Walking out of the train station in Amsterdam, I felt elation sweep over me. It had only been a few months since I was last there, yet my heart raced with delight knowing I was back. Imagine boats gliding lazily under bridges that run over canals throughout the entire city. A place where the morning and evening commutes are more likely by bicycle than by car. Amsterdam is charming with its cobbled streets, cafes and an eclectic mix of people from across the world. It is a city that essentially lives for quality of life over everything else.
I’ve found that traveling to Amsterdam with food allergies continues to improve with each trip as I learn more about the city. The first time I visited Amsterdam was back when I lived in Italy. Since then with work conferences in Europe, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Amsterdam twice within the past six months. My original reason to return was to visit my friends living there. I feel fortunate to have friends spread out across the world. It makes travel a lot more fun and creates a more authentic experience. One of my good friends from high school lives in Amsterdam with her husband, so after my first visit to see them and stay at their beautiful apartment, returning for a second visit felt like coming back to my Dutch home; friends, narrow stairs and balcony views included. My most recent trip was over my birthday. As an adult, it seems like each year birthdays become less exciting. This was the first time I took my birthday off to enjoy, celebrate, and have friend time. It was a perfect way to spend my birthday!
I am sharing below the places that I visited on these two most recent trips to Amsterdam.
How did I get around?
I arrived from Belgium by train the first visit and from France via train the second. It’s a very easy train ride from both Brussels and Paris.
Once there, I recommend traveling by bicycle. Taking the tram is also very easy. Both are common ways to get around. There is also Uber (which I only used once to get to the airport for an early flight).
Where did I eat?
Note: I did use my chef card every time I ate out. My English card worked well, but I would still suggest having a Dutch one just in case. I didn’t have any trouble communicating in English however.
- Box Social– Fun atmosphere and the sandwich I had was safe and delicious.
- Brewery Hoop– We went here after going to see the Windmill Park. I was a little apprehensive about the bread on my sandwich, but they called and talked to the baker and reassured me multiple times after going through all of the ingredients it was safe for my allergies.
- La Zoccola del Pacioccone– We went here for dinner on my birthday. They went through all ingredients and oil and there were no problems. Great meal!
- Ristorante A Tavola– Delicious and easy with my allergies. We went the last night I was in Amsterdam and even though they were busy, they still were able to work with my allergies safely.
- Pizzaria Palorma– This is in the neighborhood I was staying in and I went here when I first arrived from the train station. I wasn’t hungry enough for a pizza so I had a salad. The communication in English was a bit more challenging, but they still were able to check ingredients safely without a problem.
- Renato’s Foodhallen– Food halls I do typically find to be challenging, however I was able to find safe pizza and the environment is a lot of fun. There is also a sit-down restaurant, so you could get a drink and enjoy the atmosphere and then try a sit-down meal (which may be easier for ordering safely).
- Drinks & Snacks
- Café Eik En Linde– This is right by my friend’s apartment. It is not the easiest for food allergies, but I do remember eating something simple there before getting dinner, so it is possible. It is probably a better place to have a drink if you are staying in that neighborhood and then find somewhere for dinner. It is definitely a local hangout.
Where did I shop?
- Host Gift:
- Moonflower BV
- If you are like me and have friends to visit in Amsterdam, there is a great florist right in the train station. I like to take note of these things so I remember where to find host gifts. This is probably more relevant for me than you, but you never know!
- Moonflower BV
- Grocery Stores:
- Although packaged food is still often challenging for me to find, there are two organic grocery chains (Marqt and EkoPlaza) that have some options, especially if you are vegan or Celiac. See my YouTube video (coming soon) for more details.
What did I do?
Amsterdam has incredible museums, some of which I went to on my first trip there (and should return to on my next visit). The past two trips were leisurely and probably not a “typical” tourist stay. Bike riding to yoga, chatting in cafes, roaming around markets, relaxing at the apartment, and venturing out to brunch and dinners filled most of our time.
- Noordermarkt (Farmer’s Market)– Something I love doing when I travel is exploring the farmer’s markets wherever I go. Although I didn’t see anything safe to eat, I definitely enjoyed strolling around.
- Rebel Wines– This is a wine store that does tastings and events. We wandered in here with no expectations and ended up making friends and trying our fair share of wines.
- Zaanse Schans (Windmill Park)– Although certainly a tourist destination, we enjoyed walking around to see the different windmills. It was a beautiful day and a nice area to explore.
- Boat Tour– Whenever I am somewhere with water, I always try to explore from that vantage point. Whether it’s on a ferry, an evening sail, or boat ride through canals, I love experiencing a different perspective. Going on the boat tour was fun and worthwhile. I learned some interesting facts and history while also enjoying the ride.
Overall, I find Amsterdam to be a pretty allergy-friendly city. There was only one restaurant that had too small of a kitchen to safely accommodate me. Besides that, I had great luck eating out safely and felt like the communication was pretty seamless for English not being the primary language. Bring chef cards, carry epinephrine, pack safe snacks, and then go have exciting adventures in this gorgeous city!