Not to be missed
Need a Taxi? Use Backpackers Taxi Friend: www.PrijsTaxi.nl or call: (+31)06-51941654
Backpackers on High Heels Top 10 Amsterdam
Tell us your favorite spot & WIN
Tell us your favorite spot in Amsterdam and win CLICK HERE
a red High Heels doorstop or one of these high heels necklaces or mobile phone hangers
Even though Amsterdam is smaller than other metropolitans, there are a lot of neighborhoods.
The city counts 14 different parts, but not all are worth going to. So therefore Backpackers on High Heels gives you the details of the stylish ones that are worth exploring further.
Amsterdam centre is an easy walk, even on high heels! If you start at the Leidseplein (plein is Dutch for square) you walk trough the Leidsestraat you end up at the Koningplein. To the right is the flower market, and to the left is the Spui. Straight-ahead you walk trough the Heiligeweg to the Kalverstraat.
From that point you can turn right to the Munt and via the Reguliersbreestraat to the Rembrandtsquare (where the Waterlooplein, Utrechtsestraat and Albert Cuyp market (Pijp) are also close by.
If you go to the left you walk to the Dam and from that point straight to Central Station, or turn right and you will find your self in the red-light district (where the Waterlooplein is again on walking distance)
Ensure to take your map as it is surprisingly easy to get lost in Amsterdam.
Leidseplein (plein is Dutch for square)
Famous square with many bars, restaurants, 1 casino, 2 stand-up comedy café’s, Paradiso, Melkweg, 2 theatre’s, 4 cinema’s, the stunning Art-Deco American Hotel and a police station.
Leidsestraat is a constant coming and going of people 24/7. In this bubbling street are many hip and stylish fashion shops, shoe shops, bookstores, souvenir shops and the chic department store Metz&Co. The M-café at the top floor of Metz&Co provides you with a magnificent view of the city.
Koningsplein is the junction between the Spui (backside of the Kalverstraat) and the Leidseplein. This is the location of the world-famous flower market. And the entrance to the Begijnhof can be found in the link below. BegijnhofAmsterdam.nl
Spui / Singel
A superb street with exceptional “Housewives on Fire”, as there are no shops worth to be mentioned. However, a lot of good restaurants and café’s with a quiet walk-trough if you don’t like the crowds on the Kalverstraat.
A small stylish street where stores stock brands like Diesel, Benetton, Sisley, Puma, Dept and many more. For the ultimate snack-stop go to the Vlaamse Friethuis in the Voetboogsteeg, across from the side-entrance to the Kalvertoren.
Kalverstraat (dates from 1393) is the shopping street between the Dam and the Munt. Past the Dam, the Kalverstraat becomes the Nieuwendijk. Here you find the fast-fashion companies such as H&M 4, Zara 1, Mango 2, Bershka 2, Sasha 2, and a lot of other well-known brands. The shopping highlights are the Kalvertoren, a mall, Bendorff at number 176, the American Bookstore, and the Dutch Warehouse Vroom & Dreesman. The cultural high light is the Amsterdam Historic museum, and free entrance to the Spui, called the Schuttersgallerij where you can, for free and have a taste of the 17th century.
From the Kalverstraat you can easily walk to the Dam or the opposite direction to the Munt and from there the Rembrandtsquare is close by.
DAM On one side you see Het Koninklijk Paleis and the Nieuwe Kerk and on the other side is the Krasnapolsky Hotel and the Bijenkorf. The royal palace (www.koninklijkhuis.nl) is momentarily closed due to renovations but there are regular exhibitions at the Nieuwe Kerk. If that is too cultural for you, you can always visit the celebrities at Madam Tussauds www.madametussauds.nl
The Bijenkorf is the biggest department store in the country since 1914, not cheap but very stylish. Hip and Urban fashion are on the 5th floor. From the dam you can easily walk to Central Station, the red light district or if you follow the Nieuwendijk to the Haarlemmerstraat.
Parallel to the Damrak, the Warmoesstraat starts at the backside of the Bijenkorf and brings you to Central Station. Alternatively, you can turn right into the heart of the Red Light District.
The Warmoestraat used to be one of the shabbiest areas in town. A few years back the city decided to renovate it and we love the face-lift. A few nice stores, a lot of sex and gay bars, and also a handful of cafes and nightclubs not to be missed, like Getto.
From Dam to Red Light district and Waterlooplein
If you walk from the Dam into the Damstreet there will be a little culture shock. The first part is, besides two shoe stores, a collection of vague bars, tourist shops, coffee shops and anything else that we call horrible. But no worries, past the bridge to Damstreet is called the Oude Hoogstraat and there is where the fun begins.
Just across the bridge is the Oudezijds Voorburg wal and this is the red light district main street. It will ultimately bring you to the Nieuw Market and that’s where you will find a big feast of café’s and restaurants.
Oude Hoogstraat / Nieuwe Hoogstraat
This street is the entrance point to the Waterlooplein, Nieuwmarkt & Zeedijk and Red Light District. The Damstraat becomes the Oude Hoogstraat (dates from 1490). This is where the old becomes the new (built one century later). There are a lot of coffee shops, tacky souvenirs shops and quite a few stylish fashion stores, vintage and shoe shops.
Tip: Krasnapolsky's Garden for lunch or cofee & Krasnapolsky's Shibli for an unforgettable dinner experienceCrossing the street is at your own risk, it is a small street but there are too many too fast going bikers. WATCH OUT!!!
China Town: Nieuwmarkt & Zeedijk
The Nieuwmarkt is a huge square filled with restaurants and bars, in the middle is the Waag. From the Nieuw Market to the Central Station you will pass the Zeedijk. The Zeedijk was a very notorious street, due to a big cleaning operation. Nowadays it is a hip street filled with shops, cafes and restaurants where you can party in style. Walking through it you will see some remains of the old days, however there are still a lot of junkies who probably didn’t know where else to go. TiP: Watch the Chinese street names.
Red Light Fashion District: Hookers and Fashion
Red Light fashion District
De ‘wallen’ as they called in Holland. An area you have to see or not… Well, the thing is there was nothing much to see except a lot of red lights and women barley dressed behind glass. But recently they opened some stunning Dutch Delight Designers fashion shops here. So you can watch the windows without any shame and admire the fabulous fashion of wonderful Dutch ‘new’ designers like Mada van Gaans, Bas Kosters, Daryl van Wouw and many more.
In this unique environment you will find a lot of pickpockets, drug dealers (if they don’t sell washing powder) and junkies. But that’s all in the game. That said, the reputation is much worse than the actual experience. There are some grand tours that will provide you with the necessary background information and take you inside places you normally wouldn’t visit. (www.robvanhulst.nl/) Casa Rosso is notorious sex theater if you are interested in life-performances.
In 1893, this was a day market for mainly Jewish salesmen. Before the war you could buy really anything here, but since the persecution of the Jews in the war, this was gone for good. The market is still there. In the fifties it was the place to sell your old furniture, and in the years following it became a hippie-hotspot, which it still is. There are 300 market stalls filled with incense, Indian and African attributes, shoes, clothes, army stuff, hammocks and furniture. Well, almost everything you need or don’t want to have. Mostly it is crap, but you can be lucky and find this one fine vintage piece for almost nothing. But what ever you do, don’t believe the salesmen who tell you that dirty Adidas jacket is a collector’s item. It is not, it is just dirty.
Another impossible thing to miss is the Stopera, a big ugly white building where city hall and a huge stunning concert hall are housed.
From the Waterlooplein it is very easy to walk in the direction of Amsterdam East (the Zoo) or the Rembrandt square.
TIP: Walk from the Waterlooplein towards the Rokin through the Staalstraat and the Nieuwe Doelenstraat
This is heart of the tourist centre. Besides too many shabby café’s there are some cultural highlights. First of all is the iron statue’s of the Nachtwacht. Photo-stop! Walking to the Munt (Reguliersbreestraat ) you will pass Tuschinski, the most stunning art-deco cinema ever?!? The street is parallel at the Reguliers-breestraat, the famous gay street: Reguliers-dwarsstraat. Where on summer evenings it is one big street party.
From the Rembrandtplein to the Pijp is a very easy straw just by following the Utrechtsestraat.
From Rembrandtplein to the Pijp
A busy street filled with double parked cars, bikes, and trams so watch out while crossing the road. And you will cross ‘cause there are so many nice, great and über stylish shops, restaurants and café’s.
The Utrechtsestraat is a must-go for fun shoppers. From avant-garde antique to bric-a-brac. An elegant and classic street with a contrasting display of old building facades with many international restaurants, a culinary journey from Asia to Latin-America.
Be careful for the bikers especially when you know they aren’t local,The Amsterdam Jordaan is the most sung about, described and (over)- romanced part of town. Founded in 1612 as an area for the working-class. The old inhabitants have been mostly replaced for yuppies. There is an overload of neo-hippies all dressed in ‘King Louie’-clothing, driving a carrier cycle of the Fietsfabriek and drinking Prosecco while the kids are playing on the streets. If you go to the fabulous Monday Morning Market you will see how this description fits. Despite the over-hip population, the Jordaan is definitely worth going to. The Jordaan offers many small streets with the most gorgeous little houses you have ever seen and don’t forget to look up to the astonishing gables. Besides the Anna Frank Huis, the Westerkerk, the Housboat museum, you can still find here old-school pubs and very special shops. And there is the best Vintage market in the world on Monday mornings and a lovely organic market on Saturdays. And last but not least: the ultimate shopping experience is here at the 9 streets: nine small streets filled with the cutest, über stylish, fashionable, designers shops, restaurants and cafes. For a metropolitan shopping day with a village- feel. The Jordaan is an area where you can easily get lost, but isn’t a problem, in every street. On every corner you will see something amazing.
tourist on bike is a scary and very dangerous thing
The Jordaan is a criss-cross of streets and higgledy-piggleldy houses, canals and (hidden) courtyards. We certainly recommend a guided tour here, there is just too much to see and it is a shame to miss most of it.
Noordermarkt / Monday Morning Market
The ultimate vintage highlight. The biggest part of the market consists of stalls selling new goods and mainly fabrics, which are sold by the meter. So if you are the creative type, here is the place to buy some of the best fabrics here for a bargain and make your own designer dresses. The Vintage sensation starts at the end of the market (Side: Prinsengracht) with yesterday’s and tomorrow’s fashion and bric-à-brac. This is the ideal place to spend hours as you roam through plenty of old and new stuff. Come early because as it is guaranteed be packed.
An ideal backdrop for enjoying all the riches and variations the city has to offer for the Amsterdam in crowd as well for the visitors all over the world, nine streets not to be missed:
1. Gasthuis molensteeg
6. Oude spiegelstraat
7. Wijde heisteeg
8. Huidenstraat zipper
The oh-so-hi-so (oh so high society) part of the city.
The best neighborhood for designer shops, absolutly stunning fashions, shoes, lifestyle, home decor and so much more, but all with gold-card price tags. Sipping your cocktail in über hip café’s and restaurants where you parade in your new dress.
The expensive part of town has two main shopping streets:
- P.C. Hooftstraat
- Cornelis Schuyt straat
P.C. Hooftstraat is the upper class and wanna-be street where all the leading fashion houses are located like Chanel Gucci, D&G, LV and many more. A great place to be on a Saturday while strolling, looking, being seen as VIP-spotting the Dutch sucker-players and their wives. A street with international allure. The P.C. Hooftstraat is parallel at the Museum square for the Van-Gogh, Modern Art and Rijksmuseum.
Cornelis Schuytstraat is other expensive street but more the Dutch-way. Leading Dutch brands are located here and the crowd is more classy and elegant. The P.C is haute couture and the Cornelis Schuytstraat for the sparkling creations, everything of reassuringly high quality.
TOP 5 SOUTH:
Historical and picturesque neighborhood where in old Dutch houses art-gallery’s and antique-shops are housed. There are over 70 shops offering a wide variety of object from oriental art noveau tribale art to old medical instruments and everything in between, each with its own cabinet of curiosities. It is one of the last great antiques hearts in Europe, this long street, straight from to the Rijksmuseum, is a legacy of the Golden Age when Holland's traders traversed the globe and returned laden with goods. Even when you are not into buying antiques it is a great place to walk trough. From the Spiegelkwartier it is very easy to walk to the The Quartier Latin of Amsterdam: the Pijp or to the east part where the Zoo is located.
South East: Pijp
The Quartier Latin of Amsterdam, the Pijp, is unfortunately due to construction of the north-south metro line a bit unwelcoming at the moment. But it is still a creative, über hip and very urban area with really stunning shops, ateliers, café’s, restaurants and off course the Albert Cuyp Market. The cheap exotic shops, the over-hip lounge bars, the picturesque squares, the largest market it gives you a real student-arty-multi-cultural feel.
The Albert Cuyp Market is the largest market in town, and has existed over a 100 years, this is multicultural at its best: street stalls and shops filled with fruit, fish, exotic herbs and exotic pets, umbrellas, underwear, shoes and tomorrows fashion.
TOP 5 PIJP:
To the west: HAARLEMMERBUURT
A neighborhood west from Central Station is called the Haarlemmerbuurt. A old style area with the Haarlemmerstraat as main shopping street. Stunning shops, café’s and restaurants can be found here. Mostly closed on Sundays but for the rest of the week an ultimate experience. Modern candy stores, fabulous gifts & home decor shops, bakery’s, chocolate shops, vintage shops it is all there, all eye-catching, hip and urban. A street not to be missed.
And a great walk from city-centre to the quiet, green and fashionable Westerpark.
Tip: Haarlemmerstraat & Haarlemmerdijk are über stylish shopping streets absolute not 2B missed.
To the East
There are definitely some hotspots in East. There are some hip & trendy bars and restaurants which will leave an unforgettable impression. Big terraces, an authentic beer brewery, peace and quiet in the Hortus Botanicus and the real-deal Amsterdam-feel at the Dappermarkt, a huge multi-cultural market.
TOP 5 EAST:
Old-West: The SoHo of Amsterdam.
In a few years this neighborhood will be the hippest. Now the race is still between the Pijp and the Jordaan, but mark my words Old-West is going to be IT. But it isn’t yet. Old west definitely misses a stylish hotel and the spots not to be missed are not that close to each other. Yeh, it s Amsterdam so still easily walk able on high heels, but even so, there can never be enough fashionable spots in one street. So why go? The spots to go are soo incredible brilliant you don’t want to miss them and Old–West provides you with the ultimate Amsterdam-feel. Super relaxed and a perfect mix between the hip spots and the Turkish bakery’s. Ok, there are more telephone shops and hairdressers than needed.... but hey, if you do need a hair cut or a telephone you know where to go.
Tip: The Bosboom Toussaint straat is ideal for parents with little children,Further down west is the Westerpark, another not to be missed area. See Parks
a lot of children’s shops and activity’s are organized here while you can enjoy a wine at the terrace.
TOP 5 SOHO OLD-WEST:
North is another upcoming part of town. Yet, the opinions about this part of town are divers, so is the area. It is hip and new and slobby and dirty at the same time. The part at the IJ is absolutely fantastic and a definitely must go, but deeper in North you don’ want that someone sees you.
Tip: The g-spot of town is Hotel de Goudfazant, only for the avenues types among you ‘cause it is quit a search. If you want to make sure you won’t get lost there are several hotspots just at the other side of the IJ.
TOP 5 NORTH WITH THE BEST VIEWS
The New UltraModern Islands
Amsterdam, the Venice of the north, has over 90 islands and 1200 bridges.
The new part of town is an architectural delight, the highest concentrations of exciting modern architecture can be found here and there are several HotSpots Hip and Happening to visit.
Zeeburg, The Eastern Docklands:
- Mainland: Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ with Starferry & Fifteen & Lloys’s Hotel & Pananma & Odessa
- KNSM island (dates from the 19th century)
- Java Island (extension of the KNSM) Famous for the diversity of modern architecture.
Every 27 meter there was an other architect, especially the four modern versions of the canals are eye-catching.
- Borneo island
- Silodam: Onassis & Restaurant Open to the Westerpark
Tip: 2 Quay Bed & Breakfast for a perfect island stay
Beaches & Parks
Since a few years Amterdam has their own city beaches; strand as they call it. A great place for sunny days to feel the sand under your feet, drink a cold glass of Prosecco and enjoy the beachy-city-feel. The real deal is about half hour by train at Zandvoort / Bloemendaal but for the quick need of sand these surrogate beaches are just as good. Blijburg is the only spot where swimming is safe, diving into the water on the other locations are at your own risk.
Open all year. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Besides sand there is a huge restaurant with a cocktail-/ loungebar. The wide beach provides a panoramic view over the IJ. So change the high heels for flip-flops, get into your hammock after playing some beach-volleyball and enjoy the bbq.
Route: from Central Station: walk towards Haarlemmerplein, and direction of Nassauplein. At Nassaupleinturn reight over the bridge. Before the viaduct go right to the Houtmankade. At the end of the Houtmankade turn left to the Tasmanstraat. After 400 meter wou find the Stavangerweg at your right side.
Public transport: Bus 48, direction Station Sloterdijk. Stop: Spaarndammerstraat or Bus 22, direction Zaanstraat, Spaarndammerbuurt. Stop: Spaarndammerstraat.
Strand Zuid City Beach www.strand-zuid.nl
In the oh-so-hi-so south part of town is a classy beach. At the back side of the RAI, in the Beatrixpark. A child friendly beach, so bring your Ipod. There is a terrace, hammocks, beach chairs and lounge sofas. So put on your D&G bikini, order a Prosecco, lay down and relax. Strand Zuid for chic and stylish lunching and dining on the beach, but no swimming.
The local way: come by boat. Otherwise take tram 4 direction Rai Stop: Europaplein
Blijburg aan Zee is the hippie-variation of the city beaches. This city beach is the biggest 250 x 40 meters. Blijburg has their own bay-watch, only without the red bading suites. Perfect Blijburg day: get a tan, enjoy a diner at the beach and dance under the stars at the camp fire. There are many life performances and themed party’s organized here, so look at the internet site for the agenda.
Public Transport: tram 26, Stop: IJburg Ruisrietstraat or Bus 359, Stop: IJburg Ruisrietstraat
Bilderdijk strand www.bilderdijkstrand.nl
The Bilderdijk Beach has a surface of 4000 M2, and is open 7 days a week from 10 to 10.
Public Transport: tram 13,17, Stop: Bilderdijkstraator Bus 170 Stop: Elandsgracht
AMSTERDAMSE BOS www.amsterdamsebos.nl
The Amsterdamse bos (woods) is a recreational area just out at the south side. The woods are artificial fed in the 30’s, partly as a solution raising unemployment due to the economical crisis. It is huge there is open-air a theater, a goat-farm, over 50 km of cycle paths, it is an ideal place for horse riding, fly kites, bird watcing. And there is a pancake house and further down you can rent canoes and bikes or just swim.
A truly hidden hotspot with a stunning view on the Nieuwe Meer. Best accessible with bike or by ferry from the Amsterdamse Bos. A romantic pavilion for diner, lunch or just a drink.
TIP: And last but not least there is a ferry from 15th April till 15th October for 1 euro.Public Transport to the bos: Bus 66, 170 & 172, 199 stop: Van Nijenrodeweg
www.rederij-oeverloos.nl takes you across the Nieuwe Meer to Paviljoen Aquarius.
Just outsitde the city there is the famous / notorious Backpackers Original Ruigoord. A hippie art village / colony. A nature reserve located in the harbour area. A backpackers original spot with many activities during the year.
Public Transpot: Bus 82 Stop: Abberdaan. Orientation: directon Haarlem, Westpoort
The Vondelpark opened their gates in 1865. Thirty years later bikes were allowed in the park, in the beginning only in the morning but nowadays there are more bikers than trees. The Vondelpark is the ultimate hangout for picnic, walking, running, and every friday there is for FREE The Friday Night Skate (at 20.00 in front of the Filmmuseum (16,5 km) ). There are 4 Spots for drinks, Blauwe Theehuis, Vertigo / Filmmuseum, Vondeltuin. and ideal for childern Melkhuisje. In the summertime there are free concerts and dancing classes at the Openlucht Theater. There are tennis courts, a youth hostel and once a year there is a Golf tournament. The Vondelpark is a beautiful park where bikes, dogs and skaters try not to hit eachother, a meeting point for friends, amateur soccer players, drunks and homeless and gays at the Rosarium. There are two playgrounds and one pool for the little ones. The backside in the summertime is the overdoses of people, it is a fight to get a spot for you picnic basket.
Amsterdam has 28 parks, but there are only 2 worth going. The central located Vondelpark and more to the west the Westerpark. This park dates from 1890. The park and their historical buildings, including the westergasfabriek, were thorough renovated a few years back. They are nowadays used for creative and cultural events. The hole concept, the park and his industrial buildings gives a modern and spacious feel. The Westerpark is a hip and urban place for everyone. There is a cinema (Ketelhuis), tennis courts, hip restaurants and café’s.
GAY STREET Reguliersdwarsstraat
Amsterdam is one of the world's gay playgrounds—the world's first nation to recognize same-sex marriages and the Reguliersdwarsstraat is gay-town. On summer nights the area becomes one giant street party.
And for the colder days the über gay HotSpots are: