Overtoom is one of the nerve centres of hip and happening life in Amsterdam. It's the main thoroughfare in Overtoombuurt, which runs the whole way down the north edge of the Vondelpark, through the heart of West Amsterdam, linking up the Singelgracht and the Schinkel canals.

    The street has a mix of eateries, cafés and intriguing boutiques that's sure to keep you busy for days on end. There's also something of a pumping nightlife scene, mainly thanks to the proximity of bar-filled Leidseplein.

    photo by Arch (CC0 1.0) modified

    What are the highlights of Overtoom?

    Overtoom is just over 1.5 km of pure shopping, coffee-sipping and gastronomy. It's one of the top places to people-watch and try out different cuisines in the Dutch capital. And there's such a variety of establishments that you can keep coming back night after night for more.

    Excellent dining spots on Overtoom include BUUF, a ground-breaking hipster gastro-teahouse with a menu that changes every single day. Or you could drop into De Pizza Bakkers for crispy, wood-fired Italian pies and a glass of prosecco to match. And there's more, in the form of Olivity, where smorgasbords of Greek mezze abound, and Gollem's Proeflokaal, a hearty Belgian-inspired tavern with Low Country meat dishes.

    When night approaches, you can check out spots like Craft & Draft and the hole-in-the-wall of One Dim Sum. Then, hop across to Leidseplein. It's just on the far side of Overtoom, but reigns as one of the city's main nightlife quarters, constantly buzzing with students and travellers alike.

    You'll also want to set aside some time to wander the leafy Vondelpark. It runs all the way down the south side of Overtoom and is one of the most iconic green spaces in the whole city. It's awash with duck ponds and lazing lawns, along with a few charming open-air cafés.

    photo by Milliped (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    What are the best places to go shopping on Overtoom?

    Overtoom is arguably the best shopping strip in all of West Amsterdam. That's saying something because this is an area well-known for its upscale boutiques, fashion shops, and finery.

    Most of the top places to get the tills going string down the west side of the roadway. They include the boutique jewellers of Hare Majesteit, where Art Deco throwbacks mingle with handcrafted wares with a twist of the psychedelic about them. You'll also find the quirky homewares of COCO-MAT and the artisan florists of Sans L'eau – a true Amsterdam speciality. And that's really just scratching the surface.

    photo by BoH (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Good to know about Overtoom in Amsterdam

    Overtoom should be very easy to reach. You'll find multiple tram stops up and down its length, starting with Leidseplein in the east and ending with Rhijnvis Feithstraat in the west. A number of the trolley cars that go there also connect with major interchanges near Dam Square and Centraal Station.

    You could also arrive on foot. The walk is about 35 minutes from Dam Square but takes you through the pretty Canal Ring – a UNESCO World Heritage site, no less – and potentially even the Vondelpark – a lovely area for a picnic and a stroll in the summer months.

    Overtoom has more traffic than much of downtown Amsterdam as it's a major transport interchange. You'll need to be wary of crossing the road, especially because of the trams and the cyclists, of which there are plenty.

    Overtoom is generally safe, but increased crowds do mean more petty crime. What's more, the area can get loud, especially on weekends at its eastern end, which is where you find the throbbing nightlife quarter of Leidseplein.

    photo by BoH (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Overtoom in Amsterdam

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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