Amsterdam’s a bit of a dark horse when it comes to beaches. It’s probably not the kind of place that springs to mind when you think of city breaks close to the sand, but this place has a couple of options up its sleeve. You can pick from manmade beaches that surround the city’s outskirts, or drive to a coast side cut of sand in around an hour.
Zandvoort aan Zee has all the credentials for big days out to the beach. It’s around 30 minutes from the centre of the city and lines up the likes of surfing, kayaking and paddleboarding from its shores. Away from the water, there’s a string of bars and restaurants to head where you can cool off and fill up between sea swims.
For beach days without bother, Castricum aan Zee has got things covered – a wide belt of blonde-coloured sand reaches out to a shallow shoreline. The sand is less crowded the further you walk from the beach’s main entrance, so for quiet beach days be sure to head for a wander along the shore before plotting your spot for the day.
Waterlooplein joins a list of flea markets in the centre of the city – its stalls are loaded with clothing with low price tags. Sellers are often game for lowering their prices, too, so brush up on your bargaining skills before you head here.
For international brands like H&M, Zara, and Pull & Bear, Kalverstraat is the street to head too. Or, shop like a local on Leidsestraat, which houses brands big in the Netherlands.
Oud-zuid headlines the city’s luxury-shopping scene. Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton are some of the high-flying brands you can expect to find here. Plus there are boutiques selling luxury shoes, clothing, and accessories.
It probably comes as no surprise that Oud-Zuid, the city’s most upmarket neighbourhood, is the place to head for evenings with a touch of elegance. Start things off with a stroll through well-groomed Vondelpark before heading to a stylish cheese and wine bar.
Leidseplein comes to life after dark, when it headlines Amsterdam’s club scene. It’s the place to head for world-famous nightlife spots like Paradiso, which hosts big-name DJs who fill its huge dancefloor with partygoers most nights.
The Netherlands is known for its cheese production, with Gouda and Edam both hailing from here. Wine and cheese bars will help you to check out some of the lesser-known varieties. Maasdam is a popular pick with the locals – it’s mild and has a slightly sweeter flavour.
These things are best paired with a steaming-hot cup of coffee. Two thin wafers are paired together between a layer of sweet syrup – it’s best enjoyed by placing the biscuit on top of your mug and eating it just before it melts into your drink.
A local favourite, this apple-flavoured dessert has a place on the shelves of almost every bakery in the city. It’s baked in a springform pan, which gives it a deep pie-like base and a thick flaky crust. You can enjoy the dish hot or cold and with or without whipped cream.
These things are Amsterdam’s slightly bigger answer to peanuts, they’re often served alongside beer in pubs and bars right across the city. Bitterballen are a bit like deep-fried meatballs, and are usually served with a pot of mustard for dipping.
This tasty fish dish is served raw, usually alongside a side dish of raw onions and pickles. Alternatively, order a broodje haring – AKA a herring sarnie – the fish is still served raw, just inside a crispy bread roll.
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