My last trip to Amsterdam involved staying outside of the tourist district in the trendy area of De Pijp.
De Pijp has a reputation as being one of the coolest neighbourhoods to visit in this popular Dutch city. After spending a week there last winter, I’d say these rumours are right. De Pijp is oozing with those effortlessly cool vibes that can be found hidden in the streets of many major cities, if you know just where to look.
Plenty of Amsterdam’s visitors head into De Pijp, but they mostly tend to stop in at one of two popular activities–the Albert Cuyp Market and the Heineken Experience–before heading back into the crowded Canal District where the majority of tourists spend their time. By venturing beyond these attractions, you’ll get to explore a special part of Amsterdam that most travellers don’t get to see.
De Pijp holds a huge number of cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as some of the things that Amsterdam is known for like ‘coffee shops’, quaint canals, and infinite bicycles. It’s the kind of area where you can take your time enjoying the local atmosphere instead of jumping from attraction to attraction.
So, if you are looking to avoid the crowds while exploring locations with plenty of cultural charm, I’d highly recommend spending one day in De Pijp! Here’s my suggestions for all the best things to do in Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhood.
Where to stay in De Pijp:
De Pijp has a handful of accommodation options if you’d like to stay in the area. Rob and I booked a room at De Pijp Boutique Apartments which is in a fabulous location just 5-10 minutes walk from most of the locations in this De Pijp itinerary.
I’ll admit that it wasn’t the cheapest option, but we chose it because it was more spacious than other accommodation options in Amsterdam (some of the city’s rooms are like sleeping in a broom closet, Potter-style!). I will also point out that Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in Europe when it comes to accommodation, so no matter where you stay in Amsterdam, it’s going to cost a fair chunk of change!
Our apartment was on the third floor with windows looking out over the street, and it had a spacious living/kitchen area where we could set ourselves up to work remotely and make a few meals. If you want a more comfortable option than a teeny-tiny hotel room, I’d recommend splashing out a bit for this place.
One day in De Pijp itinerary:
Let’s start with the most popular of the De Pijp activities, which is Albert Cuyp Market. This market takes the title of the Netherlands’ most visited daytime market and is open 6 days a week from Monday-Saturday. The stalls stretch in a long line down the street of Albert Cuypstraat, with the vendors offering all sorts of goods including souvenirs, apparel, food, and other miscellaneous knick-knacks.
If you’ll be visiting during the colder months, you definitely need to get a fresh stroopwafel from the Albert Cuyp Market! Eating stroopwafel is an essential Amsterdam experience, and the original stroopwafel stall here is meant to be the best place to sample this Dutch treat. It’s kind of like a thin waffle sandwich with a sweet and gooey caramel filling (why yes, I did eat a ton of these during my time in Amsterdam).
If you’re interested in sampling more Dutch foods, you might want to book an Amsterdam food walk which includes tastings in the Albert Cuyp Market and a few other locations around De Pijp.
Burn off your market treats by taking a quick walk through Sarphatipark. The inner-city park has a lovely pond, a historic monument, and is a fab place to do some dog-watching.
De Pijp is all about brunch, with a ton of casual cafes offering delicious daytime menus. I had a few favourite food spots during my stay in De Pijp, but I think Sir Hummus tops the list with its Israeli hummus and falafel menu. Travelling as a vegetarian really doesn’t get better than this! I gorged on the fancy hummus and bread and departed this food joint extremely satisfied.
Another noteworthy option is Little Collins, which offers an Aussie brunch for hungry tourists and Amsterdammers. Yes, I know–me, an Australian–eating at an Aussie cafe in the Netherlands. In my defense, the Dutch seem to be utterly obsessed with Australian culture so I was really just doing what the locals do! And I can confirm that the plates at Little Collins are legit what we would eat in Australia.
Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, because the afternoon activities are all about walking. Start by taking a leisurely stroll along the Amstel River and the Nieuwe Amstelbrug bridge. The Amstel, which is actually the namesake for the city of Amsterdam, borders the eastern edge of De Pijp.
Along the riverside, you’ll see some of Amsterdam’s permanent houseboats (which #funfact is actually the living choice for over 5000 of the city’s residents). You might spot rowing clubs practicing for competitions and larger boats using this waterway as it is significantly wider than the other canals in the city centre.
De Pijp is also known as being one of the best neighbourhoods to see Amsterdam School architecture. This style was used in the 1910s-1920s for schools or other institutional buildings and usually featured rounded corners and red/brown brickwork. At the southern end of De Pijp, the Bezoekerscentrum de Dageraad housing complex is a great example of Amsterdam School. I thought the cascading curved edges on the facade looked pretty neat.
Finish off the day by drinking a Dutch craft beer. Everyone who visits Amsterdam knows about the famed Heineken Experience which is located on the northern edge of De Pijp, but there are other locations around the neighbourhood to get authentic Dutch brews.
Our top choice was Brouwerij Troost, housed in an old monastery that has been converted to a modern industrial brewing warehouse and tasting room. If you’re hungry, I’d also highly recommend getting dinner here. The casual pub-style menu suggests matching beers for each item, which I thought was a huge novelty! Rob and I thought the veg burgers were top-notch.
For dessert, walk a few blocks to Massimo Gelato for a drool-worthy Italian ice cream. You will not regret it, I promise!