walk
After a long flight from California, we were hungry and excited to start our 3 week adventure! It was already quite late so we headed to the Red Light District in search for open restaurants. A block in, we stumbled upon Wok to Walk, a to-go Asian fusion restaurant. It reminded me of Chipotle – you pick a choice of noodles/rice, toppings, and sauce and then it’s stir-fried to create your wok masterpiece. I was a fan of the udon noodles and Bangkok sauce. It was good for a quick late night snack.
One of my obsessions from Copenhagen was churros and to my surprise, I saw a statue of them in the Red Light District. I ordered churros with chocolate (which is really Nutella). Being the fatty that I am, I ordered the large and boy was it a lot of churros. I didn’t think there could be too many churros but it was sugar overload with the sauce. Maybe (and just maybe) I’ll get a smaller size next time.
Red Light District (De Wallen)
This is one of my favorite areas to explore when visiting Amsterdam. It’s a great place for people watching! It’s entertaining to see the prostitutes interact with potential clients and to watch some men stare at the beautiful women from a farther distance.
The royal palace sits right outside De Wallen. This is a building that I walked passed so many times during my last visit to Amsterdam but I never took the time to just marvel at the architecture. This time around, I made sure to take a look.
I Amsterdam Sign
Is it a trip to Amsterdam if you don’t take a picture with the iconic sign? I had a hard time cropping other tourists out of my picture, just like how I’m sure I was an unwanted part of theirs as well. You can certainly expect a lot of people coming to this spot, ready to climb a letter and capture their instaworthy shot.
Let me start by saying that my boyfriend and I are not huge fans of art museums, mainly because we don’t have an eye for art. We only spent an hour or so here before we got hungry and wanted to explore elsewhere. I did enjoy seeing Rembrandt’s Night Watch. I really should’ve visited more museums in high school, when I still had knowledge from AP European History.
TIP: Backpacks aren’t allowed in the museum, but don’t worry, there’s free coat check available.
Foodhallen is an international indoor food market in De Hallen. There are a lot of different international options to choose from, but the food wasn’t worth the price. We had Cicciolina Pizza from Renato’s, Spring Rolls from Viet View, and Butcher Burger from The Butcher. To my surprise, the best dish of the three was spring rolls. I found the pizza too salty and the burger too bland. I would recommend skipping this market and trying food elsewhere. The best food market I’ve been to thus far in Europe is still in Lisbon.
We decided to walk through the park as a shortcut to our hotel. You can find people riding bikes, hanging out on the grass, or taking pictures (like me!).
This is still my favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam. While there are canals throughout the city, I think the canals look especially beautiful here! I would recommend grabbing apple pie from Winkel 43 and enjoying the view. The apple pie was the best I’ve ever had! For such a recommended spot, there was surprisingly no line and if you’re hungry, they have food as well.
Red Light District (Round 2)
We ended another night in Amsterdam at De Wallen. Before exploring, we stuffed our faces at Thais Bird. It was my second time at this Thai restaurant. The food is good but not as great as this picture here.
Bakers and Roasters
We started off our day with a Brazilian/New Zealand fusion brunch. Sounds interesting right?! When we arrived, there was a group of people already waiting outside. The estimated wait was 30 minutes and they offered to text us when the table was available. I ordered the Navajo Eggs. It was a delicious dish with poached eggs, BBQ pulled pork, chipotle sauce, mango salsa, and avocado. I would recommend coming here for brunch when you’re in Amsterdam. My boyfriend even said it was the “best brunch ever”.
This market in the De Pijp area reminded me of Hong Kong street markets. The street vendors were selling things from clothes to souvenirs, with food stands sprinkled in. We got a chocolate-dipped stroopwafel from Original Stroopwafels. The stroopwafel was good, hot, and freshly made but not as chewy as I’d prefer.
I love food and always research must eat items before any trip. This bakery made it on many online lists for their croquette so of course, I had to go and try it for myself! It was a very tiny bakery and if I didn’t know about the croquettes, I would’ve assumed they only sell desserts. I tried the shrimp croquette and found myself disappointed. It was too salty for my taste and I would recommend skipping this spot.
I was surprised that the world’s only floating flower market didn’t have as many fresh flowers as expected. Maybe I just had the wrong expectations… but the stands mainly sold bulbs and souvenirs. To me, it was more of a tourist trap, plus you can’t tell it’s on the water once you’re walking through the market.
We swung by this Korean cafe for our last meal in Amsterdam. It was a small cafe with limited seating. It was schoolbox style, meaning the food was precooked earlier in the day and packaged in microwavable containers. Upon ordering, the food was heated up in a microwave before serving. The food wasn’t very good but at least we got our Korean fix.
Many say that De Pijp is the coolest neighborhood in Amsterdam. While it was a great area to walk around, it didn’t meet those high expectations. My favorite neighborhood is still Jordaan.
Top Tourist Spot: Jordaan neighborhood
Must Eat Snack: Apple Pie from Winkel 43
What to Skip: Foodhallen and Bloemenmarkt
The Other Necessities
We stayed at Conscious Hotel Vondelpark. The hotel prides itself on being sustainable and eco-friendly which is something I highly support! You won’t get individual shampoo bottles but you will help the environment. The hotel was close to a tram stop which made it convenient for exploring. The room was small but the cleanliness and friendly staff will keep me coming back.
On our way to the airport, we had trouble at Amsterdam Lelylaan Station. We took the tram to the station but needed to take a train to the airport. We struggled for a long time trying to find a Sprinter ticket machine and then struggled some more with our payment. Important thing to know here is that the machine only takes debit, not credit. Amsterdam should really have support staff at these train stations to assist visitors.
If you’ve read my other Amsterdam post, you already know I really hate Schiphol airport. Again, I witnessed poor operations and customer service, but at least this time I didn’t have to go through customs.