The 9 Streets


Like an elderly flasher, Amsterdam takes some time to really reveal itself.

The 9 Streets are a prime example of this - you can cycle through (but heed the signs - not all streets are bike-able) this area just west of the city center a hundred times, but it's only by walking here that you really see the fantastic specialty shops, hidden cafes and ultra-cozy/ultra-cool restaurants and wine bars.

It's areas like this that really make you feel comfortable in Amsterdam - oozing charm, criss-crossing canals, away from the braying masses in drug bars and the red light area, and understated.

Need men's socks? Mega-amounts of quality cheese? Board games, books, or boots? Vintage vestments? The streets are loaded with all of the above - each one is packed with cool stuff. Not cheap, mind you - not at all - but worth treating yourself to occasionally. And just walking around is always free.