Is Amsterdam overrun by tourists?
Is Amsterdam overrun by tourists? Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in Europe these days and has gotten so popular over the years, that it is hard to find spots that are not overrun by tourists. Most tourists are so fascinated by the city centre with its little canals, museums and coffee shops that they don’t actually wander out to the hip neighbourhoods and mingle with the locals. And now that europe's high-speed railway service, Eurostar, has announced that a direct train from London to Amsterdam starts running next year in April, it isn’t going to get any less crowded in the coming years. Dave and I stayed a good week in Amsterdam, and being our third visit we decided on staying in AirBnBs, chatted to the local coffee shop owners and ventured out to the neighbourhoods of Amsterdam. This guide summarizes the 5 hippest neighbourhoods either discovered by us or recommended by residents.
This district is very close to central station, in fact, less than 500m west of it. This area got our attention as we were looking up Amsterdam's best coffee shops to work from. One place recommended to us was Vinnies in Haarlemmerstraat 46 HS, 1013 ES Amsterdam. The upstairs area turned out to be a great workspace for the day. Cool cafes aside, Haarlemmerbuurt offers a lot of ritzy cocktail bars, smart bistros along the canals and little bakeries within a one-kilometre radius. If you are not into drinking simply go for a stroll and check out denim boutiques, record stores and tiny bookshops.
De Pijp is the hipper, modern part of Amsterdam where artists and intellectuals have hung out since the 19th century. You will find some great graffiti here as well as jazzy little clubs and quirky coffee shops. The district has a cool bohemian flair to it and one of our favourite stops was De Graal Health Cafe. Here you’ll get served delicious healthy breakfast options and very tasty coffee. The cafe is close to the famous Albert Cuypmarkt that sells Dutch specialties like cheeses, stroopwafels (hot caramel-filled cookies) and herrings.
If you are happy to walk around and soak in Amsterdams beauty along the way, it is only a 40 minute walk from central station (3.1km). Otherwise the tram lines 16 and 24 will take you there.
Westerpark and Western Islands
This artsy part of Amsterdam is in the northwest and it is known for its green spaces, iconic architecture and a lively nightlife scene. The Westergasfabriek is a former gasworks that got converted into a complex with a brewery, an art-house cinema, pop-up restaurants and regular exhibitions. It’s a really cool place to just hang for the day and relax.
Western Island literally floats next door. If you are an early riser, definitely check out the place Coffee Shots. It is a tiny house, just as small as a kiosk, and they open their doors at 7am and they serve excellent coffee. For an afternoon session, REM Eiland is an old oil-rig looking platform, offers an unforgettable view from their rooftop helipad.
You’ll get to Westerpark by Trams 3 and 10. Take bus 48 to get to the Western Islands and REM Eiland.
Forget about the historical part of Amsterdam for a second and immerse yourself amongst the modern part of it. NDSMs whole district is new warehouses with amazing graffiti throughout the area. Stop in at Kebec for tasty woodfired pizza and for fantastic raw design. This one is definitely a hidden gem in the north of amsterdam. If you’re still hungry and want to try out another cool eatery head back towards the docks to Pllek. It is made of shipping containers, serves sensational food and is rated one of the 10 best bars in Amsterdam-Noord by theculturetrip.com. If you are keen to check out Amsterdam's biggest flea market (I’ve read that it is even Europe’s biggest flea market), schedule your trip so you’ll see the monthly held flea markets at IJhallen. Next one will be on the 17th and 18th of November and then every 3 weeks after that.
The great thing about this district is, it is free to get there by public transport. Simply head up to the Westerdoksdijk ferry towards NDSM. It is 100% free and you’re allowed to bring your bike on the ferry.
This part of town is south of the Western Islands and Haarlemmerbuurt. It is THE neighborhood for conversable cafes and new coming art galleries. One that caught our attention was Cloud Gallery. They are presenting solo exhibitions of young artists. You can also just get a seat at the window, get a coffee and watch people of Amsterdam start their day. Koffiespot is a chilled and relaxed place with a fab vibe, great food, vegan options and fresh juice all day. Wandering down the narrow canals and streets of Jordaan you’ll most definitely pass by Noordermarkt. This outdoor market place sells jewelry and vintage clothing on Monday mornings, while the farmers markets are held on the other days of the week. It is easy enough to get there either by walking 24 minutes (1.9km) from central station or by Tram number 10 and 17.
Have you visited Amsterdam yet? Do you have any feedback on this guide with 5 neighborhoods recommended by residents? Anything you didn’t like?
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