Amsterdam is for sure one of the most popular European travel destinations where many people come to spend a few days or even a week. Especially when you’re from a nearby European country, it is very common for visitors to spend a weekend in Amsterdam. We enjoyed a whole weekend in Amsterdam, and I’d recommend to spend at least two days in this beautiful city.
However, some people decide to only stay for a day. This may be due to a layover, a river cruise, or perhaps just a planned day trip from a nearby city. In this case, I got you covered. Check out my ‚Best of Amsterdam in one day‚ Itinerary here.
A weekend in Amsterdam – Overview
DAY 1 AM / Local Breakfast, Canal Cruise & Museums
DAY 1 PM / Classic Amsterdam
DAY 1 EVENING / Enjoying the sunset at a canal
DAY 2 AM / Stroopwafels and browsing at the markets
DAY 2 PM / Cultural Amsterdam
DAY 2 EVENING / Dinner & Drinks in De Pijp
Why go to Amsterdam?
- Beautiful canals to get lost at
- Local markets
- Old, pituresque buildings
- Delicious food
- Begijnhof, one of the oldest hofjes
Day 1 AM / Local Breakfast, Canal Cruise & Museums
Your first day in Amsterdam will cover the must-sees of Amsterdam. I tried to minimize walking distances to make it easier on you if you decide to do the day on foot.
Start your day in Amsterdam by getting yourself a delicious local breakfast. We ended up with some eggs, croissants, bread, brioche, orange juice and coffee. Cheese, ham, and different jams made it perfect! If you’re in Amsterdam, try to get to De Bakkerswinkel and enjoy some good food – be sure to try the jam. The mango & passionfruit one was my favorite.
De Bakkerswinkel | 08:00 – 17:30 Mon-Fr; 09:00 – 18:00 Sat & Sun | €20 | Location
I really love walking through cities, but every time I’m in Amsterdam, I end up nearly being killed by a bike. Or a car driving too fast. The bike culture in Amsterdam is huge. If I’ve learned one thing: Don’t stop. No matter where you go and if you’re nearly being killed by a bike – do not stop, never. Just walk your way, and it’ll be fine. I made the mistake to stop (for a bike) and I don’t know how they manage to do so, but it felt really risky. I guess it’s just really uncommon that someone stops by and they don’t anticipate this behavior.
Anyways, besides being killed by a bike, there are plenty other reasons to do a canal cruise. You’ll get a unique experience of Amsterdam by doing so. Plus, it’s not that expensive. An hour ride only costs around €13. Amsterdam has some great hop on hop off canal cruises that will take you to some of the more popular areas in the city, and provide some great views while doing so.
Canal Cruise | various offers in Amsterdam, usually available until 10pm | €13
Day 1 PM / Classic Amsterdam
Visit one of Amsterdam’s Museums
Amsterdam has a seemingly endless number of really impressive museums. With only one day in Amsterdam, you will not have enough time to explore them all. Pick one and take your time there. I suggest choosing the Anne Frank House.
It’s best to decide ahead of time which one you would prefer because I absolutely recommend getting skip-the-line tickets in advance.
Especially the Anne Frank House gets really crowded once it’s opened. Since you only have one day in Amsterdam, I suggests to spend the time with something better than standing in line.
Anne Frank House | 09:00 – 22:00 Mon-Sun | €10 per adult | Location
Enjoy the Jordaan
Half the joy of Amsterdam is wandering around its canals. My personal favorite district to wander around and enjoy Amsterdam is ‚Jordaan‘ district. Here, you can easily find some of the best lunch spots in Amsterdam. Just take a look while walking around and choose what sounds best for you.
Jordaan District | 24 hours | Location
Discover Amsterdam’s secret: Begijnhof
Begijnhof is a hidden treasure inside Amsterdam. It is one of the oldest hofjes, a group of historic buildings. Originally, it was a Béguinage which are architectural complexes created to house the beguines: lay religious women who lived in communities. It is actually hidden behind a door in the busy Spui but although it is right in the heart of the city, Begijnhof feels incredibly peaceful.
Begijnhof | 09:00 – 17:00 Mon-Sun | free | Location
Worlds only floating flower market: Bloemenmarkt
The Flower Market has been around since 1862 and is an important part of the city. You can find all kinds of flours here as a single flower, bouquets or even bulbs that you can take home. It’s a colorful, but crowded place.
Bloemenmarkt | 09:00 – 17:30 Mon-Sat; 11:00 – 17:30 Sun | free entry | Location
Day 1 Evening / Enjoying the sunset at a canal
Grab dinner at one of the local restaurants, but be sure to enjoy the sunset at a canal. It was incredible beautiful to see the sun go down at such a pituresque place. Plus, the people living in the houses were absolutely funny and made a tiny ’show‘, because they knew that many people were taking pictures of the houses they live in.
Dinner for two | costs around €35 – just walk by some restaurants and grab what sounds good to you
Day 2 AM / Stroopwafels and browsing at the markets
I bet you smelled the weed on your first day, maybe wondering if Amsterdam also has a cultural side. Yes, it definitely has. This day is all about soaking up the culture in Amsterdam!
Start your day at famous Albert Cupymarkt. This one was one of my favorite experiences in Amsterdam. Lots of good food, friendly people, and so much to see. I’d recommend to have breakfast here, or get yourself a Stroopwafel at van Wonderen. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Day 2 PM / Cultural Amsterdam
Amsterdam has lots of museums, all (or mostly) located at Museumplein.
Museumplein | Location
Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum
You can’t miss these two famous museums in Amsterdam if you’re a lover of art. Personally, I think that admission for both is pretty steep. I think going to both museums during your weekend in Amsterdam might be a bit much. Especially since you can see a few of Van Gogh’s artwork in the Rijksmuseum as well.
Skip the line by buying your tickets ahead.
Rijksmuseum | 09:00 – 17:00 Mon-Sun | €19 | Location
If you have some extra time, visit the library on the left of the Rijksmuseum. If you’re feeling hungry, you can stop by at the local Albert Heijn.
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s most famous park and it’s beautiful year-round. It’s a short walk from the museums to Vondelpark and I just love walking around the park.
Vondelpark | 24 hours | Location
Day 2 Evening / Dinner and Drinks in De Pijp
Either use the tram to get back to de Pijp, or walk. The Butcher offers great hamburgers. If you’re more into Indonesian, Middle-eastern, or Isreali food, you’ll find something as well. You can’t really go wrong here in De Pijp.
Head to the secret bar in the back of the Butcher for cocktails, if you want to.
The Butcher | 11am or 12 pm till late Mon-Sun | €11 for a burger, €5 for sweet potato fries, and €3 for a soft drink | Location
If you’re more into another evening at a canal, enjoy the view nearby Prinsengracht. If you’re feeling hungry, you will find many cafés here.
Curious about my other Amsterdam Posts? Check them out here.
All the information you need to plan your own Amsterdam itinerary
I believe that a little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information I think you might need to plan your own Weekend in Amsterdam itinerary.
Best time to go to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is beautiful year-round, but spring and early fall are th best times to visit because you will get to see the blooming tulip fields, or enjoy incredible beautiful walks around the canals.
How to get to Amsterdam
Amsterdam Schiphol is the nearest airport. You can easily take the train into the city center. It only takes 20 minutes, and costs €5. A taxi wouldn’t be much faster, but more expensive.
If you’re living only 200-300km away, I suggest using the train to get to Amsterdam or take the car. It’s far cheaper than flying from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam, for example.
Tip: If you’re traveling by car, make sure to book a parking spot in advance. Parking in Amsterdam is incredibly expensive, and gets even more expensive when you haven’t book one around 24 hours ahead.
Getting around in Amsterdam
All the destinations in this itinerary are within walking distance, but you can easily use one of the canal taxis, hop on hop off buses, or the tram. Taking a ’normal‘ taxi would probably be the most expensive version without being faster. I suggest to walk, or take a canal cruise.
Costs of my itinerary
The total cost of my Amsterdam itinerary, for two people, was €254.
With Sep 2019 exchange rates of €1.11 to the US Dollar; this equates to $279,78.
for 2 people, excluding transportation & accommodation
€120 of food and drink for 2 people
€50 parking fee
€20 Anne Frank House
€26 for Canal Cruise
€38 for the Rijksmuseum
Related: The best of Amsterdam in one day.