Draft: Amsterdam Travel Guide | A weekend of food, drink and plastic fishing
Vegan Food: Amsterdam has so many vegan food options! You will not even touch the surface if you’re visiting for the weekend and so many of them are highly rated it’s hard to make a decision. I actually visited Amsterdam back in August 2018 with my boyfriend Jason so this blog post will cover all my favourite things from both trips.
Zero Waste Stores: The supermarket chain Ekoplaza has many stores around the city with lots of plastic free fruit and veg and bakery items. They even have dedicated plastic free aisles (not sure which stores though...sorry!) Delicious Food is the place to go for the biggest variety of bulk items and your traditional zero-waste style store. Candy Freaks sweet store labels all their vegan sweets which you can scoop from bins and put straight into your own cotton bag/container.
Eco Shopping: There are a handful of sustainable brands based in the Netherlands and you can find brands like Mud Jeans (circular brand made from old jeans) around the Nine Streets area here. For vintage and second hand, try Episodes or Marbles & Vintage. They are dotted around the city though so check out this map here https://www.pawsandpines.com/thrift-store-amsterdam-map/
Animals: Horse drawn carts were rarely seen in the city. Since it is so easy to cycle, walk or tram everywhere, thankfully these aren’t very popular.
Activities: Alongside eating and drinking, we did our bit and went on a boat trip to go plastic fishing with Plastic Whale whilst seeing the sights and we had such a good time clearing up plastic. From street level the canals look quite clean but once you are in the water (not literally) you notice so many more things including lots of plastic bags that are floating just below the surface.
Getting there: We flew for around £40 return. I know this isn't exactly an eco friendly travel option however I always make sure to donate and offset my footprint with the Carbon Trust. Travelling makes me appreciate this beautiful planet even more and spurs me on to make more eco friendly choices in all other areas of my life.
Accommodation: A friend booked our accommodation through airbnb and we stayed in Amsterdam West (just North of the Foodhallen). It’s around a 25 minute walk to the centre however the West is home to up and coming bars and restaurants which go above and beyond in terms of service, decor and what they offer. It was cooler and also cheaper than the centre. Next time I visit, I really want to stay in the Conscious Hotel which tries to be as green and eco friendly as possible. For example lots of the furniture is made from recycled plastic and the hotel runs off wind and solar energy.
Getting Around: Once at the airport, you can go straight on the train (purchase a ticket at arrivals) to Amsterdam Central. It takes around 15 minutes and is so quick and easy. If you’re ever in need of a taxi, you can prebook at Taxi Electric (it was my first time in a Tesla and they are so cool) however electric taxi’s are so prolific in Amsterdam, you’ll see them everywhere! The trams and buses are really easy to use too, and of course don’t forget walking and cycling which is completely emission free :)
If you haven't already, purchasing the Happy Cow app for the £3.99 is a game changer if you want to find the best vegan/veggie food anywhere in the world! You can search nearby and the results are plotted on a map which makes it so easy. The app has really changed how I visit a city now in such a good way. I now explore new areas of a city I wouldn't have otherwise which tend to be in cool upcoming places with lots of independent stores and much more of a community feel.
One for breakfast, they supposedly have the best pancakes in Amsterdam which means they are very busy…and the shop is tiny. Bring something with you to take away in case of no seats and from memory they serve in single use paper/plastic. Only the pancakes (not waffles) have a vegan option with lots of sweet toppings however there is lots of room for them to add vegan alternatives to the menu. They tasted great and it’s not often you can satisfy your pancake craving abroad.
A local chain which despite it’s unappealing branding, is such a good find and such good value for money. Expect bagels in every way you can imagine. The menu has lots of vegan options including cream cheese. My favourite was topped with hummus, greens, avocado and alfafa.
Located near to the Anne Frank house. The cafe serves a variety of homemade wraps, salads and healthy cakes for a quick lunch. It also stocks lots of packaged vegan snacks alongside meat substitutes and toiletries.
The place to go before heading out to party as they have funky music and a Friday night vibe. It’s an omni restaurant however they have a separate vegan menu and are really knowledgeable as one of my friends is allergic to nuts. The menu is massive so there is something for everyone. It’s asian food served tapas style so you get to choose and share lots of dishes. The Pad Thai (comes vegan), Vegetable Curry and Spring Rolls were my favourite. I want to go back right now!
A kebab style take away but vegan falafel only. What’s not to love. There are a few jotted around the city and they are so handy for a falafel wrap on-the-go anytime of the day. After a night out, you’ll be pleased to hear falafel are rather popular in the city and it seemed all of the late night kebab shops offered falafel wraps/plates if that’s what you need…! Research purposes of course!!
In the summer, we hired bikes and visited here alongside cycling around the nearby Vondelpark. If the weather is nice, it’s great to spend an hour or so chilling by the lake. Vegan Junk Food Bar does what it say’s on the tin. The burgers and loaded fries are my favourite however even when eating in they do serve everything on a branded piece of paper which is really unnecessary. Not sure why this is a thing! They now have a couple of more locations closer to the centre too.
A small hippy vegetarian restaurant with cakes which you can takeaway. If you want to sample traditional Apple Dutch Cake, try here!
Cafe Van Zylun
We stumbled across this pub next to the sister cafe just on the outskirts of the centre which had bottles of wine for £20 and very surprisingly Vegan Bittenballen (a dutch tradition) and vegan croquettes. A ‘brown’ style bar where you can unwind and enjoy your drink.
The ones I didn't get a chance to visit but highly rated:
Instock - I’m not sure on their vegan credentials but they use leftover food to make up the changing menu.
Mr & Mrs Watson - For upmarket vegan dishes
Domino’s Pizza - They have a vegan Sea Shepherd pizza on their menu however every time we visited, it was always out of stock, which I guess is a good sign.
Fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment. Everybody likes to check out the shops whilst they are on holiday, so why not spend your time browsing second hand stores for unique pieces. Other than loving and re-using whatever you have, second hand is the kindest choice.
See my eco shopping section above for a map of vintage and second hand stores. There is also vegan clothing store Vega Life which has t shirts, shoes, bags and much more by a variety of different vegan brands. I also came across Dogo, which is a vegan shoe company however their style is very particular and not for everyone.
I also came across The Upcycle Store which is almost in the Red Light District. It was shut when I passed however they design, make and sell sustainable products made out of waste promoting a circular economy.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Amsterdam travel guide and it will be a helpful resource if you do visit the city. Thank you so much for reading. I've popped a few more images below.
Kind Adventures, Tash x