As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a city with a progressive outlook on life and filled with a rich history. If you’ve only got 24 hours in the city, take a look at this itinerary that we’ve put together that will get you to all the best spots.
To start your day, head over to the Jordaan district where you’ll be able to stroll along peaceful canals, peer into charming boutiques, artist galleries or shops and take in the sights of this historic neighbourhood. Originally this area was built in the 17th century for working class citizens. During the war it fell into poverty but post war efforts brought this neighbourhood back to life and made it one of the most iconic areas in Amsterdam.
While walking along the water, make sure you pop into one of the hidden residential courtyards. These unique courtyards were built specifically in this neighbourhood as an act of charity by wealthy citizens for widowed women and elderly people to use. They’re still in use today by the residents who live there so just be sure to keep quiet and be respectful of the space when you go in.
Another must see in this neighbourhood is the Anne Frank Museum. While this is one of the more touristy spots in Amsterdam, it’s one of those “once in a lifetime opportunities” that you can’t pass up if you’re interested in WW2 history or have read the book. Tickets go on sale 60 days in advance so make sure you get them ASAP. If this museum isn’t your thing or the tickets are all sold out, hop on a canal cruise instead to see Amsterdam from the water. After all, it’s said that Amsterdam is best seen by boat!
Next up is lunch! From Jordaan head on over to Foodhallen in Amsterdam’s Oud-West neighbourhood. You can get here by walking (30 min) or by transit (15 min). This indoor food market has a lot of great options from around the world that are available at over 20 different bars and stalls. There’s something here for everyone!
Once you’ve stuffed yourself at the food stalls, make your way to Vondelpark, which is just a short 15 minute walk away. This 120 acre, 19th century park is a nice place to zone out of the hustle and bustle of the world for a little bit and recharge before your next stop. Spend as little or as long as you’d like walking along the water, checking out some of the statues or people watching from under a tree.
Next up, Museums! Right next to Vondelpark is museumplein square, which is surrounded by tons of museums. You can see Van Gogh’s paintings in the aptly named Van Gogh Museum; some modern and contemporary art in the Stedelijk museum; or take it back to the past in the Rijksmuseum, which features Dutch art and history. If museums aren’t your thing but music is, you could also go into to the Concertgebouw, which is a famous concert hall known for its incredible acoustics. No matter what museum you decide on, you’ll be guaranteed to see something unique, so it’s just up to you to decide what you’re most interested in. If you can, it’s best to get your tickets online ahead of time to avoid the huge ticket lineups once you get to the museum.
For dinner you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants or bars on Zeedijk street. To get there you can walk (26min) or take transit (20 min). A unique and historical spot to dine at is Café ‘t Mandje, which was one of the first lesbian pubs in Amsterdam that was established in 1927. The history, culture and quirky décor make this a memorable spot for any one passing through.
After dinner, make sure you stick around and take a walk down Zeedijk street. This is one of the oldest streets in Amsterdam. Originally it was built to protect the city from the water of the IJ bay. Now its evolved into an area with a ton of restaurants and is home to the oldest Chinatown in Europe.
There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam and this is just a brief overview of all the city has to offer. Even if you only get to a few spots on this itinerary, you’re sure to have a great time!