Amsterdam is one of those unique cities that manages to retain its own distinctive character whilst being totally cosmopolitan too. All of the stereotypical sights - canals, bicycles, tulips – are there to be seen and admired. But Amsterdam is also home to one of the most exciting and most creative scenes on the continent.

Anja Roos spends as much time as possible exploring and discovering Amsterdam. “I love how vibrant the city is,” she says, “It’s difficult to find an empty street or café.” She also loves the city’s diversity and its beautiful architecture. Amsterdam’s 17th century canal-side houses, with their striking if slightly wonky facades, provide Anja with endless photographic opportunities.

Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Here Anja gives us the lowdown on some more of her favourite Amsterdam highlights.

Neighbourhoods

“On the whole I try to avoid the city centre. I’d rather walk to more unique places which are a bit quieter but have amazing local farm markets, restaurants and cafes. My favourite neighbourhoods in Amsterdam are de Pijp and the Jordaan."

“De Pjip is south of the centre. It’s an old working class area now filled with pavement cafés and international cuisine. You can sample food from around the world and get your fill of tasty snacks at Albert Cuypmarkt – a street market in the heart of the district."

“The Jordaan is another neighbourhood experiencing a new lease of life. Historically it was a rundown area, home to refugees and emigrants who couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. These days it’s famed for being an artistic district. Here you’ll find a great selection of hip boutiques, eateries and bars.”

Food & Drink

“There’s so much traditional cuisine you have to try when you’re in Amsterdam. Haring is a Dutch delicacy. It’s raw herring, served whole or chopped up in a sandwich. Dutch pancakes and a few local beers should also be on your list. And, it may not be gourmet but FEBO is a Dutch institution – grab a snack from one of these fast food vending machines at the end of a night out."

“When it comes to restaurants it’s hard to pin down just a few recommendations from Amsterdam’s many possibilities. But for coffee and brunch, Little Collins or the Hoxton Hotel (which has beautiful interiors) are both good options. My favourite, however, is Bakers and Roasters, a great Aussie brunch spot in Amsterdam where you can get your fill of eggs and avo."

“For lunch, you can’t beat the food you find at local markets. And for dinner, De Pizzabakkers serves delicious pizza and prosecco in Pjip. Cannibale Royale, with its cosy interior and selection of burgers, steaks and ribs, is the destination for meat lovers. And SLA salad bar serves organic, mostly vegan and gluten free cuisine."

"If you really fancy pushing the boat out, I’d recommend De Kas. It’s a restaurant located within a collection of greenhouses that date back to 1926. The set market menu reflects the location with local and seasonal dishes made with herbs and vegetables grown in the restaurant’s own nursery.”

Culture

“It’s a really touristy thing to do but everyone should take a boat tour along Amsterdam’s canals at least once in their life. I love that you get to see the city from a completely different angle."

“There’s no shortage of museums in the capital. Stedelijk Museum presents modern and contemporary art and design, including works by Matisse and Mondrian. Another of my favourites is FOAM, a great photography museum. The Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank's house are also amazing and well worth a visit."

“Amsterdam is famed for its markets and visiting them is the perfect way to soak up the city. IJ Hallen is the largest flea market in Europe. Bloemenmarkt is a beautiful floating flower market situated on the Singel canal. But my favourite is Noordermarkt, which takes place on Mondays and Saturdays. You can buy everything from fresh food to antiques. I normally grab some oysters there – my favourite market snack.”

Big thanks to Anja for sharing her Amsterdam insider tips with us. You can see more of her photography and recommendations over on Instagram.