Eat

Foodhallen

On the market: If you’re the all-or-nothing type of city breaker, then Foodhallen is just the place for you. The urban-vibe, high-ceilinged indoor food market is fully stocked with stalls serving every single kind of cuisine that you could possibly hope for – from oysters and Korean wings (not together, jeez), to simple yet sensational patties from the city’s most famous burger outpost, The Butcher. There’s also a big old bar and loads of seating, making it especially great for bigger groups, and people who really, really need to eat something right now for some reason. foodhallen.nl

Winkel

Café culture: Need coffee? Need cake? Need to just sit down and do some people watching for a little while? Head to Winkel 43 on Prinsengracht for huge portions of warm apple cake, served with even bigger dollops of whipped cream. The café’s coffee is strong and good, but the big glasses of hot water rammed with mint leaves and honey are spot on next to the pie. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s open from 7am until 1am, so works just as well for morning munchies, as, erm, late-night munchies. winkel43.nl

Cannibale Royale

A feast fit for a king: Meat lovers with hefty appetites should book a table at Cannibale Royale, a cosy, dimly lit restaurant where wooden tables struggle under the weight of steaks, burgers, wings, ribs, big old platters of everything and nachos (with cheese on every layer! Because no one likes tight sprinklings of cheese). Miniature grandfather clocks line the walls – book ahead to make sure you get a table at this hotspot. cannibaleroyale.nl

Drink

Pacific Parc

Rock around the clock: If you’re taking on the bars in Westerpark be sure to check out Pacific Parc, a big rockabilly-infused after-party venue. It’s housed in a cluster of red brick, Victorian-style industrial buildings, and the inside is vaguely modern with moody red lighting and high ceilings. There’s a great outdoor seating area for smokers and long summer evenings (which will surely come back to us one day). pacificparc.nl

The Vault Bar, Waldorf Astoria

Bank on it: Throw on your jewels and head on down to the Vault bar at the swanky Waldorf Astoria hotel for a smidge of sophistication on your Amsterdam trip. It’s set in the building's old banking vaults, and even features colourful lockers from the original banking days. Forget a standard menu: the cocktail list here comes in a leather wallet, with each note depicting the flavours of a different country. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com

Gambrinus

Down the local: When the music gets too loud and the cocktails too expensive, check out the cosy cornerside bars that dot Amsterdam’s streets. Gambrinus is located in De Pijp, and this particular ‘brown bar’, as they’re called, is crammed with wooden tables, a stool-lined main counter and a mezzanine dining area. It’s a great place for hanging out with some local beers, wine and bitterballen – deep-fried Dutch snacks. gambrinus.nl

Shop

Sissy Boy

Chain reaction: For a cool chain shop (turns out such a thing does exist, and there are 30 of these stores spread across the Benelux countries), try Sissy Boy. The shop’s hung with natural-hued garments, but we’re all about the interior products in stock – think colourful rugs, big old mugs, decorative spoons and that all-important kitchen essential: a set of three cheese knives, perfect for dinner-party showing off. sissy-boy.com

Episode

Good as new: Amsterdam is rammed with vintage stores, you can’t go more than half a mile without seeing one. What’s more, they’re cheap, and stocked with some of the best old-school gear going – from mad synthetic '80s jumpers to leather accessories. Episode (with several locations) is one of the biggest, but Bij Ons Vintage is great for quirky home stuff, while Laura Dols is big on poofy glitzy dresses – think a giant dressing up box. episode.eu; bijons-vintage.nllauradols.nl

Oudemanhuispoort Book Market

Sound and vision: Located in a passageway in central Amsterdam, this book market is the place to get your second-hand literature and sheet music fix. If rummaging around is your thing, also try Concerto, a music store that occupies five buildings filled with second-hand vinyl and CDs, where you’ll find rarities and big-name bands (and occasional live music sessions, too). Look for the blood-red exterior lined with battered bicycles. concerto.amsterdam

Stay

Houseboat

Water bed: You could take a boat trip along the canals of Amsterdam, or cycle alongside them, but if you’re really into embracing the city, try sleeping in a houseboat, too. At one point, they were used to help ease the city’s housing shortage – now they’re a pretty cool place to get a whole new perspective on the city. And we’re not talking damp dingy spaces either – aptly named website Houseboat Rental lists some of the coolest going. £76 a night. houseboatrental.amsterdam

The Dylan

A touch of luxe: Centrally located in the Nine Streets shopping quarter, this luxed-up, 40-bedroom yet intimate hotel is a great option for those looking for something sophisticated. You’ll enter through a 17th-century arch before it opens up into two canalside buildings complete with beams and bay windows. Try a Michelin-starred fine-dining session on the hotel’s boat – the chef will create a bespoke multi-course meal. From £261 a night. dylanamsterdam.com

ClinkNOORD Hostel

Friendly welcome: If making friends is high on your Amsterdam agenda (or if budgets are tight) try a modern hostel like ClinkNoord. Located in the Overhoeks district, it combines contemporary Dutch design with history – this is a former 1920s factory after all. There are private rooms and uber-modern bunk rooms with sturdy beds and privacy screens – which ain’t no bad thing. Access is via a short ferry ride from town. From £14 a night. clinkhostels.com

Travel details

British Airways operates flights to Amsterdam from three London airports (Gatwick, Heahthrow, City), with fares starting from £69 return. Visit britishairways.com to find the best prices. See iamsterdam.com for more information on the city.