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OROKO City Guide | Amsterdam Essentials

Amsterdam has to be one of the coolest cities in Europe right now. With plenty to entertain families and couples alike, the city has something for everyone. With so much to see and do, Amsterdam is the perfect city for a city break. We recommend spending three or four nights to see the sights, dine in style and do some shopping. Today, we’re sharing some of our favourite things to see and do in Amsterdam.

Dine in style at Mama Kelly’s

Perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable restaurants in the world, a visit to Mama Kelly’s is a must. Designer Rein Rambaldo focused on the theme of millennial pink resulting in an explosion of colour from pink couches and chairs to pink wall coverings and napkins. The restaurant has managed to maintain a stylish atmosphere with mid-century furniture, modern light fixtures, wood panelling and endless Instagram appeal. Open for dinner only; this is the perfect place to spend a special evening.

Swing through the sky at the A’dam Lookout

There's no denying that Amsterdam is beautiful. And what better way to appreciate the Amsterdam landscape than from the highest point in the city. The A’DAM lookout is a cool observation deck with 360-degree views of the city. For the full experience, we recommend visiting at sunset and taking a turn on the famous ‘Over the Edge’ swing. Enjoy unrivalled views of the city with the added thrill of swinging 100m above the ground on the highest swing in Europe. Finish off your evening with drinks in the Sky Bar after the sun has set for cocktails with a view.

Explore your artistic side at the Van Gogh museum

Experience first-hand the talent of one of the most internationally recognised artists in the world at the Van Gogh museum. From his original artworks to exhibitions based on his life, this is a fascinating tribute to the iconic artist. Examine his many self-portraits and iconic still life paintings and gain a unique insight into the life of the artist. Before leaving, make sure to visit the gift shop, which is bursting full of souvenirs that are a little different than the usual tourist fare.

Enjoy dinner and drinks on Café Restaurant Bureau’s rooftop

For food and wine pairings that are second to none, visit Café Restaurant Bureau located on the top floor of B Amsterdam. The trendy, innovative space is generally filled with young creatives who work in the building below, which gives the space a youthful buzz. Everything on the menu is completely homemade with the freshest local ingredients. This is a lovely spot for a casual dinner.

Rent a boat and see the sights

Explore Amsterdam’s famous network of canals from the water with a rented boat. Available for private charter or group hire, the best way to navigate the canals is by boat. Make the most of the idyllic setting with a picnic lunch on board while you enjoy the sights. For special occasions, chartered boats can cater for large groups and even organise silent discos for you and your group.

Shop till you drop in Batavia Stad

For those in need of some retail therapy, there is no better place than Batavia Stad fashion outlet. Packed full of more than 250 luxury brands, you are almost guaranteed to find something special. Deals and savings depend on the day, but a wide array of choices is guaranteed. The shopping centre is located about an hour outside of the city and is a great rainy-day activity.

Snack on some French fries at Vleminckx de Sausmeester

One cannot visit Amsterdam without trying out the local cuisine. Patat is one of Amsterdam’s most famous specialities, more commonly known around the world as French fries! What really makes patat stand out are the interesting and varied sauces. Cones of patat are topped with everything from mayonnaise to peanut satay, depending on your taste. Visit Vleminckx de Sausmeester for a choice of 25 different sauces dolloped on top of authentic Danish chips. The hole-in-the-wall eatery has been serving up their iconic cones since 1887 and have been getting rave reviews ever since. These are not to be missed.

Albert Cuyp Market

To soak up the authentic culture here, there is no better place than Albert Cuypmarkt. This massive outdoor market is one of the largest and most popular markets in Amsterdam. Open six days a week, it is almost impossible to miss this bustling trading hub of 260 stands. Everything from clothing to brick-a-brack to fresh street-food is available to browse and purchase. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out some raw herring, a local speciality.

Have a quiet drink at In’t Aepjen

This historic bar is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam and has been in business since 1519. Located near the red-light district, the name of the bar means ‘in the monkeys’ and refers to its origins in the Dutch golden age. Sailors would offer exotic pets such as monkeys, acquired on their travels, as payment for drinks. Eventually, the bar became so overrun with monkeys that they were given to a regular customer who housed them in his garden. This garden went on to be the beginnings of Europe’s oldest zoo. Nowadays the bar is monkey-free, strictly cash only and well worth a visit.

Experience Old Amsterdam at The Nine Streets

Forget mainstream stores and chain restaurants with a visit to the Nine Streets neighbourhood in Amsterdam’s western quarter. The picturesque narrow lanes are packed full of cosy cafes, charming boutiques and top-notch restaurants. From antiques to high-end brands to homemade artisanal goods, there are endless shopping options and the multitude of eateries and cafes offer the tourists the chance to rest and refresh. The small shops are delightfully personal, and shop owners choose their goods personally giving each store its own unique style. Set aside at least a few hours for exploring this hip district, you’ll need it.

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