Word of Mouth: Amsterdam
Word of Mouth: Amsterdam
Travel to the idyllic art and food epicenter with confidence
The picturesque city of Amsterdam, defined by its idyllic canals and bike-friendly accessibly, lands at #4 on KAYAK's 2018 Trending List—made up of the destinations seeing the biggest increases in searches year over year. Long a CH favorite, this destination features everything modern travelers desire, from artist-run spaces to shops full of covetable treasures, book stores and craft cocktails. There's something for everybody in the Dutch capital. Of course, KAYAK's Travel Hacker Guide (an interactive resource full of data-driven insights) is packed with travel tips and tricks to help you plan with confidence. One of our favorites is their suggestion to get an I Amsterdam City Card for free museum entry, canal cruises and unlimited public transportation. KAYAK also offers plenty of useful information, from temperature to rainfall, average cost of hotels, and even the ideal time to book flights—in fact, they suggest booking trips to Amsterdam three months in advance.
Very much a cultural destination, Amsterdam is as alive in the colder months as in the spring and summer—thanks to its many galleries and museums, including the world famous must-see Rijskmuseum. But when you begin to suffer from art fatigue, there are countless coffee shops, restaurants and bars where you can take some time out from exploring this glorious city. Here, you'll find some of our favorites.
Selecting a place to stay in any city can be daunting—oftentimes you want it to be a sanctuary from the bustling urban atmosphere, but not so sleepy that it becomes dull. Amsterdam's Sir Adam is just that: it offers plenty of space for locals and visitors to mingle, but guest rooms are idyllic. With floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views, rooms are still hideaways—some complete with record players and guitars. Cozy meets industrial in this hotel, creating a contrast that's pleasing to the eye and a weary body that's spent the day biking around the city. If Sir Adam isn't your cup of tea, there's the breathtaking Conservatorium, or boutique chains like The Hoxton (set along a central canal) or The Dylan.
Matter of Material
Design enthusiasts will have to bring an extra suitcase if visiting Matter of Material; the shop is full of covetable products with a focus on tradition and quality design. The mostly Dutch-designed pieces range from prints to furniture, homeware and jewelry—all made from exquisite materials. Our favorite pieces to explore are the antique and vintage goods, and for those who enjoy searching for treasures—you might lose a few hours in this place.
An artist-run gallery founded in 1979 by five young artists as "a movement against the closed world of commercial art and museums," W139 strives to foster artistic and intellectual freedom. Embracing contemporary art in a non-institutional manner, the venue has hosted shows of all kinds—from somatosensory experiences to animated short films to immersive installations—and oftentimes plays with the ways in which visitors move through and interact with the space. Open seven days a week, the gallery has a "pay what you will" entry fee. Whether an art expert or not, a visit to W139 will inspire you to think and view art differently.
Guts and Glory
Inspired by "country, culture of protein," each of Guts and Glory's surprise menus focuses on one ingredient. Reinventing itself with each chapter, the restaurant has previously constructed its dishes on everything from fish to French classics. Currently their focus is Dutch cuisine, and is serving prix fixe meals at truly affordable prices (five courses for €50, up to seven courses at €65). Dishes are as pretty as they are tasty, and the wine list is diverse and impressive. Its minimal, sophisticated interior and tableware will also please design enthusiasts, with plenty of stone, glass, wood and metal juxtaposing each other.
Exploring all angles of the photographic medium, Foam is more than a gallery. Along with exhibitions, the team behind the enthralling space also creates publications, workshops, lectures and debates—each project's mission is to inspire locals and visitors alike. Working with the international photography community, the shows here are cutting-edge, but still approachable. Open every day, Foam also offers free Thursday night tours.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Intimate cocktail bar and "occasional creators of memorable evenings," Hiding in Plain Sight is the place for a quality drink. With its plush velvet-covered bar stools, crystal glassware, chandeliers and knowledgable bartenders, the ambience is old-world and sophisticated—but not stuffy. While The Walking Dead comes in a kitsch skull-shaped glass, there are plenty of classic cocktails here to enjoy.
Despite being located on a busy, tourist-y street, San Serriffe is an oasis. Visitors can paw over books (mostly from small publishers) that focus on contemporary art, design and theory. Each week, the team also organizes lectures, book launches and exhibitions—so be sure to check what's on during your stay. Like W139, San Serrife (and its ROZENSTRAAT performance space) is dedicated to keeping experimental contemporary art and artists nurtured and supported.
KAYAK recommends booking three months ahead for the best deals on flights to Amsterdam.
W139 image courtesy of Chun-Han Chiang, Foam image courtesy of Christian van der Kooy, all others courtesy of respective venues