Why I love Bielefeld Christmas Market, [NRW] Germany

Why I love Bielefeld Christmas Market, [NRW] Germany

Magical season is here, and the best way to make the most of it is by heading to a Christmas Market. 

Around this time every year, I thank the universe for making me live in Germany so that I can enjoy some of the best Christmas Markets in Germany.

Many first timer visitors try to find the most famous Christmas markets in Germany but as someone who’s living there, I highly recommend the smaller ones.

Firstly, the most famous Christmas Markets like the one in Dresden or Trier are extremely crowded. Second, the hotels sell out months in advance. Third, if you’re thinking of driving to them, then be aware that the parking areas fill out too.

Keeping that in mind, I highly suggest you check out the Christmas Markets in Germany that aren’t as famous. I did write a post about a small and sweet Christmas Market Rheda-Wiedenbruck (my town), but today I want to talk about a bigger one.  

Bielefeld is a big city in North Rhine-Westphalia (the Western German state). Although I never found Bielefeld exciting but I was presently surprised by the Christmas Markets here. Here’s why I love the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld and you will too:

Many Bielefeld Christmas Markets within Walking Distance, 

The View from the Top of a Ferris Wheel at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

The first time I visited Bielefeld, I walked around the main shopping street between the main train station (Bahnofstrasse) and Jahnplatz. It was beautifully decorated and had a lot of small temporary shops with Chrristmas-y things and Gluhwein, I thought that was the main Christmas Market but it is just one of the many.

Big Cities like Bielefeld have multiple Christmas Markets and they usually have different names. Three of the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld are near to each other so you can just walk from one to another.

My favorite one is in Klosterplatz, it is called Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” with a Winter Wonderland theme. Another one nearby is in Alter Markt (Old Market) with the backdrop of old buildings. A third one that’s right next to it is in Altstädter Kirchpark with carousels and a Ferris Wheel. Fourth market that’s just there too is on Niedernstraße, and fifth in Obenstrasse.

To make things easy, I have marked the Christmas Markets on a Map for you, you will find it at the end of this post.

So to recap, the 6 Christmas Markets of Bielefeld are:

  1. Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz 
  2. Shopping Street Christmas Market – Bahnofstrasse
  3. Alter Markt (Old Market) 
  4. Altstädter Kirchpark
  5. Niedernstraße
  6. Obenstrasse

If the above list confuses you, and if you’d like to pick just two, then I recommend number Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz  for ice skating, the bar scene and the old school feel and Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market for the carousels, food and bars. Actually they all have amazing bars but the ones in these two Christmas Markets especially stood out.

Honestly, if you move between these two then you can easily stop at Bielefeld Alter Markt Christmas Market, which is small but the decoration looks amazing with a backdrop of old buildings. The bars are nice and they have a nice gazebo like circular sitting area in the middle.

If you live in Bielefeld and know of another Christmas Market that I didn’t mention, then please tell me. 

The Decoration (+ Santa)

Altstädter Kirchpark Bielefeld Christmas Market

Bielefeld isn’t the prettiest city if you compare it to the likes of Cologne or Heidelberg, but I love how the city lights up during Christmas time. Expect to see pretty lights, massive Christmas Trees, Santas and literally everything that will make you feel like you just stepped into a winter wonderland.

Santa Claus at Weihnacht Markt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld Christmas Market

I wanted amazing Chrismasy pictures this winter, and I was planning on clicking them inside the house with the Christmas Tree but I clicked some of the best ones in the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld.

Ice Skating

Omg, I’m in a Winter Wonderland!

Ice Skating Rink at Weihnacht Markt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

That’s what I thought when I saw the Ice Skating rink in Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz. This was actually my favorite market of all because of the theme.

I absolutely love everything Christmas-y but for me the ice skating rink with pretty lights on top and wooden Christmas market stalls in the backdrop added a breathtaking touch. Activities such as ice skating, sledding or skiing scream winter. It was like a cherry on top of an amazing cake.

Ice Skating Rink at Christmas Market in Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

Seriously, the winter vibes can’t get more intense than this. For me, the ice skating rink was the highlight of the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld.

Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Typical Glühwein at Bielefeld Christmas Market

If you’re a Christmas Market newbie, then you probably don’t know what Glühwein is. I didn’t know too before visiting Germany in 2014.

Glühwein is Mulled Wine, which is warm wine with herbs, fruits, and spices added on to it. I don’t mean hot spices but things like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, mace, etc. Everyone has their own recipe for Glühwein and it is fun to try all different variations.

Most of the Glühweins are made with red wine but some also with white. Some also have fruit slices in them – mostly oranges. You will also find Glühweins that are mixed with rum, vodka and more interesting things. Of course the mixed ones are highly potent. 

Delicious Gluhwein with Orange at Christmas Market in Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

Not only it is fun to try all the variations of Gluhweins in different Christmas Markets in Bielefeld but I absolutely adore the mugs or glasses that are used in most of the shops for Glühweins. 

The typical cost of Glühwein in Bielefeld Christmas market is around 3-4 Euros per glass. There’s also a “pfand” – refundable fee that you will initially pay and recover from the bar when you give your cup back. The prices go up per glass if you add more things to your glühwein.

In 2021, one needs to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a bar in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.

Christmas Markets are cold so if you want to warm up your hands and eventually your body, then get yourself a mug of Gluhwein. There are non alcoholic ones too!

You will find amazing Gluhweins everywhere but in terms of the variety, the bar atmosphere and the energy, I pick Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz as the best one for drinking.

Eggnogs (Eierpunsch)

Eierpunsch (Eggnog) in Bielefeld Christmas Market, Germany

Glühwein isn’t the only alcoholic Christmas Market beverage in Germany, there’s also Eierpunsch (Eggnog). This is actually made with egg, milk, cream, vanilla, and white wine.

Honestly, it sounds a little disgusting because of raw eggs and alcohol – eww. But if you have had mousse at any time or tiramisu, then be aware that they also are made with raw eggs. Thankfully if the Eierpunsch is well made then you won’t smell the egg but only vanilla.

i highly recommend the Eggnog in Altstädter Kirchpark Bielefeld Christmas Market. The main bar does tend to get crowded but the service is super quick.

The Eierpunsch in Bielefeld costs 3-4 Euros. You need to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a bar in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.


Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

Carousels aren’t just for children. Yes, they aren’t scare if you compare then to adventure park rides but they add a magical touch. The carousels aren’t there in all the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld but are only at Altstädter Kirchpark

You will find the typical Christmas carousel that’s simple but beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. There’s also a small snowman in the middle of the carousel that throws fake snowflakes on people. Cute, right?

Carousel at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

I also love the big Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad in German) that’s in Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market. Of course the ride is fun (sadly a little short) but the view from the top is definitely worth seeing. You will see the Christmas Market from the high up in every direction and it looks magical with the lights.

The Carousel and Ferris Wheel costs EUR 2.5 for children and EUR 3 for adults. You need to show a proof of two vaccinations when buying your ticket.

The Food at Bielefeld Christmas Markets

Mushrooms with gravy and herb sauce and bun at Bielefeld Christmas Market

In terms of food, the Christmas Market at Altstädter Kirchpark has the most variety. You will find the typical German food that you can find in Christmas Markets – brat wurst, curry wurst, Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus, grünkohl, but also typical Kirmes food like Mushrooms with gravy, Lángos, Krakowska, etc.

My favorite of course are the Mushrooms (champignons) and I love the gravy and the bun that comes with it. 

In my experience, the food in Christmas Markets in Bielefeld isn’t expensive. It is always less than 10 Euros per person and is pretty filling. Just like drinks, you need to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a restaurant in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.

The Old School & Winter Holiday Feeling

The View from the Top of the Altstädter Kirchpark in Bielefeld

This is actually the case with not just Bielefeld Christmas Markets but most of them in Germany. There’s an atmosphere of joy, love and merry.

A Bar with an Old School Vibe at Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz

The magical decor with lights and garlands add to the festive mood. The small shops with handmade winter things offer something unique for everyone. In fact, the whole decor makes one want to spend their money as quickly as possible.

Bielefeld Christmas Markets Map (Walking Directions)

Below are the markets that I have marked on the map.

  1. Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz
  2. Shopping Street Christmas Market – Bahnofstrasse
  3. Alter Markt (Old Market) 
  4. Altstädter Kirchpark
  5. Niedernstraße
  6. Obenstrasse



Closing Thoughts on Christmas Markets in Bielefeld

If you live in NRW, then give the multiple Chrismas Markets of Bielefeld a try. Arrive here by train or car, park your car and spend a few hours moving from one Christmas Market to another. You can find more information about them on the city’s official webpage.

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia: Info + Tips for Puglia’s Most Beautiful Beach [Italy]

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia: Info + Tips for Puglia’s Most Beautiful Beach [Italy]

South Italy’s Puglia has always been a popular destination for Italians but it has been receiving international attention for the last 3-4 years. There are many reasons why one should visit Puglia, and the beaches are an important factor, especially THIS particular one. 

The stunning Sant’Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy

Looks familiar? Well, this is usually the cover picture for most of the Puglia travel articles on media. Good news – the pictures don’t lie at all, this place is simply mind-blowing.

If you are in touch with me on Instagram, then you surely know that I spent a month in Puglia, South Italy. Most of that time was spent in Salento. Wondering what’s Salento all about?

Puglia is often called the heel of Italy’s boot because that’s exactly how it looks on the map. Salento is the bottom-most point of that heel.

Out of that one entire month in Salento, if there’s one place that will forever stay etched in my mind as the most spectacular place in every way, it is Sant’Andrea – both the beach and the rock formations. I did visit a lot of beaches during my one month in Salento, and I think Sant’Andrea is the most beautiful beach in Puglia.

Sant’Andrea Puglia, Italy – Panorama

Before we go further, I’d like to tell you that this area can be divided into the following parts:

  • The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea) – Depends on which part you want to go to.

This isn’t official segregation, but something I have made to help you. I couldn’t find a lot of English articles before visiting and I didn’t realize that there’s so much to see and experience here before visiting. There is a lot more beyond these three segregations but I didn’t end up visiting further.

The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea)

If we talk about beaches with stunning arches and rock formations, what are the places that come to your mind? Most likely France’s Etretat, Portugal’s Lagos, Germany’s Rugen Island, Thailand’s Phra Nang Cave beach but somehow Puglia’s name never comes up. Maybe it is a good thing! 

The Arche and Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea – I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea – Puglia

I have visited most of the places that I have listed above but for me Italy’s Sant’Andrea was beyond anything I had ever seen in terms of scale and magnificence. 

Expected to see massive arches, lagoons, towers, and crazy rock formations. There are also tower-like rocky islands that emerge out of the blue-green water.

The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha)

The Sandy Beach at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha – Puglia, Italy

Sant’Andrea’s rock formations are famous, but the sandy beach will surprise you. It isn’t big but it is lovely since it has rock formations on all the sides. This beach is called Spiaggia della Punticeddha – that’s what you need to put on Google Maps to find it.

The sand on Punticeddha beach – Spiaggia della Punticeddha is very soft and light. The water is clear and very blue, so it feels unreal. The beauty of the rocks around will take your breath away but the best part of the rock formations can be viewed if you swim further away or climb towards the tower area.

The Rocky Island at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha

There is also a small island of rocky formation that you can swim to from Spiaggia della Punticeddha. If you are here with small children then get a floaty, so that you can take them with you till there.

Spiaggia della Punticeddha gets crowded with families in the summer, because that’s the only part of this entire area that’s safe for children. Try to reach here early if you want to have at least some area to yourself.

The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea)

The Stunning Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

Just between the Sandy beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) and the rock formations (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea), there is a rocky beach. This Rocky beach isn’t just one beach but has several small segments and each is better than the other.

The Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

The parts that are easy to get to are obviously not so empty but not even half as crowded as the sandy beach that I talked about in the above section.

There are parts that are not very easy to get to, and for me the water looked much clearer there. You can climb, or you can try swimming to that area in order to reach it. 

Tips for visiting Sant’Andrea Puglia

Get Your Climbing Shoes 

In order to visit the most lovely spots here, you have to climb a little. The climb isn’t steep and was also done by my 2.5 year old girl. 

Make sure you wear proper shoes. If you lose balance and fall, you can seriously hurt yourself here because the rocks are hard and not smooth.

San’t Andrea – Puglia’s Coastline – South Italy

If you’re planning on cliff jumping, then waterproof shoes help. You will find “swimming shoes” for just 5 euros in most of the small beach towns in Puglia. Of course the price will rise as you move to more touristy areas.


For me, the first spot of Sant’Andrea that we saw was gorgeous and I didn’t imagine that I’d want to leave that, but after an hour of being there, we decided to explore.

We realized that the more we explored, the better the landscape around us became. The shapes of the rock formations changed after every few steps. 

We visited Sant’Andrea wqith our 2.5 year old daughter so our climb was a bit limited. If you are adventurous and enjoy climbing, then you will surely see a lot more than we did. 

In order to reach a new spot, you won’t have to climb a lot or walk a lot. All the places are just 5-10 minutes away from each other.

Parking Gets Full Early in August

Parking Spot I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea Puglia

The peak travel month in Puglia is August. That’s the time when not just Italians but most of the Europeans are on their annual summer break.

The car rental prices go very high at this time and naturally, the parking spots fill out fast. Arrive early to find a good parking spot or be ready to spend some time driving in circles in order to find one. Or, you can arrive a little late at 4 or 5 pm when most of the people start to leave.

We arrived at 4 pm at Torre Sant’Andrea parking and found a spot after taking just one round, but we were lucky since many people were leaving at that time.

Arrive Early or Late in the Summer

The Sandy Part of Sant’Andrea gets crowded

Ever seen popular Italian beaches in the summer? They are usually fully jam-packed and one needs to hunt to find a place to put the mat.

The peak season crowds at Sant’Andrea,Puglia, Italy

The comfortable sandy part of the beach at Spiaggia della Punticeddha is small. It gets very full so if you want to spend even a little time here, then the best time to arrive at the beach is as early as 8 am or as late aa 4 pm.

The clear water near the rocks at Sant’Andrea beach, Puglia, Italy

Of course the rocky beach area near Torre Sant’ Andrea doesn’t get crowded because it isn’t uncomfortable to sit there unless you manage to get a thick rug or a chair. You have to climb with your stuff or swim with it to reach the rocky beach.

Cliff Jumping in Sant’ Andrea Puglia

The Many Cliff Jumping and Swimming Spots at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

What do you find on beaches with rock formations? Cliff Jumping spots!

If you want to do cliff jumping, then you will be happy to know that there are plenty of spots near Torre Sant’Andrea that vary in height. 

Stay Safe if you Cliff Jump

I have mentioned this before in my Puglia article but I feel it necessary to remind you to be safe if you choose to do cliff jumping. Don’t ever force yourself into an activity that you’re not comfortable doing.

If you want to cliff jump, then you have to make sure you jump straight or else you will injure yourself. My husband suffered from two fractures in his spine after cliff jumping in Puglia from Porto Selvaggio.

Visiting with Children? Get a Floatie

The view of the family beach at Sant’Andrea, Puglia, Italy

If you are visiting this beach with small children, then you will be able to explore much more with a floaty. You can put your child or children on the floaty and swim with them as you explore the different rock formations around.

We forgot to carry our floating hammock in our car and ended up buying a floaty here for Karma. We resisted buying it till the very end but realized we had to if we three were to swim together for a while instead of staying on the beach.

Shops Around the Beach are Expensive

The shops around the small sandy beach sell everything you’d need on the beach. Beach mats, sunglasses, floaties, sand toys, snacks, etc. But try to bring your stuff with you because the shops are expensive here.

Affordable Food Truck near the Parking

Taralli Pugliesi – the popular Puglian snack from the food truck at Torre Sant’Andrea parking

If you spend a few hours on the beach and swim, you will naturally get hungry. There is a food truck near the beach parking. It is actually near the small water fountain from where you can fill up your water bottles.

If you want snacks and beer, then you will be happy to know that you will get them at the food truck for an affordable price. You can get paninis, french fries, and similar small snacks.

Visit Grotta della Poesia – a Cave Pool that’s 5 KMs Away

I will be honest, I didn’t get to visit Grotta della Poesia but it doesn’t mean you should miss out. I didn’t even know of its existence. A day after visiting Sant’Andrea, I saw information for Grotta della Poesia and I kicked myself for not knowing before and missing out.

Grotto means cave in Italian, and Grotta della Poesia means “Cave of Poetry” – isn’t it romantic? The rock formations create a natural pool with a tunnel that goes into the sea, that’s Grotta della Poesia.

In order to see Grotta della Poesia, you need to pay an entrance fee of €3 per person, and must show a valid Green Pass.

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia Corona Restrictions

Like most of the places in Italy, you need to show a valid Green Pass to enter busy public areas here. Italy has recently changed its Green Pass restrictions, it is now only for vaccinated people and not those who have just recovered from the illness. 

I didn’t see anyone checking for a green pass in the Torre Sant’Andrea area but my friends who visited Grotta della Poesia mentioned that it was checked there.

Where is Torre Sant’Andrea?

Sant’Andrea is on Salento’s East Coast. It is in Lecce province and is around 20-30 mins drive from Lecce city. Torre is an Italian word that means tower. Most of the beaches in Puglia have medieval towers that are sometimes photogenic.

How to Reach Torre Sant’Andrea

The best way to reach Sant’Andrea is by driving to it. This is how it works for most of the European destinations unless you’re visiting the main big cities like Lecce or Bari. If you’re arriving in Puglia by air, then rent a car so that you can drive to amazing places like Sant’Andrea instead of being restricted to just a handful of destinations that are accessible by public transport.

Where to Park for Visiting Sant’Andrea Beach & Rock Formations

There is a parking area near Torre Sant’Andrea which gets full very early during the high season. Most of the people park along the road that goes to Torre Sant’Andrea. This is the same road that has a van camping spot that’s called Area Camper I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea.

Honestly, the road itself gets full but if you have time or patience to look for a place to park, then you will find one. As mentioned before, arrive early or late in order to find a place for your car.

Final Thoughts about Torre Sant’Andrea, Puglia

Puglia is getting popularized every year and even more so in 2021 because of the Red Bull Cliff Diving event in Puglia. Of course the event took place on a very busy area of Puglia but if you want to see something special that’s not as busy as the rest of Italy, then make sure you don’t miss Sant’Andrea.

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NDSM Amsterdam: How to Reach + What to do in NDSM Werf (Wharf)

NDSM Amsterdam: How to Reach + What to do in NDSM Werf (Wharf)

What’s that one place in Amsterdam that’s different than all others? It is NDSM.

NDSM Werf (or NDSM Wharf in English) is in Amsterdam-Noord. It is unique, because it is unlike any other neighborhood of Amsterdam. You won’t see the typical narrow buildings or canals but don’t be disappointed – there’s something else here.

What is NDSM Werf (or NDSM Wharf)

Riverside Pllek in NDSM Amsterdam

What was once an industrial shipyard is now a space with art installations, graffiti, beachside bars, vintage markets, environmentally conscious cafes and an amazing creative hub with a contagious creative energy. Sounds a bit too much? Well, that’s the best way to describe Amsterdam’s NDSM Werf.

The word Werf is Dutch and it translates into “wharf” in English. A wharf is a quayside area in which a ship may be moored to load and unload.

Kunststad Entry – NDSM Amsterdam

Expect to see a lot of strange looking old shipyard tools here that are transformed into something arty or beautifully functional in another way. 

Technically NDSM Plein is a neighborhood of Amsterdam. The word “Plein” means a square or a plaza. Honestly, NDSM isn’t just a typical neighborhood or a square, it is a vibrant social space.

If you’re traveling to Amsterdam, then make sure you include NDSM in your itinerary. No matter how long or short your Amsterdam trip is, try to spend at least half a day in NDSM for a change of scenery. I have visited NDSM Werf on most of my Amsterdam weekend trips or even the longer ones.

How to reach NDSM Amsterdam

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord - Amsterdam Itinerary

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord – Amsterdam Itinerary

In my numerous posts about Amsterdam, I have mentioned over and over again that the best ways to explore the city is on a bicycle. Even though Amsterdam’s tram, ferry and metro network is great, and you probably won’t need a bicycle. Nonetheless, having one while you visit NDSM will give you much more freedom to explore. 

There is a free ferry that goes from Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam-Noord, and another one directly to NDSM-Yard. The ferry leaves from the other side of the Amsterdam Centraal train station, the exit that’s not towards the main city but the river. 

The ferry point is just outside the Centraal station and you won’t miss it because you will see people waiting with their bicycles or scooters. Yes, you can take the bike on the ferry.

Look for the ferry 906 towards NDSM-yard. The ferries leave after every five minutes and they cost nothing. It can’t get better than this. Remember, if you don’t have a bicycle then don’t get on the ferry that goes to A’dam tower because that’s 3 KMs away. Instead, take the ferry that’s going directly to NDSM werf. 

Ferry 906 will leave you near NDSM but if you want to check out other spots in Amsterdam-Noord, like the A’Dam lookout tower then you can ride your bicycle there, it is just 3 KMs, so will take you 15 minutes on the bicycle. If you’re scared to ride a bicycle in Amsterdam city, then you should know that riding it in Noord is super easy because of wide empty spaces.

Things to do in NDSM

Cycle Around NDSM Werf + Top Sights

NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art

San and I exploring NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art

When you arrive in NDSM, then the first thing you’d want to do is to explore the area on your bicycle. This will give you a sense of this space and will give you an idea about where everything is. This way, you can also keep a look out for a brand new cafe or bar that looks interesting and is not on my list.

Here are some spots to look at while you cycle around NDSM Plein. These are the spots where you don’t have to necessarily stop, unless you’d like to click a photo. They can be enjoyed as you cycle around them too.

Let me be Myself” mural of Anne Frank by Eduardo Kobra

The Iconic Let me be Myself – Ann Frank Mural in STRAAT, Amsterdam NDSM

While Cycling in NDSM Plein, you will come across a massive face of Ann Frank smiling at you. It is called “Let me be Myself” and is by Eduardo Kobra. 

I spent a long time looking at this mural because it has so many interesting bits that collectively form one face. The giant scale of this work of art is magnificent and it is not easy to photograph it unless you have a wide angle lens.

Let me be Myself mural of Ann Frank is actually the entry part of STRAAT – a museum dedicated to street art. I will talk more about that in one of my next points.

Spot the Faralda Crane Hotel

Amsterdam’s Crane Hotel Feralda in NDSM, Amsterdam Noord

Imagine a big old crane that’s converted into a high end bed and breakfast. Yes, that’s what Faralda Crane Hotel is all about. There’s even a hot top on top.

The rooms in Faralda Crane Hotel aren’t cheap and cost at least 800 euros per night for a crazy unique experience. I did mention this place in my earlier post about Amsterdam-Noord and I still say that this is a super interesting sight. 

See Alternative Housing – Trams and Containers

Old Tram Converted into a house in NDSM Amsterdam – Anthony da Cruz via Unsplash

NDSM takes recycling to another level by using up old trams and shipping containers. It was interesting to see some of them converted into houses. 

Cycle around and hopefully you will find even more interesting things to see that I didn’t notice. If you do, then please let me know too so that I can include the information on my website.

Head to Kunststad to see the Art Installations

The most obvious thing to do in NDSM Werf is to check out the art installations. They are mostly situated in a huge hall with high ceiling, which is called Kunststad (meaning Art City). 

San with his bicycle admiring the artwork inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

San with his bicycle admiring the artwork inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Kunststad is a massive industrial building and you won’t miss it. You can take your cycle inside this hall. Kunststad features works of 250 artists. Some of the art installations are super interactive and will blow your mind.

Some art installations change over time and others stay here for a while. I saw something unique in 2017 here which was still in the same spot in 2021. It is called Barbie peep show and is hilarious.

NDSM Werf in Amsterdam-Noord – my favorite Amsterdam photo spot

The Barbie Peep show is all about putting a coin in the slot and seeing naked barbies. Once you put a coin, then a peep hole opens and you can peep for some time. I mean, no one ever needs to see naked barbies but it is a funny concept for collecting money. Moreover, with it’s pastel pink wall it makes an amazing photo spot and is in my list of top instagram spots in Amsterdam.

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

IJ-Hallen Flea Market

IJ-Hallen is a flea market that occurs in the same spot as the art installations in the first point. However this market takes place just once or twice a month, so make sure you check the website to plan your visit.

They say IJ-Hallen is the biggest flea market in Europe with 400 stands, I’m not sure because I have definitely seen massive flea markets in Puglia and another one near Germany-Poland border.

Honestly, because this market occurs just once or twice a month, I always ended up missing it. I did visit Waterlooplein, one of the other flea markets in main Amsterdam. Just because I didn’t get to visit it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I still want to recommend this one of a kind flea market of Amsterdam to you.

Head to Pllek – Beach Bar, Movie Night, Yoga

Sipping Beer on the beach in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

I have mentioned Pllek in many of my Amsterdam posts. It is a lot of things combined in one. It is a restaurant, a bar that faces the IJ river, a spot for movie nights and Sunday morning Yoga sessions.

Pllek is a Dutch word that means “the spot” or “the place”, it is my favourite place in Amsterdam to relax and drink. Pllek is more than just a place, it is a vibe.

Pllek by the IJ in Amsterdam-Noord

While you’re in main Amsterdam, you may not realize but the city can sometimes get stressful because it is busy. This part of Amsterdam has somehow managed to stay under the radar from the tourists and is the perfect place to relax the mind. 

Sitting by the water in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord – 2021

If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy the sunset, Pllek is actually the best place because the beach chairs face the west side and you can see the magical sunset colours as you sit by the water.

I love Pllek’s contactless ordering service. You can just scan a QR code that’s displayed everywhere here, see the menu online and order. You can also pay online. When the order is ready, they will call your name and then you can enjoy your food and drinks.

Pllek by the IJ - Amsterdam Noord

Live music in Pllek by the IJ – Amsterdam Noord – 2017

Pllek gets a bit busy in the evenings so try to get here early. Be prepared to share a table if you get here late, but that’s not a bad thing because Pllek is a social spot.

Relax at Café de Ceuvel

An old houseboat transformed into a sitting area in De Ceuvel - Amsterdam

An old houseboat transformed into a sitting area in De Ceuvel – Amsterdam

Pllek definitely is an interesting spot but another one that stole my heart was De Ceuvel. It is arty, interesting and beautiful. 

Cafe De Ceuvel is one of those places where you can chill for hours and would not want to leave. There are interesting places to sit around the water and streams. If you’re lucky then you can get a houseboat table on the water.

Delicious salad at De Cuvel Café, Amsterdam-Noord

Delicious Nutty salad at De Ceuvel Café, Amsterdam-Noord

Vegans would love De Ceuvel because of the variety of food options. The food isn’t Dutch but fusion of many different cuisines. As an Indian, I can say that Cafe de Ceuvel is one of the FEW places in Europe that get “Dhaal” right. Dhaal is an Indian preparation of lentils. 

Apart from eating and drinking, De Ceuvel is a spot for many workshops that are focused on sustainability. In fact the whole restaurant is sustainable with their kitchen waste going into the garden.

Cafe de Ceuvel in NDSM Amsterdam


Remember “Let me be Myself”, the Ann Frank mural that I mentioned in my earlier point about cycling in NDSM werf? Well that’s actually a part of STRAAT – a museum that’s dedicated to street art.

Near the entry of STRAAT Museum NDSM Amsterdam – Anthony da Cruz via Unsplash

Amsterdam is famous for its museums and STRAAT is truly one of a kind.

STRAAT is kind of like Kunststad but is much more intense. It isn’t free and it features some of the most famous artists from all over the world. In STRAAT you will find the works of Bansky, Keith Haring, etc.

The art in STRAAT is divided into 5 themes. Expect to learn about the stories, the art form, the history of graffiti, street art and NDSM Werf. Moreover it also features different international street artists from time to time.

If you’re visiting STRAAT with your children aged 6 – 12 years, you will be happy to know that they can take part in a treasure hunt – just ask at the entry point about it.

Where to Stay near NDSM Werf

Inside ClinkNoord - a fun place to stay in Amsterdam-Noord

Inside ClinkNoord – a fun place to stay in Amsterdam-Noord

I normally stay in main Amsterdam city but the only one time I stayed in Amsterdam-Noord was in a hostel called ClinkNoord. It is near A’Dam Tower, which is 2.5 – 3 KMs from NDSM werf.

Final Thoughts about NDSM Amsterdam

Pin It – NDSM Amsterdam

If you think this list contains information about too many places to visit in a small square called NDSM, you will be surprised to know that it has even more. I include NDSM in every single of my Amsterdam itineraries and every time I visit Amsterdam, I notice many interesting things to do in NDSM and a few new cafes and bars.

Amsterdam main has an old school charm but NDSM has a contemporary new look (and vibe).  Spend a few hours or days here for a change of scenery and you wouldn’t want to leave.


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