Are you visiting Amsterdam for a short visit and want to make the most of it?
The famous Amsterdam coffeeshops are well known for their unique approach to coffee (hint: they’re actually marijuana shops – shh!). However, many tourists find themselves plagued by too many options and no clear way to choose between them. Don’t worry – we’re here to help!
There are a lot of factors to consider when rating a coffeeshop, but we’ve chosen these based on the relative price of their goods and the quality you can consistently expect – and, of course, their proximity to Central Station. I call it the P:Q Ratio, and it’s usually more important than atmosphere or selection to those in town for a quick layover.
To give you some context on my rating system: The golden standard is 10 euros for one full gram of well-grown, high-potency cannabis – with some wiggle room based on strength and pricing. I give the major ripoff tourist spots a 1/5 (won’t name names – we’re about spreading the love, not knocking anyone – but you should be able to tell right away). My favorite secret spot, nestled very far away from the center in a quiet neighborhood, is the only 5/5 I’ve given in town. Anything 3 and above is definitely worth stopping at, and 4 deserves many return visits. P:Q of 2 or below, though? You better be desperate!
#1: Central Coffeeshop
Prins Hendrikkade 89
P:Q Ratio: 3.5/5
This one’s famous for staring you in the face right as you step out of the station. Okay, it’s actually a short walk, and it’s pretty small (and thus easy to miss), but it’s definitely the closest coffeeshop – and does honorably in the role. Unlike other places that might take full advantage of the convenience, Central Coffeeshop opens at 7 a.m., offers some of the best prices in the whole city, accepts PIN (European or certain chip-activated debit cards) and has a nice selection of classic strains – perhaps nothing crazy that you’ll want to write home about, but the quality is consistently high.
P:Q Ratio: 4/5
Here’s a place to go if you have a few minutes and want a nice place to relax rather than just pick up some buds and run. Kadinsky has a few locations throughout Amsterdam, all of which are easily reached from Central Station. Kadinsky has been around for a while, and they’ve proven themselves to be an integral player in the coffeeshop scene. Many locals are addicted to their expansive selection, fair prices, modern furnishings and relaxing atmosphere. The prices range from very high to very low, but you always get what you pay for. The best part? The budtenders are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They’ll help you find the perfect strain for that cramped airplane seat pain!
P:Q Ratio: 3.5/5
It’s around the corner and features slightly higher prices than Central, but you get what you pay for. Friendly budtenders will point you to the right choice, with high-end and unique strains that stray from the commonplace options you find around the city (Amnesia and White Widow, I’m looking at you). It’s located in a hotel that serves marijuana fans with all the amenities you might expect. If you’re in town on a Tuesday, consider yourself extra lucky: that’s the “secret surprise” day, in which a featured strain is sold unlabeled. It never disappoints.
P:Q Ratio: 4/5
A cannabis nerd’s paradise, this spot has tested all of their products in a certified lab to ensure quality. You can read through the pamphlets on each strain and type of hash they offer, along with enjoying vaporizers built into the back tables and chess boards in the spacious lobby. Prices range all over, but generally rest around the 10 euro mark, earning it a solid 4/5. Their menu is huge and it doubles as a nice place to hang out and meet other travelers, who seem to be plentiful (and exceptionally outgoing) every time I stop in.
#5: Grey Area
Oude Leliestraat 2
P:Q Ratio: 3.5/5
Its reputation as famously American-owned (they even sell in eighths!) has perhaps gotten the best of it over the years, as prices have risen while quality has remained the same. Luckily, that quality has always been among the best in the whole city, so there wasn’t room for improvement anyway. They get their hands on some seriously sneaky strains that you can’t find anywhere else, and they serve them with a smile in their tiny little hole in the wall near the famous Anne Frank house. Bongs are available to use, but seats are not so readily found. This one’s a bit further of a walk, so check this one out only if you have time to spare.
Disagree with the above? Yeah, well that’s just, like, your opinion, man. But do let us know where you go when visiting Amsterdam in the comments below or on the forums!