Walking on from Part I yesterday, here is part II of my Amsterdam travel guide. Creativity and inspiration spills from every window box and coffee cup in this beautiful friendly city. I have so many favourite spots but I thought a few lists, links and addresses would be helpful for fellow travellers along with my photo tour of the amazing Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam.First coffee – we always like to pinpoint a few great coffee places around a city so we can get charged up for the day and refuel on the hoof (and these usually crop up in new exciting areas to visit). Our top five places for a cup of the black stuff on this trip were
1 – Back to Black cute corner spot.
2 – Rum Baba great coffee and best vegan cake.
3 – Lot Sixty One beautifully rustic.
4 – White Label Coffee modern and fresh.
5 – Scandinavian Embassy cool and compact.Trotting along the canals – four favourite places to window shop for antiques, flowers and plants.
1 – Wildernis – an indoor jungle with all the plants and pots you could wish for.
2 – A.P Bloem – Hidden gem with potted botanical beauties adorning the outside.
3 – Prinsengracht where it meets Spiegelgracht – explore this whole area for antiques, curios, art and dream decor.
4 – 590 Prinsengracht – Japanese Prints and treasures.For a couple of hours of calm take a break from the bustling canals and retreat to the botanical gardens. We picked our Booking.com hotel – Zoku because it was just around the corner from the beautiful Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, a five minute walk on a sunny Sunday morning to an indoor jungle, butterfly house, cactus house and so much more – the beautiful garden was founded in 1638 as Hortus Medicus, a medicinal herb garden. We couldn’t wait to get into the hothouse and then visit the cactus garden, before learning about their stunning collection of Palms and Cycads. In the butterfly house, bright orange and giant brown tropical butterflies were drinking nectar and fluttering around. This place was so magical I could ramble on all day, so I’ll let my pictures do the talking for a bit :) Even though all the super exotic spiky cacti were like green and prickled skyscrapers against that stunning coral backdrop, my favourite sight was a leafy pelargonium draped over this low wall. Even in their Orangerie cafe, there was more unexpected beauty, each table had a jar of seasonal flowers arranged on it and on the walls – these stunning wool and silk panel installations by Claudy Jongstra.Time to stop for lunch or early dinner? We both eat a meat and dairy free diet, but finding veggie and vegan options is not hard here and our top six places to eat were –
1 – Golden Temple – we ate here twice for dinner A-Mazing.
2 – Mastino Pizza super cool pizza place with the most beautiful pizza boxes ever!
3 – Soup and Zo – tiny corner spot with speedy healthy soup.
4 – De Bolhoed – friendly folks, good food, cosy and yep a resident cat who we loved ;)
5 – Pluk – pretty homewares shop with shabby chic styling and lovley bustling cafe.
6 – Bar Botanique – Family friendly bar and cafe an easy stop filled with plants.
This little guy was watching the world go by from his post in one of the canals as we walked past the corner garden of my dreams (below) and lovely cats in lots of the windows we passed.Another great find the Katten Kabinet was founded in commemoration of the ginger cat John Pierpont Morgan (1966-1983). This special cat was the stubborn, headstrong companion of the museum’s founder, Bob Meijer. The collection of cat-related art ranges from sculptures to paintings to the costume of Grizabella is the “Glamour Cat” from the famous musical CATS!Beautiful traditional interior decor and all the cat art you can imagine.Raw Materials is a shop we found on our last trip and we were so excited to explore it again this time, located in the heart of the Amsterdam Jordaan on the Rozengracht. The building is raw indeed with the original wooden beams, rugged brick walls and the industrial concrete floors (plus their shipping to the UK is a great price even for big items).
Other favourite shops were –
1 – Athenaeum Boekhandel for reading materials of all kinds – beautiful and unusual magazines from all over the world.
2 – THE best hot chocolate Choclátl, we kept our hands warm with a cup of their cocoa.
3 – ANNA + NINA for pretty homewares and clothing, gold, crystal, moody.
4 – Haas – Elandsstraat 121 – lovely clothing store with perfume and home decor too.
5 – Cotton Cake – I think you’ll love it all ;)
On our final walk back to our hotel, this early blossom with delicate snow falling from the sky and the old-fashioned lamppost somehow gave me a feeling of Japan.That’s all for now folks!
Disclosure – The flights and accommodation for this trip were paid for by Booking.com, a travel collaboration I am thrilled to have worked on. All words opinions and images are my own.