I have visited Amsterdam 4 times. Once for a 5 hour layover, another time for a weekend getaway with a girlfriend, the third a weekend getaway with my boyfriend to see the Tulip Festival, and once for a 3.5 day solo trip. Every time I visit Amsterdam, I experience something new. There are so many things you can do if you only have 24 hours in Amsterdam. Make sure, as always, to find a mix of sightseeing and observation, of guided tours and monuments and museums and magical experiences. Here are 5 ways you can have an Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary!
Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary Option #1: The Wanderer
Walk the Canals
One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is to wander the streets, admiring all of the canals and houses. Those delicious ginger-bread row-homes are just too perfect for words.The houses tilt forward, like small children, arms outstretched, welcoming the goods that trading ships from the East India Trading Company brought to their city. The Canal Belt is a great place to see the beautiful canals in the city.
End in the neighborhood of Jordaan and grab a bite to eat at one of the numerous eateries in this part of town. You can also do some shopping while you’re here.
Rent a Bike
Bikes are how people in the Netherlands get around. And, it can be a bit intimidating when you first arrive in the city. Bikes there will run you over!
But, bikes are a wonderful way to see the city. Rent a bike and ride around the city. Don’t forget to stop in Dam Square and the Bloemenmarkt, a unique floating flower market where you can buy cute souvenirs.
Stop in Vondelpark for a picnic lunch and admire the seclusion and beauty around you.
Then, make your way to Brouwerij ‘t IJ Brewery. This brewery is attached to a windmill. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect atmosphere. They do serve basic bar food if you’re hungry!
The Red Light District
The Red Light District is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. The glow of the red lamps fills the street at night, as well as beautiful women waiting in the windows. Come here for a night time stroll. Do not take photos of the women in the windows. Respect them.
Stop in a coffee shop and sample some marijuana in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. And make sure you stop by a condom shop while you’re here!
Grab some dinner just outside the red light district.
Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary Option #2 The History Buff
Take a Walking Tour
I’m a sucker for a good walking tour-but they so take a lot of time. However, you will get an overview of the entire city, as well as its history. Elect an early morning tour so you have more time to explore the city in the afternoon.
Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank museum is one that I believe everyone should go to at least once in the city. Buy your ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in the extra long line. The museum itself is very heartbreaking. And serves as a reminder to what Anne Frank and her family went through.
This is a huge museum, exploring the art, history, and culture of Amsterdam. The museum houses artwork by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer among many, many others. Click here for a link to the museum website with operating hours and pricing information.
Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary Option #3: The Art Lover
Van Gogh Museum
Learn more about the life and artwork of Vincent Van Gogh. Dozens of Van Gogh’s paintings are on display. For a few euros you can purchase an audio guide that will give you amazing insights throughout the museum.
Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum will explore the man, painter, and collector. The museum houses almost a complete collection of Rembrandt’s etchings.
In addition to learning about Rembrandt and seeing his work, there are also a variety of temporary art exhibits from a variety of artists for visitors to enjoy.
Street Art Museum Amsterdam
In the neighborhood of Amsterdam Nieuw-West there is an amazing outdoor museum dedicated to street art. Take a 2-hour guided tour, for a small donation at the open air street art museum. You will see amazing art and learn about local artists. If you would prefer, you can opt for a bike tour at the street art museum, the default is a walking tour.
De Pijp District
At night, explore the artistic district of De Pijp. You’ll find lots of restaurants and cafes in this neighborhood. There is a beautiful outdoor market for you to explore as well.
Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary Option #4 The Bucket List Chaser
If you love beer, you’ll love the Heineken Experience. You’ll complete a self-guided tour, explaining the history of Heineken in Amsterdam. 2 free beers are included in the ticket price, as well as a free city map. Entrance to the experience is 18 euros.
Hop on and Hop Off Bus Tour
If you want a (somewhat) birds eye view of the city, with a guided city tour along the way, elect a hop on hop off bus tour. Even if you don’t have time to explore every stop, you can at least see the whole city!
Canal Tour of Amsterdam
Seeing Amsterdam by water is truly magical. There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to a canal tour. If you’re short on time and on a budget, you can get a basic 90 minute canal cruise.
Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary Option #5 The Country Lover
Cheese Factory, Clog Factory, and Windmill Tour
If you’ve been to Amsterdam before, or perhaps are not a city person, think about taking a full or half day tour and getting out of the city!
When people think of the Netherlands, they think of Amsterdam and prostitution and weed. This tour will show you another side of the country.
You will explore beautiful windmills in the country, get to go inside of a windmill, and learn more about them.
You’ll also have the chance to visit a cheese factory and sample some delicious cheese!
Finally, you’ll visit a clog factory to see how these famous shoes are made and even buy a pair for yourself!
There are several tour companies that will offer similar tours. If you only have one day, I recommend booking this tour in advance as tickets can sell out during high seasons.
Search on viator to choose your perfect itinerary for your full day tour!
Final Thoughts on the 5 options for 24 Hours in Amsterdam
Although I grouped these suggestions together by theme, you should choose the activities and experiences that appeal to you. I recommend trying to do no more than three things in one day.
Have you been to Amsterdam? What would be your #1 recommendation for someone who only has 24 hours in Amsterdam?
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