The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands
This city is straight up dreamy. I had no idea how incredible the health scene is in Amsterdam until I arrived. As a bicycle lover, I knew it would be an epic place to ride, but the wellness scene transcends the endless bike paths. Dare I say it: Amsterdam is my favourite health-conscious city. Organic food is abundant and affordable, there are so many places to sweat and partake in alternative healing (from acupuncture and cryo to ROLFing and even a swim lab!). As a freelancer, I’ve never had access to so many incredible work spaces. And really the city just has a total vibe. Making this guide and exploring the city has been one of the most memorable months of my life, I’ve fallen in love with the city and cannot wait to get back!
Dutch is a crazy language to someone who is foreign to it. Some words are randomly the same as english, but for the most part you’ll be totally left in the dark. The city is actually completely bilingual, so you’ll have no problem if you can speak english. But here are a few words in Dutch you can try to incorporate into your time there:
ik hou van jou
Nog een prettige dag
i love you
Have a nice day
The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to Amsterdam, Netherlands
CAFÉS + RESTAURANTS
Note that many of these websites are in Dutch only. Google should offer you the translate option, but sometimes I just linked to their trip advisor page instead.
Benji’s Amsterdam: This café has ALL THE VIBES. It’s a bright urban jungle cool lofty space and is a perfect spot to sit down and catch up on some work. Their food is epic too, famous for their bowls, they also have eggs, smashed avo, salads, and sweets like waffles and scones. Epic outdoor patio in the warmer months. Wibautstraat 196 T: +31(0)20 223 8787
Beter & Leuk - An organic café located in the east of the city near the Amstel river. They have breakfast/ brunch/ lunch menu, plenty of drinks and smoothies. Eclectic interior, and the food has a real homemade feel (well, probably because it is). 1e Oosterparkstraat 91, T: +31(0)20-7670029
Betty's - Small organic vegetarian restaurant in the Rivierenbuurt run by a Dutch couple. Menu is a Dutch/ Mediterranean fusion, and predominantly tapas style. . Rijnstraat 75, T: +31(0)20-6445896
CT Coffee & Coconuts: Another epic vibes café, especially for the student or freelancing crowd. Built in an old cinema, this café has multiple floors and loft areas, and so many places to sit down with a laptop and work. They don’t have matcha, but the turmeric latte on coconut milk is a nice sub. Their coffee is organic, but they don’t offer decaf. CT also has a pretty great menu, I hear the coconut pancakes and banana bread are #nextlevel. Ceintuurbaan 282-284 T: +31(0)20 354 1104
CT coffee & coconuts
De Bolhoed (The Bowler Hat) - Vegetarian and vegan restaurant, with mostly organic ingredients. Mexican/ North African menu (think big bowls with lots of spices & flavour, dips, and different textures), not cheap but large portions. Very casual vibe inside, with a very cool canalside terrace. Prinsengracht 60-62, T: +31(0)20-6261803
De Culinaire Werkplaats - Located in west Amsterdam not too far from Westergasfabriek, this veggie restaurant has some super creative/ artistic meals. Menu with emphasis on organic, local, fair-trade, and small-scale, the mains are “pay what you can”. Fannius Scholtenstraat 10 T: +31(0)6-54646576
De Kas - This place is really special. Located in a converted greenhouse at Frankandael Park in the SE of Amsterdam, they grow their own organic veg and, and source the rest locally. If you’re celebrating, this is the place to do it. Menu is prix fix, 3 dishes @€35,50 or 4 dishes @ €45 for lunch, and 3 dishes €57 or 4 dishes @€65 for dinner. Plus a selection of 40 sustainable wines. Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, T: +31(0)20-4624562
De Oranjerie (The Orangery) - is a Museum café in the Orangery building at the Hortus Botanical Gardens. You have to pay admission to get into the gardens, but if you’re going there anyways this cafeé is a lovely place to get organic/ locally sourced drinks and snacks. They have sandwiches, soups, toasties, breakfast stuff, and more. Plus the botanical setting is stunning. Plantage Middenlaan 2a, T: +31(0)20-6259021
Orangery café at the Hortus Botanical Gardens.
De Peper - is a a non-commercial, not-for-profit vegan and organic café project. The café legalised squat staffed by volunteers, with an organic vegan kitchen open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday evening, from 6pm, food served 7pm-8:30pm. Canteen style, i.e. no table service. Overtoom 301, T: +31(0)20-4122954.
De Waaghals (The Dare Devil) - Vegetarian resto in De Pijp (not far from the Heineken brewery) that serves mostly organic. Very casual vibe, and the meals are wholesome with a real homemade vibe. Menu changes monthly, with a new dedication to a specific type of cuisine from around the world. They prefer reservations. Frans Halsstraat 29 T: 31(0)20-6799609
Deshima - Macrobiotic café with an inviting vibe. Weteringschans 65, T: 020-6269933
Dignita Hoftuin: very cute café found in a courtyard garden near the Hermitage museum. Big open terrace, and lots of organic options. Great place for a healthy brunch. Nieuwe Herengracht 18A, T: 020-3702723
Juice Brothers: cold-pressed juice bar with 3 locations in Amsterdam. They also serve small healthy snacks (like raw chocolate- hello!).
Van Woustraat 151, Raamsteeg 2 & Gustav Mahlerlaan 24, Amsterdam.
Koffieschenkerij: awesome café in the Red Light District, that serves organic coffee, matcha, as well as organic sandwiches, soups, and more. Their ethos focuses on quality and sustainability. Oudekerksplein 27 , T: +31 6 52653302
Le Salonard: French delicatessen in De Pijp, Zuid. Cheeses, sausages and charcuteries, olive oils, epic sandwiches. Eerste van der Helststraat 21, +31(0)20 846 6469
L’invité le Restaurant - Your go-to for classic French restaurant. Dishes are light and fresh, made using organic produce, with an emphasis on using less salt, sugar and fat. Located near Anne Frank house. Set-menu or à la carte. Bloemgracht 47 T: +31(0)20-5702010
Mediamatic Eten: Located on the water, this spot is dedicated to sustainability and modern techniques of cooking and harvesting food. They grow their own aquaponic herbs. The food is generally vegetarian, although they occasionally serve locally caught fish. Wide selection of organic, locally brewed beers available. Dijksgracht 6, +31631903218
Noorderlicht Café: is a greenhouse-style café in super hip Amsterdam-Noord’s NDSM-werf district, right by the water. Only a short walk away from the area’s ferry terminal, this spot uses mostly organic and also regularly hosts cultural and musical events that are (usually) free. This place has all the vibes.102 NDSM-Plein, Amsterdam-Noord +31204922770
Olive & Cookie - Tiny café/deli in De Pijp offering a selection of homemade, fresh, organic dishes. Saenredamstraat 67, T: +31(0)20-4707190
Pianeta Terra - Stunning Italian restaurant near Koningsplein (the Flower Market). Menu is all organic, seasonal produce, and they are a part of the slow food movement. Lots of meat, fish/ seafood, pasta, and an extensive wine list. Closed Sunday and Mondays. Beulingstraat 7, T: +31(0)20-62671912
Restaurant MOER: 100% organic restaurant. They really honour the vegetables, but also have meat and seafood.
Amstelveenseweg 7, Amsterdam.
SLA: Organic salad bar with multiple locations across Amsterdam. Great place for a reliable healthy bite, they also have matcha lattes (which are a rare thing in Amsterdam!), bowls, soups, and juices. You can also order premade “detox” juice + salad meals. They have wifi, and it’s a lovely workspace if yo uhave some work to catch up on. Multiple locations.
Bowl + Salad, at SLA.
Stadspaleis: (formerly the Houten Huisje) this small, organic snack bar cafe in the centre of Amsterdam is uber cute. Park your bike outside, and cozy up by the little furnace inside when it’s chilly. They sell burgers, sandwiches, shakes. Outdoor seating, open for lunch. Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal (opposite 289), T: +31(0)20-6256542
Stadspaleis snack bar.
't Wethoudertje: another organic snack bar on the south-eastern side of the city near Frankandael Park. Closed mondays. Wethouder Frankeweg 11, T: +31(0)20-6680903
Van De Markt - Cozy café with breakfast bowls, veggie boards, cakes, coffee, and more. Wenslauerstraat 2a, T: +31(0)20-4686958
The Avocado Show: The world’s first avocado restaurant! Somewhat surprisingly, the menu is actually creative and delicious. They have avo burgers, sashimi, avocado cakes, mousses, eggs benny. Worth checking out if you’re an avo lover! Daniel Stalpertstraat 61 +31(0)88 286 2236
The Avocado Show.
Biologische Noordermarkt (Organic Farmer’s Market) Saturdays, 9am-4pm in front of the Noorderkerk on the Prinsengracht side. Amsterdam’s oldest organic markets, and a must do for anyone who digs organics. Great vibes, good prices, and all you need food wise: cheeses, eggs, fish, fresh oysters, meats, fruit + veg, mushrooms, bread, baked goods, and prepared food! A lot of it is biodynamic. It’s a 10 minute walk from centraal station, or you can ride your bike right into Jordaan (follow the signs marked Noordermarkt).
Noordermarkt, Saturday mornings in Jordaan.
ZuiderMRKT: (organic farmer’s market) Another Saturday farmer’s market (9:30am-5pm) This market is located in Oud-Zuid at the square by Johannes Verhulststraat and Jacob Obrechtstraat. Similar to Noordermarkt, you’ll find organic fruits and veggies as well as prepared foods, baked goods, meats, eggs and cheeses.
Biologische Versmarkt Nieuwmarkt: (organic farmer’s market) There is a smaller organic market on Saturdays (10am-6pm) located the Nieuwmarkt, at the foot of the historic Waag.
Haarlemmerplein Boerenmarkt: (organic farmer’s market) Every Wednesday from 10am-5pm you’ll find a market at the Haarlemmerplein at the end of Haarlemmerstraat. This is a smaller market, but a great place to stock up on fresh stuff mid-week, and it is less busy than the saturday markets. Buy fruits, veggies, meats, fish, flowers and other goodies.
Geitenboerderij De (Goat farm Ridammerhoeve in the Amsterdam Forest): a biodynamic goat farm located in the middle of Amsterdamse Bos park. They sell organic goat milk, freshly made organic goat cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and butter, as well as biodynamic chicken eggs. They also a farmers market Saturday 10am, and recurring make-you-own-goat-cheese workshops. Nieuwe Meerlaan 4 1182 DB Amstelveen T: +31(0)2064550 34
Marqt - This is my favourite organic store in Amsterdam; Marqt is a chain of a dozen stores around Amsterdam and they are the bomb. Their ethos is transparency, and their goal is to reduce the cost and increase accessibility to high quality organic food and products. Their stores do not accept cash, their card-only policy is to reduce the time spent checking out as well as the added efforts/ reduce error margins that incur with cash. Honestly, bravo. The stores have it all: fruit, veg, a bakery, butcher, sea food, all the cheeses, packaged goods, soaps, craft beer, chocolates, etc that a human could need. They also have epic organic roasted chicken (their chicken wings were my go-to lunch, many times!) and plenty of ready made soups, bowls, salads, and dips. If this store was a human, I would just hug them. In fact, I’ve stopped myself many times from just going up to the staff and hugging them. Those who love organic shops will definitely feel me. Multiple locations.
EkoPlaza - is another chain health store, with 11 locations across Amsterdam. They also have all you will need to stock your fridge and pantry, as well as a bulk section. Multiple locations.
Delicious Food: organic shop in Jordaan, just past the saturday organic Noordemarkt farmer’s markets. This shop has all the essentials, including a bulk section, packaged goods, fresh fruit + veg, natural wines, and fresh baked goods.
Organic Food for You- organic shop with 2 locations, they have a nice selection of fruit and veg, as well as meats, cheese, bakery, and your typical packaged goods.
De Groene Weg Slagerij van ‘t Riet (The Green Road Butchery of The Reed) - one of the top organic butchers chains in Amsterdam, with a location in Jordaan. All their meat is 100% organic, and they have a loyalty program if you plan on being in Amsterdam long term (or if you consume a lot of meat!).
Slagerij van der Gragt- another great organic butcher, epic sausages and game meat.
Le Salonard: French delicatessen in De Pijp, Zuid. Cheeses, sausages and charcuteries, olive oils, epic sandwiches.
HIKES / WALKS/ NATURE
Waterleidingduinen: This magical place is the source of Amsterdam’s water (that is filtered through the sand dunes). You’ll likely spot deer and many birds, maybe even a fox. The hiking there is lovely summer and winter alike. You can get to Waterleidingduinen by public bus 9 or 14 getting off at Vogelenzang. Entry ticket for €1.50.
Amsterdam Forest: 30 minutes from the city is the Amsterdam Forest. Beautiful area that is great for walking, running, cycling, and spotting the super cute Scottish highland cows!
Zaanse Schans & Edam: take a day trip to see windmills in Dutch countryside.
Kinderdijk is home to the UNESCO World Heritage windmill that is so very often the picture postcard image of the Netherlands.
Vondelpark: This is surely Amsterdam’s most famous park. Located right near the city center, this park fills up on a beautiful day with thousands of people laying in the grass. There are also multiple cafés throughout the long park. Technically bicycling isn’t allowed in the park, but it is definitely used as a passage by cyclists (guilty!). It’s less busy in the winter, but beautiful nonetheless.
Westerpark: is a newer park, of a reformed coal-fired gas power plant that shut down in the 60s. They revamped the area with heaps of greenery, jogging/ cycling paths, BBQ pits, and a splash pad for the kiddos. There is also the Westergasterrein area with cafés, restaurants, offices, and is a common festival venue for concerts, etc.
Amstelpark: is unique because the city planted a bunch of exotic plants throughout the park, including the “Rhododendron Valley” with more than 8000 rhododendrons as well as a butterfly garden. Taste of Amsterdam is held here!
Erasmuspark: is a small park located in the West, full of cherry blossom trees.
Frankendaelpark: is a lush green oasis in Oost, perfect little spot to escape the city chaos with a book. Epic greenhouse restaurant (mentioned above) De Kas is located here! Pure Markt (one of North Holland’s most famous artisanal markets) is held here on the last Sunday of the month.
Beatrixpark: located in Zuid, this is a great dog park to take your pup (or great place to do if you don’t have a dog but want to get your dog-petting on). Pure
Noorderpark: located in Noord, you can access this long parkway by hopping on the free ferry at Centraal. The greenery extends along the canals, as do the jogging/ cycling paths. This is a wonderful place to go for a long bike ride.
Summer in Amsterdam definitely calls for some swim time. Although you can technically swim in any of the canals, you want to be mindful of the traffic and trash found in the busier areas of the city.
Amsterdamse Bos: Amsterdamse Bos has many popular swim spots. Their website will tell you the official areas, but people tend to swim in the unofficial ones too. Highlights are Het Kleine Kinderbad and Grote Kinderbad for shallow kiddie swimming pools, as well as Grote Vijver is a popular swimming spot in the forest, with bridges to jump off of.
Nieuwe Meer: The Nieuwe Meer is a big lake next to Amsterdamse Bos, with two official swimming areas. The west side of the lake (Oeverlanden, reachable by public transport) has 3 swimming beaches.
Stenen Hoofd: Multiple swim spots here, including Stenen Hoofd’s high wall to jump off of.
De Sloterplas: is a large park located in Nieuw West, with a lake that people like to swim in (often after a jog or cycle around the park’s many paths).
Amstel: You can cycle (or boat) up to Amstel to escape the bustle of Amsterdam’s busy canals. Just after passing the A10 ring you will see the more quiet parts of the river where people swim and suntan.
Blijburg: This is a hip area (many festivals are held here), northeast of centraal station. There’s often music, events, and bonfires. You can access it by bicycle or take the tram. There is also a nearby urban campsite.
Diemerpark Beach: a swimming area in the eastside of Amsterdam.
Het Twiske: A huge recreational area with 10 official swimming spots. Take the ferry to Noord and cycle up to this large park. The Twiske website has more info.
Ride your bike:
This is definitely the city to cycle in. The actual city can get really busy and cyclists here mean business.. so prepare to know where you’re going and probably to get yelled at at some point. The roads are generally (90%) for cars only, because you will find bicycle paths absolutely everywhere. It’s amazing. For longer rides, check out the Bike Map website.
Getting a bicycle: Bike rentals are super easy and convenient. Look for a store with the word “fiet” (bike) in the name, and average prices are €8-10 for the day. But if you’re going to be here long (even a week) I suggest just getting a cheap bicycle, and selling it before you go. The bicycle selling scene here it hotAF. You can find bikes in facebook groups (probably the easiest way), local markets, flea markets, supermarket notice boards, Marktplaats, Craigslist, and new or second hand bicycle shops. Although you may find 40 Euro (probably stolen) bicycles, expect to pay 70-100 Euros for a good bike.
Walk or run along the canals:
Where there’s a bike path, there’s a walking/ running path. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to running or walking in the city. The parks list (above) is a good place to start, particularly the popular Vondelpark.
I haven’t gone too into depth for each studio, but all of these hover around the 5*’s and I’ve visited most of them. The yoga scene in Amsterdam is truly stellar, with incredible vibes, great intro deals to try the studio. Most come with free mats and towels. You can click the name of the studio to check out their website.
The Conscious Club: Yoga and pilates studio meets event space for the consciously minded. Meditation classes, breathwork, martial arts (including self-defense for women) and special yoga classes ranging from Lu Jong to Kundalini).
Movements Yoga hot yoga, hot flow, regular temp yoga, yin, yoga fit, and pilates. This is a gorgeous studio with a killer intro month at 35€. You can also do your first trial class free. They have like 15 classes a day! And towels + mats are included. Overtoom 230, T: +31 (0)20 75 29 027
Bikram Yoga Amsterdam (2 locations). 18 Euro intro week, mats rental 1€, towel rental 2€. Same as Bikrams all around the world. Super rigid, inflexible practice, and teachers are often rude… but it’s a sweat like no other. Note that half the class is in Dutch, half in English; but you’ll be fine if you already know the Bikram sequence. Ceintuurbaan 426-430 or Korte Prinsengracht 91.
Unlimited Health - Yoga centre and health store in De Pijp which has a small cafe open Monday to Friday (noon-8pm) which serves raw, organic salad meals and fresh juices. Van Ostadestraat 234 A+B, T: 020-6701705
Yoga Point multiple locations
De YogaZaak Spyridon Louisweg 151, T: 06 24767001
Svaha Yoga Amsterdam North / Noord multiple locations
Yogapadma Yoga Studio - Nieuw Bovenover 62, 1025, T: 06 54942657
Tula Yoga Amsterdam (2 locations) Try 5 lessons of your choice for 37.50€
YOGA ROOTS Amsterdam Nieuwendammerdijk 308, T: 06 53149460
Yoga Sol Zonneplein 8, T: 06 37478669
Rumah Yoga Asterweg 20E2, T: 06 23853724
Samana Yoga Center New student trial 2 classes for 12€ or 5 classes for 55€. Droogbak 11, T: 020 331 5918
Vondelgym: fully functioning gym, plus CrossFit, bootcamp, running, yoga/mobility and boxing classes. You can also get nutrition advice, physio, and regular workshops. When you get an unlimited membership at Movements Yoga, you can also train at Vondelgym 1x week for free. three locations.
The Gym Amsterdam: Personal training gym. Ruysdaelkade 161, T: 020 334 582 5
Sport Natural Fitness & Health Club: typical gym, they offer a free trial week. Gare du Nord 17, T: 020 240 0840
Smartbody Pilates: traditional mat pilates or with the reformer. 30€ for 1 week unlimited (new students), of 40€ for 1 week unlimited +1 reformer class. They also offer Alexander Technique private classes, as well as privates for reformer, and running workshops.
PLTS High Intensity Pilates & Barre: barre, mat pilates, and reformer pilates. Intro deal gets you 3 classes and a pair of grip socks for 49€.
High Studios: Six different classes, circuit-based training (think weights, ski machine, box jumps, and bodyweight exercises). All classes are 45 minutes, and Friday classes have a live DJ.
Swim Gym: Netherlands first ever swimming-based gym, founded by Olympic medal winner Johan Kenkhuis. For swimmers of all levels, including challenging workouts, personal training sessions, technique classes, or endurance trainings.
Rocycle: 45 or 60 minute classes on a stationary bicycle that also have resistance bands, lightweight dumbbells and push-ups on the steering wheel. Upbeat music, and dim lights, and a cold-pressed juice/ smoothie bar in the building for after you finish your sweat sesh.
ROLFING Amsterdam: I actually had my first ever ROLFing experience right here in Amsterdam with Janco. He’s brilliant, and truly understands human movement and the deeply interconnected science (and magic) between the physical body and the ethereal, emotional body. The art of ROLF has changed a lot over the years, and although Ida’s OG practice was rather painful, modern ROLFing deals more with the fluids of the fascia as opposed to trying to pull at the fascia itself. Much more gentle, and yet a profound practice. The sessions are 1-on-1, the initial assessment and session is 75€. I could not recommend it more, for anyone looking to really connect with their anatomy on a deep level, release deeply stored emotions, and restore the body’s natural ability to move. The sessions are tailored to the individual, but a good place to start with him is 2 sessions, the first focused on upper body and breath and the second on lower body and walking.
Koan Float (and Massage): float tanks + massage combos. The facility is great, the tanks are nice and getting a lymphatic massage pre-float was one of the best decisions of my life! A 60 min massage + 45 min float was about 100 Euros. Herengracht 321, T: 020 555 0333
Freezlab: get your cold therapy on at Freezlab. They have whole body cryo, and you can buy one offs or packages. Olympisch Stadion 36, T:020 262 1054
I would be remiss to not to touch on the psychedelics scene in the city in which they are legal! You can find organic cannabis at many “coffee shops” (which for some reason are where they sell marijuana). Just look for “bio” (which is actually the word for organic used across Europe.
You can also buy psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms), by buying “magic truffles”. Psychoactive mushrooms themselves are actually illegal, but a knowledgeable shop keeper will explain to you how to dose your fresh psilocybin truffles depending on the kind of trip (or giggly day) you want to have. For all your other non-cannabis psychedelics, you’ll want to visit a “smart shop” like the Magic Mushroom Gallery (Spuistraat 249, 1012 VP Amsterdam).