The Ultimate Amsterdam Nightlife Guide: Best Nightclubs + Tips

The Ultimate Amsterdam Nightlife Guide: Best Nightclubs + Tips

Amsterdam Nightlife Guide has been written by our Netherlands content specialist – Alara Benlier, who has lived in the country. 

With its famous canals, legendary coffeeshops, fascinating museums, and its extraordinary nightclubs, Amsterdam is one of the most visited and loved cities in the entire world. If you are looking for an unforgettable night out, this dazzling city offers the best one. The capital of the Netherlands has grown to become one of Europe’s coolest cities to party since Amsterdam clubs are appealing to everyone.  

Nightlife in Amsterdam is not stuck in one place either, there are a lot of nightclubs and bars in every district of the city – and not only the Red Light District. The most known (and expensive) bars in Amsterdam are, of course, in the epic Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein areas, but you can find other awesome nightclubs in every corner. 

From posh nightclubs to abandoned warehouses, Amsterdam nightclubs are always overflowing with wicked people who like to party. Amsterdam might be a small city, but it has several districts. Every area has a different vibe and different party culture. So, if you don’t want to miss out on any of the hot tips of Amsterdam nightlife areas, here are the best nightclubs in Amsterdam.

Best Amsterdam Nightclubs 

Amsterdam West (Oud-West)

Being known as the most diverse part of the city, the West offers a nice time for every taste. With its busy shops, fine dining, cool pubs, and cozy cafes, this district is always fun, whether it is day or night. 

If you are looking for an epic night out, Oud-West is a great spot to start the party. When the night hits, there’s nothing more exciting than wandering around the streets of Amsterdam West and finding the best nightclub! Here are some of the best nightclubs of the West district!

De School

If you are a techno-enthusiast, you will love De School. This massive club also hosts many incredible concerts, so don’t forget to check its schedule. 

De School is an art cafe, restaurant, night club and also a concert venue. As can be seen from the name, this club was built as a technical school, but later it was converted into a massive nightclub. In this cool club, you can enjoy many local DJs, but international DJs often visit here as well. 

De School is actually in the basement of the school, which has a capacity of 700 people all at once. So plenty of room to let loose! If that is not enough, the club also has a music venue, cultural center, and restaurant!  Another great part of this club is that it has a 24/7 permit, which means that here is open every single time!

VLLA

Club Vlla - Amsterdam Nightclubs and Party Guide

Club Vlla – Amsterdam Nightclubs and Party Guide © Photo courtesy by VLLA.

Club VLLA is notorious for its unique electronic music nights in Amsterdam. This former funeral home offers a small, intimate place, and the best music of all time. 

With its very cool regulars, this place is more “cozier” nightclub option. The best part? VLLA is also budget-friendly. You can find the best cheap drinks while enjoying great music. 

WesterUnie

If you are looking for a very spacious dance hall with epic laser, strobe lights, and excessive light shows, you have to check out the WesterUnie nightclub. This massive industrial-style club is located on the beautiful grounds of Westerpark, and it is one of the most popular clubs for party people in Amsterdam. 

With its over-the-top performances, techno, and house music, WesterUnie is a great club for “hardcore” partying. The interior of the WesterUnie consists of no-frill concrete and brick walls, which gives the club a modern vibe. So, if you are looking for a legendary night out that you will never forget, check out the WesterUnie.

OT301

V.I.V.E.K in OT301 Amsterdam by Rosa Maria Koolhoven (CC BY 2.0)

V.I.V.E.K in OT301 Amsterdam by Rosa Maria Koolhoven (CC BY 2.0) – via Flickr

OT301 is one of the main nightclubs, which is famous for its deafening techno nights in Amsterdam. This former cinema academy is known for its unpretentious and insane cultural events and incredible dance parties. 

It is a perfect fit, if you are looking for a club that you can release the stress of work and meet extraordinary people on the dance floor.

Thuishaven

Want to enjoy a mini-festival during summer and magical wonderland during winter? If your answer is hell yes, then you have to check out the Thuishaven.

Thuishaven is an outdoor & indoor club which is located in the far west of Amsterdam. With its unique program and amazing day & night parties, this club stands out among other clubs in the West district. The site of the club is surrounded by massive oil tankers, and scrap metal yards, which creates such a raw and industrial atmosphere. 

From October till April, you can enjoy the heated tents of the club, and between May and September, you can enjoy the wicked stage performances in the open air! If that is not enough, you can also have a quiet hilarious time at the laughing-gas bar with your friends. 

BRET

BRET is made of bright-red shipping containers, this super cool venue is for people who are looking for not only dance parties but also calm dinner & drinks.

Located right next to the Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station, BRET offers an impressive musical agenda for everyone. Especially on Friday nights, you can enjoy nice, soulful music around 7 pm, and dance like nobody is watching after midnight! If you are into house and techno music, you will love BRET.

Warehouse Elementenstraat

During the 90s, this massive old warehouse has been used for one of the biggest house nights of Amsterdam which is called “Multigroove” for years. Unfortunately, it lost its fame to other amazing industrial nightclubs of Amsterdam. 

Thanks to GZG, who is a young collective of techno artists, Warehouse Elementenstraat is once again home to the biggest techno promoters of The Netherlands!  If you are into techno, house, and other EDM genres, you will love Warehouse Elementenstraat!

De Marktkantine

If you love especially deep-house and other house music genres, you will love this nightclub. Not only that, but De Marktkantine also plays a lot of techno, dnb, and funky music

De Marktkantine is famous for having one of the most original, and high-quality music collectives of the Netherlands, which is called the Gardens of Babylon. With its big and round dance floor, amazing sound-system, and high-end artists selections, here is another popular choice among music lovers of all ages! Just note that De Marktkantine is open every Friday and Saturday from 11 pm till 5 am.

Radion

With its deafening techno nights, RADION is another extremely popular nightclub and cultural hotspot among the young generation in Amsterdam. Here, you can enjoy many occasional concerts, live performances, and incredible exhibitions as well. 

RADION has a 24-hours permit, but the club is closed at 7 am. But don’t worry – this means that you can get to enjoy other cultural activities within this epic industrial warehouse.

Places to Party in Amsterdam East (Amsterdam-Oost Bars)

The eastern part of Amsterdam is also known as Amsterdam Oost by the locals. It has the perfect mix of modern and traditional buildings and places and should be a part of every Amsterdam itinerary. With its more of a hipster vibe, here you can enjoy the fresh air and greenery of Oosterpark, Amsterdam’s beautiful scenery, and of course, the wild nightlife!

Oosterbar

Spacious clubs are cool, but if you are looking for a more friendly and intimate club, you have to check out to Oosterbar. Located under the Generator Hostel, you will have one of the best nights of your life in Oosterbars buddy-buddy basement! 

Here, you can enjoy hip-hop, R&B, funk, soul, and house music in an incredible industrial atmosphere. P.S. Oosterbar also has the best cocktails!

De Tropen

If you are a big fan of collectives like Madness Cr3w, you have to check out the De Tropen Bar at De Tropen Museum! In its elite location, you can enjoy famous DJs playing a wide selection of jazz, future beats, hiphop, and house music! So, don’t forget to wear your best party dress and enjoy the rhythm. 

Amsterdam Roest

Interested in the pool and beach parties during summer, and dance by the water during winter? Then you have to visit the Roest! 

With its industrial hang-out by the water, and epic program varies from reggae, afro beats to house and disco nights, you can dance like an animal starting from 10 pm every weekend!

Panama

Panama in Amsterdam-Oost

Panama in Amsterdam-Oost – © Photo by Panama via Facebook.

Looking for impressive shows, and some sensational beats? If yes, then you have to check out Panama Club in the East district of Amsterdam! In this massive venue, you can get to enjoy the most famous names of house music while gazing at the amazing view of the IJ River. 

Panama Club has a nightclub, concert venue, lobby, and restaurant all in one place. Which means, you can start your evening with a delicious meal, and then let loose at the colorful dance floor while listening to trance, techno, urban, the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.

Places to Party in Amsterdam North: Amsterdam Noord Bars

Amsterdam-Noord is Amsterdam North, it was home to craftsmen, merchants, and shipbuilders 300 years ago. This has created a kind of separation from the rest of the city. In today’s date, Amsterdam-Noord is the city’s hipster neighborhood with an amazing art scene. Be sure to check out our post about Amsterdam Noord for everything you want to know about this awesome neighborhood. 

Just like other districts of Amsterdam, here has also great local pubs, bars, and incredible nightclubs. So, here are some epic nightclubs of Amsterdam Noord!

Café Noorderlicht

Located on NDSM Plein, Café Noorderlicht, aka Northern Lights Cafe in English, is actually a greenhouse with an epic view. In this gorgeous and more chill cafe, you can have great food and enjoy many musical programs all year round. Here hosts many fascinating concerts, music jams, and festivals. Café Noorderlicht also offers you a beautiful outside garden, which you can enjoy during the summer!

Pllek

Pllek by the IJ - Amsterdam Noord

Pllek by the IJ – Amsterdam Noord

Pllek was once a shipyard but is now an amazing party venue. There is a massive outdoor sitting area by the beach, so you can enjoy beach parties during summer months. 

Pllek is not just a place to party, but is a space for creative minds to come together. The restaurant menu is 75% vegan and delicious. They have a Live Stage with a dance floor, that’s equipped with professional D&B sound. You can enjoy unique musical performances throughout the year here.

Garage Noord

Just behind the Amsterdam Central Station, you will find one of the coolest underground venues called Garage Noord! This nightclub not only has a bomb musical agenda but also has the most delicious food and cocktails. Garage Noord is famous for its electronic music, so if you are into that, don’t miss this club! And also, you have to taste its juicy burgers and Kombucha cocktails! 

Shelter

Located in the basement of Amsterdam Toren tower, Shelter is a 24/7 nightclub that hosts the craziest party people from all around the World! This new nightclub has gained a huge reputation as one of the best clubs in Amsterdam due to its epic music mix of harder genres of electronic and techno music. So, if you are into techno, you have to check out the Shelter!

Bars in Amsterdam Central (including Leidseplein)

And it is time for the legendary Amsterdam Center! Everyone knows that this famous city center offers a one of a kind night out. Europe’s nightlife capital has a lot of options when it comes to nightclubs, venues, and bars. 

The most famous ones are, of course, in the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein area. So, if you are ready to party at the center of the city, here are my favorite nightclubs!

Bitterzoet

Cherry Glazerr in Bitterzoet, Amsterdam by Oscar Anjewierden (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr

Cherry Glazerr in Bitterzoet, Amsterdam by Oscar Anjewierden (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr

Being known as a former church, Bitterzoet offers party animals an intimate atmosphere and amazing shows! With its stained-glass windows, and walls full of cool graffitis, this nightclub has a spacious bar and a massive space for dancing. In Bitterzoet, you can not only enjoy epic hip hop battles, and skateboard shows, but also listen to the splendid Afro-Cuban jazz fusion and funk jam! 

Paradiso Noord

Colbie Caillat playing in Paradiso, Amsterdam by Martijn vd - (CC BY 2.0) VIA Flickr

Colbie Caillat playing in Paradiso, Amsterdam by Martijn vd – (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Located in Leidseplein, the Paradiso club is considered as a cultural mecca for art in North Amsterdam. With its spacious dance hall, many small rooms, and exhibition halls, this club has established itself as a community hub! If you want to party while enjoying the waterside terrace, then head to the Paradiso club!

Melkweg

Being one of the best Leidseplein nightlife centers, Melkweg attracts younger crowds with its tasteful program! Melkweg aka milky way in English is one of the most well-known dance clubs in the city center. This former dairy factory -hence the name- is now hosting 2200 people in its epic concert halls! If you want to party while enjoying the famous performers and progressive rock bands, you have to check out Melkweg!

Paradiso

And last but not least, the club Paradiso! This eclectic club is by far the most famous nightclub in Amsterdam. Being a former church, Paradiso has opened its door to the party people in 1967, and since then it has hosted many legendary DJs. 

Due to its beautiful interior with stained-glass windows, and open balconies, Paradiso offers an amazing view and epic parties.

Amsterdam Nightlife Tips

I have shared information about where to party in Amsterdam, but make sure you read THIS section. Here you will find my tips to help you make the most of your party night.

Amsterdam nightlife dress code

Amsterdam’s nightlife scene is pretty simple and casual. A nice pair of jeans, a cool top and comfy shoes is all it takes to make your night epic. 

Normally you can enter most of the nightclubs in Amsterdam wearing casual clothes and sneakers – as long as you sober. Very few clubs enforce a strict dress code. One of them being Jimmy Woo – a high end club with an impressive VIP lounge.

Getting into Clubs in Amsterdam

You yay get turned away if..

  • You don’t look extremely drunk, high and not sober at all. 
  • You arrive in a large group of people that are mostly men.
  • You’re wearing a baseball cap, ripped clothes and like a total mess. 

Carry a Photo ID

If you are at least 18 years old, getting into clubs in Amsterdam is not that complicated. Just don’t forget to bring your ID and you are ready to party. 

What time do Bars Close in Amsterdam?

And you are ready to dance till 3 am during the week and 4 am during the weekend! If you are a laid-down type of person, you can enjoy many cool bars till 1 am during the week and 3 am during the weekend. After you are done partying, you can stay in many budget-friendly hostels or some incredible hotels.

Bars in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are Expensive

Everything in Amsterdam’s main city centre is expensive and so are the bars. The bars in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are expensive, so party in the other areas if you don’t want to burn a big hole in your pockets. For more information, check out this page by Amsterdam Tourism board.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam for Nightlife?

If you want to stay and party in the city centre, then keep in mind you can walk and reach everywhere within just a few minutes. Still, if you want to stay right next to a party place, then pick a place to stay near Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein – they’re the party areas. In Rembrandtplein, check out NH Amsterdam Schiller for luxury or Coco’s Outback apartments for an affordable option. In Leidseplein, consider booking American Hotel Amsterdam for a luxurious experience, or Leidse Square City Center Apartments for an affordable option. 

If you want to enjoy the pubs in Noord, then pick a place that’s close to the A’dam tower, like Sir Adam Hotel or ClickNoord hostel. A’dam tower is close to the ferry point that goes to Amsterdam Centraal, so in case you want to visit the city centre during the day, it will be easy. 

Did follow our nightlife recommendations for Amsterdam?

Tag @drifterplanet on Instagram and hashtag it #drifterplanet. We will be happy to share your journey with our audience.

 

About the writer:

Alara BenlierAlara Benlier

My name is Alara Benlier, and I am a passionate traveler who is in a constant search for delicious foods and historical places. Currently living in Germany, I visited many places in Europe and met lots of lovely people from different cultures. Before Germany, I lived in Rotterdam for a year and traveled all around the Netherlands. I am excited to share all my experiences in Drifter Planet.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Top Places to visit in the Netherlands – Itinerary + Travel Guide + Map

Top Places to visit in the Netherlands – Itinerary + Travel Guide + Map

This post about top places to visit in the Netherlands has been written by an ex resident – Alara Benlier. The suggested Netherlands itinerary and route map has been added by the editor.

What’s the first image that comes to your mind when someone mentions the Netherlands? I bet it’s the colorful tulips, spectacular windmills, delicious waffles, loads of bicycles, gouda cheese, or the narrow canals. Yes, the Netherlands has all of that but also a lot more.

The Netherlands has an amazing art scene, medieval towns, music festivals, a many lovely towns that are along the water. You will fall in love with the old brick buildings, rich history, liberal culture and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Netherlands is awesome and it will steal your heart. 

Tulips and Bicycles parked along the canal - Typical Dutch Scene - Delft

Tulips and Bicycles parked along the canal – Typical Dutch Scene – Delft

Geographically flat, the Netherlands is the perfect place to bicycle. This amazing country has some of the most bicycle friendly places in the world. Maybe because of this, the Dutch are extremely fit and sporty. In a way, the Dutch are like the Australians of Europe. They’re awesome! Make sure you talk to a few locals and get to know them when you visit the Netherlands.

The most famous destination in the Netherlands is Amsterdam – but you know that already. It is a part of every single itinerary for the Netherlands. But hey, don’t miss out on all the other amazing things to do in the Netherlands just because of Amsterdam. If you’re visiting this amazing country, then don’t just spend all of your time in Amsterdam. Here are the top places to visit in the Netherlands, check them out.

Places to visit in the Netherlands (+ Netherlands Itinerary Route Map)

Important notes about this itinerary:

  • Before you go further, we’d like to mention that this itinerary has been designed assuming you’re entering the Netherlands from Belgium or Germany. In case you’re flying into the Netherlands and landing in Amsterdam, then you should do this itinerary in reverse. In that case, you will start your Netherlands trip in Amsterdam and end in Maastricht. Be sure to read our detailed itinerary for Amsterdam for an epic trip.
  • Please note that some of the destinations on this Netherlands itinerary are seasonal. The Keukenhof Flower Gardens in Lisse are only open during spring. The beach destinations like Zandvoort and Scheveningen Beach are not worth visiting during winter months.

 

Maastricht – along the River Maas – Day 1

The Lovely Maastricht - the Netherlands

The Lovely Maastricht – the Netherlands

Maastricht is a magical city that stands along the Maas river, which is located in the south of the Netherlands. The city is jeweled with lots of old buildings, splendid churches, restaurants that serve fine cuisine and cute shops.

Maastricht - Places to visit in the Netherlands

Maastricht – Places to visit in the Netherlands CC0 via Pixabay

If you want to experience the whole city in a couple of hours, you have to check out the city center which is called the Vrijthof. The Vrijthof has the most picturesque stops in Maastricht, which include the old buildings and cathedrals, many cafes, terraces, and outdoor events. You can even take a boat tour from here and see the landmarks of the city while sailing on the Maas river. 

Maastricht along River Maas, Places to visit in the Netherlands

Maastricht along River Maas, Places to visit in the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Amsterdam to Maastricht

You can reach Maastricht on a direct intercity train (2981) from Amsterdam. The journey will cost you between 25 – 30 Euros and takes around 2.5 hours.

Maastricht Hotels and Places to Stay

  • Townhouse Maastricht: Situated in the historical part of Maastricht, this hotel has a vintage looking cozy sitting area with tonnes of books. This charming hotel combines ultra modern elements with vintage and the result is stunning. (Read TripAdvisor Reviews here)
  • M-Maastricht: This old school holiday home is located next to St Servaas Bridge and as a result, the views are amazing. Apart from the bedroom and toilet, there’s also the kitchen – so you can cook your own food and save money. 

 

Efteling, Kaatsheuvel – Fairytale Theme Park – Day 2

Efteling Fairytale Theme Park in the Netherlands

Efteling Fairytale Theme Park in the Netherlands

Have you ever dreamed of having no rules in an amusement park when you were a kid? If you did, you were not alone because Dutch people turned that dream into reality, and they called it Efteling!

Efteling is an amusement park from fairytales which is located in Kaatsheuvel, in the Netherlands. This amusement park is massive, it is twice as large as the original Disneyland park in California. There are lots of things to explore, and the park has attractions for both children and adults. From roller coasters to boat rides, elves to dwarves, fairytale forests to haunted houses, Efteling is for everyone.

The most famous attraction in Efteling is the Fairytale forest. In this forest, you can listen to fairy tales depicted in animated houses and statues with music! The Fairytale Forest is a lot of fun for kids and if you like fairy tales, you can also enjoy “experiencing” the fairytales! 

Baron 1898 in Efteling - the Netherlands

Baron 1898 in Efteling – the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

If you want to visit here without kids and love scary rides, you can enjoy the Baron 1898, which is a scary dive coaster. Because this steep coaster dives into a hole in the ground, which is very dark and then comes out from a white fog it makes it quite an experience! If you are with older kids, you can enjoy the coaster called George and the Dragon, which has two wooden coasters (one of them is based on water and the other is on fire) on different rails, that race against each other! 

Fairlyland - Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands

Fairlyland – Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands

One of the most important tips is to take your time and enjoy as many attractions as possible. You can also eat at many restaurants within the park, and also bring your own food and enjoy it in the picnic areas that the park offers. Visiting this amusement park might be very tiring for the young ones, so if you stay late, you can stay in its cozy hotels and even rent a house for the whole family.

Amsterdam to Efteling

From Amsterdam, get on a train to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a.k.a, Den Bosch and from there you will easily find a bus to Efteling. Another option is to take a train to Tilburg and from there take a bus to Efteling. In both the cases, you can buy a combination ticket that includes both train and bus. You can get the ticket in a vending machine at the train station. 

Efteling Hotels and Places to Stay nearby

If you want to spend the night near Efteling, you should book a room in a town called Kaatsheuvel. Below are some places to stay in Kaatsheuvel:

 

Rotterdamthe Cubic Houses – Day 3

Rotterdam's Amazing Skyline - the Netherlands

Rotterdam’s Amazing Skyline – the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

With its modern architecture, old harbor, and dynamic energy, Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands. This gorgeous city is surrounded by innovative architectural designs, and one of the best designs is its famous Cubic Houses! These small yellow-grey houses were built in the late 1970s by an Amsterdam architect called Piet Blom, and since then, they are the landmark of the city.

Cubic Houses in Rotterdam - Places to visit in Netherlands

Cubic Houses in Rotterdam – Places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

The concept of these houses is very unique just like the houses itself. Every house represents a tree, and altogether they create a forest. You can find the Cubic Houses in the city center, right next to the Blaak tram station. If you would like to stay, you can book your room in the hostel inside the Cubic Houses. 

Rotterdam's cubic houses - the Netherlands

Rotterdam’s cubic houses – the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Amsterdam to Rotterdam

Just like most of the cities in this post, Rotterdam can also be reached very easily on a direct train from Amsterdam. You can get on the intercity train 2274 from Amsterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal. This journey will take you a little more than 1 hour. Alternatively, you can also get on to the sprinter train 4085, which will also take you from Amsterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal in 75 minutes. 

Rotterdam Hotels and Places to Stay

 

Delft – Gouda, Ceramics & Historical Canals – Day 4

Delft - Netherlands travel guide

Delft – Netherlands travel guide – CC0 via Pixabay – CC0 via Pixabay

If you are into delicious gouda cheese, gorgeous ceramics & souvenirs, you have to visit the city Delft in the Netherlands! Delft is a cute and small city, which you can easily explore on foot or by bicycle. This city is blessed with the typical Dutch architecture and a splendid canal view, which makes it perfect to take epic pictures.

Blue and White Ceramic Plates in Delft, Netherlands

Blue and White Ceramic Plates in Delft, Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

With its origins from the 11th century, Delft was always well-known for its ceramic pottery industry. This adorable city is also jeweled with plenty of historical monuments and stunning architecture such as the city hall.

Delft - Places to visit in the Netherlands

Delft – Places to visit in the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

The Delft City Hall is the heart of the city and surrounded by cheese shops, Delftware shops, and cute cafes. In the cheese shops, you can try every kind of famous Dutch cheese and also buy them as a souvenir! In the amazing Delftware shops, you can shop for ceramics painted with the famous Delft blue, and of course, you can enjoy your coffee in many cute cafés. So better visit Delft with an empty stomach! Around the city hall, you can also buy other souvenirs and enjoy the sight on the historic architecture. 

Amsterdam to Delft

Get on to the intercity train 2280 from Amsterdam Centraal to reach Delft. The journey will just take one hour.

Delft Hotels and Places to Stay

Here are some places that we have handpicked for you to stay in Delft:

 

Den Haag / the Hague – Town Square and Scheveningen Beach – Day 5

Den Haag or the Hague - Flowers and Architecture

Den Haag or the Hague – Flowers and Architecture – CC0 via Pixabay

With its amazing museums, cool shops, and emerald green boulevards, Den Haag is one of the cities that shouldn’t be missed. Being the third-largest city of the Netherlands, Den Haag offers you to enjoy its beautiful beach along the North Sea. Den Haag is called “the Hague” in English. For the sake of ease, I will use these both the names here in this post.

Mauritshuis - the Hague - places to visit in Netherlands

Mauritshuis – the Hague – places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

While you’re in the Hague, you have the option of exploring the old town or the beach. You can start your day in the town, get to the main square in the centre – Plein. Plein is a Dutch word that means square in English. Walk to Binnenhof, click a few pictures of the historical buildings and then make your way to Lange Voorhout. 

Night time in Den Haag - the Hague - Netherlands

Night time in Den Haag – the Hague – Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Lange Voorhout was once the Hague forest but is a square with a lot of trees. If you’re visiting Lange Voorhout on a Thursday or a Sunday, you will find a lovely antique market here. During summer, you can also see a free outdoor sculpture exhibition here, called Den Haag Sculptuur.

Scheveningen Beach, Den Haag - Places to visit in the Netherlands

Scheveningen Beach, Den Haag – Places to visit in the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

After a long day of traveling, you can relax at Scheveningen Beach and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Here is the largest pier in the Netherlands with its 60-meter lookout tower, bungee jumping facilities, casinos, and fancy restaurants. 

Amsterdam to Den Haag 

It is very easy to reach the Hague from Amsterdam on train, it will take you just 45 minutes. Look for a train from Amsterdam Centraal to Den Haag Centraal. 

Den Haag Hotels and Places to Stay

Below are some hotels in Den Haag that we have handpicked for you:

 

Lisse – the Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Day 6

Keukenhof Flower Gardens - Lisse - the Netherlands

Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Lisse – the Netherlands

Lisse is a small town that’s famous for its colourful tulips, mostly in the Keukenhof flower gardens. If you’re traveling to the Netherlands in spring, then you should do everything you can to check out the world-famous Dutch tulips in Lisse.

Keukenhof Garden in Lisse near Amsterdam - Netherlands Itinerary One Week

Keukenhof Garden in Lisse near Amsterdam – Netherlands Itinerary One Week – CC0 via Pixabay

With its amazing pavilions that show a fantastic collection of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, and lilies, Keukenhof is the most famous and largest flower park in the world. This gorgeous park has a different theme each year, that’s why Keukenhof attracts over a million visitors. Note that, the flower park is open for just eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May each year. 

Keukenhof - Lisse - Places to visit in the Netherlands

Keukenhof – Lisse – Places to visit in the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

One of the best ways to enjoy the Keukenhof flower gardens is by hopping on to a bicycle. Do the Keukenhof cycle route, which is a marked cycle trail that goes for 30 – 40 kms. If you’re not comfortable with riding a bicycle, then you will be happy to know that you can easily cover the area by walking.

If possible, arrive here as early as 8 am, that’s when the park opens. This way, you can avoid the peak crowd time, which is 10 am. The park closes at 7:30 pm.

Amsterdam to Keukenhof 

Tulips in Keukenhof, Netherlands

Tulips in Keukenhof, Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Lisse doesn’t have a train station, but you can reach here on a bus. Look for Keukenhof Express from Schiphol Airport. Schiphol Airport can be reached by taking a train from Amsterdam Centraal.

There are many day trips from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, below are some that we have handpicked for you. With most of these tours, you can skip the line and enjoy the beauty of these colorful tulips:

Lisse Hotels and Where to Stay

If you’re visiting Lisse, most likely you will make a day trip here from Amsterdam like 80% of the visitors. However, I highly suggest you stay here overnight and explore the smaller villages around where you can see some more tulip fields. Below are the hotels that we have handpicked for you:

  • Hotel de Lis: This hotel is less than 1 KM from Keukenhof. They have spacious rooms and an amazing breakfast spread. (Read TripAdvisor reviews):
  • De Vier Seizoenen Bed and Breakfast: This B&B is 1.5 KMs away from Keukenhof, with cozy rooms and a terrace. (read TripAdvisor reviews here)

 

Zandvoort – the Beaches – Day 7

Zandvoort - beach destination near Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Zandvoort – beach destination near Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Originally a fishing village, Zandvoort is now a beach resort town, and the only one that can be reached on a direct train from Amsterdam. The main town is ugly because of new buildings but the beach is pretty big and sandy. Zandvoort’s racing circuit is very popular, is called Circuit Park Zandvoort. 

While in Zandvoort, make the most of your beach time and try one of the beach sport activities that this town if famous for. You can do kitesurfing or wave-surfing. Don’t go to the main Zandvoort beach but head to Bloemendaal instead, which is towards the north. 

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Head to Kennemerduinen an der Nordsee in Zandvoort, it is a nature park with amazing sand dunes. Head to Havana aan Zee for a drink and food – one of the most popular seaside restaurant in Zandvoort. 

Guess what, Zandvoort also has a coffeeshop, it is called Yanks Indian-Club. If you don’t know this already, the coffeeshops in the Netherlands are for coffees but for buying and consuming marijuana. Yes, you can usually get a coffee too but if you want just that, you should look for a cafe instead.

Amsterdam to Zandvoort 

Zandvoort is just 5 train stops away from Amsterdam if you get on to the sprinter train number 5491. You can easily reach here by car too, but keep in mind that the traffic gets a little too much during peak summer season.

Zandvoort Hotels and Places to Stay

 

Haarlem – History, Shopping & Windmill Adriaan – Day 8

Haarlem Windmill Adriaan at night - the Netherlands

Haarlem Windmill Adriaan at night – the Netherlands

Haarlem is just 20 KMs form Amsterdam. It wasn’t one frequently visited by travelers but now that has changed. Back in 1300s, there was a route between Amsterdam to Haarlem with 12 city gates. At the moment only one of the gate still exists, the Amsterdamse Poort.

The Amsterdamse Poort in Haarlem - the Netherlands

The Amsterdamse Poort in Haarlem – the Netherlands

A bit like Delft, even Haarlem has a historical town centre that’s beautiful and the town also has canals. Haarlem has a historical windmill called “the Adriaan” that will complete your Dutch bucket list. Originally dating back to 1779, the beautiful Windmill De Adriaan actually burnt down in 1932 but was rebuilt in 2002. 

Haarlem - places to visit in Netherlands

Haarlem – places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Another amazing sight in Haarlem is the Vleeshal, it was once a meat market in Grote Markt. Apart from this, the Grote Markt has a lot of old buildings and Saint Bavo Church.  In summer, you can also find outdoor cafes here. 

Windmill Adriaan in Haarlem, the Netherlands

Windmill Adriaan in Haarlem, the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

Cycle on the Haarlem Dunes Cycle Route to see the amazing dunes of National Park Zuid-Kennermerland. This trail can be from 29 KMs to 40 KMs, depending on the path you pick. 

Amsterdam to Haarlem

It will take you barely 15-18 minutes to reach Haarlem From Amsterdam. Get to Amsterdam Centraal station, from there, there are trains to Haarlem Centraal every 10 minutes.

Haarlem Hotels and Places to Stay

Here are the hotels in Haarlem that we have shortlisted for you:

 

Amsterdam – Canals, Coffeeshops, Red Light District, Museums – Days 9, 10 & 11

Amsterdam's canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

The best way to end (or start) any trip in the Netherlands is Amsterdam. Amsterdam aka “Venice of the North” can be explained with the Dutch term “gezellig” that can be roughly translated as cozy. If you want to feel the cozy vibes of Amsterdam, just take a walk through its streets covered with bicycles while passing over bridges and follow canals and simply enjoy the light breeze in the air. 

We have a post about what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days, it has the city’s most amazing landmarks and experiences. We also have a detailed guide to Amsterdam’s coffeeshops where you can legally consume weed, and also Amsterdam’s nightlife – be sure to check them out. The city has a lot of must-visit places and it deserves more than one day to travel, but if you are a real city savant, here are some activities that you shouldn’t miss in Amsterdam! 

The Canal tour 

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam on a private open boat by Pure Amsterdam

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam on a private open boat by Pure Amsterdam

With its more than 400-year-old canals, Amsterdam offers you to take a ride through its fascinating history and iconic architecture on a boat. The Canal Ring, which is called Grachtengordel in Dutch, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. 

Taking a canal tour is a must in Amsterdam since it is one of the best ways to discover the city’s main attractions. Most canal cruises take around an hour, which means an hour of learning interesting facts about Amsterdam, taking epic pictures and exploring Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring. 

There are lots of options for every budget when it comes to a canal tour as well. You can take practical “Hop-On, Hop-Off” boat tours, romantic candle-lit dinner tours which last 3 hours or family boat tours. There is also an option to rent your own boat as well.

  • Small open canal boat cruise: An hour long boat tour that starts at Jordaan near the Anne Frank House. Smaller and open canal boats are much better than the bigger ones with glass windows.
  • 75 minute open canal cruise: Departs from just 1 KM away from the Bloemenmarkt (your next destination) and is also on a small boat that’s open.
  • 1 hour Canal Cruise: Starts at Rijksmuseum, which is only 1 KM away from your next destination – the Bloemenmarkt. This is also an open boat.
  • City Canal Cruise: This is on a boat with glass windows. Booking this tour only makes sense when it is raining and you can’t ride the open canal.
  • Canal Cruise with a native german guide: I have a lot of German readers and I’m sure they’d love to hear stories and anecdotes in German as they ride a lovely half open saloon boat that’s small.

The most popular option is, of course- the “Hop-On, Hop Off” boat tours. With this tour, you can hop on the boat to enjoy the canals and then hop off whenever you feel like visiting a shop, a museum, or eat some delicious Dutch pancakes. However, we highly recommend a private open boat that’s smaller.

After you are done exploring the area on foot, you can hop on again the next boat and continue to sail on to your next attraction while listening to interesting facts about Amsterdam. 

If you want to just sit back and enjoy the fascinating idyllic scenery and Golden Age architecture of Amsterdam, you can take an Open Boat Tour and customize your trip. This tour also offers to show you Amsterdam’s lesser-known sights while getting tips and recommendations from the tour guide! 

Bloemenmarkt to Waterlooplein Flea Markt

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Many visitors spend too much time in Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops and the Red Light District (see the next point) and miss out on other things like the open air markets.

If you’re in Amsterdam for even one day, I highly recommend you walk from the flower market (Bloemenmarkt) to the hippie market (Waterlooplein). This walking experience isn’t for shopping purposes but to enjoy the sights and the experience of walking on Amsterdam’s loveliest canals.

Amsterdam has a lovely flower market on Singel Canal, one of the loveliest canals in Amsterdam. Many flower shops are on houseboats and this is why it is also called the floating flower market.  Yes, this market is lovelier than it sounds! You can buy not just tulip bulbs but other flowers too.  

Barely a kilometer away from the Bloemenmarkt is the Waterloo Square. That’s where you can enjoy Amsterdam’s hippie open air flea market. Waterlooplein Markt is one of the most famous open air markets in the Netherlands and is 130 years old. Go ahead and check out more information about this legendary flea market of Amsterdam here.

Coffeeshops and the Red Light District 

Walking around in the Red light district at night - Amsterdam Itinerary

Walking around in the Red light district at night – Amsterdam Itinerary

The real Amsterdam experience won’t be completed until you visit the oldest area in Amsterdam – the Red Light District, as well as one of the many coffeeshops. We have said this before, but in case you missed it – Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops aren’t really cafes but they’re government licensed places to sell marijuana. 

Visit one of the many coffeeshops, get a joint, laugh it out and walk through the Red Light District. No, don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating marijuana consumption but if you ever wanted to try it out then Amsterdam is the best place for it. Wondering which coffeeshop to visit? Check out my post about Amsterdam’s best coffeeshops.

If you’re a newbie and are scared to get high alone for the first time, then check out one of the below tours:

Amsterdam was known to be a major trading harbor since the Middle Ages. During those times, women used to carry attractive red lanterns to meet sailors and entertain them with “the oldest profession” in this district. 

The Red Light District, which is known as De Wallen by locals, is located on the south of the central station and consists of several lovely canals and medieval side streets. Since sex work wasn’t legal until 1810, the area has not only sex shops, peep shows, and window prostitution, but also a lot of bars, art galleries, cafes and coffee shops. 

An important note is that the Red Light District is covered with security cameras and policemen, so don’t try to take a photo or video of the sex workers in this area. There is a high chance of getting your camera taken away from you.

If you want a guided tour of the oldest part of Amsterdam, you will find the Prostitution Information Centre just around the corner. There, you can find lots of information about sex workers and have an informative 90 minute Red Light District walking tours. Below are some of the best tours that we have handpicked for you:

SkyLounge Rooftop Bar 

If you can’t get enough of the spectacular view of the city, you can get some more at the SkyLounge Rooftop Bar while enjoying a drink! This rooftop bar is located at the top of the DoubleTree Hotel and it is the most famous rooftop bar in the city.

Right next to Central Station, you can get an outstanding view of the city and the IJ river. Here lies a picturesque bar but I have to warn you, the prices are a little salty. You can have a cocktail around €16 or a small beer around €5, but don’t worry the view will make up for it! 

Heineken Experience 

One of the most recommended places to visit in Amsterdam is the Heineken Experience. Here, you can get to taste the local beer of the Netherlands, which is the world-famous Heineken beer. The Heineken Experience is very popular since it is the most authentic attraction of Amsterdam.

This old factory, now a museum, has been visited by millions of people from all over the world since 2001. The Heineken Experience offers an interactive self-guided walk through the factory, a delicious Heineken tasting session, and fun information about the company’s history. So, if you are a beer person, you have to check out this cool museum/factory! 

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

  • Pulitzer Amsterdam: (Check deals on Booking.com) This luxury hotel is in Amsterdam city centre but not directly in Dam Square, so you’re in a quieter area but still in the middle of everything. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)
  • ClinkNoord: (Check deals on Booking.com) ClickNoord is an amazing hostel in Amsterdam’s hipster neighborhood – Noord. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)

 

Giethoorn – Canal Town with no Streets – Day 11 or Day 12

Giethoorn - Little Venice in the Netherlands - One week Itinerary

Giethoorn – Little Venice in the Netherlands – One week Itinerary – CC0 via Pixabay

Giethoorn is unreal. There aren’t any streets here but only canals. These canals are used as the main mode of transport. How cool is that! Apart from the canals, Giethoorn also has walking baths and bicycle paths. Like literally every Dutch town, the best way to explore is by getting on a bicycle. Go ahead and rent one to explore this cute town at your own pace.

Giethoorn - Places to visit in Netherlands

Giethoorn – Places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

A lot of destinations have been dubbed as Venice of the North, but Giethoorn truly deserves this title. This town is picturesque and has received a lot of publicity from the likes of NatGeo because there aren’t any roads. Because of this, it does get a little busy during summer, but stays peaceful during all the other seasons. Thankfully, it isn’t very easy to visit Giethoorn using public transport.

If you do decide to visit Giethoorn, then most likely a day trip will be enough. However, I highly recommend you make the most of this town’s beauty and stay overnight. Go eat a nice Dutch meal in a canal side restaurant and make your trip epic. Head to De Eetkamer van Giethoorn and after that go get yourself a nice drink in Grand cafe Fanfare.

Giethoorn is close to De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, so you can visit these two destinations together if you have time on your hands. 

Amsterdam to Giethoorn 

Reaching Giethoorn on public transport from Amsterdam isn’t very easy because there isn’t a single direct train or bus. You need to change trains twice and then get on a bus. From Amsterdam Centraal to get on a train to Lelystad Centrum, from there catch a train to Steenwijk. After that, take a bus to Giethoorn.

You can check out this tour that will take you from Amsterdam to Giethroon and it also includes boat rides in both Amsterdam and Giethoorn.

 

 

Giethoorn Hotels and Places to Stay

Giethoorn has decent hotels and a hostel too. Below are some hotels and hostels we have shortlisted for you:

  • Hotel Giethoorn: The double rooms in this hotel are for around 50 euros per night when it isn’t high season. (Read tripadvisor reviews here)
  • Black Sheep Hostel: Solo travelers should check out the Black Sheep Hostel (read tripadvisor reviews here) where a bed is usually for 45 euros. Strangely, there isn’t a price difference between the hostel and hotels during the low season.

 

Netherlands Itinerary Suggested Route [Summary] + MAP

Netherlands itinerary suggested route - Map

Netherlands itinerary suggested route – Map – PIN IT to save

If you’re starting your Netherlands trip in Belgium or Germany, then we suggest the below route map for you to include all of the above mentioned destinations.

If you fly to the Netherlands then your itinerary reverses and you start at Amsterdam, make a day trip to Giethoorn, then carry on to Haarlem and so on. In this case, you will end in Maastricht before heading off to Belgium or Germany.

Day 1: Maastricht

Day 2: Eftelingsestraat Park

Day 3: Rotterdam

Day 4: Delft

Day 5: Den Haag / the Hague

Day 6: Keukenhof Flower Gardens at Lisse

Day 7: Zandvoort

Day 8: Haarlem

Day 9, 10 & 11: Amsterdam

Day 11 or 12: Giethoorn (Day trip or overnight)

About the writer:

Alara BenlierAlara Benlier

My name is Alara Benlier, and I am a passionate traveler who is in a constant search for delicious foods and historical places. Currently living in Germany, I visited many places in Europe and met lots of lovely people from different cultures. Before Germany, I lived in Rotterdam for a year and traveled all around the Netherlands. I am excited to share all my experiences in Drifter Planet.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Visiting Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam’s Hippie Flea Market

Visiting Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam’s Hippie Flea Market

Imagine a flea market on the streets of Amsterdam with the backdrop of canals, a rustic tower and narrow buildings. Yes, this is what the Waterlooplein Market looks like – the best outdoor market of Amsterdam. (It is also called the Waterloo Market)

Waterlooplein Market is Amsterdam’s oldest flea market with over 300 stalls. Not just in Amsterdam, but it is one of the most famous markets in the Netherlands. This market’s colorful stalls are lined up next to a canal and the Amstel river. You will also see the rustic Munttoren (Mint Tower) in the background. You will see eye catching stuff from many different parts of the world in these stalls.

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Shopping isn’t the only reason why I urge you to visit this flea market in Amsterdam, but an opportunity to experience the sights. Let the sounds, chatter, atmosphere and the liveliness of the Waterlooplein Market charm you. I highly recommend including this amazing flea market in your Amsterdam itinerary. The Waterloo Market reminds me of the hippie flea markets of Goa.

What to Expect in the Waterlooplein Market

Clothes in Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam

Clothes in Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam

If you like vintage stuff and unique handmade items, then you’re going to love the Waterlooplein Market. You will see stalls with old books, apparatuses, steampunk and hippie clothes, old records, rare antiques, cameras, jewelry, leather goods and a lot of other crazy stuff.

Amsterdam's Waterlooplein Market - Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam itinerary

You never know what lost treasure you find in the Waterlooplein Market. As per their official website, you may just come across an unidentified Rembrandt painting if you’re lucky, or even Lennon’s old guitar.

Eating at the Waterlooplein Market

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam – 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Market isn’t just about buying things but you can find something to eat and drink too. Foodies will love to know that there are food trucks in the Waterlooplein Market too! So, you can come here after a crazy party night and eat the perfect hangover breakfast here. Check out our ultimate Amsterdam nightlife guide too.

You can get really good coffee, fries, falafel, sausages, langos (Hungarian fried bread), stroopwafel (sweet) and poffertjes (Dutch pancakes). 

If you want something more than just a snack or sweets, eat italian food at Piadina Factory food truck. Not only can you find authentic Itanian food but also italian drinks like Sanpellegrino fruit sodas.

As per the Thrillist, you should definitely try the giant spring rolls from Vietnamese Loempia food truck at the Waterlooplein Market. For more information about the current restaurant and food trucks in the Waterloo market, check the official market website.

History of the Waterlooplein Market

The location of the Waterlooplein Market was once the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam. The Leprozengracht and Houtgracht were filled in 1882 and the Waterloo Square came into existance.

It was then that the city decided that the Jewish merchants had to move their shops out from the Jodenbreestraat and Sint Antoniebreestraat to the Waterloo square. Back then, the market was open everyday except Saturdays (and currently it is closed on Sundays).

We all know the horrible history of the Nazi regime during the World War 2 time, of course the Waterloo Square was effected back then. This place being a very obvious Jewish quarter, was targeted by the Nazis and the residents were sent to the concentration camps. The market had completely disappeared by 1941.

After the war, the market emerged again due to the scarcity of goods in Amsterdam. However, this time it was a general flea market instead of a jewish market. 

In the sixties and seventies, the Waterlooplein Market became a hippie market. Some stalls were set up by traveling hippies who sold their stuff and the others were by locals who cashed off to the hippie trend. Many says that that was the best and the liveliest era of the Waterloo Square!

How to Reach 

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam – 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Market is on the Waterloo Square of Amsterdam. It is the Groot Waterloo district and is along the Amstel river. If you’re in Amsterdam city centre, then just walk or cycle to the Waterlooplein Market. It isn’t far and it will just take you most likely less than 15 minutes. 

If you have an Amsterdam public transport card, then you can arrive here on Metro or Tram very easily. Waterlooplein Market has its own Metro station and is serviced by Metro 51, 53 and 54. Look for Waterlooplein metro station

BTW: For information about Amsterdam’s public transport, check my post with top travel tips to Amsterdam. This post has a lot of money saving tips and gets updated frequently because I visit Amsterdam often.

The nearest tram station is het Stadhuis – which is the city hall. You can also arrive here on tram 14 from Amsterdam Centraal, or trams 1, 2, 5 and 13 from Dam Square (Magna Plaza).

It is also possible to reach the Waterloo Square on your car. [Though I highly discourage you to drive one in Amsterdam because walking, cycling and public transport will take you everywhere much faster and easier]. There is an underground parking area at Valkenburgerstraat 238 (click for Google Map coordinates) and it costs 3.5 EUR per hour.

Opening Hours

Waterloo Square in Amsterdam

Waterloo Square in Amsterdam

The Waterlooplein Market starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm from Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays. Even though it starts at 9 am, I noticed that some people actually set up their shops and stalls much later. 

 

2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: Fall in LOVE With Amsterdam in 2 Days + MAP

2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary: Fall in LOVE With Amsterdam in 2 Days + MAP

Wondering what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days? Here is a detailed itinerary post which tell you EXACTLY how to spend the best 2 days in Amsterdam. After multiple visits to this city, we are finally sharing our Amsterdam itinerary and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Often called the City of Sins, Amsterdam is one of the loveliest cities of Europe. It is the place where many Euro trips begin and end. After all, the city’s unique narrow buildings, intricate canal systems and pretty bridges that are often adorned with colorful flowers leave a lasting impression. 

Amsterdam is one of the top places to visit in the Netherlands and many people don’t end up going anywhere else in the country (but they should). Amsterdam is expensive, so prepare to shell out a lot of money if you’re not visiting any other place in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is an extremely tolerant country so a trip to Amsterdam will surely offer an opportunity for new experiences. Even if you spend a little time here, you will share stories about it over and over again long after you return home. Yes, a trip to Amsterdam will be one of those things you remember for a lifetime. I have visited the city plenty of times and I still remember my first time here like it was yesterday.

Amsterdam's canals, narrow houses and boats

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

The city is known for its impressive artistic history, as well as its legacies from the century Golden Age. One of the best ways to enjoy all of this is by cycling in and around Amsterdam and becoming a part of the its culture. 

You will be forever in awe of the magic Amsterdam has to offer as it is a place that suits every type of traveler. You can indulge in the beautiful scenery, romantic ambiance and friendly local atmosphere with this Amsterdam itinerary. If you want to know how many days in Amsterdam this thrilling guide will cover – the answer is two. 

Amsterdam CoronaVirus UPDATE + Travel Information 

Before you plan your visit to Amsterdam in 2020, read this latest travel update by Malajkica, who visited Amsterdam during the coronavirus time and cycled around in the Netherlands for a few days in July 2020.

We visited Amsterdam during the coronavirus time felt like nothing had ever happened in Amsterdam. The only visible change was unless you wanted to use public transport, they remind you to cover your mouth and nose when you are not eating or drinking. Unlike the nearby Germany, masks aren’t necessary in supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants in Amsterdam and most of the Netherlands. The Dutch government seems to trust the people more than the German government does. There are signs hanging on toilets or in restaurants that say: Gebruik het gezonde Mind – that means use your common sense!

You can eat normally in bars and restaurants, but only outside, which is nicer for me anyway, so no restriction for me. All in all, the Netherlands is simply much more aware of this situation, so that no fear is aroused and everyone can live peacefully with one another as usual. Amsterdam is and remains one of the most wonderful and cities in Europe, with an incredible feeling of freedom and equality, that’s why I keep coming back again and again.

2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

I’ll share the best way to spend a weekend in Amsterdam, or any other two days of the week. Get ready for an unforgettable journey that is overflowing with exciting new encounters as you enjoy your two days in Amsterdam to the fullest.

I’m going to share the top places to visit, things to do and why to do them during your travels in the capital of the Netherland. Enjoy the best 2 days in Amsterdam, and have a once in a lifetime experience of the city. 

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Amsterdam to take in all of its gorgeous features, then keep in mind that it is not about how long you stay, but how you spend your time there. 

Of course, it is better if you spend more time here, but this itinerary has been written keeping in mind how some of us can’t spend longer but still wouldn’t like to compromise on our experience. This Amsterdam itinerary is 2 days long and will uncover every must-see thing to see and do during your visit.

How to approach this itinerary? Amsterdam offers many unique experiences, but not every experience will work well for every kind of traveler.  Exactly for this reason, I have suggested alternatives for some activities to suit different tastes. For example, family travelers may want to avoid the Red Light District at night but may enjoy one of the smaller museums instead. 

A bike ride may appeal to slightly more adventurous travelers but others may prefer to take the boat or simply a walking tour. Read all the options and pick the one that suits you the most. They have been designed in a way that you can walk from one place to another in a circle.

Personally, I’m not fond of visiting museums because I’d rather spend my time outside and drink in my new surroundings. However, Amsterdam has some of the world’s most amazing museums and if you’re into art, you may want to skip some of the activities and head to museums instead. Most of the major museums are together in the Museum Quarter, you can spend an entire day visiting one after another. The legendary public park in Amsterdam – Vondelpark, is right next to the Museum Quarter, so you can relax here before or after your museum visits.

Day 1:  Typical Amsterdam + Itinerary Map

Flowers, canals, narrow buildings and bicycles - typical Amsterdam

Flowers, canals, narrow buildings and bicycles – typical Amsterdam

So you’re ready to explore Amsterdam in 2 days? Let’s make the first day for the books. You will spend most of your day around Amsterdam’s most famous landmarks, canals and bridges. You will also visit a lovely market with a view, eat and drink at excellent restaurants. I have shared multiple restaurant options for different budgets. 

To make things easy for you, I have marked today’s itinerary on Google Maps so that you get a broad idea of what your day will look like. Save an offline version of this map and Amsterdam city so that you don’t get lost. 

 

1) Walk (or Cycle) from Dam Square to De Negen Straatjes

What’s the most touristy spot in Amsterdam? It is Dam Square! C’mon – you have to see it at least once. You won’t be staying here for long so don’t worry. 

Amsterdam Centraal to Dam Square + Inside De Wallen Streets + Nieuwmarkt

Start at Amsterdam Centraal station (or wherever your hotel is situated) and from there walk to Dam Square. When you reach the Dam Square, you will see the Royal Palace of Amsterdam on one side and the National Monument on the other.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam in Dam Square - 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary

Royal Palace of Amsterdam in Dam Square – 2 days in Amsterdam itinerary

Take a around the Dam Square with your bicycle or walk to see the madness. You will see people busking and everyday is a new show. I have seen fire shows, comedy shows, an angry Darth Vader, an even angrier Catholic group shouting slogans and a laughing atheist group shouting even more slogans. It was like a match. To make things funnier, there was also a Hare Rama Hare Krishna group that joined the party.

An option here would be to go inside the De Wallen area and cycle or walk around a bit on the streets. The Red Light District is also here, so you can go through it and see how it looks during the day. As per this itinerary, you will cross the Red Light District at night too, so you can compare how different it looks from day to night.

You won’t be spending much time in Nieuwmarkt but will just cross it as you walk from Dam Square to De Negen Straatjes.  See De Waag – the most famous building in Nieuwmarkt. You can also skip Nieuwmarkt completely and head directly to De Negen Straatjes.

De Negen Straatjes (the 9 Streets)

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

Admire Amsterdam’s Narrow Houses – Amsterdam itinerary

De Negen Straatjes or the 9 streets is a chic neighbourhood of Amsterdam within the main canal belt with 9 super pretty streets. Walk here to admire the typical Amsterdam sights – narrow houses, canals, bridges and alleys. The famous streets here are a part of Herengracht, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht and Singel. Don’t just cross the 9 Streets but take time to cycle or walk on different streets and admire the best of Amsterdam’s beauty.

Exploring Amsterdam on Bicycle or on Foot?

Amsterdam can be explored easily on foot along with using the amazingly intricate public transport system. I have explored Amsterdam on bicycle as well as on foot – they both have their own charm. Considering Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world, why not take this opportunity to hop on a bicycle and ride around. You can rent your own bike or go for one of the many bicycle tours. 

Two girls cycling in Amsterdam

Amsterdam – Respect the Locals and their city – 1681551 (CC0) via Pixabay

Discovering the city from your bicycle is an adventure, and you will find that the roads in Amsterdam even have lanes exclusively for bicycles. If you’re traveling to Amsterdam with small children, they will LOVE the bicycle rides. Most of the bicycles in Amsterdam (that you can rent) have a child seat in front and back both.

To make things easy, I have created a bicycle map for you. You can also customize it further based on your hotel location or your bicycle rental spot. You can start at Amsterdam Centraal, then cycle to Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt, Negen Straatjes (9 Streets), Jordaan and then back to the next spot for the day – Bloemenmarkt.

Here’s a tip for riding a bicycle for the first time in the Netherlands. Typical dutch bikes don’t really have brakes on the handles but they have pedal brakes instead. If you’re not used to riding on such a bicycle, make sure you ask for one that has breaks on the handles. I have seen many tourists fall because of not being able to brake quickly enough. On the other hand, you just need to get used to pedal breaks and once you do, you will be able to push these brakes faster than the handle breaks.
 

Here are some of bicycle tours in and around Amsterdam that we recommend:

Not in a mood to cycle around? No worries – you can walk from one place to another and experience Amsterdam’s best sights at your own pace. Start anywhere in this circle based on your hotel location and cover Negen Straatjes, Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt. Everything is just minutes away from each other and it is super fun to walk in Amsterdam. 

 

For walking purposes, I have created a smaller map as compared to the cycling map. Try to end in Negen Straatjes (the 9 Streets) and walk along the Singel Canal. This way, you can easily reach your next destination (point 2) – the Bloemenmarkt as you walk along Singel.

 

1) Start with a Canal Cruise  (Option 2)

View of Amsterdam's Canals from a small open boat

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam on a private open boat by Pure Amsterdam

A bicycle tour or a walking tour in Amsterdam is not for something that everyone can do or enjoy. There is another really cool way of exploring Amsterdam – a boat ride on the canals. You will anyway be spending most of your time on the streets on Amsterdam as you move from one sight to another, why not explore it from a different perspective?

View of a canal in Amsterdam from a small boat

Private Boat Ride in Amsterdam – perhaps the best canal cruise experience

Starting your Amsterdam trip with a boat ride will give you a quick view of the city, along with some interesting sights. It will give you an overall perspective of where everything is. You will surely end up seeing more landmarks during the boat ride than you will in the entire day. It is a good way of checking some famous buildings off your list if you’re short of time.

Many residents will shrug uninterestedly at the idea of a boat ride, but trust me it is not overrated if you do it right. In my multiple visits to Amsterdam, I did two different canal cruises and had a completely opposite experience. I hated the first one but loved the second one. Opt for a smaller canal boat with fewer people for a better experience. If the weather permits, get on a fully open boat for a good view. 

Here are a few canal tours in Amsterdam that I have personally handpicked for you. Smaller and open boats are better when it isn’t raining. Check the google map coordinates of the starting point of each boat tour before booking.

  • Small open canal boat cruise: An hour long boat tour that starts at Jordaan near the Anne Frank House. Smaller and open canal boats are much better than the bigger ones with glass windows.
  • 75 minute open canal cruise: Departs from just 1 KM away from the Bloemenmarkt (your next destination) and is also on a small boat that’s open.
  • 1 hour Canal Cruise: Starts at Rijksmuseum, which is only 1 KM away from your next destination – the Bloemenmarkt. This is also an open boat.
  • City Canal Cruise: This is on a boat with glass windows. Booking this tour only makes sense when it is raining and you can’t ride the open canal.
  • Canal Cruise with a native german guide: I have a lot of German readers and I’m sure they’d love to hear stories and anecdoes in German as they ride a lovely half open saloon boat that’s small.

I did a private boat ride with a company called Pure Amsterdam and I loved every bit of it. Even the pictures came out much better from the smaller open private boat as compared to the bigger boats with glass windows. But hey, the glass windows make a lot of sense when it rains.

 

2) Walk (or Cycle) to the Floating Flower MarketBloemenmarkt 

Otherwise known as the Bloemenmarkt in Dutch, the Flower Market in Amsterdam is as pretty as it sounds. Picture the canals lit up with an array of bright colored flowers like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Now picture these in a floating market. 

The flower market is the only floating flower market in the world, and as such – it deserves a visit during your 48 hours in Amsterdam. Walking to this famous attraction is of the best ways to enjoy the sensations of the city. Sit on a canal side bench and simply enjoy the beauty.

Amsterdam's floating flower market - Bloemenmarkt_

Amsterdam’s floating flower market – Bloemenmarkt_

Bloemenmarkt is on the Singel Canal and is a good 15- 20 mins walk to your next destination – Jordaan. I was excited to photograph the streets during this walk so I enjoyed it thoroughly. Walking in Amsterdam is a lovely experience because you will get to see some of the prettiest narrow alleys, lovely bridges and canals. 

You will also see some really interesting buildings like the Homomonument, Westerkerk Church, on your way to the next destination. To help you break the walk down, I have listed three restaurants where you can enjoy a break and a meal. 

3) Eat Dutch Herring at Frens Haringhandel for Lunch in Amsterdam

Eating Dutch Herring in Amsterdam next to the Canals

Eating Dutch Herring in Amsterdam next to the Canals

Want to have a typical road side Dutch meal? Walk to Frens Haringhandel in the vicinity and eat Herring exactly the way Dutch do – raw. It is delicious.

Don’t be afraid to try the Dutch Herring because I mentioned it is raw. In fact, it is “soused herring”. It doesn’t taste raw because it is soaked in vinegar and eaten with pickles and onions on top. For €3.5, it for the most affordable and delicious meal that I have ever had in Amsterdam. Honestly, it is super light so you may just want to have more than one portion.

Frens Haringhandel - Eat Herring in Amsterdam

Frens Haringhandel – Eat Herring in Amsterdam

If eating fish is not your thing, then I recommend the below tried and tested restaurants for an amazing lunch in Amsterdam. They are all on your way to Jordaan from the Bloemenmarkt:

Kapitein Zeppos (Lovely Outdoor seating)

Outdoor Seating in Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam

Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam

Kapitein Zeppos has the prettiest outdoor seating in a narrow alley of Amsterdam that I have seen so far. I stumbled upon this restaurant when I visited Amsterdam for the first time in 2014 and fell in love with the sitting area. I had forgotten the name of this place but I saw it again in 2017 while I was walking between Jordaan and the Bloemenmarkt.

If you’re stopping at Kapitein Zeppos, then be sure to get a table outside to enjoy this place to the fullest. The portions here aren’t massive here but you will get to eat some delicious food.

d’Vijff Vlieghen (Lavish)

I recommend you stop at d’Vijff Vlieghen for a lavish traditional Dutch meal. The name d’Vijff Vlieghen means “the five flies” in English. It is a must visit restaurant for those who’d like to experience an authentic Dutch meal.  We recommend you order the herring appetizer, get the sea bass or the beef tenderloin for your main course and finish off with apricot mousse for dessert. Vegetarians should opt for potatoes and asparagus for a memorable experience. 

Pancakes Amsterdam Negen Straatjes (Budget)

Another lunch option that’s between your walk between the flower market and Jordaan is Pancakes Amsterdam Negen Straatjes for an amazing and comparatively affordable meal. This isn’t just a place for sweet pancakes but you will also get savory ones too.

 

4) Explore Jordaan – Walk along the canals go over the Bridges

View from the Bridge in Amsterdam Flowers Canal Narrow Buildings in Jordaan

View from the Bridge in Amsterdam Flowers Canal Narrow Buildings in Jordaan

Many first timers get stuck in Amsterdam’s Dam Square – which is the most crowded area. I’d recommend you get out of it and head to the streets of Jordaan. 

Not just the streets but the canals are super pretty in Jordaan and you can possibly find an empty bench next to one and enjoy the view. Unlike the main centre, you may just find a few empty bridges in Jordaan that are perfect for a picture without crowds. 

The Narrow Streets of Jordaan, Amsterdam

The Streets of Jordaan, Amsterdam

Did you know the Amsterdam is commonly referred to as the ‘Venice of the North”? One trip to the captivating streets of Jordaan district and it’s easy to see why. Found at the heart of the city, Jordaan showcases breathtaking narrow houses that are dancing with color, and truly original coffeeshops that highlight the artistic talent to be found in Amsterdam. 

Walk along Singelgracht, Lauriergracht, Rozenstraat, Rosengracht, Bloemstraat and Lijnbaansgracht and see some of Jordaan’s loveliest sights. Strolling through the streets and exploring the canals is a must-do adventure when visiting Amsterdam. Don’t do that in Dam Square, but head to Jordaan instead.

 

5) Visit the Anne Frank House (Option 1)

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam

There are two options for spending your time after visiting Jordaan. One of them is visiting a coffeeshop and the other is visiting Anne Frank House. They’re both completely opposite and may appeal to very different kind of people.

Ann Frank House is pretty close to Jordaan so it makes total sense to visit it if you want to skip the next two items in the itinerary – the Red Light District and the Coffeeshops. You will find more information about this place in my post about Amsterdam’s best museums.

Visiting the Anne Frank Museum during the evening is a great way to avoid crowds. It is a biographical museum that preserves the history of the Jewish wartime diarist, Anne Frank – but of course you knew that already.

 

5) Visit a Coffeeshop (Option 2)

Grey Area CoffeeShop Amsterdam

Grey Area CoffeeShop Amsterdam

You can’t go to Amsterdam without enjoying the uplifting and joyful vibrancy of an Amsterdam coffeeshop. There are so many to choose from, and it goes hand-in-hand with indulging in the culture of the city. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be going to your run-of-the-mill kind of coffee shop. The term “Coffeeshop” in Amsterdam is used for a place that’s not really a cafe. One of the reasons for this is that it is legal to buy and consume cannabis in Amsterdam. Be sure to read my ultimate guide to the coffeeshops in Amsterdam, with tips, menus and more.

The Coffeeshops in Amsterdam are licensed to sell marijuana and derivative products to their customers. This is a fun way to really take in the freedom that the city offers you, and it will only add to an authentic travel experience of Amsterdam in two days. 

Wondering which coffeeshop to visit? You will cross two really good coffeeshops on your way to the next destination – Paradox, Amnesia Coffeeshop, Grey Area Coffeeshop, 1e Hulp – they’re all good. Pick whichever fits your mood, buy a joint and try it if you want to. Be careful, because sometimes the stuff in Amsterdam can be pretty potent, even for the usual smokers. 

A pack of Reefers from one of the coffeeshops in Amsterdam

A pack of Reefers from one of the coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Feeling apprehensive about visiting a coffeeshop alone but would still like to visit? Here are a few tours that I have handpicked for you. They will take you to a few coffeeshops and some of them also educate you how to roll your own joint.

 

6) Walk Through the Red Light District 

A Canal and Red Light District in Amsterdam - Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam – Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a liberal city, with many varieties of unusual things available to people that are not legal in other places around the world. One of the most famous attractions of Amsterdam is the Red Light District, a place that supports sex workers and allows them to legally do sex trading. It is also a space that celebrates pleasure. 

Walking through Amsterdam’s Red Light District is an experience because it is amazing how the entire area completely changes as the evening begins. Almost every window showcases a sex worker and just a few hours back those windows appeared to be usual houses. To live up to its name in the literal sense, the district gets illuminated with red lights too.

Amsterdam's Red light district during the day

Amsterdam’s Red light district during the day with Red Light Secrets

One of the things that takes this area onto a whole new level is the amount of work put into providing a seductive show, with a lot of emphasis put on showcasing the girls of the night. You won’t find this kind of thing anywhere else in the world.

Walking around in the Red light district at night - Amsterdam Itinerary

Walking around in the Red light district at night – Amsterdam Itinerary

A walking tour along The Red Light District will be an eye-opening experience, you will find all sorts of sex-related products, shops and performances that are all sold in a professional manner. 

Enjoy the experience of the Red Light District during your time in Amsterdam if you’re here without small children. To get some more out of your Red Light City exploration, we have shortlisted some walking tours for you.

Quick tip (as also mentioned in my Amsterdam travel tips post) – please be respectful to the sex workers and do not photograph them. Photography is prohibited in the Red Light District. 

 

7) Dinner in Amsterdam Centrum (Few Options)

Before enjoying a most unforgettable (although, possibly foggy) night out in Amsterdam, have a bite to eat. Here are a few options in the nearby area where you can enjoy a quick meal before you head out for some drinks. If you’re in Amsterdam with your children and you’re not heading to any bar after dinner, they will enjoy these below mentioned places. In that case, of course this will be your last activity of the day.

Burger Bar

Burger bar one of the top places in Amsterdam centrum for a quick bite that’s super delicious. You can get a vegan burger or even one with beef. Get some fries and make sure you try the famous Samurai sauce. 

Wok to Wok

Wok to Wok is affordable, quick and delicious. You can get a noodle bowl as per your own taste and preference. I remember getting a meal from here in 2017 and eating is while walking as I enjoyed the view. I went back in 2019 to the same place and had an amazing noodle bowl. This is highly recommended for those who are too excited to be in Amsterdam that they’d prefer not to sit (like me haha). 

Thaise Snackbar Bird

Get a quick meal at the Thaise Snackbar Bird. Enjoy authentic Thai food in the Netherlands and have a truly unique mealtime experience. Be sure to have plenty of the delicious lemongrass, chili and fish sauce!

 

8) Experience Nightlife in Amsterdam – Three Amazing Pubs

Amsterdam Nightlife more than just the Red Light District

Me Exploring Amsterdam at Night – the Nightlife is more than just the Red Light District

The below three options are for those who’d like to relax and drink in a bar, considering the busy day. I also have a post about Amsterdam’s party places, you can go there instead if you have the energy to party. For everyone else, the below three options will suffice.

De Drei Fleschjes

De Drei Fleschjes (or Three Small Bottles) is pretty close to the Red Light District and is one of the best places to drink in Amsterdam and experience the nightlife. This place has also been features in an Anthony Bourdain travel documentary because of the amazing selection of Dutch drinks.

Try some Jenevers (Dutch gins) while you’re here. If you’re lucky, the bartender may also share his knowledge with you about the Jenevers with a little bit of history. 

Wynand Fockink

Wynand Fockink is famous, historical and a good place to experience Amsterdam bustling nightlife. It is a distillery where you can also enjoy a guided tour when the peak hours aren’t going on. 

Proeflokaal Arendsnest

Experience the best beer from Dutch breweries at Proeflokaal Arendsnest. This is a nice place to start your knowledge about Dutch beer as you get a little drunk. They have a lovely canal side sitting area and one of the benches is right on the edge. 

Day 2: Offbeat Amsterdam + Itinerary Map

So it’s your last day in Amsterdam, it’s time to start exploring some of the more off-the-beaten-track areas this magnificent city has to offer. Be prepared for a day full of wonder, color and beauty as you experience some unusual things to do in Amsterdam. You will spend some of this day in Noord, Amsterdam’s hipster neighborhood.

If riding a bicycle in main Amsterdam is too much for you, you should know that it is much easier in Noord because it isn’t so full. Most of the places in today’s itinerary are right next to each other, so you can do this on foot too. 

Here’s a map for you so that you can get an idea:

 

1) Start Your Day in Waterlooplein Flea Market + Breakfast [Sunday Closed]

Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam

Me exploring the Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam in July 2019

Ever seen pictures of a road side flea market in Amsterdam? Most likely they were clicked on Waterloo Square. Waterlooplein is the oldest and the most famous flea market in Amsterdam (and also the entire Netherlands). No, it is not just a place to shop but an opportunity to experience different sights. It is the place to be to soak in the atmosphere of a morning in Amsterdam.

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam in July 2019 – 2 days in Amsterdam

You will see colorful stalls of many different kinds of vintage and unique items in this 130+ year old market. You will find antiques, books, gems, old records, art, vintage cameras, spray cans and much more. Don’t buy souvenirs for your friends from a typical touristy shop, but get something unique from the Waterlooplein Markt. 

Amsterdam's Waterlooplein Market - Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein Market in July 2019 – Amsterdam itinerary

As per their website, there are chances that one can also find (and so it has happened) an unknown Rembrandt, perhaps a signed Hemingway.. or even a guitar that belonged to John Lennon. Go check out the pictures of the amazing Waterloo Market in the 60s and 70s – the hippie era.

Not just the shops but Waterlooplein Market also has multiple food trucks and you can catch a quick breakfast before heading to your next spot for the day.

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam (July 2019) – 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein is on the Groot Waterloo Square that’s in the middle of Amsterdam along the Amstel River. It is very close to Amsterdam Centraal station (1 Kilometer walk). It was named after the Battle of Waterloo.

Amsterdam has a lot of amazing flea markets, and you are bound to come across some interesting items. However, Waterlooplein surely stands out because it is the oldest and the most picturesque market in the city. For more information, read my post about the Waterlooplein Market.

1) Start Your Day in Vondelpark (Option 2)

Visit Vondelpark in Amsterdam to beat the crowds

Visit Vondelpark in Amsterdam to beat the crowds

Amsterdam has some of the most breathtaking natural gardens. Explore the magic of nature whilst in a blissful atmosphere at Vondelpark. This urban park is open to the public, and is 47 hectares of pure beauty.

Find lakes thriving with habitats of fish and frogs, and serene old trees swaying in the wind as you walk along a picturesque pathway through the garden. 

It’s easy to feel time slip away as you become lost in the magnificent plant and animal life around you. Be sure to pack a few snacks so you can sit and relax whilst you admire the magnificence of the park.

Optional: If you’re an art fan, then you may want to stop at the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum – both are pretty close to Vondelpark. The entire Museum Quarter is next to this park. You can skip any of the next activities from 3) to 7) because they are right next to each other.

Another amazing alternative would be to visit the Waterlooplein flea market, it is one of the oldest markets in Amsterdam.

2) Take a Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord 

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord - Amsterdam Itinerary

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord – Amsterdam Itinerary

If you’re starting your day in Waterlooplein flea market, then you can simply walk a kilometer till the Amsterdam Centraal Station to take the free ferry to Amsterdam-Noord.

However, if you’re starting your day in Vondelpark, you can reach Amsterdam Centraal by a tram. Simply walk till Leidseplein or Huygensstraat or Bilderijksstraat and hop on to a tram to Amsterdam Centraal. You can also cycle there.

From Amsterdam Centraal, it is super simple to reach Amsterdam-Noord. Just reach Amsterdam Centraal and hop on to a ferry to Noord. This ferry is free and you can bring your bicycles along with you and enjoy the ride with an amazing atmosphere. 

Amsterdam-Noord is like a breath of fresh air when compared to the crowded city centre. I have even published a detailed guide to Amsterdam Noord with a lot of information. Take the opportunity to sightsee as you pass by hip cafes and alternate buildings. 

Outside A'Dam Tower in Amsterdam

Outside A’Dam Tower in Amsterdam – very close to the ferry point

Compared to the mainstream vibe found in central Amsterdam, Noord offers a stress-free and charming atmosphere, making it a gem to see during your trip. It’s also a nice way to break from the business of Amsterdam Centraal and travel in a quieter part of the city. 

If you haven’t already figured it out, Noord stands for North in Dutch, so obviously Amsterdam-Noord is geographically on North of Amsterdam.

3) Visit the A’Dam Tower for the View [+ Extreme Swing]

Extreme Swing on A'Dam Tower - 2 Days in Amsterdam

Extreme Swing on A’Dam Tower – 2 Days in Amsterdam

Where to get the best view of Amsterdam City? Get on top of the A’Dam Lookout Tower. A’dam Tower is barely a minute away from where you get off the ferry. Ride on the tower’s gorgeous glass elevator and take your sightseeing 20-stories up. 

Moon Bar on A'Dam Tower - Amsterdam itinerary

Moon Bar on A’Dam Tower – Amsterdam itinerary

At the top of the tower, you will find Moon Bay and Madam restaurant with amazing views over the city. You will also be amazed when you see Noord’s nearby alternate buildings from this tower.

View of Amsterdam from A'Dam Tower - how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam

View of Amsterdam from A’Dam Tower – how to spend 2 days in Amsterdam

If you’re feeling brave and want to try something completely out-of-the-box, you can enjoy a few swings in a spellbinding over-the-edge swing. This is not for the faint-hearted, but it is well worth overcoming any fear you have of height to enjoy a one-of-a-kind view of Amsterdam.

Book your A’Dam Lookout Entry Ticket Including 2 Drinks

Here’s a quick video of San and I enjoying this swing on top of A’dam Tower.

The entry to A’dam Tower is 13 Euros and the swing costs 5 Euros. 

3) Explore and Eat Lunch in De Ceuvel – It’s LOVELY

An old houseboat transformed into a sitting area in De Ceuvel - Amsterdam

An old houseboat transformed into a sitting area in De Ceuvel – Amsterdam

De Ceuvel is a must-see sustainable cafe in Amsterdam. It has been transformed from a site where old houseboats once stood, and now serve as a sustainable workspace. The result is absolutely stunning.

On my visit here, I ate some seriously delicious vegan meals. I still remember their lentil soup, which was so much like daal, sweet potato fries, bread with daal paste on top and salad with seeds and nuts. The portions are massive.

This eco-friendly cafe is not only a great place to get a bite to eat, but it is an awesome place to simply hang out. There are so many amazing places to sit and get stuck for hours. You can sit next to the water or inside if the weather doesn’t suit you. 

De Cuvel prides itself on providing conscious food made from its own organic gardens. Check out the composting toilets, solar panels, stroll the wooden looped pathways and take a ride from the rope swing. 

I have so much to write about De Ceuvel that I think I will eventually publish another post only dedicated to this place. Lunch in Ceuvel is an experience to be had in Amsterdam, and you can be sure that it will be memorable. 

4) See the Street Art in NDSM Werf

A Massive Mural in NDSM Werf Amsterdam

A Massive Mural in NDSM Werf Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a hub for creative minds to flourish, and artwork of all kinds is showcased everywhere you go.

One of the best places to see the talent of the artists in Amsterdam is NDSM Werf. It is is home to cultural development, liberal artists and lively social movements that will inspire you.

NDSM Werf  was once a shipyard but has been completely transformed into a “free alternative art exhibition”. You will not just see the paintings but also transformed old school apparatuses (possibly from the shipyard) that look like they belong to a science fiction movie. In a way, NDSM reminded me of Berlin’s East Side gallery – except the latter is a wall but the former is a hall and all the artwork inside it.

San with his bicycle admiring the artwork inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

San with his bicycle admiring the artwork inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

You won’t be seeing the usual graffiti tags here, instead, you will find incredible murals, brightly colored characters, and art that tells a story with meaning. The NDSM Werf is a platform for artists to have a voice, and you will find massive buildings covered in passionate artwork.

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

One thing I love about the Netherlands is that most of the places and even attractions are bicycle friendly. Same is the case with NDSM Werf – you can take your bicycles inside and explore every corner at your own pace.

Barbie Peepshow inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Barbie Peepshow inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

I still remember a funny “Barbie Peep Show” window that we saw in NDSM Werf. It made us laugh so much! I have so much to write about NDSM Werf, perhaps I will publish a separate post that’s just about this place.

5) Relax by the beach in Pllek by the IJ [River]

Pllek by the IJ - Amsterdam Noord

Pllek by the IJ – Amsterdam Noord

Right along the IJ in the NDSM neighborhood, Pllek is a beautiful place to laze on a beach. (IJ by the way is the name of the river that runs through Amsterdam and is commonly just referred to as “the IJ”). Pllek’s urban beach surely has smooth golden sands, but no swimming water. You can sunbathe, drink as the sun goes down, and grab a mouthwatering meal at the Pllek restaurant.

Pllek by the IJ is undoubtedly one of the most happening places to be in Amsterdam. Of course, it is a great place to meet new people and have a blast. 

6) Say Bye to Amsterdam with an Evening Canal Cruise

Amsterdam's illuminated bridges at night - Night Canal Cruise in Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam’s illuminated bridges at night – Night Canal Cruise in Amsterdam itinerary [CC0] by Skitterphoto via Pixabay

Unless you’re staying in Amsterdam-Noord, most likely you will have to take the free ferry back to Amsterdam Centraal to reach your hotel. Why not say bye to Amsterdam with one last hour of total relaxation as you sit on a boat and cruise through the canals. 

Amsterdam looks so pretty at night - Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam looks so pretty at night – Amsterdam itinerary

A canal cruise in Amsterdam on a boat is very different when it is dark because the entire city glows. The narrow bridges and the window panes get illuminated, story book lamps light up and the entire Amsterdam looks spectacular.  Let Amsterdam’s typical picture postcard looks charm you for one last time.

If it is your first time traveling in the Northern Hemisphere in Summer months, please note that it may not get dark until 10 at night, so check the sunset time before you book your tour. 

Amsterdam Looks Stunning at Night - the BEST 2 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Amsterdam Looks Stunning at Night – the BEST 2 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Evening boat tours get booked pretty fast or you may have to spend some time in the queue. Here are two options that I have handpicked for you, please pick one that depart from a place where you can easily reach after your day. (or which is close to your hotel)

  • 1.5 Hours Evening Canal Cruise – This departs from here, which is close to the Vondelpark and Hard Rock Cafe. Book your time slot in advance as per the season. 
  • Small Open Canal Boat Cruise – I prefer small and open canal boats. I had a horrible experience with a big boat with glass windows but a completely different experience with a smaller boat that was open from the top. Of course, you have to consider the weather too. This boat leaves from here, which is in Jordaan.

Getting Around in Amsterdam & Public Transport

Amsterdam can be explored on a bicycle, by boat, on trams, or by simply walking from one place to another. Each one of these ways of getting around has it’s own charm. Bicycle is fast, will take you literally everywhere in Amsterdam because the city is bicycle friendly. Walking is slower and you can click as many photos and videos without having to stop your bicycle. In reality, you can’t really stop your bicycle anywhere.

Inside a Train in Amsterdam - tips for traveling to Amsterdam

Inside a Train in Amsterdam – tips for traveling to Amsterdam

Traveling on a boat will give you a different perspective of Amsterdam. You can just sit back and relax and enjoy the view as you explore Amsterdam from a boat. Traveling on trams makes a lot of sense if you don’t have a bicycle. After all, you may get tired of walking and would like to rest a little.

I Amsterdam City Card – Amsterdam Travel tips

Here’s my one little tip to help you save money in Amsterdam. Get yourself an I Amsterdam card that you can use for public transport as well as one boat trip. Moreover, this card can also be used in most of the museums in Amsterdam.

Get Your I Amsterdam City Card Here

Getting this card makes sense if you know you will be using the public transport and visiting at least 2-3 attractions that are included in this card. 

Amsterdam Hotels and Hostels

Our website has a detailed post about where to stay in Amsterdam that contains not just top hotels but also hostels, campgrounds and houseboats, be sure to check it out for more information. Below are two places to stay in Amsterdam that we highly recommend: 

  • Pulitzer Amsterdam: (Check deals on Booking.com) This luxury hotel is in Amsterdam city centre but not directly in Dam Square, so you’re in a quieter area but still in the middle of everything. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)
  • ClinkNoord: (Check deals on Booking.com) ClickNoord is an amazing hostel in Amsterdam’s hipster neighborhood – Noord. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)

 

Final thoughts on 2 days in Amsterdam

2 Days in Amsterdam itinerary - Drifter Planet

2 Days in Amsterdam itinerary – Drifter Planet

You don’t need a lot of days in Amsterdam to utterly fall in love with its thriving energy, friendly atmosphere, and the liberal ways it promotes. Obviously, the more time you spend here is better (as with most destinations), but it may not always be possible. 

There are really a lot of amazing things to do in Amsterdam and even in my multiple visits I haven’t done everything that I want to. Don’t stress yourself in trying to check everything off your Amsterdam list. Do a little, relax a little, eat a little more and smile a lot because you’re lucky to be traveling. 

There is no place quite like Amsterdam, and you will find yourself wanting to return time and time again to embrace the city’s many fascinating and awe-inspiring attractions.

Amsterdam is a place full of new experiences, and inspiring places. With this guide, you will be sure to make the best out of your 2 days in Amsterdam and have an extremely memorable time. 

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Best Museums in Amsterdam – Art, History, Sex and More

Best Museums in Amsterdam – Art, History, Sex and More

Amsterdam is home to many cool museums that are not just limited to art and history. Some of these museums in Amsterdam are pretty famous and the others are quite original.  Sounds cliche, but there’s something for everyone in Amsterdam.

Museum lovers will love Amsterdam for the variety of options and possibilities. In fact, there is even a square that’s dedicated to museums – it is the Museumplein (Museum Square). The most visited museums in Amsterdam are located in the museum square.

Before we go further and talk about the museums, we’d like to share a quick tip:

Important Tip about visiting Amsterdam’s Museums:

The most economical way to visit the museums in Amsterdam is by buying the I Amsterdam city card, which INCLUDES an entry to most of the museums on this list as well as the local transport, a canal tour and 25% discount in many places. The card costs €59 for 1 day, €74 for 2 days, €87 for 3 days and €98 for 4 days.

 

Buying this card makes sense if you’re going to visit 3 attractions in a day and use the public transport. Seems expensive? Well, Amsterdam is not a cheap destination but buying a City card is a good way to save money.

Earlier the tourists could also buy a card that’s just for visiting museums – Museumkaart. However, as per new rules only the Dutch residents can use it.

If you’re not visiting 3 attractions or more, then you can consider just booking a slot for yourself at one of the top three museums in Amsterdam to skip the line,

 

Based on our research, it seems that there are at least 57 different museums in Amsterdam! We’re sure the number is a little higher than this because there are a few smaller museums that are not on this list. Although some of the most famous ones are the art museums in Amsterdam but we have tried to include as much variety as possible in this list.

We have divided Amsterdam’s museums in two broad categories:

  • Family friendly museums (art, history, science, etc.)
  • Sinful (sex, drugs, alcohol and more)

Apart from art and history, you can learn about the culture, science, cinema, pipes, beer, marijuana and even sex amongst this wide variety of museums in Amsterdam. To help you make the most of your holidays in Amsterdam we thought we should enlighten you with some suggestions featuring the best museums in Amsterdam.

Top Museums in Amsterdam

Family Friendly Museums in Amsterdam (art, history, science, etc.)

1) Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - Amsterdam museums

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – Amsterdam museums – CC0 via Pixabay

Van Gogh Museum is one of the famous art museums in Amsterdam that focuses on the work of Vincent Van Gogh. You can admire not only Van Gogh’s best paintings and drawings, but also his letters. If you’re a fan of his art then you will be happy to know that will find the largest collection of his art pieces.

If you’re visiting the Van Gogh Museum to also look at Vincent van Gogh’s most famous painting – the Starry Night, you will be disappointed. It is sadly not on display here because it is a part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh - his most famous painting is not a part of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh – his most famous painting is not a part of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

But hey, there are still 200 paintings and 400 drawings that were created by Vincent van Gogh that are a part of this museum. Additionally, art pieces by Van Gogh’s contemporaries are also on display here.

This museum is the most popular one in the Netherlands, just last year (2017), it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands. Also, it is also one of the most famous museums worldwide.

If you’re not visiting other museums, then it makes more sense not to buy the I Amsterdam card but to buy the entry tickets for Van Gogh Museum directly. I have found a way for you to SKIP the long lines and enter the Van Gogh museum directly.

Here’s something interesting about the Van Gogh Museum – back in 1991, there was a theft of 20 paintings from here but they were recovered in just half an hour from an abandoned car. Also, two paintings were stolen in 2002, which were recovered only in 2016 from Naples, Italy.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card (You Need to Book a Time Slot Before Going)

 

2) Rijksmuseum

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum is a national museum that focuses on art and history.  It is one of the most visited museums in not just the Netherlands, but in Europe. It is also the largest art museum in Amsterdam. As per Nat Geo, the Rijksmuseum is one of the top 10 museums in the world.

Back in the 1800, Rijksmuseum was in the Hague where it was founded. It was moved to Amsterdam in 1808. Earlier it was located in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam but since 1885 it has its own building in the Museum Square.

Not visiting any other museum except the Rijksmuseum? Then there’s no need to buy the I Amsterdam card. Instead, just buy an express entry ticket to Rijksmuseum which will let you SKIP the line.

The Rijksmuseum has over one million objects related to art and history but only around 8000 of them are on the display. The most famous part of this museum are the paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, also featuring the famous Rembrandt. This list of museums in Amsterdam also lists Rembrandt’s House, which is a biographical museum.

Rijksmuseum Research Library - Amsterdam museums

Rijksmuseum Research Library – Amsterdam museums

Interestingly, the building also houses the Rijksmuseum Research Library, which is also the largest public art and history research library in the Netherlands.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

3) Anne Frank House & Museum

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam – cc0 via Pixabay

Most people have hard of Anne Frank from “the Diary of a Young Girl”, also known as “the Diary of Ann Frank” – one of the most widely known books in the world. She was a German born Jewish diarist who wrote about the war while she was hiding with her family from the Nazis. She did not survive the war, but her story will be told forever through her book and a museum that’s dedicated to her.

Anne Frank House & Museum was designed as a writer’s house and biographical museum.  The museum preserves the hiding place of the Frank family from the Nazi army when they were in Central Amsterdam. It displays not only the life of Anne Frank and her family but also the Academy Award that Shelly Winters won as she depicted Anne Frank in the Diary of Anne Frank movie.

Entry to the Ann Frank Museum is not possible through I Amsterdam Card because it is privately owned.

Anne Frank House and Museum is the third most visited museum in the Netherlands, right after Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

  • Location: Prinsengracht in Central Amsterdam
  • Category: Biographical
  • NOT included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

4) The Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is another biographical museum and it is also an art museum.  This one is dedicated to Rembrandt, painter, and the collection showcases etchings as well as paintings. Although you will find a massive collection of his work in Rijksmuseum, we recommend visiting the Rembrandt House Museum.

The Rembrandt House museum was built in his historic house that dates from the 17th century, which makes it quite impressive to visit too. Rembrandt lived and worked in this house from 1639 to 1656. This is where he lived right before he went bankrupt in 1656 and his belongings were auctioned off.

The Rembrandt House Museum is not in the Museum Square but in Jodenbreestraat.

  • Location: Jodenbreestraat
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

5) The Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam - Museums in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Royal Palace of Amsterdam – Museums in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located right in the city center. It’s one of the three palaces in the Netherlands that’s with the Dutch monarchs. It dates from the 17th century and is the ONLY palace in the Netherlands that is being used actively and is available for the public to visit.

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the most famous historical buildings of the country. It is actually the largest building from the Dutch Golden Age. The Amsterdam Royal Palace was actually built as a city hall, which opened in 1655 but later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon.

Don’t you want to know what this spectacular palace looks from the inside? Not only can you see the magnificent interiors, but you can also discover collections of art pieces as well as old furniture.

  • Location: Dam Square
  • Category: Historical
  • Not Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

6) Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum)

Maritime Museum Amsterdam - Best Museums in Amsterdam

Maritime Museum Amsterdam – Best Museums in Amsterdam – CCO via Pixabay

Amsterdam was one of the most important ports during the 17th century and a visit to the National Maritime Museum is important to appreciate the history. Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum is a maritime museum where you can learn about the maritime history.

The Maritime Museum has many interactive activities for children. There is also a free virtual reality tour. If you follow the order, it can take around 2 – 3 hours to see everything inside.

You can find a collection that features items related to shipping and sailing in a naval storehouse decor. You can expect to see paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. There are things to see both inside and outside. This museum also has impressive replica of a Dutch East Indiaman ship, named the ‘Amsterdam’.

  • Location: Kattenburgerplein, near the city old harbor
  • Category: Historical and Educational
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

7) Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

Foam Fotographiemuseum Amsterdam is a cool photography museum that photography lovers will enjoy visiting. At any single time, there are four different exhibitions to showcase different types of photography (documentary, art, fashion, etc.)

Foam is a small museum but at times it may take you more than one hour to look at all the photographs that are on display. The exhibitions change regularly, so it is one of those places that you can visit more than once. You can also find photographs from popular photographers as well as the ones by upcoming and lesser-known photographers.

  • Location: Keizersgracht
  • Category: Photography
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

8) Stedelijk Museum

There are many art museums in Amsterdam but the Stedelijk Museum is a little different. The name basically means Municipal Museum. The focus is on modern art as well as contemporary art and design.

This museum is modern (especially the entrance) and you can expect to find art coming from the 20th century up to the 21st century. The good thing is that the Stedelijk Museum doesn’t tend to get crowded as the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.

If you’re a fan of Vincent van Gogh, you will be interested to know that this is the first place where his paintings were displayed, as initiated by his brother’s wife (but in the old location). You can still find his work here and also many other modern and contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Gilbert & George, etc.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Modern Art
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

9) EYE Film Institute Netherlands

EYE Film Institute Netherlands - Cinema Museum in Amsterdam

EYE Film Institute Netherlands – Cinema Museum in Amsterdam

EYE Film Institute Netherlands is basically an archive and museum that keeps all the films screened in the country. The building is futuristic and has a big exhibition space inside.

The EYE film museum has a permanent exhibit about the history of cinema, a few interesting shows and many interactive and multimedia art installations inside. You can take a movie quiz, or shoot your own video against the green screen with their sample video in the background. There are also four small cinemas that project classic films.

The EYE Film Institute presents Dutch and foreign movies as well as posters, photographs and books. The EYE Bar and Restaurant here has amazing views.

  • Location: IJ River Banks, next to Amsterdam Centraal
  • Category: Cinema
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

10) NEMO Science Museum

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

NEMO Science Museum is the largest science museum in the Netherlands. It is basically a science center with five floors of science exhibitions. The architecture of the building is pretty impressive and it stands out.

The first floor of NEMO is reserved for DNA and chain reactions. The second floor has a ball factory including circuits. Apart from this, there are displays on buildings, metals and the water cycle. This floor also has science performance shows.

The third floor is a giant science lab where you can try experiments. The fourth floor is all about the human mind. It also has interactive tests on memory and senses. Finally, the fifth floor is a playground for children.

Considering the interactive exhibitions, visiting the NEMO Science museum is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids.

  • Location: Oosterdokseiland, Amsterdam-Centrum
  • Category: Science
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

11) Hermitage Amsterdam

Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam

Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam – CC0 via Pixabay

Hermitage Amsterdam is a smaller branch of one of the most visited museums in the world – the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg in Russia. It is not as visited as the other art museums in Amsterdam because it is not in the Museum Quarter.

Inside the Hermitage Museum, there is a portrait gallery and a sculpture gallery. The exhibitions change every six months. You can learn a lot about the Netherlands-Russia relations as well as the story of people behind the portraits.

This museum is housed in a charming old building dating from 1682, that was once a retirement home for women.

  • Location: Amstel 51
  • Category: Art
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card (You Need to Book a Time Slot Before Going)

 

12) Joods Historisch Museum in Joods Cultureel Kwartier

Joods Cultureel Kwartier is also known as the Hollandsche Schouwburg, which basically translates to Dutch Theatre. It used to be a Jewish theatre back in 1941 but during the Nazi occupancy it later became a deportation centre.  The Jewish Historical Museum is a part of it and is dedicated to Jewish history and culture.

This museum will give you in insight into the history of Jews in the Netherlands using photos, films and artifacts. It is a must visit for learning the impacts of the holocaust on the Jewish population – a sad but defining moment in the history.

  • Location: Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, near Waterlooplein
  • Category: History and Culture
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

13) Moco Museum

Girl with the Red Balloon by Banksy

Girl with the Red Balloon by Banksy

If you’re not into historical art but love seeing contemporary paintings that are of rebellious nature, you’re going to love Moco Museum. This museum features the super famous British artist – Banksy, who is known for his satirical street art. His work grew out of the Bristol Underground Scene. He also created a documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop and was nominated for an Academy award.

Moco also features the Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, who are often called the Banksy of Iran. You can also find features of other incredible and extremely famous artists like Salvador Dali and Roy Lichtenstein from time to time.

Moco Museum features artists that have their own vision for a different art experience. The exhibitions change so please check before going.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Modern, Contemporary and Street Art
  • Not included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

Sinful (Sex, Drugs, Alcohol and more!)

14) The Sexmuseum or the Temple of Venus

Marilyn Monroe figure Inside Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel

Marilyn Monroe figure Inside Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel

The Sexmuseum, also known as the Temple of Venus, is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. It can give you a lot of giggles, especially if you have just visited a coffeeshop in Amsterdam right before it. It is open till 11:30 pm.

This sex museum explains the evolution of human sexuality through a collection of paintings, pictures, recordings, and artifacts. You can actually click some funny pictures with some of the things on display. It may come as a shock to you to learn how open some of the prim and proper civilizations were!

Please note that Amsterdam has a Sex Museum and an attraction in the Red Light District called “Erotic Museum”. They are both different so please don’t get confused. 

Amsterdam is often called the City of Sins and the openness about sex is an important part of it. Learning about the history of sex is an interesting angle when it comes to the evolution of man.

  • Location: Centrum
  • Category: Sex
  • Not included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

15) Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum

Wooden Weed Crushers - Amsterdam Coffeeshops

Wooden Weed Crushers – Amsterdam Museums

The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum is quite original. This museum focuses on cannabis and its use not just as an intoxicant, but also medicinally and spiritually. It provides information about the historical and more modern uses of cannabis.

The museum also shows the uses of Hemp as a resource for clothing, cosmetics and even agriculture and industry. There is a cannabis garden inside the museum where the visitors can see the different stages of growth. You also have the opportunity to inhale cannabis through a vaporizer here for free if you want. But hey, it is too mild here to have an effect.

At the end of your visit, you can also visit the Sensi Seed Bank where you can find products and items made from hemp fiber. Visiting this museum is one of the things to do in Amsterdam at night because it closes at 10 pm. As per Time Out Magazine, a visit to this museum is one of the top ten things to do in Amsterdam.

  • Location: Red Light District
  • Category: Marijuana
  • Not included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

16) Amsterdam Pipe Museum – Pijpenkabinet

The Amsterdam Pipe Museum is dedicated to tobacco and smoking pipes. Quite unusual, but surely interesting, you will find an exhibition that features over 2000 items used around the world for smoking. These items have been used over the past 25 centuries.

Pijpenkabinet shows many different kinds of smoking pipes, and some of them are a work of art. You can see some beautiful hand painted porcelain pipe bowls, meerschaum pipes with highly artistic carvings and even pipes that were discovered in archeological excavation.

The pipes displayed in the Amsterdam Pipe Museum aren’t just tobacco pipes, but also opium pipes from China. There is also a collection of indigenous pipes from Africa, Asia and America. You can then learn about the smoking culture history from different continents.

  • Location: Prinsengracht
  • Category: Smoking
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

17) The Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience - top museums in Amsterdam

The Heineken Experience – top museums in Amsterdam – CC0 via Pixabay

The Heineken Experience is a fun way to discover Heineken’s history in the old defunct brewery in Amsterdam. It is more than just a beer museum and there is a section with amusement gallery too.

You will also learn about the world of Heineken, the brewing process and the evolution of the bottle styles. You can enjoy one beer during the tour and two beers at the end of the tour.

The locals of course suggest other breweries but somehow the Heineken Experience has emerged as one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam.

  • Location: Stadhouderskade
  • Category: Beer
  • 25% Discount with I Amsterdam Card

 

Get an Amsterdam City Card to Save Money

As already mentioned earlier, if you’re visiting multiple museums in Amsterdam, the most economical way to do so is by buying the I Amsterdam city card. This card INCLUDES the entry to most of the museums on this list as well as the local transport PLUS a canal ride. The card costs €59 for 1 day, €74 for 2 days, €87 for 3 days and €98 for 4 days.

A canal ride can cost anywhere from €20 to €30 per person, most of the famous museums are generally priced at €17 per entry and public transport is €7.50 per person for a day. If you’re visiting 3 attractions in a day and using the public transport, then you’re saving money with this card.

If the card seems expensive then you should know that Amsterdam is not a cheap destination but buying a City card is a good way to save money.

Disclosure: Drifter Planet received complimentary I Amsterdam Cards from the Amsterdam Tourism Board but all silliness and thoughts expressed in this article are totally our own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

Netherlands Itinerary One Week: the Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip Route Map

Netherlands Itinerary One Week: the Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip Route Map

Are you planning to visit Europe this summer and not sure which country to spend most of your time in? We highly recommend the Netherlands. It is the land of old school windmills, waffles, Gouda, tulips, bicycles, canals and is one of the most liberal countries in the world.

Gouda Cheese and a bicycle - typical sight in the Netherlands

Gouda Cheese and a bicycle – typical sight in the Netherlands (CC0) via Pixabay

The Dutch love their bicycles and literally all the destinations in this lovely country are bicycle friendly. However, exploring the entire Netherlands on a bicycle may be a little too extreme for many, so our first tip for you is to use a rental car. Depending on how you plan, you can pick up your car at the start of your journey in Amsterdam and drive your way around the country.

We’ve created a one-week itinerary for you to explore the Netherlands on your own by car. Depending on your pace of traveling, you can make this journey in 5 days or 7 days or even 14 days. When San and I travel, we usually travel slow and spend a long time in each destination to get a feel of it. However, if you’re short on time, you don’t have to stay overnight.

 

Amsterdam, the city of Sins

Amsterdam Looks Stunning at Night - the BEST 2 day itinerary for Amsterdam

Amsterdam Looks Stunning at Night

Amsterdam is not just one of the most visited cities in Europe, but in the entire world. It is famous for its canals, narrow houses, coffeeshops, red light district, some of the best museums in Europe, and a crazy nightlife. While you’re here, don’t miss Amsterdam-Noord. Because of its liberal nature, some people also call Amsterdam the city of sins. It is very easy to reach Amsterdam from any part of the world by catching a flight to Schiphol Airport, or by train or bus from most of Europe.

Spend a day in Amsterdam and be sure to read our travel tips, which will help you save money here. Go visit a few of the art museums in Amsterdam. Do keep in mind that parking charges in Amsterdam are very expensive, so it makes sense to rent a car after you’ve already spent a day here. Be sure to check out our amazing itinerary for Amsterdam for ideas.

While you’re in Amsterdam, you  can rent your own bike and cycle around at your own pace. If you’re not very confidant about cycling in Amsterdam and want to brush up on your skills, then I have handpicked a few cycle tours for you that you can check out:

If you arrive in Amsterdam without a booking, you may just get the biggest shock when you find how expensive the rooms (and even hostels are). You can check our curated list of places to stay in Amsterdam for every budget. If you plan in advance, you can find a decent place to stay here which is affordable. From here, you can pick up your rental car and move to the next destination.

Lisse, the largest garden in the world

From Amsterdam 45 minutes, 35 kilometers

Keukenhof Garden in Lisse near Amsterdam - Netherlands Itinerary One Week

Keukenhof Garden in Lisse near Amsterdam – Netherlands Itinerary One Week (CC0) via Pixabay

We did mention that the Netherlands is famous for its tulips. One of the main tulip attractions in Holland is the Keukenhof Garden which is at Lisse, an idyllic little town. This garden has over 800 varieties of tulips. In 32 hectares you can find artworks, events, flower shows, inspiration gardens and much more. The Keukenhof is one of the largest gardens in the world and will give you an experience you’ll never forget. You don’t really need to stay here for the night but you can directly visit the next destination on the itinerary.

Here are some of the top tours that I have handpicked for you so that you can skip the line and enjoy the beauty of these colorful tulips:

Please note, that the Keukenhof Garden isn’t always in full bloom. Usually the best time to visit this place is in April, but we recommend you check the local tourism website before you go. Here’s an amazing guide which will tell you the best way to do the Tulip Fields in the Netherlands.

On your way to the next destination – Kinderdijk, you can consider making a stop at Den Haag. It is much cheaper and relaxed in comparison to Amsterdam. Here’s a guide to free things to do in Den Haag.

Suggested: The Ultimate Europe Itinerary and Best Places to visit in Europe

Kinderdijk, old famous mills

From Lisse 1 hour and 15 minutes, 85 kilometer

Kinderdijk windmills - Netherlands Itinerary for one week

Kinderdijk windmills – Netherlands Itinerary for one week (CC0) via Pixabay

The mill complex in Kinderdijk is quite a unique sight. The Netherlands is partly under sea level. These mills with pumps combined with the dikes at the sea dries a big part of the land so people can live there. If they would let nature run its course, 40% of the Netherlands would be flooded! For nearly a thousand years, the Dutch have been smartly dealing with the surrounding water using wind and steam energy to keep the Netherlands above water. It’s really impressive to see these nineteen big windmills from the UNESCO World Heritage.

Veluwe, heathlands that changes by season

From Kinderdijk 1 hour and 14 minutes, 110 kilometers

Veluwe - Forest destination in the Netherlands

Veluwe – Forest destination in the Netherlands (CC0) via Pixabay

The Veluwe is a beautiful nature reserve to drive through. Expect so see shifting sands, beautiful forests, colorful heathlands, sheep and gently flowing streams. Apart from the natural beauty, Veluwe also has museums, historic towns, culinary enjoyment.

Giethoorn, little Venice

From Veluwe 1 hour and 10 minutes, 110 kilometers

Giethoorn - Little Venice in the Netherlands - One week Itinerary

Giethoorn – Little Venice in the Netherlands – One week Itinerary (CC0) via Pixabay

Giethoorn, also called Dutch Venice, is perhaps the prettiest destinations in the Netherlands. This typical Dutch town shows perfectly how Dutch people love to work with and at the water. Sail in a typical ‘Punter’ boat at the little canals through the bush, reedlands, past the old farms and under the many old wooden bridges.

Want to visit Giethoorn on a day trip from Amsterdam?

If you don’t have a rental and and would still like to visit Giethoorn, then why not make a day trip from Amsterdam? You can check out this tour that will take you from Amsterdam to Giethroon and it also includes boat rides in both Amsterdam and Giethoorn.

 

 

The Wadden Sea Islands

From Giethoorn 1 hour, 80 kilometers (depends on which island)

Choose one of the five Wadden Sea Islands to leave the crowds behind you. Time to relax and de-stress. The trip on the boat is already an impressive experience. Take a close look at the ‘Wad’, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a group of chilling seals. Take a long walk on the beach or go ‘Wad-walking’ and find treasures in the sand and mud. On one of the Islands, Vlieland, your car is not allowed. But obviously you don’t need your car there, when you want to enjoy and relax in the nature. You can park your car at the harbor.

Schiermonnikoog - The Wadden Sea Islands in the Netherlands

Schiermonnikoog – The Wadden Sea Islands in the Netherlands (CC0) via Pixabay

The Dutch Wadden Sea Islands, Schiermonnikoog (pictured above), Ameland, Terschelling, Vlieland and Texel, are the five pearls of the North of the Netherlands. They are all worth the visit because they differ a bit from another; each Island has its own style and culture. Read more about the differences between the Dutch Islands.

Cross the Afsluitdijk

Afsluitdijk pier - the Netherlands itinerary one week

Afsluitdijk pier – the Netherlands itinerary one week (CC0) via Pixabay

This 32 kilometers long dike connects two parts of the Netherlands is an important traffic link between the two provinces. This exceptional feat of civil engineering is an amazing system that controls the water level on both sides of the dike and protects the Dutch from floods. At the middle of the Afsluitdijk there’s a viewpoint. Take your time to soak up the view.

Volendam, A fisher village

From The Wadden Sea Islands 1 hour and 20 minutes, 120 kilometers (depends from which island)

The adorable fishing village Volendam in the Netherlands

The adorable fishing village Volendam in the Netherlands – CCO via Pixabay

A typical Dutch food is ‘Hollandse nieuwe haring’ or Dutch raw herring with onions. You eat it by holding the fish by the tail and allowing it to gradually slide into your mouth. You may like it or not, but you have to try this raw herring!

Herring is not the only special thing in Volendam. This charming village is characteristics with small houses, canals and drawbridges and the most idyllic view. Dress up in a typical Volendams costume and have your picture taken. Don’t forget to visit the wooden shoe factory! It will complete your outfit. These wooden shoes are called klompen in Dutch or you can just call them clogs.

Try Dutch Clogs - Wooden Shoes - Itinerary for the Netherlands

Try Dutch Clogs – Wooden Shoes – Itinerary for the Netherlands – (CCO) via Pixabay

Volendam has a relaxing and friendly atmosphere. Eat at the nicest restaurants at the waterfront. Try Dutch stroopwafels, speculaas cookies, try mini pancakes called ‘poffertjes’ or eat some more fish! As the Dutch say: ‘lekker’! What do you find the tasties?

Hope you enjoyed our suggested Netherlands itinerary for one week. This trip can also be done without a car, but we recommend you rent one so that you’re not dependent public transportation. Moreover, the highways in The Netherlands are easy to drive and free to use. Also the secondary roads are good to ride, and they take you along the prettiest villages and stunning countryside views. You can stop wherever you want (as long as you’re not on the highway) and enjoy the view.

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