Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Welkom bij Amsterdam!
A wonderland of dinkly brick buildings, an open skyline, quiet canals that snake their way through historic architecture and an unrivaled 17-th century beauty make Amsterdam a hard to compete with destination. Laced by high culture and treasure-packed museums – it’s impossible to resist the charms of this offbeat metropolis.
A constant journey through the old and the new, a sense of diversity and friendliness, cyclists zooming over the 200-year-old canals and much more await you in your journey to Amsterdam.
Today – Now
PLANNING & BOOKING
The dreaded part of any vacation - planning! Every savvy traveler knows that it’s always better to plan and book early in advance to bag those irresistible bargains. Not only do you get to save up to 25% on flight and hotel prices, but you also get to never settle for second-best! Lower flight prices, room deals and early bird discounts are only some of the many benefits of booking your tickets, excursions and accommodation early on. We recommend planning and booking 3 to 6 months in advance – a surefire way to have a worry-free pre-holiday buzz when the time to travel is near!
Unforgettable Moments - Amsterdam Highlights
Amsterdam is a city that perfectly offers the best of both worlds – the manageability and cosines of a 17th-century Golden Age village and the boastful attitude of a big metropolis. That contrast make it the best place to explore at your own pace, and a week will be more than enough time to get swept off your feet in the Venice of the North.
Sipping coffee overlooking the Singel canal, getting lost between the quirky boutiques of De Pijp, learning about the harrowing history of the Nazis at the Anne Frank Museum, appreciating timeless art at the Museumplein museums, and falling in love with Amsterdam all over again on a canal cruise are all just a few things you’ll get to experience in a week. Whether you want to spend your days chilling at a park, getting cultured, or partying until the sun comes up – Amsterdam has exactly what you need!
Day 1: Arrival + Getting Acquainted
Godemorgen! Welcome to Amsterdam! We know the feeling, having your excitement of landing at a new place being replaced by the dread of customs, luggage and how you’ll be reaching your hotel. Don’t worry though, if you have everything planned beforehand, you’ll find that you’ll be done in no time.
Nearly all visitors who fly into Amsterdam fly through Amsterdam Schipol Airport (AMS), the main and largest airport in the Netherlands. The airport is huge with countless amenities and entertainment opportunities that part of you will kind of want to stay just a little bit more there to explore (there’s a museum in there!). We suggest scheduling about 60/90 minutes from your time of arrival at the airport to your time of arrival at the hotel.
We suggest taking a flight that arrives at the Airport as early as possible so you can spend the rest of your day getting acquainted with the city.
To get to the center, you’ll have two options. The first one is taking a cab to the center (which will cost about €40 and will take about 30 minutes, and the second one is taking the train from the airport to the Central Station which takes about 20 minutes and will cost you €4.50.
We absolutely get it, your first morning is bound to be rife with jet lag. So the best to orient yourself with the city is by having a great breakfast followed by a canal tour to get you acquainted with the city and excited for the next few days.
Start your day by having pan-fried pumpkin and Dutch sausage with a savory coffee at Majestic. Get yourself a good dose of people-watching (and coffee!) and get ready to discover the beauties of the city of water.
A canal tour is the perfect introduction to the city where you’ll be able to watch incredible views from the water, get a live narration of the attractions you’re seeing, and be able to choose which attractions you’ll be interested in visiting.
There are two types of tours – mass tours, and more “intimate tours.” You can choose a Hop-on-hop-off Canal Cruise that gives you unlimited sightseeing opportunities or you can try “Those Dam Boat Guys”, a more fun, intimate and informative canal tour that feels like you’re on a tour with life-long friends.
After you’re done with the canal tour, head to Dam Square, the ideal first stop where you’ll find memorable attractions, and plenty of streets to explore and get lost in. It’s the commercial heart of the city where the streets bustle with energy.
Instead of oversized billboards and flash lights, Dam Square has a more intimate “chaotic” ambiance. Check out the De Bijenkorf department store, and then head to Madame Tussauds, a museum with lifelike wax figures of celebrities. Have a quick lunch at Café het Paleis and then walk towards Kalverstraat – the longest pedestrian-only retail street that is a tourist attraction on its own.
We suggest having an early night for your first day, as the next few days will be quite hectic. Stay at Dam Square (after you’ve gotten enough of a dose of people-watching and possibly shopping) and go for a drink at one of its many renowned bars. Try out De Blauwe Parade - the bar where Heineken was first brewed, or De Drie Fleschjes, a historic tasting room that has been there since 1650.
Day Two: Bikes, pretty streets and history.
Your day will start at the quintessential Jordaan neighborhood. The amount of cafes and breakfast spots there will leave you spoilt with choices – whether you want pancakes, a Dutch breakfast, omelets, bacon, or just a coffee – you’ll find it all.
We definitely recommend choosing a place with outside seating – you will leave the early morning bike traffic and people-watching. You can try some of the best apple pie in Amsterdam at Winkel 43, or the absolute best pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam.
Jordaan is a very easily explored area. The fact that it’s Amsterdam’s most famous neighborhood doesn’t mean that it’ll be too overwhelming. The area is characterized by gorgeous canals, narrow streets, a mixture of art galleries, an assortment of terrace restaurants and designer boutiques.
Start by visiting the Woonbootmuseum, the houseboat museum where you’ll learn about the history of the canal system and is only a five minute walk from the Anne Frank House.
Dedicate your afternoon to the Anne Frank House. A deeply moving experience, the house is definitely the central highlight of Amsterdam. A historical landmark that will move you, the building is where Anne Frank (famous for her The Diary of a Young Girl) spent her days hiding from the Nazis who were sweeping through Amsterdam.
We recommend taking your time and really letting it all in.
The queus tend to be extremely long, so make sure you arrive early. Additionally, they will not let you in without pre-purchased tickets online. You need to book a time slot online. Also, make sure you have a purse as they will not let you in with a backpack.
After you’re done with the Anne Frank House, head to De 9 Straatjes, where an incredible local experience awaits. Nine picturesque streets burst with personality and splendor.
The photogenic neighborhood permeates with a peaceful ambiance, and if you’re a vintage lover then you’re in for quite a ride! The streets are laced with designer boutiques, art galleries, quirky cafes and bars, specialty stores and much more. It’s a treasure trove for people looking for world-leading designs and unique merchandise.
Walk along the Singel Canal until you reach the colorful Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market with thousands of colorful options. From house plants, seeds, gardening essentials, to gorgeous flower souvenirs…You’ll find it all there!
We recommend having lunch at Moeders, a quaint restaurant offering “homey food”, or Chez George’s, a baroque style restaurant serving up some of the best Belgian cuisine.
After you’re done with the day, chill out at the Bar Oldenhof – a cocktail bar that also doubles as a jazz club, Bar Oldenhof is the perfect place to wind down after a long day.
Other fun bars include De Twee Zwaantjes, a bar that sit next to a canal and hosts perfect sing-alongs and is filled with Jordaan locals.
Day 3: Get cultured!
Today will be the day you fall in love with the artistic and cultural heritage of Amsterdam.
Start your day by having breakfast at Bakers and Roasters, one of the most popular brunch places in Amsterdam or if you want a more culturally-relevant experience, sample cheese at De Kaaskelder (the Cheese Cellar) where you can buy (and sample!) all types of cheese. More brunch options include Bar Spek and Flinders Café
It’s now time to head to the center of Amsterdam for art lovers – Museumplein. A huge grassy area with three of the biggest museums located there. You’ll be visiting Rijskmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. They’re the most visited ones in the Netherlands, and actually house some of the most renowned Dutch art masterpieces.
The Rijkmuseum includes a huge range of styles, periods and artists and include masterpieces by some of the most famous artists including Vermeer and Rembrandt. Give yourself at least 2 hours to enjoy the 80 different galleries, and don’t forget to check out the most famous painting – the Night Watch.
The Stedelijk Museum is perfect for people who are more interested in modern and contemporary art and there are also a number of temporary exhibitions that change periodically. Give yourself an hour to two here.
Lastly, you’ll be visiting the Van Gogh museum, the most famous can’t miss spot in Amsterdam. The whole museum is dedicated to Van Gogh and his life, along with some of his most famous paintings from different periods of his life.
After you’re all museum out, walk out to Vondelpark, the green heart and lung of Amsterdam where you can finally sit, relax and soak up the sun. You’ll also find that there is an excellent choice of cafes and restaurants around for lunch and we recommend – Rijsk, a beautiful Michelin star restaurant.
Day 4: Rotterdam Day-Trip!
Rotterdam is the perfect destination for a day trip from Amsterdam – a short ride on the train and you’re in one of the loveliest cities in the Netherlands. The reason you should choose Rotterdam as your day-trip choice is because of the extreme contrasts it holds with Amsterdam.
While Amsterdam is quiet, quaint and small, Rotterdam emanates more of a “big-city” vibe and is a lot more modern than Amsterdam.
We recommend taking the NS Train to Rotterdam from the Amsterdam Centraal. The train leaves every 10 minutes and will take you about an hour to get there. Once you get off the train, hop on a metro and get to sight-seeing!
Start your day by visiting the Rotterdam Markthal, one of the most renowned food markets in the world. Once you’re done admiring the tons of windows and colored murals (and taking advantage of the plethora of free samples), get yourself a coffee and breakfast and start exploring.
We recommend visiting the Cube Houses, situated right next to the Markthal. They’re a cluster of bright yellow houses that look like cubes and are all at different angles. Not only are they quite a picturesque spot, but you can also tour the insides of the house.
Next, walk over to Oude Haven, a small harbor that exudes an Art Nouveau charm. You can also come back here in the evening as there’s a huge number of bars and restaurants you can choose from.
Next, walk over to the Erasmus Bridge – and if you can – we recommend biking over it for incredible views of the city.
We recommend having lunch at any of the restaurants at Witte de Withstraat.
You can spend your last hours in Rotterdam at De Kaapse Brouwers, a local craft brewery that has an unreal selection of beers on tap. Take the train from Rotterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Centraal and you’ll be home in no time!
Day Five: – a little bit of history!
Starting your day with a yummy breakfast is a surefire way to get your day off to a great start. We recommend Bagels & Beans where you can choose to have an incredible breakfast that includes fresh juice or coffee in addition to some yum bagels.
After you’re done indulging a quintessentially Dutch breakfast, head over to the Royal Palace. The 17th century building dominates the street and makes for an incredible backdrop for your photos. But that’s not it – you can go inside and check out the numerous paintings, sculptures, and artwork.
Walk over to De Nieuw Kerk, one of the oldest monuments in the city. The church dates back to the 15th century and boasts a medieval gothic style. You can go inside and admire its many monuments including the altar, the nave, the huge pipe organ and the tomb of Michiel de Ruyter.
If you want to get a coffee and have a walk, we recommend walking over the Magere Brug, or the skinny bridge. It’s very popular among photographer, and well – couples! Go there at night too to enjoy the thousands of lights that illuminate the bridge.
Finally, head over to the Oude Kerk – Amsterdam’s most famous and interesting church. Right in the heart of the Red Light District, the church serves as a radical contrast to its surroundings with its Gothic/Renaissance façade. A lot of exhibits and art shows take place there, and it even hosts concerts sometimes.
Spend your evening at Leidseplein, one of the most well-known entertainment areas in Amsterdam with dozens of terraces, restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s the ultimate meeting place for both locals and tourists and is considered a hotspot for nightlife. Whether you’re in the mood to just have a drink or go all out – you’ll find everything you need there. Some of the best bars include Hoopman Irisih Bar, or Dan Murphy’s Irish Bar. There’s also the Bulldog Palace and Cafe de Waard.
For live music, you can check out Paradiso or Melkweg.
A place where food, film, fashion, architecture and crafts all come together? Sign us up please! The Foodhallen is an indoor food hall that simply cannot be missed. Home to a cinema complex, boutique stores, independent shops, creative craft markets and much more – you can’t find a better place to have breakfast. The classy indoor food hall is more of an architectural attraction than it is a place to eat, but you’ll find dozens of bars, kitchens, and restaurants to choose from. From Dutch classics to Mexican delights to Arab mezze, you’ll find it all. We recommend spending a few hours there exploring the nooks and crannies of the place.
The Heineken Experience is one of those experiences you simply cannot miss out on in Amsterdam. This former Heineken brewery offers you a chance to learn about the history of Heineken and sample some Dutch pilsner. The tour lasts for about 90 minutes and has historical and interactive exhibits. You can check out the different ingredients, enjoy the fresh pilsner and even get to see the Heineken shire horses up close.
Next, visit the Verzetsmuseum, a museum that takes you through the history of the Dutch Resistance Movement and has farewell letters, documents and much more.
A fancy dinner would be a great end to your day and we recommend Librije’s Zusje – a three-Michelin star restaurant that overlooks an inner garden. After, head over to De Pijp for drinks – specifically at Gollum or Butcher for a fine collection of beers and cocktails.
Day 7: doei Amsterdam!
We recommend taking an evening flight out of Amsterdam so you can have a few extra hours to explore the city.
For the last few hours, we recommend:
· Having breakfast at the Victoria Hotel.
· Having one more canal cruise.
· Rent a bike and cycle around Jordaan/De Pijp.
· Eat at Café Blue and enjoy the incredible views of Amsterdam.
Take a train from Amsterdam Centraal to the Schipol Airport, a trip that will last you about 15-20 minutes but we recommend scheduling 30 minutes for the trip.