Suggested itineraries in Amsterdam
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Whether you have one, two, three days or more, Amsterdam has plenty to offer and more than enough to keep you entertained. Below are our recommended itineraries to give you the best possible overview of the city.
If you have only one day, start by taking a canal boat cruise to get a general overview of the city. After the cruise, take a walking tour along the historic canal ring to soak up the atmosphere and architecture of Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Stop along the way to grab a bite at one of the many Dutch styled Brown Café’s or try that famous local Dutch specialty: French fries with mayonnaise. After lunch head to Museumplein to visit the Van Gogh Museum or Rijksmuseum, two of the best in the world. When you’re all museumed out, relax in nearby Vondelpark or have a leisurely drink at Leidseplein square. If you still have energy, you can go shopping along Amsterdam’s main shopping district running from Leidsstraat to the Kalverstraat shopping arcade. When you get hungry for dinner, head to Chinatown to eat at one of the Thai or Indonesian Restaurants in the area that have become a city specialty. After dinner, wander through the Red Light District to experience the electric atmosphere of Europe’s most notorious neighborhood, then head Rembrandtplein toparty the night away.
Wake up early on the second and head to the Anne Frank House to avoid the lines. Alternatively, check out the Amsterdam Historic Museum for a great overview of all things Dutch. Afterwards, make your way to the Begijnhof, a tranquil religious compound containing the oldest chapel in Amsterdam. After lunch, rent a bike and cruise the canals of Amsterdam’s many and varied neighborhoods from the Plantage to the Jordaan. If riding a bike is too hectic for you, proceed to Waterlooplein to visit Amsterdam’s funkiest outdoor market. A block or two away you can find the Jewish Museum, Rembrandt’s House and the Willet-Holthuysen Canal House Museum, depending on your interest… Of course there’s also the Heineken Experience if you’re looking to get an early start on the evening. For dinner, head to Amsterdam’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood known as De Pijp near Sarphatipark; Or, for a more home grown Dutch atmosphere, stop in at one of the cafes around Westerstraat in the Jordaan. For the evening’s entertainment, have a drink at a local Brown Bar or checkout one of the live music venues around Leidseplein. If you feel like dressing up, Concertgebouw at Museumplein and the Muziektheater at Waterlooplein are two of the city’s finest venues for high cultural.
If you have three days, spend the morning of the third day finishing up whatever you didn’t see on Day One and Day Two or complete one of our walking tours. Still hungry for museums? We recommend the Amstelkring Catholic chapel, hidden in the attic of an old canal house; or The Ship Museum for sailing enthusiasts. If you still have your bike, catch the free ferry behind Central Station to North Amsterdam for windmills, dykes and all the cute Dutch villages you can stand just a short ride away. More citified folks should take the day to relax and further explore their favorite neighborhoods. Last minute gifts can be picked up at the Flower Market or at the huge outdoor market along Albert Cuypstraat. If you’re still looking to party when the evening rolls around, go to Regulierdwarsstraat to check out some of the liveliest gay bars in Europe; Or, alternatively, get in line at the Odeon located in an old canal house and equally known for its dance floor.
If you have longer...
If you have more time, get out and explore some of the other cities around Amsterdam. Haarlem is a smaller, quainter version of Amsterdam with the most impressive cathedral in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is a veritable laboratory of modern architecture and the largest port in Europe. History buffs will no doubt be charmed by the museums and palaces of The Hague, while Utrecht, to the south, is a friendly university town with quaint canals and a relaxed atmosphere. Finally, if you’re looking for that famous Dutch village quaintness, Alkmaar has the cheese market, Volendam has the fishermen, and Zaanse Schans has the windmills. All are conveniently located a short train ride away from Amsterdam and make for easy day trips.
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