A couple of weeks ago, Laura and I visited the European city destination of Amsterdam for a well deserved long weekend break, we had both never been but I had always been somewhat sceptical of visiting. We both had a very similar list of establishments to visit and we were not disappointed. Never ones to shy away from sharing our hot spots, below is my Amsterdam address book. Although we didn’t quite fall in love with the city as much as we’d hoped, if you are visiting, these are certainly all worth some of your time.
Our weekend break couldn’t be complete with a stay at The Hoxton. We were so impressed when we stayed late last year that we had to book once more, this time at its Amsterdam HQ. We should start to by saying a big thank you to the staff we spoke to before our booking, all of which were helpful with accommodating our needs. The hotel features a large open plan lobby as you walk in, the bar to one side and Lotti’s its in-house dining area to the back. The reception is the other side which we preferred compared to The Hoxton’s current Holborn setup. Our room was a spacious, high-ceilinged ‘Cosy’ with a canal view. The room and view did not disappoint. A great setup (as usual) with all the little touches that make all the difference, certainly worth booking if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.
On Sunday when we arrived, this was our first food stop. A somewhat hidden gem, as there is no signage outside, so make sure you keep an eye out located at Wolvenstraat 22. It’s primarily an Italian/pizzeria joint ideal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We stopped for lunch. Inside is a casual setting with minimal decor but a very reasonably priced simple menu that has staples to settle hungry stomachs.
This has been featured on many lists we discovered when looking for coffee spots and we can see why. It’s set in a 1920’s old cinema house on 4 different split levels, the unique CT Coffee & Coconuts is a must visit. The building has so much character it’s easy to forget about the outside world in the open space. We actually dedicated a good couple of hours inside to catch up on some THL admin whilst grabbing some good food and coffee. With comfortable seating and nooks aplenty this is a great space to unwind, sit back and, relax.
Although not a big space at first, don’t let first impressions fool you. We found seats at the back of the restaurant for dinner which opens up into a glass house style courtyard. Initially, it wasn’t too busy but quickly filled up and we soon found out why. Brix has a buzzing atmosphere within its inner walls and it was easy to see why. The staff were friendly and the food was fantastic. We made the comical mistake of ordering 3 different ‘snacks’ which we assumed were very small portions but ended up with a table full of food. So much so that we had to get an adjoining table moved over for us! Portion sizes are certainly plentiful and prices reasonable with everything we ordered tasting delicious.
Although Amsterdam isn’t short of decent sized city parks we prefer something a little out of the ordinary. If you are looking for a place to unwind and get back to your natural roots, then a trip to De Hortus Botanicus is a must. At almost 400 years old, the city’s only botanical garden constantly strives to research and educate. City residents and visitors alike enjoy its surrounding gardens and greenhouses. I especially enjoyed the tropical zone whereas Laura was a big fan of the dry and desert zone, let’s just say cactus’ galore.
We have the reception staff at The Hoxton to thank for this one. Now no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a canal trip and this was one of the first things we noticed when we arrived… Just how many people took to the canal in the Sunday heat to enjoy music and drinks with friends. We decided we liked the idea of doing a tour but didn’t want anything too touristy or expensive. Needless to say, Those Dam Boat Guys, were the perfect match. At €25 pp this was the cheapest we found (we didn’t look very hard), you can eat and drink on the boat, the tour guide was as friendly and informative as you wanted him or didn’t want him to be. It was a very casual, relaxed atmosphere and we were joined by 3 other couples so not a huge group. The boat was also spacious and all open so that you could freely move around and enjoy the sights. I’m very glad we made the decision to do the tour and it made a nice alternative to cycling everywhere.