Brunch Places in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities in the world to brunch. As an entertainment city, the Dutch capital is full of delicious restaurants, cafes and bakeries where you can try authentic sweets like stroopwafles (caramel syrup crunchy waffle) and other international desserts, covered in Nutella.

Note: Majority of the brunch cafés in Amsterdam are “first come first serve”, which means visitors can’t make reservations, so make sure to show up before you get hangry. Luckily the waiting doesn’t usually take long.

Get ready to drool over these brunch heaven spots that will sway you to go visit Amsterdam just for the food.

1. Bakers & Roasters

Address: Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54
First come first serve – Opening hours: 8:30AM to 4PM

Starting off with my ultimate favourite cafe in the city, this Kiwi and Brazilian infused place offers everything you could ever wish for a hungover brunch. Rather you are looking for a detox juice cure, healthy dishes or a plate full of carbohydrates to suck up everything from the previous night.

My go-to dishes are always one of the egg benedicts accompanied by a plate of pancakes to share and a fresh cup of Brazilian brew.

2. Water & Brood

Address: Nieuwe Kerkstraat 84 First come first serve
Opening times: Tuesday – Friday 9AM to 5PM
Saturday – Sunday 10AM to 4PM

If you are opting for a less crowded place to brunch, Water and Brood is the destination. Located in the business area of the city, this minimalistic cafe is a great place to have a relaxing meal out. Everything about this place – the jazzy music, friendly staff and cosy decor create the perfect atmosphere.

With a shifting menu, this place serves different styles of egg dishes, truffled fries, waffles and chicken and many other heavenly dishes.

3.  The Pancakes Amsterdam

Address: Prins Hendrikkade 48
Opening times: Every day from 8AM to 8PM

Pancakes are one of the most popular breakfast and brunch dishes anywhere in the world, but it is also a beloved traditional Dutch dish.

There are numerous pancakes places but this particular cafe has both the classic and thin Dutch pancakes, plus the thick and fluffy American style with lots of side combinations. 

Another reason to visit this place is for the interior decoration, with big Dutch windows where you can watch the canal in front and the blue and white Delftware design.

Note: This pancake house is located in several areas of the city but I usually eat at the same one in the city centre.

4. Zoku

Address: Weesperstraat 105, 1018 VN 
Opening hours: Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to 2PM

Not only does this place have delicious fresh pastries and healthy lunch buffet every day of the week, but they also have four delicious weekend brunch dishes for the weekend. If you are in the mood to go all out, there is also the all-you-can-eat breakfast spread which includes unlimited coffee and juice.

The restaurant is located inside the Zoku hotel’s rooftop where you can enjoy the charming city view at one of their multiple terraces decorated with comfy sofas and an incredible glass-garden. 

5. Sumo

Address: Vijzelstraat 26, 1017 HK 
Opening hours: 12pm to 10:30PM

What better way to beat the weekend hangover than with an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet?

Their chain restaurants are always beautifully decorated with Japanese interior and sakura (cherry blossom) trees. Their menu includes a large variety of fresh warm and raw dishes.

This Japanese cuisine restaurant is another chain that I always go to when in Amsterdam. I actually crave for the days until I can eat all the amounts of sushi possible.

Unique Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a typical entertainment city full of endless things to do, restaurants to visit and museums to explore but the Dutch capital also has a myriad of fun things you can only do in Amsterdam.

And the best part is that not only are they extremely fun but some are also typical Dutch like taking a boat ride along the many canals of the city, buying food from a slot on the wall, explore around at the world’s most bike-friendly city and my favourite, spending an evening at a cool beach-bar located at an old port.

Here are reasons why you would love it too.

1. CANAL CRUISES

Cruises are a great way to explore the city from a different perspective while also exploring Dutch cuisine with authentic drinks and course meals. The cruises are available both during the day and night. Personally, I enjoy the night cruises much more because of the romantic atmosphere and if you are with a group of friends, its the perfect pre drinks activity before hitting the bars and clubs of the city.

If I were to name all of the cruises it would take longer than a cruise ride itself, which lasts minimum 2.5 hours, so instead here are all my favourites and most enjoyable.

– Eating cruises: How many Dutch pancakes (salty and sweet) can you eat in 75 minutes? The Pannenkoekenboot is an old Dutch themed ship will take you along the IJ river while you can try all the classic Dutch pancakes with sausages, cheeses, fruits and many other flavours.

Price: Adult €17.50 Child (3 to 11) €12.50 Duration: 75 minutes Departures: NDSM port, get there by taking the free ferry from the north exit of the central station.

Romantic cruises: Take date night to the next level with a four-course dinner cruise along the beautiful canals with delicious Dutch dishes, wine and dessert. If you prefer a lighter dinner, there is also the cheese and wine cruise under candlelight. During the day there are also romantic ways to explore the canals with a pedal boat for just 10 euros.

Price: Adult- €115 Under 17- €93 Child- €69 Duration: 4 hours Departures: Tues – Sat at 10.30AM

Cultural cruises: Eating Europe has a tremendous cultural tour along the Jordaan neighbourhood which includes a guided walk amongst historical sights, tastings along the way at authentic Dutch places and an hour-long private boat trip. The perfect cruise for history and food lovers.


Drinking cruises: All you can drink cruise along the Unesco canals or Old city for just 15 euros from Boat Amsterdam.

If you are looking to try local beers, check out the cruise by Taproom, a local beer bar that provides four deliciously local drafted beers during the cruise along with pizzas, burgers, bitterballen (Dutch fried meatballs) and other delicacies. As you cruise around the city, the staff not only gives you a guide of the city but also of the history of the beers.

Price: 12 per person Location: Nieuwe Vijzelstraat 1 Departures: Mon – Thurs 15.00 to 01.00

Fri – Sat 12:00 to 3.00 Sun 12.00 01.00

Hire your own boat: You can also plan your own canal cruise by hiring a boat with a driver or reserve a private tour such as Café Complex‘s breakfast cruise which includes unlimited coffee, tea and water during your ride along the canals. This is perfect for big groups and you get to pick the route of the cruise as well!

Price: €25.75 per person

2. EAT, EAT AND EAT SOME MORE!

Amsterdam is considered to be one of the ultimate foodie destinations in the world due to its large variety of international cuisines. There are restaurants, cafes, bars and food stands literally on every street.

The crazy thing about this city is that as soon as you get out of a restaurant after having a delicious meal, you’ll pass by so many bakeries and sweet shops full of desserts with Nutella, such as waffles, pancakes, cupcakes, muffins and anything else you could possibly dream of trying.

3. BIKE AROUND

With 16,500,000 cyclists in the country, the Netherlands couldn’t be a better place to bike. All cities including Amsterdam, are entirely bike-friendly with red biking lanes, parking spaces everywhere and easy-to-learn rules that make biking the best form of transportation.

There are many rental companies, but the one I’ve heard the best reviews from is YourCityBike, where you can rent city, geared, dirt and double bikes for a couple of hours and days.

4. SPEND A DAY AT NDSM

After five years of visiting Amsterdam, I have just recently discovered this impressive beachy warehouse port just behind the central station. As a tourist, I was not aware that you can take a FREE ferry ride from the north exit of Centraal Station to the former shipyard that is today an alternative area with great cafés where you can sit outside on the sand and enjoy the summer days. When I was there, I visited the Pllek cafe which had a great atmosphere with an incredible view of the city and even better drinks. Throughout the year, Pllek also hosts many events such as international film screenings, art exhibitions, mini-festivals and much more which I am super excited to check out when I revisit this beautiful city.

Where to eat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city with a large variety of cuisines and restaurants for every kind of mood. Here is a list of delicious and unique restaurants you must try when you are in the Dutch capital.

1. FOR THE MEAT LOVERSCANNIBALE ROYALE

I tried this place for the first time last week and I instantly fell in love with it. The burgers are big, rich in ingredients and accompanied by equally delicious fries. This rustic restaurant is located in one of the small streets of the city centre- in an area not commonly visited by tourists but very popular amongst the locals.
Their pint cocktails to share are also excellent, especially the long island ice tea.

Address: Handboogstraat 17 A 1012

Opening: Sunday – Thursday 12.00 – 3.00
Friday – Saturday 12.00 – 4.00

2. SUSHISumo
Sumo is one of my favourite places to have sushi outside of Japan.
Imagine a beautiful restaurant by a canal where you can have all the sushi and warm dishes you can possibly want. It’s truly heaven. As you wait for the food in between rounds, its impossible not to admire the decoration of red and sakura trees.
Above all, this is one of the few Japanese restaurants that I’ve been to with real Japanese green tea and just because of that, I absolutely love it.

Address: Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 17
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 12.00 – 22.30 Sunday 12.00 – 22.00 Reservations & prices

Mackerel, sea bass, salmon flambé and eel.

3. PICTURE PERFECTMaMa Kelly
MaMa Kelly is every girly girl’s dream. The restaurant is entirely decorated in pink and gold which matches perfectly with their specialities of chicken and lobster.
This fabulous restaurant is a bit far from the city centre, but it is also close to the museum quarter, making it the perfect lunch or dinner spot after a day of museum hopping.

Address: Olympic Stadium 35, 1076

Opening times: Every day from 11.30 to 00.00

CLASSIC DUTCH – In De Waag

If you are looking for the full Dutch experience on a romantic trip, this 1488 restaurant is a great place for a date night.
Located at one of the main squares of the city in Nieuwmarkt, this beautiful and eye-catching castle is solely lit by 300 candles creating an intimate atmosphere amongst the guests. While they experience Dutch cuisine accompanied by a great selection of wines and Heineken beer.

Location: Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012
Opening times: Every day 9.00 – 22.30

5. ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSECAFÉ DE KLOS

For some interesting reason, Amsterdam is full of Argentinian restaurants but these steakhouses are not your usual ones. Many of them are specialised in ribs, so much so that you can get unlimited amounts of it! These juicy dishes are served with steamed vegetables, potatoes and the classic Dutch sauce, mayonnaise. The first set of ribs come naturally to your table and as you digest it, waiters walk around with mountains of even more ribs.

Address: Kerkstraat 41-43, 1017

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 16.00 to 23.30

BONUS: FEBO FOOD STAND
A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a snack stop by a FEBO stand. Where you can grab your own burger or frikandel at any time of the day or night by simply adding a couple of coins to a slot on the wall, and grabbing your food. These stands are all over the city, so if you find yourself needing a late-night snack after a long night of clubbing, this is your place.

How To Travel Like an European

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.

By Martin Buber

Just like every continent, Europe has its own way of doing things and to help you make the most of your trip, here are 8 travel tips to help you get around Europe as the locals do and make the best of your trip!

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS THE WAY TO GET AROUND

In some countries taking public transportation might not be the most efficient way to get around, but in Europe, it is definitely the way to go.

Lisbon tram
  • In big cities like London, Amsterdam and Berlin there are multiple ways of getting around, such as train, tram, metro, bus and boat. That reaches a greater part of the city with easy access. Smaller cities might only have a bus system but they are usually reliable and punctual as well.
  • At night in Sweden’s capital, when the trains stop running, the city makes sure everyone can still get home by providing night busses. They run right from the central station and it goes to every destination the still-running metros don’t go.
  • Europe also has lots of historically fun transportations like the Portuguese trams, Dutch boats and the Swedish ferries. The Portuguese tram is particularly beautiful because it goes to Bairro Alto, a neighbourhood on top of the city full of delicious restaurants and a great view.
  • Some public transportations provide Wi-Fi and USB plugs for you to charge your phone. Which is a life saver when you need to get somewhere and your phone is dying.
  • In the Netherlands the most common form of transportation are bicycles. You get to leave whenever you want without having to when your train comes next, exercise and save money all at the same time! European streets are much more narrow and one way, making them much more suitable for bikes than cars. When in Amsterdam, make sure to rent a bike for at least a day. YourCityBike is a great company to rent strong and easy city bikes.

Eating Out

Seafood plate from Santorini

If you are a foodie that loves authentic and traditional dishes, make sure to go to local restaurants. They might not create a big impression from it’s size and location. But trust me, the oldest and family-owned it looks, the better the food will be. Especially at the beach, it’s very common for the chef to catch their own seafood and prepare it themsevles. These chefs always know everything there is about their sea life. Not only is the food amazing but it also has other benefits:

  • Get to try local wines, liquors, teas and coffee brews from regional brands. Homemade wine in Italy is a million times better and stronger!
  • In Mediterranean countries, restaurants have “out of the menu” dishes for the locals that are familiar with the region’s food. The trick is to know the local sea life so when you are ordering, ask the waiter what’s freshly caught.
  • For those who like to meet new people, local places are the best places to hear stories. There might be some language barrier but there is always a foreigner that quit their jobs, moved abroad and has an incredible story to tell.
  • For a foodie trip to the Netherlands, I suggest joining the “small meals” Dutch culture instead of dining at a restaurant. In every city of the Netherlands you can find food stands that sell everything Dutch, like thick fries, bitterballen (fried little balls), raw haring, stroopwafles (baked caramel waffles) and fried seafood. All the dishes are cheap, fast and very easy to find. There is also the FEBO wall vending machine that sell frikandels (minced meat hot dog) and other fast food dishes.

Stay at a bed and breakfast or at a rented house

Amsterdam canal house

Staying at an airbnb will give you the opportunity to stay at a local’s house and get to see first-hand the country’s interior architecture.

  • For example, in warmer countries like Greece and Italy, houses don’t have carpeted floors and double glass windows like Scandinavian houses do. Staying at a local place will give you the chance to see these small details you wouldn’t be able to see at a hotel.
  • Netherlands is a country that I mainly recommend staying at a rented city apartment, because of the beautiful Dutch colonial architecture. Specifically for their large iroko wood-framed windows. Another perk is that the apartment will most likely be in front of or close to a canal. Imagine waking up every morning to beautiful sunlight and a canal view.
  • The best time to rent a house in Europe is off Catholic holiday season. During these holidays, it’s not as common for people to travel, instead they host large dinners and parties for their entire families.

Take a bus or car when traveling within Europe

Traffic light in Vienna

European countries are much smaller compared to other countries like the United States, Canada and China. Where travelling outside of the state can take over seven hours. Au contraire, in Europe, you can get to a whole other country in the same amount of time, even more than one in some cases.

  • This specifically applies to those that are planning on seeing as many countries as possible. It gives you the opportunity to pass by and explore smaller towns that you would have never gone to otherwise.
  • If you are on a budget, buses are going to be your home. They are much cheaper compared to trains, planes and boats. Flixbus is a good company to use and GoEuro suggest and compares the best way to get to your destination.
  • Busses might take the longest amount of time but most companies offer night buses that leave late at night and arrive early in the morning at your destination, giving you plenty of energy to go explore upon arrival.
  • If you are travelling with the family, it would be better to travel by car with Europcar. It still gives you the opportunity to pass by beautiful small cities, stopping whenever you want with the comfort of your own vehicle.
  • European cars are also pretty different. Due to their street sizes, the cars are much smaller. And in countries like the United kingdom, Ireland and Malta (first colonised by the U.K.) and Cyprus all driver on the opposite right side.

Adapt yourself to the local time & schedules

Veguetta, Las Palmas

Since each country in Europe has it’s own culture, they also have their own schedules.

Observe and learn what time the locals go out for dinner, have drinks and go clubbing.

  • In northern countries like Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom they tend to eat earlier. Lunch is around 11:30 AM to 12 PM and dinner around 6:00 PM. Southern countries like Italy, Greece and Croatia eat much later around 8.00PM to 9.00PM. Central countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland also eat around 6 PM, but not all central countries do. For instance, France has adapted a much later dinner etiquette.
  • Eating times can give an idea of when the happiest of hours happen and what times do clubs open. In most countries, the main rule is; the earlier dinner time is, the earlier closing times are.
  • In most European cities, clubs start charging for entrance after a certain time, around 10.30PM or 11 PM. In others like London, you need a promoter to get into the clubs. I know it sounds super difficult to go out in London, but in reality, promoters come to you at the entrance of clubs. They become your guide and make sure you’ll have the best time.

  • Each country also has its own deals and offers of the day. In the Canary Islands, on Thursdays, you can get a tapa and a drink for just €1 in the streets of Veguetta, Las Palmas.
Left to right: Sangria from San Miguel market, drinks in Las Palmas & a drink from Sexy Fish in London

Go to markets

Europeans love markets, of every kind. Full of all the foods and goods you’ve been dreaming

of before your trip.

  • Stockholm can get pretty cold during winter up to -13 degrees, so the city mainly has indoor markets like Hötorgshallen and Östermalm Saluhall. Hötorget also has an all-year-round farmers market right at the main square. Where you can get incredible mushrooms and other Swedish goods. On Sunday mornings the market becomes antique with beautiful paintings, china, decor and others.
  • The San Miguelindoor market in Madrid is in a beautiful steel building with ornate iron and glass walls. This market is much more elegant and pricy because of their delicious gourmet food and sangrias. Definitely worth going there for lunch or dinner.
  • Personally I love outdoor markets, like the El Rastro (open on Sundays), also located in Madrid. I love this place because you get to shop for vintage goods while walking around the city and admiring the architecture.

No need to tip

In Europe you are not required to tip at all- unless you want to, of course. Which is great when you are travelling on a budget.

In fact, some countries might consider the act to be rude. Italians take pride on having the best service and a compliment with a smile is much more appreciated.


Always keep coins with you

Germany

In countries like the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany, you have to pay for public bathrooms and these bathrooms include inside malls, some restaurants, clubs and bars. Which can be stressful when you’ve had a couple of drinks and reeelly need to go.

  • So when travelling, make sure to always exchange cash and keep it with you.
  • Also, the smaller the city the smaller the chances of you being able to pay with credit card, or for your card to even be available. Especially in Mediterranean countries like Croatia, Greece and Italy.
  • On a positive side, at least the bathrooms are always clean and have toilet paper.
  • If you find yourself without any cash and super hungry, I suggest going to an international chain or fine-dining restaurant because they will most likely accept cards. The bill might be expensive but at least you got a delicious meal out of it, right?

Disclosure: Of course, these tips do not apply to every single country in Europe, it is marely a generalized guide to help travellers make the best of their trip by suggesting alternatives.

Romantic European Destinations for Valentine’s Day

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to go on a spontaneous trip with your Valentine? Here’s a list of romantic European cities you should check out that will give you the ultimate romantic feeling.

Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace

If you want to spend Valentine’s day feeling like a queen and king, Vienna is your place. The Austrian capital is one of the most glamorous and elegant cities in the world because of its rich history, music, art, cuisine and architecture.

Wonderful chandelier-lit cafés where you can have the delicious Sacher cake, restaurants and bars. Make sure to order the Viennese Schnitzel that is so big, you’ll have to share it in two, perfect for a dinner date.

The city has kept remarkable features throughout the centuries, such as offering horse-drawn carriage rides along the beautiful Danube River and regularly having plays and musicals at the city’s numerous opera houses. You can also go on a romantic Ferris Wheel ride at the Riesenrad Amusement Park that overlooks the city.

The Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in the world, decorated with incredible Viennese art pieces and a lot of gold. The palace also consists of an enchanting park, a maze, fountains, and a ball house, located above a hill overlooking the city.

Vienna is also home to the waltz dance, so naturally, you can find many jazz bars and clubs all over the city during the week and weekends where you can dance the night away.

Amsterdam

Amstel Canal Bridge

The Dutch capital is the picture-perfect Valentine’s day destination. The city has endless amounts of fairy-lit canals with swans swimming through, flower arrangements and cute restaurants. The city is the literal definition of the word “aw”.

Dutch people usually eat their favourite foods from local food trucks, where you can try authentic fried seafood with their homemade sauces, the delicious thick Dutch fries with the Oorlog sauce (half mayo, half peanut sauce) or grab a burger or a frikandel at a hole-in-the-wall café where you put a coin in the slot next to the display of the food you want and voilà, just open the door of the display and grab your food. These unique foods are really fun to try that don’t take too much time that you can spend exploring the city.

Amsterdam also has many fun museums to explore like the cheese museum, tulip museum, electric ladyland, marijuana museum and even a sex museum. If you are more of an outdoorsy kind of couple, you can rent bikes and ride them around the city, parks and even to nearby towns.

The city is very lively at night with lots of bars and clubs where you can drink the nation’s delicious Heineken beer and dance to EDC music.

If you want a more relaxing night, book a romantic dinner in a boat, that gives you a whole different perspective of the city. The trip is so romantic, it will make you feel like the only two people in the world.

Swiss Alps

For the sports lovers, skiing at the amazing Swiss Alps and staying at a wooden cabin surrounded by snow is incredibly romantic. Skiing resorts are always very quiet and preserved, giving the guests plenty of privacy.

After a full day of skiing, you can go relax and have a delicious Swiss hot chocolate or warm wine in a café overlooking the snow.

For dinner, make sure to try the delicious Swiss cheese fondue for two in front of a fireplace. Then go relax at a Jacuzzi that many of the cabins have.

The Swiss Alps is not only known for being one of the best skiing destinations in the world because of their numerous long slopes and incredible nature but because of their diversity of winter activities. Such as exploring the Matterhorn mountains and the Bettmersee Lake with their beautiful colourful sky, stargaze at Majing Lake and hike at the Aletsch Glacier.

Porto

Dom Luís Bridge

Porto is an exquisite city on the coast of Portugal filled with monumental and artistic heritage. So much so, it has been nominated 2017’s Best European Destination. It has everything a couple wants for a romantic weekend; endless amounts of wine, colourful architecture, delicious gastronomy and markets.

Porto is home to the sweet Porto wine, making the city full of wine tasting factories where you can take tours and try the delicious wines poured in chocolate cups. You can find wine stores spread around the city’s incredible landscapes, bridges and colourful houses with matching tiled roofs.

The Bolhão Market is an exciting place to go in Saturdays where you can get local food and wine for a good price. The market gives you the opportunity to see how the locals live an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. Discovering a new place with your Valentine is a great experience.

Porto is the warmest and most colorful destination from this list. In February the temperature can go up to 15°C degrees which makes a great weather to eat lunch outdoors by the River Douro (River of Gold). While having a glass of wine across from where it was made at the Sandeman, Croft, Offley, Churchill’s, Kopke House and Cálem wineries, on the Gaia side.

Since Porto has a large river and is by the ocean, you can take boat trips on historically designed Portuguese boats and take a tram to the Foz do Douro’s beaches on the Atlantic sea.

Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Last but not least, the capital city of romance, Paris. Where you can walk along the beautiful streets of the Seine River. Have a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon at a pavement terrace while watching the Eiffel Tower light up at sunset.

Paris is the coldest city in the list, but don’t let that discourage you. It just increases the need for candlelit dinners and cuddles. For a great place to cuddle, book one of the city’s many bed and breakfasts, where you can also have your morning meal in authentic Haussmain style bedrooms.

French cuisine is considered to be a delicacy, always dominating lists of romantic dishes. So eating at an authentic French restaurant, at the heart of France, can’t get any more romantic. A popular menu to try is coq au vin (chicken with mushrooms and vegetables braised in red wine) as the main course and chocolate fondue for dessert with a side of Pinot noir wine.

The city is also full of extraordinary museums, such as the Louvre and the extravagant Versailles Palace where you will feel like a true royal couple while having a divine lunch at the Angelina restaurant.

For a romantic Valentine’s day, you cannot go wrong with these amazing cities. Each city has its own charm, elegance and adventures that add contribute to the romantic atmosphere.