The image in my mind of Amsterdam, based on a short visit as a teenager, is composed of canals, bridges and dodging trams outside Centraal Station. Like the vast majority of visitors I had no idea what was beyond the very heart of the city. But on our recent long weekend away we explored the amazing area around our AirBnB north of the river and discovered hip bars, incredible restaurants and beautiful parks. I promise if you branch out, catch the ferry across the Ij and explore the newer neighbourhoods you won’t be disappointed. Here’s five reasons to Amsterdam Noord.
1. You can stay in amazing places at a fraction of the price
Like the incredible house boat we booked through AirBnB. De Cornelia comfortably accommodated 12 of us for three nights without breaking the bank – check out my Instagram highlights for a little tour. Just a few minutes walk through a beautiful little park to the bus stop that took us straight into the centre of the city, our houseboat provided a haven to retreat to from the hot city streets. The road / river where the boat was moored was so peaceful – we hardly saw a soul (but still managed to get a pizza delivered). Just us, the Captain at the other end of the boat (the incredibly welcoming Paul, who owns the boat) and the neighbour’s goats and chickens.
The park we stayed next to had a small campsite that I would definitely check out for my next trip to Amsterdam as well.
Staying in Noord doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Amsterdam’s busy night life either – there’s 24 hour ferry and bus services to Noord from Centraal Station allowing you to get safely to your bed hassle-free (plus there’s always uber).
2. There’s plenty of quirky things to do
Fancy a trip to the cinema? Or sitting in a hammock on the banks of the Ij? Noord has you covered. From quirky bars, artist’s studios and indoor rock climbing, Noord has plenty going on away from the crowds of the city centre.
We discovered Hangar, with its laid back beach vibes when walking to the ferry to hop over to the island (not technically Noord but well worth a visit). Right next door you’ll find FC Hyena – a hip cinema, Monk indoor rock climbing and the fabulous Hotel de Goudfazant , which brings me on to point number 3…
3.The food is amazing
We enjoyed an incredible three course dinner at Hotel de Goudfazant a huge canteen style restaurant in an old garage (there’s even still cars up on jacks inside). Not only was the food delicious, the three course menu comes in at about €33 per person, making it much cheaper than many places in the city.
We also ate an incredible meal watching the sunset at De Kompaszaal after catching the ferry to KNSM Island – the steak with chips and mayo was unbelievably good.
4. There’s space to breath
Amsterdam gets pretty busy, like crazy busy and sometimes that can be overwhelming. Even green spaces like Vondelpark are filled with people. And sometimes that’s great, but sometimes you just need a little bit of breathing room. We found the parks around Noord to be pretty quiet, an oasis of calm a world away from the city centre. I loved taking a run through the woodland paths one morning for some quiet time. I even found a swimming spot for a little paddle.
5. A different perspective
Looking across at Amsterdam from Noord gives you a whole different perspective on the city. You can appreciate its importance as an industrial port whilst experiencing the village-like neighbourhoods north of the Ij. There’s certainly less people and you don’t get the feeling that you’re surrounded by thousands of other people doing the same thing. If like me you like discovering quirky new places that are a little off the tourist trail then Noord is well worth a visit.