How to have a DAM good time

-Discover hidden gems for a magical trip to Amsterdam
Written by Lauren Hughes

Even if you have never been here, ultimately, everyone conjures a picture of tall, skinny houses amidst a smoke of legalized marijuana and beautiful canal fronts. Quaint windmills, pretty tulips and the ever-intriguing Red Light District.

Renowned for legalizing marijuana, Amsterdam is often, the city on everyone lips. A must-do on a European backpacking adventure, but why?

Beyond the walls of the tourist traps, overpriced junk food and famous coffee shops in this sprawling capital City, lies a beating heart of fabulousness. If you dare to dig a little deeper and venture a little off the beaten track there are treasures to be found.


What really makes this city so intoxicating? Six months in this city has taught me one thing. It’s that the longer I spend here, the more I discover. Amsterdam is a rare and wonderful home, an eclectic mix of wanderers from all over the World and mesmerizing locals.

Here, you can truly get lost. I have found, living in Amsterdam is vastly different from visiting. Therefore, if my words can enhance your experience here just ever so slightly or give your visit a sprinkle of the magic I feel here, (by sharing a few of my favourite hidden gems,) then I’ve passed on a little slice of the bliss that is living in this alive and kicking city.


Here are my favourites, I hope you love them as much as I do:)

Without a shadow of a doubt. It’s Pluk. Located in the most beautiful district of Amsterdam, Pluk takes a coffee break and makes it a dreamy experience. It’s like sitting in a Doll’s House and having a beautiful tea party. You’ll be spoilt for choice with their enchanting unicorn smoothie breakfast bowls, four milk alternatives (a blessing for vegans!) some of the best coffee and smashed avo I have ever eaten.

This place just oozes perfect Sunday brunch vibes. Not to mention their kick-ass team of boss females running the place. LOVE. IT.


You have to go to ROEST. Roest is actually Dutch for rust, but this place is anything but rusty. Located about a twenty-minute cycle ride out of the centre, when I first got a tip-off about this place from a local I didn’t know what to expect. I was told to just go because it was a place of incredible food, in an upcycled warehouse. Also offering a small club AND a man-made beach, I was intrigued. Surrounded by the cityscape, I had to go and check it out. Well, I instantly fell in love. Whether it’s their amazing roast dinner boards, huge and yummy enough to share with friends or their rustic vibes. This place gets me. Themed food nights, a small club with an old converted bus in it as well as incredible bottled beers I’ve struggled to find elsewhere.

De School. I cannot even summarise this place. It’s pretty far out of the centre and literally a converted old school. I have been to many nights here and all I can say is I’ve never found a club with such a vibrant menu of creative events. No night is
like the other. It’s a wonderland of hidden dance floors and surprise acts. Going to De School is like falling down the rabbit hole smack bang into the land of captivating sounds and non-stop dancing. Word of advice here: you have to be over 21 to enter, they’re going to put a sticker over your camera phone and don’t bother showing up in a large group, as you probably won’t get in.

So, Amsterdam is a bustling city, with an abundance of shopping. Like every other city, there is a plentiful hand of your high street favourites. However, there is a little place here that offers something ever so slightly different and special. A place called Nine Streets has a special place in my heart. This area has a line of gorgeous boutiques and a glowing array of enticing window displays if you want to window shop. If you enter these shops, chances are, you’ve been captivated by something that is unique and something your friends won’t have. I seem to find myself walking these streets a lot even if it is just for window shopping. A little more expensive than the high street usuals, but totally worth it to stand out
in the crowd.

There is something incredible here that I’m pretty sure a lot of tourists miss out on. It’s the North. If you walk out of central station, you can take a free (yes, free) ferry to North Amsterdam and experience a whole new level of this wonderful city. It’s less crowded, not so built up, complimenting the incredible views, food and it’s own alternative party scene. Under the radar and underrated it’s home to quirky bars with beach fronts (like Plek, a wonderful glass front restaurant/bar based in an old shipping container with some of the best food I have ever eaten!) Not to mention you can stay in quirky hotel spaces here, like sleeping suspended in the air within a real
two hundred ft crane! It is home to a relaxed wave of chilled city-dwellers. A must do if you are looking to gain a quirky new perspective on Amsterdam.

About the Author:
Lauren is a typical twenty five year old, a total foodie and coffee addict but with nothing but pure wanderlust pulsing through her veins. Lauren made her own way around the world, with an array of quirky jobs and bags of boundless enthusiasm. Based in Amsterdam now, she’s lived in five countries and visited over fifty of them in the past two years! Her aim is to share a little of the tears, joy and love from her rollercoaster of adventures. Yet also, to actually show girls everywhere it is possible to travel without bags of money, a wealth of experience or even a rigid plan. She lists her biggest downfall as not knowing more languages and would say her biggest piece of advice is to never compare your story to others, every individual story
makes for an interesting read in its own right. Follow her adventures on Instagram-

Jia singh
About me

I am a Delhi-based nutritionist, food & wellness consultant and freelance features writer. I write for a variety of different magazines and websites in India and overseas on restaurants, travel, wellness and food.


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