MINI GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM

Favorite areas and parks

Amsterdam you have my heart. Honestly one of the nicest cities I have ever visited. It had such a homely feel (maybe because of the water and all the bicycles?). We stayed in Amsterdam-West which, personally, is my favorite area of the city. Lots of young people, students etc. live here and the atmosphere is just really nice. Great area for restaurants and bars as well. Other than that I really enjoyed the more central area around the channels. Especially Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizergracht. Definitely consider going on a canal tour to see the city from the water. It truly is a special experience (but try to avoid the most touristy ones). Vondelpark and Oosterpark are great for a stroll or consider renting a bike (you can do that all over the city) and bike around the parks. De Pijp is another area worth a visit. It is a very new, upcoming area but the vibe is really nice and there are some great shopping possibilities around there as well.

Favorite restaurants and cafés 

You can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting Dignita. Hands down one of the best brunch spots I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot over time). They have an overwhelming amount of options (which leads to over ordering) including coconut yoghurt, pancakes, croissants and a lot of (other) vegetarian/vegan options too. For lunch I highly recommend Café George. They literally have everything on the menu and most of it very budget friendly. If you find yourself in Oosterpark around lunchtime the restaurant right by Hotel Arena serve up some amazing tartines (think a mountain of avocado on crunchy sourdough bread). The chain café SLA is also a great option if you are craving something healthy. They serve up some amazing salads and they aren’t bland at all. If you don’t fancy a burger for dinner try to look up Libertine Café Café on Wolvenstraat. Otherwise try to book a table in the popular restaurant Bar Spek in Amsterdam-West.

Favorite stores for fashion, books and interior

Amsterdam is a brilliant shopping destination as well. Personally I’m not a big fan of overly crowded shopping streets (if you’re like me try to avoid the pedestrian streets around the Dam Square) instead I prefer the small boutiques and shops in the side streets. You will find a good selection if you just walk along the canals. It’s mostly independent small boutiques but occasionally you will find larger stores such as Cos, Samsøe & Samsøe, Brandy Melville etc. Some of my favorites were OU and RUM for clothing, DR Vonen for furniture and Mendo if you are into really beautiful coffee table books. If you are looking for some high end shopping try to head to the museum district. Around PC Hoftstraat you will find all of the most luxurious fashion houses. Don’t miss the amazing Shoebaloo if you love shoes. It’s tough to go out from there empty handed.

BEST SPOTS IN LONDON

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London is definitely becoming one of my favorite cities and I can’t help but dream about living their myself one day (hopefully in the nearest future). After my visit in February I made a guide to the city but I thought it was a great idea to update it after my recent visit in July.

1. Chelsea

I wasn’t lucky enough to visit the area last time I went to London but this time I thought it should be. And oh my words it is beautiful. It has an endless amount of great restaurants and cafés, some of the best shops and most importantly lots of beautiful streets. My favorite is definitely Bywater Street with all of its colorful houses.

2. Gail’s Artisan Bakery, 209 King’s Road

This bakery has some of the best bread I have ever tasted. It is a great place to pop by for a quick bite to eat. They have great sandwiches and amazing sourdough bread. Their bakeries are spread all over London but we visited the one in King’s Road.

3. Hally’s, 60 New Kings Road

This Californian-inspired café is a new favorite of mine. The interior reminded me of a beach house and the café has a very relaxed vibe. All their food is incredibly fresh and they have lots of healthy dishes on the menu. Perfect spot for a healthy lunch or dinner.

4. Shopping in Notting Hill

Notting Hill has some great areas for shopping and it is much more relaxed than in the city center. The area around Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road is particularly great with shops such as A.P.C., Diptyque, Aesop, Sandro, American Vintage amongst others.

5. Primrose Hill

If you haven’t been on the top of Primrose Hill, you owe yourself to walk up there. The view from the top is amazing and you can see all of London.

6. Granger & Co., 175 Westbourne Grove

I have already mentioned this place in my previous guide, but this place is so damn good that it deserves to be featured again. I will dare to say that this place might be the best place for breakfast in the Notting Hill area.

7. The Ivy Chelsea Garden, 195-197 King’s Road

This restaurant is both very relaxed but at the same time very sophisticated and a bit posh. The food is great and the garden is so beautiful. We got the ‘Cream Tea’ and the scones were absolutely incredible.

8. The British Museum

One thing I love about London is that most museums are for free. There is no better time to walk around the museums than on one of the many rainy days this city has to offer. The British Museum is humongous and the architecture is a class of its own.