I have always romanticised Amsterdam.

Its character has whole heartedly swallowed me up and spat me out once before two years ago, however you always fall in love the more you get to know someone right?

I spent three nights and two days saturating myself in everything that this city has to offer and it is certainly safe to to say that this place is beyond anything I can comprehend in terms of sightseeing, exploration and crazy amounts of fun.

It’s easily one of the most unique, bizarre and curious cities in all of Europe and I have developed a perspective of it that comes in the form of a window, there are two sides to every story and Amsterdam is certainly a story worth reading.

You can place yourself on the naughty, experiential and fascinating side of the window that offers you a red light district full of prostitution, sex shows, hilarious sex shops & coffeeshops to smoke all the weed you desire in the comfort of a funky cafe (let me emphasise the word ‘unique’).


You can learn to love the city with an innocent intention and immerse yourself in museums, history, the outer canal districts and endless beautiful boutiques and cafes.

Me? I like to sit on one side, soak up the atmosphere and smash the window so i climb into the opposite and intertwine both experiences into one big Amsterdamage love affair.


Coffee and Coconuts – De Pijp

This is a huge call but Coffee and Coconuts is easily the coolest brunch spot I have ever been to in my life. It’s literally a brunch addicts dream set up in an old high ceiling loft movie theatre, paired with a dreamy brick wall, three stories of seating (and bean bags!) and of course a menu that has a bit of everything. A MUST do during a short or long trip to the Dam!

PLUK – Jordaan 

It you’re wandering around Jordaan around lunch time (as you should be), PLUK is the perfect little spot for an amazing boutique sandwich, smoothie and the best banana bread you’ll ever have. They also have a mini boutique in store with a tonne of super cute goodies!

Van’t Spit – De Pijp

A very simple yet awesome, wallet friendly dinner spot. Make a choice between a half or full chicken and pick your sides from a choice of hand cut fries/home made coleslaw/corncob/green salad or bread and butter.

Sounds super boring but let me tell you, this is some seriously exceptionally cooked, glazed and seasoned chicken – perfect for a lovely yet cheap Amsterdam dinner!

Oh and the menu only comes in Dutch, so bring a translator book or ask the waiters to translate for you 🙂

Palladium – Leidseplein

Fab cocktails, fab location, a little bit pricy but the food is amazing. If you’re a kiwi and feeling a bit homesick they even have New Zealand eye fillet and lamb chops!

It’s an spot for dinner before a night out of red light district mischief and mayhem or a night out at Supperclub!


Supperclub – Centrum

One of the BEST nights out I’ve ever had! Luckily we had a wicked group of Dutch locals take us out on a crazy night out but this club was especially cool. High ceilings, projected visuals and the dance floor is surrounded by bed length cushions to lay on for a relaxed club experience or a bit of naughtyness 😉


The Old Town (Red Light District)

1. Do not get your camera out when you’re around prositutes, they will try to rip your throat out

2. Go to a sex show, they’re hilarious and really do provide you with the most classic Amsterdam experience. Be sure to have a couple of drinks or a smoke beforehand though.. you’ll see more than you were expecting lol – at Theatre Cassa Rosso you get two free drinks with your ticket!

3. Coffeeshop = weed. Cafe = coffee. As you probably know, weed is legal in Amsterdam! If you’re up for it, buy it from a low key, one off coffeeshop rather than a chain such as The Bulldog (the McDonalds of Amsterdam coffee shops), they sting tourists so steer clear cause its way cheaper!

4. If you’re a young female, be super careful! Where there is sex trade, there is are dodgy old men. Keep your wits about you and try not to let yourself into a situation where you’re on your own.


Jordaan is just outside of the Red Light District and is absolutely stunning. It’s clean, classy, full of wonderful one off boutiques, cafes, restaurants and has the most dreamy, picturesque canal views. It’s also home to the Anne Frank House which I seriously recommend booking online a couple of weeks prior to your visit. I’ve missed out twice for being unorganised and cues can take up to 3 hours of your precious Amsterdam time.

De Pijp 

Home to The Heiniken Experience (a must do if you’re a beer drinker!) De Pijp is essentially Jordaan’s sister suburb in terms of funky cafes, restaurants, bars and boutique stores. It’s just outside of the Canal Belt and about a half an hour to 45 minute walk from the city centre but it’s well worth a wander. There’s something to see around every corner you turn alongside endless amounts of incredible bakeries!


Bike: Not my cup of tea, Amsterdamers bike at 100000 km an hour and I am not prepared to keep up with that! However if you’re a confident biker then this is definitely the best way for you to get around the city. It’s completely flat and super quick and easy!

Walk: I’m definitely more of a walker when it comes to my travels. I love being able to stop and start my wandering as I please, I love to take my time exploring places and it’s the best way to expose yourself to every inch and crack of the city you’re wandering around in. It’s free too!

Uber: An absolute life saver after a long day of walking once it teachers after dark! It’s super accessible, cheap and reliable.

Tram: Amsterdam is a Tram based city and if you’re comfortable with knowing your city and road names (nearly impossible if you can’t speak Dutch) it’s super easy and cheap to get around.

Amsterdam is as wild as you can imagine, as peaceful as you can visualize and as intriguing as you can picture in your head. Write it upon the top of your travel to do list because it deserves a place there more than most of Europe’s wonderful cities!

Ash x

  • Ashlee

    Hi Ash! I am travelling to Europe in a couple of months – do you have any recommendations of where to stay in Amsterdam as well as Berlin and Prague? Thanks xx

    • ashowensblog

      Hey babe! I am SO JEALOUS! In Amsterdam we stayed in an AirBnb which was quite expensive, in Berlin we stayed in a hostel called the Generator which was a fab for affordable accomodation, it’s super trendy and new and is in the perfect central location. In Prague we also stayed in an Air BnB but I can’t seem to find it! I generally look for hostels, hotels and air bnb’s as close to the city centre as possible and use to find the best deals. Hope that helps! xx