How To Do Amsterdam Like A Local with ClinkNOORD

Amsterdam like a local

Despite the title of this blog post being ‘Amsterdam like a local’, I’ve heard a lot of Amsterdam locals rarely even venture into the Noord – which I find incredible, because it is hands down the most beautiful and my most favourite part of Amsterdam. Just a two minute (free!) ferry ride from Amsterdam Centraal train station, the Noord is home to a creative, wholesome, natural loving community – the perfect area for vegans and vegetarians!

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord

My lovely friends at ClinkNOORD invited me back to stay at their home-from-home hostel so they could show me how the locals do Amsterdam and  encourage folks to see more of the hidden parts of this amazing city. I stayed at ClinkNOORD earlier this year when I tested out how easy it was to see a gig in Europe vs London – if you missed it, pop back and see how awesome our stay was!

This time I stayed in a 4-bed dorm room with three other bloggers, two of which I had never met before, to get the full hostel experience. The rooms at ClinkNOORD, while compact, give you plenty of your own space. We had lockers for our suitcases (bring your own padlock) and our own night lights which we left on in the evening in case we had to stumble back in the middle of the night and find our bed in the dark. If you need more space for working or just hanging out, ClinkNOORD has loads of communal areas to have a drink, enjoy a coffee or sit with your laptop which is really what makes it such a home from home.

Boat Trip Amsterdam

Bright and early we had breakfast at ClinkNOORD, who offer breads, spreads and some hot food. I was mostly interested in making a cup of tea though and I took my own Yorkshire tea bags with me. From breakfast we headed out into the most beautiful September day with not a cloud in sight.

Private Boat Hire Amsterdam

Best Things To Do in Amsterdam - Boat Tour

Our first stop was a relaxing cruise along some of Amsterdam’s canals with Pure Boats Amsterdam, an unusual boat trip that matched the homely feel of staying at Clink to a tee. Pure Boats offer a private boat tour for up to 6 people for €250 on their beautiful boat with other options coming soon. One of their pick up points is just outside ClinkNOORD too! Not to leave you wanting for anything, they even have a beautifully stocked bar so we enjoyed some Dutch gin & tonic with our 10am ride through Amsterdam’s waters. I have never felt so relaxed while travelling. Pure Boats was one of my favourite things of the whole day, check back for a full blog post about our cruising coming soon!

After the boat trip we headed up A’dam Tower, just a few steps away from Clink, to check out their 360 views of Amsterdam. Unfortunately due to an emergency situation we were evacuated before getting chance to ride the highest swing in Europe, situated at the top of the tower, so I am still yet to check that one off my Amsterdam bucket list. However the views from A’dam are stunning and again, the fresh air and city views up there make me feel so chilled. A++ recommedation! You can even get discounted tickets from ClinkNOORD reception!

Hiring A Bike Amsterdam Like A Local

We grabbed 5 minutes for a pick me up coffee (Dutch coffee is soooo good, like most of Europe) before heading to TIP Noord to get on my first bike in fifteen years!!! To say I was terrified is an understatement! The bikes laid at TIP were absolutely gorgeous classic bikes, the type that you see being ridden around in films with a well dressed lady carrying fresh bread in her bike basket. In that moment I wanted to be one of those ladies so much, so I sucked it up and mounted the bike… I was dreadful.

I just couldn’t get going and when my legs finally did co-ordinate enough to cycle I was wobbling all over the place and terrified I was going to fall into another person or a bike. Every so often I would panic and stop, then not be able to get going again. As we got to the actual roads I became more and more nervous and almost let my anxiety get the better of me, feeling panic creeping up my spine. I stopped at the side of the road, had a drink and took a moment before we headed off to lunch at De Ceuvel.

I was exhausted by the time we parked our bikes in the bike racks and sat down wanting a beer more than I ever remember wanting an alcoholic drink in the middle of the day.

Lunch at De Ceuvel, Amsterdam Noord

Best Vegan Lunch in Amsterdam

Lunch was the absolute polar opposite to my bike journey, sitting outside on long wooden benches as the sun blazed down, chatting with my new pals and having a refreshing beer. We started with a spicy soup, served in a glass topped with herbs. It tasted even better than it looked and I realised I was starving. For main course we were served a selection of open topped sandwiches with sweet potato paste and lentils, alongside a beautiful salad. The food was so fresh, I wished someone would come home with me and cook like that every day.

After lunch we wandered around De Ceuvel, a former shipyard that now hosts an incredible creative community. On such a beautiful day, I could see how you would want to spend your whole life living out of a house boat, painting and creating all day long. In fact, even with the rain drumming on the old windows, I bet it’s the picture of a perfect life.

De Ceuval, Amsterdam Creative Community

Getting back on my bike after lunch I was a changed woman, it really is like riding a bike as they say and I was off without a hitch, keeping up with the group and feeling the wind in my hair – God damn, it was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time. We cycled through NDSM Werf, my favourite part of Amsterdam, which was a brilliant way to see such a huge area. Cycling through the shipping container was so much fun and if we had the time, it would have been the perfect moment to park up our bikes and have a drink at Pllek right on the river.

NDSM Werf, Street Art Amsterdam

Cycling in NDSM Werf Amsterdam

After we found one of the few actual windmills in Amsterdam, we headed for a tour round the Noord. Riding past some abandoned petrol stations that now house live music events and through Buiksloterweg, a quaint village bursting with kooky homes as the sun rays painted the street a gorgeous golden hue – I immediately wanted to move there and I think I still do. If you’re unsure about riding a bike in Amsterdam, start in the Noord – a much more relaxed area with very little cars and bikes on the road and I must say that I never even came close to falling off despite my shaky start!

The View From Pllek, Amsterdam Noord

Windmill Amsterdam Noord

I reluctantly returned my gorgeous mint green bike, feeling very much like I’d seen Amsterdam like a local and we headed back to Clink for the evening for a very special surprise.

ClinkNOORD is just across the river IJ from Amsterdam Centraal Station and beds start at €17 per night.

posted by onetenzeroseven in Amsterdam,Travel and have No Comments

Where To Stay In Amsterdam – ClinkNOORD Hostel

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord

No one ever goes to Amsterdam Noord“, I read someone say on Twitter while we were on our way to Amsterdam. If you’re looking for where to stay in Amsterdam, the Noord is the perfect location for getting around. Amsterdam Noord is as close to Amsterdam Centraal station than any other area of the city and a free ferry runs across the river 24 hours a day. Why no one ever ventures there, I have no idea! It was my favourite part about our whole stay.

But location wasn’t the main reason we decided to stay in the Noord. That reason was Clink Hostels. We got in touch with Clink to chat about staying over and blogging and they were keen to offer us a discount in exchange for telling you guys about their amazing home from home.

Private double room at Clink Hostels Amsterdam, with en suite bathroom and double bed

We stayed in a private double room at ClinkNOORD, which was small, but cosy and really, really clean. We even got a knock on the door one morning from maintenance because they detected the room was too warm (it wasn’t, I like it toasty)!

When deciding where to stay in Amsterdam I wouldn’t normally think of staying in a hostel as a couple, especially if you were much over 30, but Clink has everything you would get in a budget hotel – and then some. With the option of their en suite private rooms, you don’t need to overspend on a hotel room and you can dip in and out of the communal feel as you wish.

A home from home in Amsterdam at Clink Hostels

A place to work at Clink Noord, definitely in the running for best hostel in Amsterdam

On the first morning we had breakfast in the hostel, which included pastries, cereals, meats (hot and cold) eggs and cheeses. There was plenty on offer for €5.90. From 12pm the kitchen was open for guests to use to cook their own food or dinner was available from the bar.

The dorm rooms all have lockers inside to keep your valuables and there are special, smaller lockers in reception that are just big enough to fit valuables like a small laptop, passport and cash. Built into an old lab, everywhere was decorated with this fun science theme like these periodic table locker doors.

I loved the lab and science vibes at Clink Noord - all the decor was so fun, including these periodic table style lockers in reception

Clink Noord - Where to stay in Amsterdam

The staff at reception were very welcoming and friendly and I’m sure most of them were working there so they could enjoy the city too. Each staff member wore a lanyard with a number of flags on, denoting which languages they spoke, to make your trip as easy and comfortable as possible.

The staff at Clink Noord are super friendly and speak a range of different languages to suit your needs

The first thing I looked up to do in Amsterdam was to get the best views across the city and I discovered the A’dam Lookout, which just happened to be next door to the hostel. Even better, ClinkNOORD offered a discount on tickets for the 360 degree observation deck.

The free ferry got us over to the centre of Amsterdam in just two minutes and from there you could hop on a tram or wander the streets and canals of the city to your heart’s content. After a long day walking, it was great to come back to the hostel to hang out. There are a whole bunch of communal areas with sofas and comfy chairs – including areas tucked away on the staircases if you wanted some alone time.

Communal space at Clink Noord, built inside an old lab building

Private room at Clink Noord - Fun illustrated artwork on the walls

If character is a big part of your decision for where to stay in Amsterdam, then Clink is for you. I love the kooky illustrations that covered the walls in our room and the ceilings were painted bright red, adding tonnes of character to the space. Complimenting the feel of Noord, there was even an art gallery filled with amazing painted canvases by local artists, which flowed into the rest of the area that was bursting with colourful murals and street art. My favourite morning was hanging out at the NDSM, but that’s another blog post entirely!

ClinkNOORD is set along the banks of Buiksloterkanaal, a pretty canal that runs off the river IJ. It was a gorgeous setting outside the hostel, with a line up of pastel coloured bikes parked up on one side and a bridge that crossed over to a kooky park area on the other side. We wandered over to the park one afternoon to find what looked like a bunch of art students creating projects in the sunshine.

Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam!

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord lounge space

Amazing pizza at Clink Noord hostel in Amsterdam

On the last day we spent the afternoon up at NDSM having a beer in the sunshine and exploring the street art. To get back to the hostel it was quicker to cross the ferry back to the centre and then hop on the ferry back to Clink instead of walking. I think there’s a bus that services the Noord, but we didn’t look into it in time.

Back at the hostel we ordered pizzas and snuggled up on the giant sofas to read for a while. The pizzas were really good – so good in fact, we wished we stayed in one night for dinner instead of navigating the fast food places of Amsterdam which were hit and miss.

Zinc Bar at Clink Noord was always lively, but never overcrowded

Clink Noord has it's own bar and pizza restaurant

The Zinc bar always seemed like a go to place to hang out for a lot of Clink residents and the cocktails were super tasty. Clink have events on throughout the week and fun games and quizzes to keep you entertained. We didn’t have time to enjoy any of these during our stay, but I would definitely spend a night in the bar next time!

Happy hour at Clink Noord in Amsterdam - Cocktails are super tasty!

We were so sad to leave ClinkNOORD, look at our sad faces! It was honestly the most warm and welcoming place I have ever stayed that wasn’t someone’s house… and even more welcoming than some people’s homes I’ve stayed at, hah! I can’t recommend it enough, both for comfort and location.

Clink Noord - Best Places To Stay in Amsterdam

A private double room with an en suite at ClinkNOORD is priced around €80 per night, but you can grab a bunk bed in a dorm room for just €17.

Would you stay in a hostel? I’ve got to admit, this one blows my perception of hostels out of the water! My top tip for where to stay in Amsterdam, for sure!
Loves x xx

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