Spotlight :: Amsterdam

[trip style = urban + sightseeing]

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle writer Heather.

Forty-eight hours in Amsterdam is not enough. It's not enough time to eat street waffles, stroll past romantic canals, visit brightly colored tulip fields, drink Heineken in Vondelpark, gaze at stylish cyclists, take in the city's museums, or put your finger on exactly what makes Amsterdam so cool. This spring I took advantage of KLM's free stopover option while traveling from Vancouver to Barcelona. Best decision ever.

Amsterdam is full of chic restaurants, street eats and gorgeous cafés. Foodie must-eats include Vlaamse frites {Belgian fries covered in mayonnaise}, stroopwafels {two thin, warm waffles filled with caramel syrup} and Dutch pancakes {huge, thin pannenkoeken or small, icing sugar-covered poffertjes}.

A Dutch take on Italian and Spanish: pizza at Mazzo and tapas at Mercat, two popular restaurants from Amsterdam's IQ Creative group.

The most stylish café in the city. Linger over espresso and design books at Roomservice inside Hôtel Droog, an Amsterdam design shop, gallery, café, one-room hotel and collection of boutiques. Trip Styler approved!

Trip Styler Tip: Looking for coffee and a place to rest and recharge? Be careful what you ask for. Coffee shops and cafés are not the same thing in Amsterdam {coffee shop = marijuana / café = coffee}.

Hotels in Amsterdam are among the most expensive in Europe, but it's possible to find a stylish stay that won't break the bank. Look for a hotel inside the canal ring if location is your top priority. I stayed in the trendy Jordaan neighborhood, which was the perfect spot for a solo stopover. For a uniquely Amsterdam stay, look for a houseboat.

Hotel The Exchange and The Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy {pictured above} are unique properties that offer rooms from 1 to 5 stars {Amsterdam's answer to the Ace Hotel chain}. The former is a small hotel steps from the train station with rooms designed by fashion students; the latter is a 100-year-old building---once an emigrant hotel, a prison and artist studios---in the up-and-coming Eastern Docklands neighborhood.

I could have easily spent a week touring this extremely liveable city. I'll say it again: 48 hours is not enough. I'm already plotting my return.

I barely had enough time to explore Amsterdam's delightful 17th-century city center on two feet. Two wheels is a different story, and happens to be Amsterdam's favorite mode of travel. Bicycles are easy to rent and fun to ride. Bonus: the city is flat and covered in 400+ kilometers of bike lanes! Visit Amsterdam Noord and the Eastern Docklands if you're on two wheels.

You can really get your culture on in Amsterdam. Don't miss out on the big four: the Stedelijk Museum {pictured above}, the Anne Frank House and the recently reopened Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum {pictured at very top}.

Trip Styler Tip: If you plan on visiting more than two museums, choose one of the three multi-museum passes offered in the city.

A good way to restrain your shopping habits is to visit Amsterdam with only a carry-on to your name. Whatever you buy, you carry around Europe for three weeks! That didn't stop me from exploring The Nine Streets, a boutique-filled shopping area in the canal ring, De Bijenkorf department store for Holland's version of Nordstrom, The Frozen Fountain for crazy-cool furniture and home accessories and the Target-like HEMA for everyday essentials.

Fashion Friday :: Cycle Chic
Fashion Friday :: White Chucks
Travel Trend :: Pod Sleepovers

[all photos taken by @heatherlovesit]