What to see and do in Amsterdam in one day

How To See The Best of Amsterdam in One Day (+Map)

In Netherlands, Trip itineraries by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

Are you visiting Amsterdam for just one day and are looking for tips on the best places to see and things to do? You came to the right place! This article and our experience-based tips will help you get the most of your day in Amsterdam. Find out!

Recently, we took advantage of the unusually beautiful weather and decided to make a day trip to Amsterdam. We knew that we wanted to explore the canals – that’s a must in Amsterdam, so we booked our canal cruise in advance. But the rest of our day itinerary was completely blank.

Since we hadn’t been to Amsterdam in years, I did some research on what we could do in Amsterdam in one day and found some great advice. However, I had to read a paper travel guide and seven different websites before I came up with a somewhat feasible itinerary with the best things to do in Amsterdam if you only have one day.

Yes, there are many amazing and also quirky museums in Amsterdam, beautiful parks to visit, and lots of great bars and cafes where you can have the best meal in town… But unless you have more than one day, you will probably not want to waste your time shopping at the huge warehouse Bijenkorf or walking to the other side of town in search of that one restaurant that someone recommended…

So this is my no-nonsense guide to the best things to see and do in Amsterdam in one day. At the bottom of the post, you can find some suggestions on what to see and do in and near Amsterdam if you have more time.

READ ALSO: Two Days in Amsterdam

1 day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam city center is not very big, so you can see and do quite a lot in one day. Find out the best things to see and do that you shouldn’t miss, even if you only have one day in Amsterdam. I created this map to give you a better idea of where all these places are and help you better plan your day in Amsterdam.

How to Use This Map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the left top corner for the index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu button, and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’.

Here’s what to do in Amsterdam in one day:

1. Explore Amsterdam Canals on Foot

There are many canals in Amsterdam, but if you only have one day, there are three main canals that shouldn’t be missed: Herengracht, PrinsengrachtKeizersgracht. All dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and surrounded by some of the most beautiful traditional Dutch houses that Amsterdam is famous for.

Singel is another canal that is definitely worth strolling along, as is the Brouwersgracht.

Actually, you can skip the Herengracht canal when exploring Amsterdam canals on foot, because it’s one of the main canals, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you will probably pass here by boat. Which brings me to the second thing you must do in Amsterdam…

Brouwersgracht canal in Amsterdam
Brouwersgracht canal is less visited by tourists, yet very picturesque as well

2. Take a Canal Cruise

If I were to choose just one thing that you absolutely must do in Amsterdam, it would be a canal cruise. Whether you are visiting Amsterdam for one day or a week, don’t miss this! No matter how much exploring you do on foot, seeing the city from a boat gives a completely different perspective. It’s also a perfect way to see a lot without having to walk even more.

When it comes to Amsterdam canal cruises, there are countless options. Some excellent, some good, and some… not so good. But how do you know it when you are in town and are overwhelmed by all the boats you see there? We thought that the best way to avoid disappointment and long queues would be to research and book the canal cruise in advance. And indeed, it saved us lots of time and we got exactly what we expected.

After some research, we quickly found this boat tour that looked perfect. Customer reviews were good too, so the choice was quickly made.

The booking process was extremely easy and a few minutes later we received a confirmation email with the vouchers. The only thing we misunderstood (= didn’t read properly) is that we had to exchange the vouchers for the actual tickets at the nearby office before heading to the boat. But we made it to our boat on time. And because we had an advance booking, we could pass the long line of people who were waiting for a boat without a reservation. This was mid-October!

TIP: If you are traveling to the Netherlands in high season, I strongly suggest booking your canal cruise in advance. This is especially the case if you are short on time and only have one day to see the best of Amsterdam.

Canal cruise in Amsterdam is a not to be missed
Canal cruise is a not to be missed!

3. See Damrak, Dam Square and the Royal Palace

Don’t miss Damrak – the big avenue running in the direction of the Central Station (Amsterdam Centraal) that is home to the former stock exchange building, the monumental Beurs van Berlage, and some other historic buildings that you often see on the postcards from Amsterdam.

Damrak boats and historic buildings in Amsterdam

Dam Square with the Royal Palace is one of the most well-known locations in Amsterdam. Many events take place here, and it’s always very lively. You don’t need much time to visit (unless you go inside the Palace), but it would be unthinkable not to pass here when visiting Amsterdam.

Dam Square kermis in Amsterdam
Dam Square on the day we visited

4. Visit Amsterdam Begijnhof

If you are looking for a more authentic experience in Amsterdam, the Begijnhof is a true hidden gem right off the hectic city center.

This small area houses a church, historic houses and one of the two original wooden houses in Amsterdam. However, don’t expect to be alone – it’s just as popular with tourists as the rest of Amsterdam.

Begijnhof is open daily from 9 AM to 5PM and is free of charge. There are two entrances: at the Northern side of the Spui and at the Gedempte Begijnensloot (at the end of the Schuttersgallery).

Amsterdam Begijnhof
Begijnhof – ©Klapfilm.nl via I Amsterdam Mediabank

5. Floating Flower Market

Even if you are not planning to buy any flowers, the floating flower market is a must in Amsterdam. You can buy flower bulbs, all kinds of souvenirs, or just walk around.

You don’t need much time there, but it’s a fun place to visit and make some colorful pictures.

Floating flower market in Amsterdam
Floating flower market

6. Visit One Museum: Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, or Anne Frank House

Amsterdam is famous for its museums, but honestly, it’s difficult to visit any of them if you only have one day in the city.

If you are keen to visit one of the most famous museums like Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, or Anne Frank House, pick one that interests you the most and make sure to book your tickets in advance.

Otherwise, if you didn’t get the tickets in advance, just forget it. It’s not worth it to spend two hours of your time queuing at the museum if you only have one day in Amsterdam.

Good to know: If you want to visit Anne Frank House, you can buy tickets online from 2 months before your travel date. If the tickets are sold out, you can try online at 9 AM of the day itself. They always release some last-minute tickets, but you have to be quick.

Anne Frank house in Amsterdam
The long queue at Anne Frank house

7. Museumplein

Even if you don’t have the time to visit the Rijksmuseum, it’s worthwhile to walk there just to see the beautiful building. If you do have an hour or two to spare, Rijksmuseum is definitely worth a visit (in that case you better get your skip the line tickets in advance).

The famous I Amsterdam sign used to be located on the Museumplein at the back of the museum. Installed in 2005, it quickly became a new landmark in the city and an obligatory photo stop for many visitors to Amsterdam. However, the city council found that the sign encouraged mass tourism and selfie culture and removed the letters in December 2018.

TIP: If you really want to take a picture with the famous IAmsterdam sign, you can still find one at Schiphol airport.

I Amsterdam sign at the Rijksmuseum can only be photographed without the crowds at dawn
This is how IAmsterdam sign used to look like

8. Heineken Experience

Visiting Heineken’s oldest brewery, now converted into an interactive museum, is another popular thing to do in Amsterdam. Heineken is so typically Dutch that it’s worth including Heineken Experience in your Amsterdam one day itinerary even if you are not a fan of the beer.

The tour starts with a short introduction by the staff, after which you can see the rest at your own pace. The experience is very well done with interactive games like ‘Brew U’ that allows you to experience what it’s like to be a bottle of Heineken, to mention just one… And of course, you get to taste some free Heineken (or soft drinks for those who don’t drink alcohol) at the end of the tour.

Just in case you wonder, children are allowed at Heineken Experience as well, but no alcohol is served under the age of 18.

TIP: Make sure to book your Heineken Experience in advance because it’s a very popular attraction and otherwise you’ll waste too much time queuing…

Visiting Heineken Experience is a great thing to do on a short visit in Amsterdam
Heineken’s first built brewery in Amsterdam – © Photo courtesy of Heineken Experience

9. Explore the Jordaan Neighbourhood

If you want to get a feel of an authentic residential Amsterdam far from the crowds and tourist attractions, don’t miss the charming Jordaan neighborhood.

There is no specific place you should go to, and no time limit that you should spend here. I suggest to put away the map and explore the labyrinth of narrow streets dotted with local shops, quaint bars and cafes, and residential houses with cozy courtyard gardens…

You can skip Jordaan if you are really short on time, alternatively, you can go there for lunch.

TIP: Instead of looking for a nice restaurant for lunch, you could join this highly-rated food tour of Jordaan. It’s a great way to get to know the local side of Amsterdam and try some Dutch food.

Jordaan neighbourhood in Amsterdam
Jordaan neighborhood

10. Stroll the Nine Streets

The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) are the old cobbled streets that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat. You can easily explore these little streets together with the canals.

This area is famous for independent boutiques, specialty stores, and vintage shopping. It’s a very different shopping experience than the main shopping street Kalverstraat with big chain stores.

Dutch cheese shop on one of the Nine Streets in Amsterdam
Dutch cheese shop on one of the Nine Streets

11. Visit the Red Light District

This is not my most favorite area of Amsterdam, but the Red Light District with the coffeeshops and window prostitution is a unique place in the world, and therefore worth a short visit.

It can easily be visited during the day, also with kids (just try to distract their attention from the ladies in the windows). However, if you want to see the true side of the Red Light District, it’s probably best to visit in the evening. Just try to be very open-minded!

Good to know: Guided tours of the Red Light District are now forbidden in Amsterdam.

First coffee shop in Amsterdam - Red Light District
The oldest coffee shop of Amsterdam

12. Explore Amsterdam Canals at Night

If your legs are still not sore, head back to the canals in the evening. The houses and the bridges are so nicely lit.

If you want to get the best of both worlds (i.e. see the canals in the evening and save your legs), why not take an evening canal cruise instead!

This is the best way to end your day in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canals at night
Amsterdam canals at night © Koen Smilde Photography via I Amsterdam Mediabank

Is One Day Enough in Amsterdam?

One day is enough to get a taste of Amsterdam: tour the canals, walk around the city, explore some local neighborhoods, and visit at least one museum. Of course, you can’t see everything that Amsterdam has to offer in just a day. But if you are short on time and want to see the main highlights, then yes, you can see the best of Amsterdam in a day.

If you have more time in Amsterdam, you may want to visit some of the world-class museums, rent a bike or take a stroll in one of the many parks. Here you can find our suggestions for 2 days in Amsterdam.

Alternatively, take a day trip from Amsterdam and explore more of the Netherlands.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam for the First Time

If you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time and want to discover the best that the city has to offer in a short time, stay as close to the city center as possible. An ideal location to stay for sightseeing in Amsterdam is southwest of Central Station. It’s a nice area, with lots of shops, restaurants, and within a walking distance to all the main attractions.

You can find the best deals for Amsterdam accommodation here. And here are some specific hotel suggestions for Central Amsterdam, for all budgets:


Some Practical Tips for Visiting Amsterdam

  • Pack comfortable walking shoes – you will be walking a lot.
  • If you are not keen on walking, use public transport. Renting a bike might be a nice way to explore the parks. But the city streets are so busy with people and bikes that even experienced local bikers have difficulties navigating.
  • If you don’t absolutely have to, don’t come to Amsterdam by car. We came from Belgium and visited Amsterdam for just one day and the car park cost us 50 EUR.
  • And once again, Amsterdam is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Europe. So if you are planning any day trips or excursions, best book all your Amsterdam tours in advance – it will save you lots of time and frustrations.

So this is the best of Amsterdam in a nutshell – things you can see and do in Amsterdam in one day. Planning a trip and have a question? Leave a reply below and we’ll try to help!

READ ALSO: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam

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How to spend 1 day in Amsterdam in the Netherlands - itinerary, map, and practical tips
What to see in Amsterdam in one day - no-nonsense practical guide to the best places of Amsterdam, including the map #Netherlands #Amsterdam
Best of Amsterdam - what to see and do in one day
Amsterdam in one day - itinerary, map, and tips to get the most of your short visit


  1. Hi Jurga, this is such a great guide to Amsterdam. We will be visiting next month. Do you know if everything is going to be open in the city?

    1. Author

      Hi Jim, most places in the Netherlands are open already – restaurants, cafés, etc. Also museums are opening up, but most places have reduced the number of visitors that are allowed. In many cases, it is obligatory to book online in advance. I just checked the website of Anne Frank House and – at the moment – they allow just 8 people at two different times during the day. That’s just 16 visitors a day – crazy! So you definitely have to book that one in advance.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in Amsterdam!

  2. Hi Jurga, this information is very helpful for my upcoming trip, but I am planning to spend 2 days in Amsterdam – one day in the city and one outside. Which day trip would you recommend the most?

    1. Author

      Hi Vera, it’s really hard for me to say which day trip you’d love the most as I don’t know when you’ll be traveling and what your interests are. Did you see our article with the best day trips from Amsterdam?
      If you are traveling in spring, which is probably unlikely this year, then I would have said go to see the tulip fields. Other times of the year, I suggest this tour that covers Volendam, Marken, and Zaanse Schans. If you rather visit more cities, then consider this tour that covers Rotterdam, Delft, and The Hague in one day. In any case, I think I would go with a tour because you’d never be able to see so much in one day by taking public transport or renting a car and trying to find it all on your own.
      Hope this helps.

  3. Thank you for the lovely blog !
    Visiting in April 2020, do you recommend booking the canal tours in advance ?
    Also we have a 9 year kid, is it OK to visit the Red light area with the kid ?
    Also if I have to choose only one museum, which one would you suggest please ? Thank you 🙂 Anirban

    1. Author

      Hi, you don’t have to book it weeks in advance, but maybe just a day or two before. It will save you some hassle.
      As for the red light district, it’s really your call. We just walked through a small part of it with kids during the day and there was not much shocking or so. Not sure I’d go there with kids in the evening though.
      If you do just one museum, I think my personal choice would go to Van Gogh. And it’s best to book that one in advance because it has timed entrance and April can get really busy in Amsterdam because it’s Easter holidays AND tulip season. You can either get the tickets just for the museum or buy a combination ticket with the canal cruise.
      Enjoy your trip!

  4. Your itinerary information is awesome. I found you looking for ideas on our Italy trip 4/1-4/14 but then also realized that I needed to figure out our trip to Amsterdam 3-4 – 3/9. I think I am going to just do everything on your list !!! Thanks for planning our trip. I wonder if Amsterdam will be crowded during this time frame. I’m guessing not packed?

    1. Author

      Hi Shannon, I think that the beginning of March is a good time to be in Amsterdam. While it is always busy, it’s definitely one of the quieter periods in the city and perfect for exploring. That being said, there are certain things, like Anne Frank House, that really have to be booked in advance. They have just very limited tickets on the day itself and those become available at 9 am on their website, so if you didn’t book in advance, you can still try once you are there. But it’s best to book upfront if you want to visit it.
      Most other museums and attractions should be ok.
      Enjoy your trip!

  5. awesome thank you for these ideas

    1. Author

      Glad to help, Brooke. Have a great trip to Amsterdam!

  6. Hello!! great blog!!
    i was wondering, i have a 7.5 hour layover in Amsterdam, do you recommend to go to the city?
    i arrive at 9am and then leave at 450pm, don’t know the best option to go from the airport to the city and back. what do you say? is it worthy? thanks!!

    1. Author

      Hi Nestor, with 7,5hrs you should be able to see a bit of the city, just make sure that you’re back at the airport on time. Schiphol is a big airport and we normally try to be there at least 2-2,5hrs before any flight.
      There are buses and trains that will bring you to the city center (more info here). I would take a train as that will avoid traffic jams.
      You’ll probably have 2-3 hours to spend in town, which is enough time to do a canal cruise (there are some that start right near the station, e.g. this one has that option), have lunch, and maybe explore the center a bit more.
      You won’t be able to see much, but I suppose it’s worth it if you have never been before.

  7. Visiting Amsterdam in the first week in October 2020, do you think I need to book canel tours in advance.

    1. Author

      Hi Rowdy, no, you don’t have to book it that much in advance. You can book it a few days in advance, or just when you get there. October might still be quite busy, but in general, I think that you’ll be ok if you don’t pre-book.
      The main reason to book in advance is to check the reviews and prices because once you’re there, the choice is overwhelming and you have no idea what you are paying for…
      Hope this helps.

  8. Jurga, First of all thanks for a well written practical article. I’m planning to visit during May, and cover some of europe including Amsterdam. I just hopped on Amsterdam hop-on hop-off tours. Did you explore this option in your research? Any idea if there is a Canal tour as part of this? Thanks in advance

  9. Hi Jurga. I just LOVE your blog. I have used it for so many of our trips and have shared far and wide. 😊 You’re a practical mom who wants to travel and see the world as a family!

    We are in Amsterdam at the moment and we booked our CITY CANAL CRUISE as per your suggestion. It was very disappointing and I have shared my feedback with them (which they weren’t too keen on) but I thought I would let you know too (for other travellers). .

    The cruise was just over 60 min and not 75 min as advertised.

    Our biggest issue was that we arrived 45 minutes early (front of the queue) thinking we would get good seats. We landed up being the last family onto the boat due to them boarding the back of the queue first. They moved boats so thought we were boarding a different boat.

    We’re a family of 4. We had to sit across the isle from each other (end of 2 tables which are 3 deep each). We couldn’t take any pics out of the windows. People that got on before us put their bags on seats but stood out at the back for the cruise.

    They didn’t offer my son the ‘pirate kids pack’ (which other kids had on board). If anyone else does decide to book with them, they need to make sure to ask for it when getting their tickets if they have kids that would enjoy the interactive commentary.

    It wasn’t a good start to our Amsterdam visit but we’re looking forward to the rest of our time here xx

    1. Author

      Hi Cledia, so sorry to hear about your experience. That’s the reality of travel in many places these days, I’m afraid. It’s so busy and crowded, especially in big cities, that inevitably somebody gets a worse experience than someone else on the exact same tour. We’ve also had our share of bad seats on so many occasions and with 5 of us, it’s also never possible to sit together, etc. It sucks, especially when you have looked forward to something so much and did your best to be there on time… I think we can all relate to that feeling.
      I hope the rest of your time in Amsterdam was more enjoyable and that this bad experience didn’t ruin your trip. It’s an amazing city, but – just like so many others – is suffering from its own popularity.
      If I can give you one tip – we never visit any big cities in Europe in summer. It’s just too busy for us to enjoy. We’d rather take a chance on having worse weather than deal with huge crowds. But I know that it’s not always possible to travel to places in the off-season, especially when traveling with school-going kids. It’s become a habit of us to choose our destinations and timing based on how busy we think it will be. And if we know it is a high season at the destination and still decide to go, we opt for the less touristy activities and places, or try to visit the busiest ones early in the morning or just before the closing time (when the tour groups aren’t around).
      Happy travels!

  10. I’m traveling with my 10 yr old daughter who doesn’t know how to ride a bike, and we don’t intend on driving. Any suggestion on what part of Amsterdam to stay for easy commuting? I’ll like to be there for 4 nights

    1. Author

      Hi Nelle, there is no need to ride a bike in Amsterdam (in fact, bike traffic is crazy, so better not do it if you aren’t used to it). You can walk everywhere or take a tram for longer distances.
      I think there are many nice areas to stay, but if you are coming in by train (also from the airport), then it might be easiest to stay close to the Central Railway Station, on the Western side of Damrak. So, for example, Hotel Plaza Victoria is well located or Art’otel Amsterdam, part of Radisson Hotel Group. You can click on the map and see what other hotels are available nearby for your travel dates. Keep in mind that the Eastern side of Damrak is the Red Light District, so maybe you prefer to stay on the other side. 🙂

  11. This article was well credible, helpful, and well thought out. Thank so much for this information

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Nelle. Have a great time in Amsterdam!

  12. We are coming in by ferry from Newcastle and flying to Alicante with our tiny dog in her bag. We will have 5 hours but is Amsterdam dog friendly as we will need lunch hopefully in a pretty place. Any recommendations welcome. Trudi

    1. Author

      There are definitely dog-friendly places in Amsterdam, but I have no first-hand experience with this. Try Google or Trip Advisor and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of choice. Have a nice trip!

  13. Great tips! Wanting to squeeze in Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums, along with canal boat (1 day, with two 12 yr olds). Do you have suggestions for what order and time to reserve each, considering they should be booked in advance?

    1. Author

      Hi Lisa, it’s hard to say as I have no idea where you’re staying and how much time you’d be spending in each museum. What I would do is try to book one of the museums at the opening time (from what I see, they both open at 9am). Then book another one in the afternoon, maybe at around 4-5pm or so (Anne Frank house stays open much later than the Van Gogh museum, so maybe do the Van Gogh first thing in the morning). That gives you enough time to have lunch and see some other places along the way between the two places without having to rush.
      I see that there are combination tickets to Van Gogh museum and canal boat, so that might save you some money. Just note that the boats leave at the completely different place than a museum, but it’s only the museum tickets that are timed – canal cruise can be done any time.
      For the rest of your day, you can find plenty of suggestions in our article. Hope this helps.

  14. The I Amsterdam sign is gone?! I was really looking forward to that. Glad to know there’s one at the airport though! Also, your update on that says it was removed December 2019… I’m guessing you meant 2018?

    1. Author

      Yes, Michael, they removed the iAmsterdam sign in December. And thanks for catching it – it was indeed December 2018, not 2019 obviously. I now corrected it.
      Overtourism is a serious issue in Amsterdam and there is more effort now to try to direct the tourists to less-visited places and have them spread out. The city center of Amsterdam is crazy busy. Too busy.

  15. Hello Jurga,
    I’m travelling from Budapest to France and have a stop of 13 hours in Amsterdam. Can you please give an insight about what i can see during this time? which part should I start first? Thank you 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Ziad, if those 13 hours are during the day, you can do pretty much everything from this list. You may not have the time for museums or things like Heineken experience, so just pick the places that interest you most and skip the others.

  16. any idea if the travel passes can be used for travel to and within rotterdam too?

    1. Author

      Hi Siju, I’m not aware of any pass that would include public transportation in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in one. I think you’ll need to get separate tickets.

  17. Thankyou so much for this great plan for a day spent in Amsterdam. My husband and I will be visiting Amsterdam in a few weeks for a day/night then taking a train to Paris for a day/night and then flying to Prague for a day/ night. I am in need for one day itineraries for theses cities. We are then taking a train to Berlin where we will be staying for 5 days and then traveling back home to the US. This will be our first time traveling to Europe and we are so excited it’s just a lot to plan. My husband while in Berlin will be attending his Masters classes during the day while I explore so I trying to Preplan everything. Do you have any dinner restaurant suggestions while in Berlin?

    1. Author

      Hi Amanda, I’m afraid I can’t help you much with the detailed itineraries for the other cities.
      For Berlin restaurants, please check suggestions on the Trip Advisor – they have them listed by different categories, I’m sure you’ll find something nice.
      Enjoy your trip!

  18. Hi Jurga!
    I discovered your blog today and I am hooked! This is the most practical and comprehensive information I have come across in the past couple of weeks that I began researching on Netherlands. Thank you.
    I am pretty much confident I can plan a week in Netherlands for my family of three with the help of “Full Suitcase”.
    Will be back with queries after I complete the draft of our trip.

    1. Author

      Hi Severina, thanks a lot for your kind words. Glad to hear that!
      Not sure how old the kids are in your family, but there are several really nice theme parks in the Netherlands: Efteling is our kids’ favorite, also Madurodam in The Hague might be nice for the whole family as well.
      Enjoy your trip!

  19. I am taking my granddaughter on a cruise to Greece the end of June. Our flight back from Venice has a 4 hour layover in Amsterdam. Do we dare leave the airport for that shirt time. If we can where should we go? What should we see?

    1. Author

      Hi Jiyce, with just 4 hours, I wouldn’t leave the airport. Just getting to the city and back will take you a few hours, not even talking about going through security again, etc. I think it’s much too short to be able to do anything.

  20. Very helpful guide. I’m in Germany on business and when it concludes, I’m trying Europe in two weeks. My thoughts are Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. Not sure of my timing but it’s likley in February.
    Taking trains when possible, and travelling at night when appropriate.
    Any thoughts on this?

    1. Author

      Hi Mike, I don’t have any experience in traveling Europe by train, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there. I’m sure there are many good options, but it will require quite some research from your side. Your list of destinations is impressive!
      Good luck with the planning!

  21. Hi Jurga !

    I have a transit in Amsterdam while going to Bangalore on this coming Monday.

    I will be reaching Amsterdam by 15:00 and my return flight to India is at 10 AM next day. Approximately I have around 12 hours over all. Can you please suggest what are the things i can cover in this time. As I am landing in afternoon suggest me which I can and cover and see in evenings. I don’t mind of sacrificing one night sleep :-). But it should be memorable. Please suggest.


    1. Author

      Hi Shyam, sorry for late reply. You’re probably on the plane on your way to Amsterdam now. But in case you’ll still read this, here are some suggestions.
      I think that you can still see many places from this list, just not museums or Begijnhof which will obviously be closed at night.
      What you could do in this period is visit one of the many Christmas Markets.
      I also really recommend taking canal cruise. In winter, you have these evening cruises that go to Amsterdam Light Festival. They run every 45min starting at 5.15PM, the last one is at 8.30PM, so you could still catch it.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in Amsterdam!

  22. Hello Jurga, I’m travelling from Frnace and would reach the city at 9 AM. Can you give an insight about one day travel pass for Amsterdam? I have to return back by 10 PM on same day. As per your sequence, which part should I start first?

    Thank you in advance
    Manish Kumar

    1. Author

      Hi Manish, we visited all these places in Amsterdam with much less time than what you have, so you can pretty much follow this itinerary as suggested and see it all in a day.

  23. I am working out a rough draft of an itinerary for Amsterdam prior to making sleeping arrangements. We can have around 2 days here. We are flying into Amsterdam to train down to Belgium, maybe add on Cologne Germany for 2 days. We have 9 no travel days, 11 if you count travel days. Landing in Amsterdam at 2pm, flying out of Amsterdam at 5pm. I would like to work these into, maybe a bit of give and take, with the awesome Amsterdam in 1 day intinerary you have laid out (thank you!). If it’s not too much bother, are you familiar enough with the below places to group them a bit so I can figure out a realistic route to see the city? You had an excellent point about not traipsing around the city. Either way, thank you so much for the info you have already provided.
    • In ʼt Aepjen
    • Rijksmuseum or Vangough
    • Micropia
    • Blauw Jan
    • Dappermarkt
    • Kattenkabinet
    • Poezenboot
    • Brouwerij ‘t IJ
    • Monks Coffee Roasters
    • Door 74

    1. Author

      Hi Ruth, unfortunately I’m not really familiar with all these locations, so I’m afraid I can’t help. The best I can advise you is go to My Maps on Google, create your own map with all the locations that you want to visit and I think once you have it all on the map it will become more obvious how to best plan your time in Amsterdam. Keep in mind that if you visit Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh museum you’ll probably need half a day for each of them. Make sure you buy skip-the-line tickets (also for Van Gogh museum) in advance, otherwise you’ll waste too much time.
      Have a great trip!

  24. Hi, do the Hoff on Hoff off bus and canal cruise stop at some of beautiful destinations or just continue travelling for some hour

  25. Hi,

    I am planning to visit amsterdam for 2 days. Can you suggest me best ways to cover most of the city attraction?
    How is hop off hop on tour for travelling the city?

    1. Author

      Hi Alok, we usually just walk everywhere in Amsterdam, but I know it’s not for everyone. You do feel your feet at the end of the day :). So yes, I think that hop-on hop-off busses can certainly be a good option to see a lot of the city in a short time.
      There are many hop-on hop-off options, here’s one that seems to have best reviews, it includes a boat tour as well.
      Here’s an alternative to a bus, a hop-on hop-off boat. I think it might be a nice option as well, since boats don’t have to deal with traffic jams as busses do. I guess it depends on what exactly are you planning to see and do.

  26. We are planning to visit Amsterdam for a day with our 7year daughter in about a week from now, is this place family friendly or just for adults only?

    1. Author

      Amsterdam is a city, and like any other city it has a lot to offer to anyone, adults and kids. You’ll find parks and playgrounds, museums like Madame Tussauds, also canal cruise is always nice to do with kids. Our kids enjoyed visiting Amsterdam very much.

  27. I am planning to go travelling around Europe next summer and I have a rather small budget, this itinerary is excellent and definitely something I will follow when the time comes!

    1. Author

      Good to hear that, Declan. Enjoy your trip!

  28. Hi! We’re visiting Amsterdam for a day at the end of the month. After a lot of research this seems like the perfect itinerary for us.
    Is the order you have written it in the quickest way to do it in terms of the areas being next to each other. I don’t want to be zig zagging the city ?

    1. Author

      Hi Louise, it’s really difficult to not zig-zag in the city, especially in Amsterdam – make sure to zig-zag the canals – it’s the best part. 😉 On the other hand there are so many places in Amsterdam, you never have to come back to the same street twice if you don’t want to.
      I think it’s best that you take a look (and save on your phone/or print) at the map that I provided in this post to get a better idea where to start and in which order to do your city tour of Amsterdam. A lot depends on where you start and end, if you take a canal cruise (and at what time), etc. We started our day by the Central Station (North side), explored the canals on foot, then by boat, then walked all the way down towards the Rijksmuseum visiting the places on the way, and ended our day with a stroll along the other canals and a visit to Jordaan neighbourhood, and then back in the direction of the Central Station where our car was parked.

  29. Hi Jurga

    This was extremely helpful indeed.. I will be visiting Amsterdam around mid May 2018 with the family for two days only. I find your suggestions very interesting..short and clear. My daughter is keen to see the tulips. I hope this will be possible. Thanks again for the valuable information. Keep it up and best regards.


    1. Author

      Hi Jacques. Thanks a lot for your kind words and glad you found this information useful. As for the tulips, mid May will probably be too late for the tulip fields – most bulb fields are cut off in the first week of May. Keukenhof Gardens are open till May 13 this year, so depending on when exactly you come, you may be just in time for that. Enjoy your trip nevertheless!

  30. Thank you so much for a very well descriptive itinerary, we would be visiting Amsterdam in next couple of weeks and I am sure all the above recommendations will definitely help us have a pleasant vacation. thanks again for the post!

    1. Author

      Good to hear that, Alan. Thanks for taking the time to leave the feedback and enjoy your trip to Amsterdam!

    2. Hi Jurga

      Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately we will be in Amsterdam on 18 May and so will miss the beautuful flowers. Another time may be.
      Have a nice day. Ciao.


  31. Amsterdam has always intrigued me and looks like such a fabulous place. This is a great guide for visitors on what to see and do!

  32. We visited Amsterdam for a week a few years ago and also stopped at Brussels for a day. Visiting Van Gogh museum and the canals were my favorite. This is an awesome post, you covered a lot in a day. Saving it and need to take the kids there someday soon.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Priya. I am sure that your kids would love Amsterdam as well. We are definitely going back to visit the Van Gogh museum – hear nothing but good things about it.

  33. This is awesome! I have definitely “bookmarked” this website to help me plan my future trips. Awesome!

  34. Great post, I loved my trip to Amsterdam, such a beautiful city! If your there for more than one day I definitely recommend checking out Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, highlight of my trip!

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing this, Danielle. I just googled the place and it looks like a really nice coastal area. Will keep it in mind next time we head in that direction.

  35. I only had a layover in Amsterdam of a few hours, Didn’t get to explore the city.. just a quick walk. Good tips to share and ideal for a week-end. One day would be a little to rushed for me.

    1. Author

      Yes, for sure – you could easily fill the weekend in Amsterdam and not get bored. There’s so much to see and do!

  36. Why oh why didn’t I see that two weeks ago? ?
    Very nicely written! Thanks! I’m saving for my next trip to AMS?

    1. Author

      Haha, because I only wrote it a few days ago 🙂 Did you miss any highlights? I guess there is always a good reason to go back to Amsterdam, right?

  37. I’d say my favourite bits of Amsterdam where the 9 streets, the Jordaan district and the Van Gogh museum so you’ve certainly come up with the perfect 1 day itinerary in my books! And to book your canal tour in advance is sound advice. Excellent article!

    1. Author

      I wish we had the time to visit the Van Gogh museum! Maybe next time. Glad I didn’t miss any of your favourite places, Alex – I know you’ve been to Amsterdam recently and had taken more time to explore in depth, so it’s reassuring that I have the best places covered for my readers. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for your tips. They are so usefull..We are going tomorrow in Amsterdam for only one day and not just that this tips are amazing, but now the excitement that we go is actually bigger, so thanks a lot:)

  38. I have been to Amsterdam many times and have never done a canal cruise! I will definitely have to do one next time Jurga! I really enjoy Amsterdam and sitting in a cafe people watching (I think the Dutch have a word for this). I also love the food particularly the Indonesian restaurants. Travelling by train from the UK via the tunnel is quick and easy too with a quick change in Brussels. You are making me miss Europe! (I do anyway but more reading this post!)

    1. Author

      From what I understood based on the comments I got on Instagram, you’re in the majority, Tracy. Most people who have been to Amsterdam didn’t take the time to do a canal cruise. But the ones who have, all agreed that it’s a must. So here is something to look forward to when you get tired of all that Australian sunshine and decide to move back to Europe :).

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