Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary: How to Spend One day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam 1 Day Itinerary: How to Spend One day in Amsterdam

Can Amsterdam be explored in just one day? No, but some of us don’t have any other option. So if you’re short on time, here’s an Amsterdam 1 day itinerary that’s the best ever on the internet (because I think of myself as an Amsterdam expert).

Guess what, my first trip to Amsterdam was for just one night. I arrived in Amsterdam after lunch so I had the second half of the first day, and the first half of the second day because I left after lunch. So technically I had just 24 hours in Amsterdam. 

I did visit Amsterdam over and over again every year because I live in Germany. Some of those trips have been for longer than a day or a weekend in Amsterdam

In all of my Amsterdam itinerary and tips posts, I mention getting away from the center and exploring other spots, but it doesn’t apply when you have just one day in Amsterdam.

So, I won’t suggest Amsterdam-Noord or NDSM werf even though they aren’t far from the center but I know most of the people would want to stay near canals or narrow houses if they have just 24 hours in Amsterdam.

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

Amsterdam Looks Stunning at Night – the BEST Itinerary for Amsterdam

Amsterdam city center is really just a bunch of concentric circles of canals, walking and cycling paths. So no place is too far if you’re in the center. But I have made this walking/cycling map keeping your limited time in hand so that you can cover a lot in just a short walk.

Tip: If you are comfortable with cycling then rent one because Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Cyclists rule the city and get out of their way if you are exploring on foot and stay in the walking lane. My Amsterdam 24 hours itinerary is perfect for both cyclists and those who prefer to walk or take a tram
Amsterdam Public Transport - GVB Day Ticket

Amsterdam Public Transport – GVB Day Ticket

Amsterdam has an awesome network of tramps and buses. Consider getting yourself a GVB card. Once you have that, you can get on any tram or metro within the city.

I normally suggest the amazing “I Amsterdam City card” which includes all the transport, a boat trip, museums, and many other attractions. But for this specific itinerary, you need just a GVB card because you’re not going to visit museums if you have just one day in Amsterdam.

Walking or cycling, I have chalked out a route for you to spend an epic day in Amsterdam with some of the prettiest spots around the canal ring where you can stop for a photo. Sit on a bench there to admire the beauty of my favorite European city.

Before you read my itinerary for spending one day in Amsterdam, make sure you read my travel tips for first-timers so that you don’t end up making typical travel mistakes.

Amsterdam One day itinerary Walking Map / Cycling Map

Here’s a map with the below spots that I made for you using Google Maps. Open it on your phone and try to save an offline version before you start your one day trip in Amsterdam.


Mainly it is a walking map but you can surely do it by cycling. It is going to be faster and more time efficient. Just for fun, keep your walking tracker on to see how many steps you cover in just 24 hours in Amsterdam. I’m sure it will be at least 15,000 steps.

With so much walking or cycling to do, make sure you were comfortable shoes and not high heels. Amsterdam’s streets aren’t suitable for high heels.

Arrive at Oude Kerk & Breakfast at De Koffieschenkerij 

Let’s shoot two birds with the same arrow – breakfast (or just coffee) at Amsterdam’s prettiest cafe with a view, which is literally inside Amsterdam’s oldest church – Oude Kerk.

Oude Kerk in Amsterdam - one day Amsterdam itinerary

Oude Kerk in Amsterdam – one day Amsterdam itinerary via Pixabay

While the area around Oude Kerk is crowded and busy, inside De Koffieschenkerij is a whole other deal because you will feel calm and relaxed. There’s a spacious sitting area both outside and inside with plants all around.

Drink a cup of coffee or matcha as you energize yourself for today because you have a lot of walking (or cycling) to do. After all, you have to experience the best of Amsterdam in one day!

Click a Picture at Damrak & See De Beurspassage

Amsterdam's Narrow Buildings by the water

Amsterdam’s Narrow Buildings by the Water in Damrak.

Where to click the most amazing photos in Amsterdam? One of the places is Damrak and the other is De Beurspassage. Good news – they are both next to each other and not far from Oude Kerk.

You wouldn’t be going out of your way if you visit both Damrak and De Beurspassage. You will most likely cross these spots a few times during your trip because they are right in the center.

Damrak is actually a spot from where most of the boat tours start. If you want to get on one, then I have included it in the afternoon in this itinerary because that’s when your energy level will be lower and you can just sit for an hour on the boat and relax.

After clicking a few photos in Damrak, walk to the nearby De Beurspassage which looks like it came out of another country but got fixed in Amsterdam. 

De Beurs Passage - Amsterdam Instagram Spots

De Beurs Passage – Amsterdam Instagram Spots

A lot of people click photos as soon as they enter the passage, but I found the end of the passage to be the best photo spot. 

I do mention both of these spots already in my Amsterdam Instagram spots post but I swear the rest of the itinerary is different. 

Quick Stop at Dam Square 

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

Royal Palace of Amsterdam in Dam Square – Amsterdam 1 day itinerary

Dam Square is my least favorite place in Amsterdam but it is funny to see it on your first visit because there’s so much going on. 

On one side you will see the Royal Palace, on the left side are the overly touristy Ripley’s believe it or not, and Madam Tussauds (please don’t go inside). Right opposite you will see the national monument.

Dam Square is the main square in the middle of these buildings and the National Monument. There are hoards of different kinds of people here – protesters, stoned tourists, walking tours, busking musicians, performers, and a lot of crazy sights. 

I describe the madness of Dam Square with more details in my 2 day Amsterdam itinerary post. Enjoy the madness, laugh a little and let’s move on to the next stop.

Head to Staalmeestersbrug for a Photo

Staalmeestersbrug over Groenburgwal with Zuidkerk - Amsterdam Photo Spots

Staalmeestersbrug over Groenburgwal with Zuidkerk – Amsterdam Photo Spots

I have already mentioned this spot in my Amsterdam Instagram spots post – this is actually a bridge over the Groenburgwal canal with a good view because you can see a church in the background. The name of the church that you can see is Zuidkerk, which literally means South Church. 

This spot is often called “the million dollar view” in Amsterdam because it was made famous by Claude Monet and it was on one of his paintings.

You won’t spend more than 5-10 minutes here but I wanted to make sure I include it in this itinerary so that you walk through this spot instead of taking one of the other parallel ways to the next spot, the floating flower market.

Arrive at the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)

The Dutch are famous for their flowers and gardening skills, and what better place to enjoy it than a flower market? To make things better, it is a “floating” flower market.

Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market is called Bloemenmarkt in Dutch. The time I visited, the flower market was full of colorful tulips and one can buy bulbs to grow them. You can’t really click photos inside most of the shops here.

Walk through the colorful market and enjoy the freshness of flowers around you. The flower market is on Singel canal so you will walk from Muntplein to Koningsplein to cover it end to end.

Cross de Negen Straatjes

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

Admire Amsterdam’s Narrow Houses – Amsterdam itinerary

As you get away from the Flower Market, you will cross a pretty neighborhood – de Negen Straatjes, which means the 9 streets. It is actually a sub-neighborhood of Grachtengordel, the canal ring.

You will see some amazing sights as you walk from here to Jordaan because the scenery just gets prettier. The streets get more narrow and so do the canals. There are many bridges on which you can stop and enjoy the sights.

There is a spot here near Pastini restaurant where two canals – Leidsegracht and Keizersgracht intersect and the view is really good.

Stop for Lunch or a Snack (3 Options)

Not everyone eats lunches but I do. Whether do want a full-fledged lunch or a quick snack, I have listed three restaurants for you below that aren’t expensive and are known for good food.

1) Foodware (Family friendly)

This is a cool minimalistic and casual restaurant where you will find everything. If you’re looking for a well-balanced meal that’s not just limited to roadside pizzas or pancakes, this is the place for you. It is also vegan-friendly.

2) Van Stapele Koekmakerij for famous Cookies

Not up for a full meal? Grab a cookie at the super famous cookie shop Van Stapele Koekmakerij. The most famous cookie here is the signature chocolate cookie with white chocolate that oozes out of the center.

3) Pastini restaurant for Italian food

Pastini is a famous Italian restaurant right here that’s known for not just pasta but also prawns and lamb. I wouldn’t bring my kids here because it would be a little boring for them but this is the kind of place I’d enjoy with people of my age.

Relax in Jordaan

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

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

After your lunch or a snack, walk along the canals till the time you reach Jordaan. Mark Ann Frank Haus in Google Maps for directions and it will talk you to the prettiest canals and bridges.

On every single visit to Amsterdam, I make sure I spend enough time in Jordaan because it is peaceful, pretty, and romantic in every way. Historically, it was the residential space for the working class of Amsterdam. How I wish I was lucky enough to live in one of the houses here overlooking a canal.

Walk around along the canals in Jordaan and stand on top of the tiny bridges. Some of the canals get narrower here and Jordeen really feels like it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle. This is why it is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam in 1 day.

Get on a Boat for a Canal Cruise 

Canal View of Amsterdam from the edge of a boat under the bridge

Canal View of Amsterdam from the edge of a boat under the bridge

You don’t have to go back to Damrak to find a canal cruise. Since you will be in Jordaan, I have found a few options that start right where you will be. Just be sure to select the meeting point as Ann Frank Haus when you pre-book your tour:

1) Open Boat Canal Cruise with Onboard Bar

I highly recommend opting for an open-boat canal cruise because the experience is a thousand times better. But it comes with a risk of getting wet in case it rains. So do it at your own risk.

Click here to book

I have done two canal cruises in Amsterdam and the one on a smaller open boat with a bar was way better than the usual one.

Private boat tour in Amsterdam

Private boat tour in Amsterdam

This tour costs EUR 19.95 per person as checked in May 2023, and the duration is one hour. Select “Ann Frank Haus” as your departure when you book. The best part is that you can purchase drinks on the boat too!

2) Lovers Canal Cruises

Now this is also one of the most famous tour operators for canal cruises in Amsterdam. It is a covered boat with glass windows. You will see a lot of these boats doing rounds as you stand on the bridges and explore Amsterdam.

Click here to book

If you’re traveling with small children and if they are younger than 4 and won’t occupy a seat, then they can go for free. This is a one-hour tour and costs EUR 16. Be sure to select Ann Frank Haus as the departure point. 

3) Classic Boat Cruise with Cheese & Wine Options

This tour is for one hour and costs EUR 19.95 without cheese and wine and EUR 21.50 with cheese and wine. With hardly any difference in the cost, I’d pick the option that includes cheese and wine!

This cruise is also on a semi-open boat but it is a bit fancier and has wine, cheese, and soda options. 

Click here to book

The reason why a canal cruise makes sense to do in the afternoon is that that’s when your energy level will be lower versus morning, so you can sit back and relax as you enjoy Amsterdam from a new perspective.

If you want to skip it, then you can just find a nice bench along a canal and sit with a snack or a drink and pause.

De Hallen for Dinner and Drinks (Optional)

Me in De Hallen Amsterdam

Me in De Hallen Amsterdam

If you are visiting in the summer months, then the sunset will be at around 9:45 or 10 pm. It means you need to eat your dinner before you watch the sunset or enjoy the nightlife. For other months, just switch this point with the next one.

De Hallen is my favorite place to enjoy a lively atmosphere in the evening with a few beers. It is actually a group of halls and the one that’s dedicated to food and drinks is Food Hallen. I loved it so much and I think it should be included in every single Amsterdam 1 day itinerary.

De Ballenbar in De Hallen Amsterdam

De Ballenbar in De Hallen Amsterdam

Enjoy food and snacks from different places – Bitterballen from Ballenbar (started by a Michelin Star Chef), or dumplings from Dimsum Thing.

Bitterballen is a traditional Dutch delicacy that’s basically an elevated version of fried meatballs. I mean, it is a bit fancier than just meatballs and the result is lovely. There are vegetarian versions too. Make sure you try them in Food Hallen.

Both the Bitterballen and Dimsums were so delicious that I could have eaten 50 of them but note that most of the places started closing by 10 pm.

Sunset on Skinny Bridge

Magere Brug or the skinny bridge in Amsterdam

Magere Brug or the skinny bridge in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has many bridges but Skinny Bridge is special. It goes over the Amstel River and looks very pretty as the sky turns red at sunset. Post that, the lights around and on the bridge glow, and the overall effect is super romantic.

I did mention the skinny bridge in my Amsterdam for couples post because it is supposed to be lucky if you kiss on top of the skinny bridge. I don’t have a very good picture of skinny bridge and the above is just a screengrab from my video because I was very hungry when I was cycling here.

The skinny bridge used to be narrower than what it is today, that’s how it got its name originally when it was built in 1691. But it was later renovated and broadened. It opens up several times a day to let ships pass. For this reason, it is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam in one day.

Walk Through the Red Light District (De Wallen)

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

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

Amsterdam’s Red Light area is world-famous and has been included in many movies. Of course, you have to walk through it once to see the madness.

Remember – you can’t click pictures of sex workers in Red Light District otherwise your camera will be taken away by the cops. I do remember seeing how one of the angry sex workers was yelling at a tourist because he clicked a photo. 

Drinks at De Sluyswacht 

Still have some energy left after spending almost a full day in Amsterdam? Visit De Sluyswacht, it is a fun lopsided bar that’s close to the Red Light District. 

De Sluyswacht Amsterdam

De Sluyswacht Amsterdam via Pixabay – One day Amsterdam itinerary

If you have noticed, some of Amsterdam’s streetsides are slanted and even some of the buildings look like they aren’t straight. That’s one of the things that makes Amsterdam really special for me.

This is why if you get a table outside De Sluyswacht, most likely it won’t be straight and it adds to the fun. I was amazed to see this little place was also featured on Conde Nast Traveler.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam?

I will list a few options based on different budgets. Keep in mind that staying in Amsterdam is unbelievably expensive and even more so on the weekends in summer. Book in advance because the affordable places sell out fast:

If you’re traveling solo to Amsterdam then booking a hostel makes sense. If you’re driving to Amsterdam then you can actually park your campervan at Gaasper Camping and take a train to the center. We did that once and loved this campground with a bar and a restaurant.

Closing Thoughts on Spending One Day in Amsterdam

Haters and snobs will scrunch up their noses, but holidaying in Europe is expensive and even more so if you’re visiting hyped-up cities like Amsterdam, Paris, or Rome. So, in terms of time constraints or budget, not everyone can spend more than a day in Amsterdam.

So, if you have just 24 hours in Amsterdam, you have got to make the most of it. Do your research well, put on your walking shoes, and enjoy your time in my favorite city. Below are some of my posts about Amsterdam that you should read before visiting:

I hope my itinerary makes you fall in love with Amsterdam and you come back for more.

Amsterdam One day Itinerary

Pin it – Amsterdam One day Itinerary

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Amsterdam for Couples: 25 Romantic Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam for Couples: 25 Romantic Things to do in Amsterdam

Pretty lights, romantic bridges,  hidden alleys, and storybook houses – sounds dreamy?

Yep, that’s why I fell in love with Amsterdam, the most romantic city in Europe for couples in my opinion. (Yes, even more than Paris)

The first time I visited Amsterdam was in 2014. San and I had just started dating early that year. For us, our Amsterdam trip was crucial because it was the first time we were traveling together as a couple after being away for 4 months.

It was one of those trips, where we actually wanted to see if we were compatible and if there was any sense in investing time in each other. It worked (Of course, we are now married). Blame it on romantic Amsterdam!

Ever since then, we have made it a point to visit Amsterdam as frequently as we can, and this dreamy city always makes us hold hands.

Romantic things to do in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Romantic things to do in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Over the years, our travel style has evolved. A few years back we were into adventure but now that we’re parents, we like to relax while we are on a date and take things easy.

So, with that in mind, I have included romantic things to do in Amsterdam for every kind of couple – active adventurers, bookworms, party people, foodies, comedy lovers, music buffs, plant parents, coffee addicts, Instagrammers, and more.

Amsterdam is a highly forward-thinking city and it is LGBTQ-friendly. Moreover, I have made it a point to look for LGBTQ-friendly things and activities to include all kinds of couples.

Amsterdam is known for many things and some of them are sinful. There is a Red Light District, a lot of weird shows, and coffee shops that sell marijuana – but most of that is just limited to one area De Wallen. Get away from there and let Amsterdam charm you with its romantic vibe that I absolutely love.

Over and above everything, Amsterdam is utterly pretty and is the perfect city to spend time with your boyfriend (or girlfriend). Amsterdam for couples is perfect not just for the first trip together, but also for Valentine’s Day, or even a honeymoon.

Now, let’s cut to the chase – I present to you 20-ish ideas of romantic things to do in Amsterdam.

Romantic Things to do in Amsterdam [the Only Couples Guide to Amsterdam You’ll Need]

1) Dreamy Boat Ride

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

Imagine sitting on a slow-moving boat and cruising on Amsterdam’s narrow canals, with a view of narrow houses. More points if it is after sunset and the bridges are lit up with pretty lights. Perhaps even better with a glass of wine in your hand.

A boat ride on Amsterdam’s canals will feel like a modern fairy tale where you are the star. It can’t get more romantic than this. It is one of the best things to do on a couples holiday to Amsterdam.

Private boat tour in Amsterdam
Private boat tour in Amsterdam

There are many boat tours that one can do, but if you’re a little extra like me, you will enjoy a private tour that’s on a small open boat. You can also look for a tour with food and champagne included!

The basic tours are included for free on the I Amsterdam city card for free. If you’re looking for something special because maybe you are on your honeymoon in Amsterdam, or getting ready to propose, I have shortlisted some romantic boat tours for you for every budget:

  • Guided Luxury Evening Canal Cruise: One-hour tour that costs EUR 19.95 on an open boat with a bar from where you can buy your drinks on payment.
  • Evening Canal Cruise: One-hour tour that costs EUR 20.
  • Wine and Cheese Evening Cruise: 1.5-hour tour costing EUR 32.50 that includes a variety of local cheeses and wine. This is also an evening cruise.
  • Cheese and Wine Canal Cruise: 1.5-hour tour costing EUR 37.82. The cruise includes 2 drinks per person – wine or beer or other soft drinks as well as cheese.
  • 3-Course Dinner Cruise: 2-hour dinner cruise. It costs EUR 79 per person for a 3-course dinner with fish/meat or veggies plus wine or beer. Personally, I’d pick this one to make the most of my romantic date in Amsterdam.
  • Private Canal Tour: This actually costs EUR 120 to get a private tour. Normally you can split it among 6 people, but since it is your romantic evening, then you can splurge on this tour for just two and make it extra special. Or, you can split it with two more couples apart from you. This tour will take you to the smaller canals where the bigger boats can’t go.
  • Private Romantic Canal Cruise at Night: EUR 215 for a couple. This is the ultimate romantic experience and makes sense to book on a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day or the day you’re promising, or to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. This boat tour includes Gluhwein in winter (warm mulled wine) or Prosecco in summer. It also includes Local cheese, grapes, crackers, and waffles. There are blankets on the boat to make you cozy.

I have tried my best to share the most updated information, but I highly recommend you read all the points before you book the tour for yourself.

2) Romantic Walk in Jordaan [Under the Moonlight]

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

I say this in every single post because I’m a romantic at heart – miss whatever else you want to in Amsterdam, but don’t miss out on a walk in Jordaan.

Jordaan is my favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam and I spend most of my time here every single time I visit. It is because it is quiet, peaceful, and crazy pretty. Of course, there are canals and bridges, but hardly any loud tourists.

Night walk in Jordaan - Amsterdam for couples
Night walk in Jordaan – Amsterdam for couples

Amsterdam is touristy but Jordaan has always maintained its peaceful vibe. Now any time is perfect for a romantic walk in Jordaan but my most romantic memories of walking in Jordaan were the ones where it was at night under the moonlight.

I still remember there was a time when we were in Amsterdam with our 7-month-old girl, and she had to sleep in her pram. We got away from the loud areas and walked around in Jordaan. She finally slept and we held hands as we walked. It was super peaceful and romantic.

3) Sit on a bench overlooking the Canals

Amsterdam Bench with a couple - romantic Amsterdam
Amsterdam Bench with a couple – romantic Amsterdam (cc0) Unsplash

Remember The Fault in Our Stars? It is a romantic movie that was shot in Amsterdam, and in some scenes, the couple sat on a canal-side bench. You HAVE to do that in Amsterdam with your partner if you’re a romantic at heart.

Go to a supermarket, buy a drink or two, maybe get some munchies and find a bench in a peaceful area like Jordaan. Sit, gaze at the water or at each other, and enjoy each other’s company as you share a few tender moments. Smile, because you are in an utterly romantic city, and you will create some memories for a lifetime.

4) Cycling, or Tandem Cycling

Couple cycling in Amsterdam
Couple cycling in Amsterdam CC0 Unsplash

Everyone knows by now that Amsterdam is the cycling capital of the world. There are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people, and cycling here is an experience to remember.

I’m aware that not many people are comfortable with the thought of cycling in a busy city like Amsterdam where there are loads of cyclists. I was too, but it all changed.

When I moved to Germany, I was cycling here after 20 years of not cycling and I was absolutely frightened. But cycling is one of the things that come back to you as soon as you do it again (just like swimming).

NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art
San and I in NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art

I was scared of cycling in the cyclist traffic but guess what – cycling in cities like Amsterdam that are built for cyclists is actually super easy because there is a dedicated cycling lane that’s not narrow. 

So, arrive here on a train with your bicycles in the train (that’s what San and I did), or just rent a bicycle here. You can also rent a tandem bike, which is a little corny but also super romantic in a funny way. I rented mine with MacBike, which was free with my I Amsterdam City card.

Don’t think so much, but just do it. Once you get on your bicycle, you would not want to explore Amsterdam in any other way. 

5) Beach Time in Pllek (+ Sunset)

Sitting by the water in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

What, Amsterdam has a beach? Yep, by the IJ (river) in Noord.

Amsterdam-Noord is the hipster neighborhood of the city and Pllek is the place to be in Noord. Catch the free ferry from Amsterdam Central to arrive in Noord. Pllek is right next to NDSM Werf, you can take a quick look there to admire the art installations.

Now, this is not just for the arty kinds, NDSM Werf is super interesting and it is absolutely free. You can walk inside and explore this contemporary art exhibit before you settle for your evening drinks by the beach.

After you’re done with NDSM Werf, get to Pllek and watch the sunset here as you sip your drink by the beach. When the sun sets, the pretty lights shine bright as the sky darkens. How romantic!

Sipping Beer on the beach in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

If you arrive early enough before the sunset, you may just be able to get two chairs right in front overlooking the water. Even if you don’t there are always plenty of cozy places to sit and also floor cushions. 

Pllek is one of those places that I visit every single time I’m in Amsterdam and it is the perfect place to visit as a couple.

6) Rent a Houseboat For a Night (or Two)

Amsterdam Houseboat - floating barge
Amsterdam Houseboat – floating barge

Did you know that you could rent a houseboat in Amsterdam? If you can’t get enough of the view of canals, bridges, and narrow houses, then the most romantic thing to do in Amsterdam would be to find a houseboat and get cozy.

For a truly romantic place to stay in Amsterdam, consider splurging on a houseboat. The houseboats are floating apartments, usually with all modern conveniences. Some of the houseboats are converted barges and are super cozy for couples.

Sit by the window, get a blanket, and watch the other boats go by. Added bonus if the houseboat is on one of the cuter canals of Jordaan.

Yes, the houseboats in Amsterdam are expensive but if you stay on one then you have the best views of Amsterdam right in your bedroom and you don’t need to do much more than this. 

7) Visit Hortus Botanicus’ Butterfly Garden

The time stood still as hundreds of orange butterflies gently fluttered their wings around me.

Butterfly Garden in Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

I decided to go to Hortus Botanicus for a different kind of experience than just canals, bridges, and narrow houses. I can’t believe I almost missed this place!

Hortus Botanicus is a botanical garden with several sections that are themed. It is a breath of fresh air in the middle of Amsterdam’s hustle and bustle. You can enter Hortus Botanicus for free with the I Amsterdam card, no need to pre-book a slot.

To be honest, I visited Hortus Botanicus without my husband while I was in Amsterdam for a weekend trip, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t romantic. It is. I even saw a newlywed couple here for their wedding photoshoot.

As I mentioned earlier, there are themed halls based on plants and flowers. I saw a tropical forest, a cactus garden, and massive water lilies – it was already an exceptional experience but the thing that took me was something else. 

Just before I was going to get out of Hortus Botanicus, I saw the map with a room marked as “Butterfly Garden” and I quickly went in. At a time just 5 people are allowed inside but what was inside took my breath away.

As I entered the butterfly room, there were hundreds of orange butterflies that fluttered around me. It was magical, and I felt like I was in a fairy tale.

Words can not describe how amazing this moment was, and no pictures can capture truly what I felt. I highly recommend you enjoy this experience with your partner, it is utterly romantic.

8) Picnic in one of Amsterdam’s Parks (Open Air Theatre in summer)

Parks in Amsterdam - romantic things to do
Parks in Amsterdam – romantic things to do

Did you know that Amsterdam has many public parks? Grab a blanket, a few cushions, a wine bottle (or beer), and perhaps a few waffles that Amsterdam is famous for. I personally prefer salty snacks.

Get to Oostpark or Vondelpark and set up your picnic. I prefer Oostpark because it is a little low-key than Vondelpark but they are both awesome. Vondelpark is right next to the Museumquarter.

If you’re in Amsterdam on the weekend in summer, then keep your eyes out for a free open-air theatre that’s held in Vondelpark on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can check more information on the Vondelpark website.

Depending on how empty or busy the parks are, or the time of your visit, this can end up being one of the most romantic places in Amsterdam for you.

9) Drink Glühwein in Amsterdam’s Christmas Markets

Glühwein - warm mulled wine perfect for Christmas
Glühwein – warm mulled wine perfect for Christmas cco pixabay

I hated wintertime until I moved to Europe and discovered the joy of Christmas Markets. The thought of the sun setting at 16:30 was depressing till the time I started getting excited for the evening to start to visit one of the Christmas Markets.

If you’re visiting Amsterdam in late November or the month of December, it is going to be super romantic because of the epic Christmas Markets. Sip glühwein – warm mulled sweet wine to heat up your body.

Are you not into alcohol? No worries, there’s alcohol-free glühwein and that’s super yum too. A lot of children and pregnant women drink this and it is a big hit.

The smell and joy of Christmas in the air make even a boring place romantic so imagine what it will be like in the case of Amsterdam. Go experience it.

10) Ice Skating in Winter

Christmas outdoor ice skate rink in Amsterdam Rijksmuseum
Christmas outdoor ice skate rink in Amsterdam Rijksmuseum CC0 Unsplash

Amsterdam looks dreamy as it is, but every season adds a new spin. Wintertime is extra special because there are pretty Christmas Markets and if you’re lucky to visit when it is freezing cold, there’s a possibility of ice skating.

There’s something super romantic about ice skating. The time you spend with each other on an ice-skating rink is the ultimate romantic date.

You don’t have to know how to skate, just hold your hands and try not to fall. Most likely one of you will stumble around, and the other will be there to catch you from falling. (Bonus: tips for the perfect ice skating date)

When the weather goes way below zero degrees, the area in Museumquarter right in front of the Rijksmuseum turns into a skating rink. Also, the canal rink turns into an “Ijsbaan” or “Eisbahn” which you can use to move around.

11) Coffee with a view at Cafe De Regent or De Koffieschenkerij

I have two romantic cafes with a view for you that are in the center. They both overlook the canals and have tables outside. One of them is even in a church!

Cafe De Regent van Amsterdam was earlier known as Cafe Bar Aen’t Water. It is on 4 Oudezijds Voorburgwal and has a lovely view in front.

Cafe De Regent van Amsterdam

Cafe De Regent van Amsterdam – Romantic cafe with a view in Amsterdam

Sit in Cafe De Regent and spend some fun moments as you look at the water and enjoy a drink with your partner. If this place is full, I have another one for you below.

For the other cafe, you will need to head to De Oude Kerk (the old church), which is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam but now a part of it has been converted into a lovely cafe with a view. 

The Old Church or De Oude Kerk is a notable landmark in Amsterdam’s center and you would have crossed it at some point because it is in a busy area. But this cafe exuberates a calm vibe because of its spacious sitting area that’s outside.

There are plants outside so it feels like one is sitting in a garden. It is unbelievable that in a super busy center with spaces, there is a cafe with a garden area that’s as spacious as this. BONUS, the view! (You know I’m a sucker for a good view).

One can also sit inside near the window and look at the view of narrow buildings on the other side of the canal. The view if one of the best ones because this is the oldest part of Amsterdam. Plus, you have it all – a view of the canal, a bridge, and narrow buildings.

If you’re lucky to get a decent place outside or near the window, then you can click some super stunning photos. While you do that, make sure you order their legendary coffee or match while you eat cake.

12) Professional Photoshoot in the Canals  

Amsterdam for couples - tips and romantic places to visit
Amsterdam for couples – tips and romantic places to visit

If you go all the way to Amsterdam for a romantic trip, then wouldn’t it be nice to have a few amazing pictures of yourself as a memory?

If you have a tripod with a self-timer, then you can possibly click a few yourself. But sometimes catching the flicker of warm lights, and creating a Bokeh background while still capturing the tenderness of the moment can only be done by professionals.

Based on my research, below are the professional photographers in Amsterdam for couples I have shortlisted for you:

  • Professional Photoshoot in the Canals: Option 1: EUR 45 for 10 – 15 photos for a couple, Option 2: EUR 60 for 30-40 photos (premium option), and Option 3: VIP photoshoot for EUR 105 (50-70 photos). I really like this particular option because the location is super stunning for photos. It is on the skinny bridge.
  • Amsterdam: Professional Private City Photoshoot: Option 1: EUR 45 for 15-20 photos, Option 2: EUR 65 for 30-40 photos (premium option), and Option 3: VIP photoshoot for EUR 105 (60-80 photos).

I highly recommend that you check everything about the above options before you book.

13) Cuddle up in Mezrab

Mezrab is a cultural center in Amsterdam’s Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Docklands) neighborhood. It is a one-of-a-kind stage with improvisational theatre with performances by professional storytellers, comedy, and more interesting stuff. That isn’t all, on some days there are musical performances too.

Mezrab has floor cushions so that you can snuggle up with your boyfriend (or girlfriend) for a cozy time. It is a water-facing place with tables outside and inside both. Because of the cozy setting, it is one of the nicest things to do for couples in Amsterdam.

Mezrab is famous for its lentil soup but you can also order drinks. This place isn’t overpriced, unlike some other places in Amsterdam.

14) Ride the Extreme Swing Together

This one is for brave-hearted couples, hold your hands and ride the extreme swing on top of the A’dam Lookout. I personally know that some couples love doing adventures like these together when they are on their honeymoon.

A’Dam tower is in Amsterdam-Noord and you can reach it very easily when you get on the free ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord. This tower is right next to the ferry pier in Noord.

On top of the A’Dam tower, there is an observatory so that you can see the lovely views all over Amsterdam. Right on top is also an extreme swing that you can ride with your other half.

There’s something super romantic about doing something scary together. I wouldn’t ever do a partner bungee jump (I’d do it alone) but this is one of the things that I highly recommend. 

It is scary enough to give you thrills but not crazy scary like skydiving or bungee jumping. Trust me, I know because I have done both skydiving and bungee jumping.

This is something that I did with San ages back. I even made a video that suddenly received a lot of views on YouTube.

15) Admire Art at Amsterdam’s World Famous Museums

There’s something super romantic about art, and if you add the historical element then even more so. You can admire that with your partner in Amsterdam if you’re here for a romantic trip.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - Amsterdam museums
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – Amsterdam museums

Amsterdam has some of the world’s most famous museums. There’s the legendary Rijksmuseum with a focus on art and history and features on many top 10 museum lists. There’s also the Van Gogh museum which focuses on Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings and letters.

Both of the above-mentioned museums are in Amsterdam’s museum quarter – Museumplein. There are many other museums like the Moco museum, FOAM, Stedelijk, and a few more in Museumplein.

If you get the I Amsterdam city card, you can visit almost all the museums in Amsterdam with that card without paying anything more. [Btw, you can read my review of the I Amsterdam City card here, I used it twice]

16) Walk Through Begijnhof, a Hidden Courtyard

Did you know that Amsterdam has a lot of courtyards? They are called “hofje” in Dutch, and they have existed since the Middle Ages. Begijnhof is Amsterdam’s oldest hofje. Historically, a hofje had housing around it for women and was privately funded.

Honestly, I don’t want to mention some of the smaller hofjes because all hofjes are in residential areas and visitors need to be quiet and discreet. I’d just like to mention the oldest one here because people already visit it because of the church that’s inside. 

Begijnhof was built in the Middle Ages within the Singel canal. Singel’s my favorite canal in Amsterdam has the prettiest small bridges. It is the innermost canal within the canal ring. 

Step inside this hofje and you will see typical Amsterdam-style town-houses that are tall and narrow. Inside the Begijnhof, you will see a historical wooden house – Het Houten Huys, 34 Begijnhof. This is the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam and dates back to 1528 – whoa!

There is Engelse kerk (English reformed Church) that’s a part of this Hofje. It is free to enter Begijnhof but please remember that it is a privately owned residential area, so maintain silence.

17) Visit Bloemenmarkt: Amsterdam’s Flower Market

Bloemenmarkt – Amsterdam’s romantic flower market CC0 unsplash

Flowers are romantic and imagine walking into a market that’s dedicated just to them. Of course, that’s a romantic thing to do in Amsterdam for couples.

Bloemenmarkt is Amsterdam’s flower market that started back in 1862. This is a “floating” market because the flowers are displayed on barges that are floating on water.

Many of these flowers and bulbs are sold with an international stamp so that you can take them back on the plane with you. Not just flowers but you will see interesting Bonsai and cacti.

The Dutch are famous for their gardening skills, so that’s why you should visit places like the Flower Market and Hortus Botanicus on a romantic date while you’re in the Netherlands. I try to do it every single time I’m in Amsterdam.

By the way, I’d like to mention that there are signs that say not to click photos in most of the flower shops here. 

18) Lunch in Kapitein Zeppos (Romantic Restaurant in Amsterdam)

Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam
Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam

Kapitein Zeppos is in Amsterdam’s narrow alleys and this restaurant kind of has a hidden vibe. I visited this place the first time in 2014, and that’s when the above picture was clicked.

It was a rainy day in Amsterdam and Kapitein Zeppos restaurant caught our attention because of the romantic setting with loads of green plants. The restaurant wasn’t yet open when we arrived but we decided to go back and then again in 2017. 

To make your visit to this one of the most romantic restaurants in Amsterdam, arrive early before this area gets crowded. And of course, get a table outside.

Now I’m not saying that I’m a trendsetter but I never saw a mention of this restaurant anywhere ever since I included it in my Amsterdam itinerary for 2 days, it has popped up in many other travel guides too. 😉

19) Discover Oudemanhuispoort – A Secret Passage with Books

Oudemanhuispoort books passage in Amsterdam
Oudemanhuispoort books passage in Amsterdam CC0 via Unsplash

There’s something super romantic about books. They transport you to another land of fantasy while time appears to stand still in the real world. Bookworms will truly understand what I’m talking about.

Oudemanhuispoort means “Old Man’s House Gate”, and it is a covered corridor that not many tourists know about. It is full of second-hand book stands on most days from 11:30 am to 6 pm, except Sundays.

Oudemanhuispoort is right next to the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Law. This narrow corridor is between Oudezijds Achterburgwal and Kloveniersburgwal near Rokin.

Not only book lovers, but those who seek hidden gems within touristy destinations like Amsterdam would love to walk through Oudemanhuispoort. Apart from books, you can find vintage posters, old maps, music sheets, cards, and more fun stuff.

Halfway through this passage, you will find a door that leads to a hofje (courtyard) that’s a part of the University of Amsterdam.

20) See the View from NEMO’s Terrace

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam
NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

NEMO is a science museum but it has a terrace that overlooks the city. It is the highest city square in Amsterdam with lovely views of the city.

You can enter the NEMO’s terrace for free, it is open from 10 am to 1730. It is built with a slope and with seats so that people can get uninterrupted views.

In the middle of the terrace, you will see an installation – Energetica, which is about renewable energy. There’s also a cafe up on the roof from where you can order snacks. 

If you want to visit the NEMO Science Museum, the entry tickets are EUR 17.50 per person, but as mentioned before the entrance to the terrace is free. 

21) Go Dancing in Amsterdam

When you think of a romantic date, then going dancing is one of the first things that comes to mind. The good thing is that Amsterdam has a lot of options for a night out dancing. I actually have a post about Amsterdam’s nightlife, with information about places to dance.

A few places where one can go dancing in Amsterdam that I’d like to recommend are:

  • Bitterzoet
  • Paradiso
  • THT / Paradiso Noord
  • WesterUnie
  • Thuishaven

It is always a good idea to check what’s on before you head out for the night to any of the above-mentioned dance bars. I talk more in detail about the dress code and genre in my Amsterdam nightlife post.

22) Castle Muiderslot

The Fairy-tale Muiderslot Castle near Amsterdam, Holland
The Fairy-tale Muiderslot Castle near Amsterdam, Holland CCO Unsplash

Live the fairytale and visit the romantic Muiderslot Castle that’s a little outside Amsterdam. It is the most famous castle in the Netherlands, and it looks like it jumped out of a Disney movie.

Muiderslot castle is in Muiden, where you can go on a train from Amsterdam Centraal train station. The train ride usually takes one hour, and you usually have to change in the middle in Amstelstation or Weesp.

If you decide to get the I Amsterdam card, then the entry ticket to Muiderslot Castle is free. Otherwise, the entry per adult is EUR 17.50.

23) Chill at Café de Ceuvel

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

I did suggest at the beginning of this post to rent a houseboat in Amsterdam, but it can end up being a tad too expensive for some of us. In that case, I have another option – eat a meal on an upcycled boat table!

I did suggest this restaurant already in my post about Amsterdam-Noord and I’d like to mention it again because it is super romantic. Now not all the tables here are on boats but just a very few, so arrive here early.

I’d also like to mention that De Ceuvel is run on sustainable principles, and has won multiple awards. It was a former shipyard (like the nearby NDSM Werf) by the IJ river that has been turned into a modern oasis by artists and architects.

The food in De Ceuvel is fusion, and I had the most interesting vegan food here. They make their own soda and their beer comes from smaller breweries. Their coffee is CO2 free! Seriously, in today’s date with climate change, we should encourage and support organizations like these.

24) Kiss on the Skinny Bridge to make it last forever

Magere Brug or the skinny bridge in Amsterdam
Magere Brug or the skinny bridge in Amsterdam & Café de Magere Brug

Did you know that there’s a legend in Amsterdam that if you kiss on top of the Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) that’s over the River Amstel, your love will last forever? C’mon, this is super romantic, and even if you’re not superstitious, this is one of those things that you absolutely HAVE to do when you’re in Amsterdam with your girlfriend (or boyfriends).

I have cycled on top of the Skinny Bridge a few times and I have always thought that the sunset colors look very beautiful there. I never knew of this legend but I can’t wait to drag San there to steal a kiss on top of Magere Brug.

After kissing on the skinny bridge, go for a drink or a meal at the riverside Café de Magere Brug, that’s just right by the bridge.

Bonus: Romantic Restaurants in Amsterdam with a view

I’m all about the views! This is basically a persisting theme in all of my city guides and itineraries. I make it a point to find restaurants with a view, cafes with a view, rooms with a view, and so on. This is why my list of Amsterdam’s romantic restaurants is a tad different from other websites.

Amsterdam for couples - Romantic things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam for couples – Romantic things to do in Amsterdam CC0 Unsplash

I mentioned a few restaurants already on my list but here are some of the most romantic restaurants in Amsterdam for couples. Go ahead and plan your date here.

Café de Magere Brug

This restaurant/cafe is right next to the skinny bridge, where you will go to steal a kiss. Right after that, visit Café de Magere Brug and enjoy the outdoor seating with a splendid view.

Hannekes Boom

Hannekes Boom is right before the IJ Tunnel starts. It is a nice waterfront restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere. It is famous for tapas, beer, and seafood.

Cafe De Regent van Amsterdam

This cafe has an amazing view of the canals and narrow houses and makes sense to visit it with your partner on a day when it isn’t raining so that you can sit outside.

Amstel Restaurant

This is a little upscale place as compared to the other mentioned places. There’s a view of the Amstel river, and narrow buildings with a fine dining experience.

Café de Ceuvel

I mentioned this restaurant already on the list above but dropping a quick line here. Visit Cafe de Ceuvel and enjoy a vegan meal on an upcycled boat table.

Kapitein Zeppos

Outdoor seating in a narrow alley with an amazing vibe. The view isn’t of canals but of the alley and it is for me the most romantic setting.

De Koffieschenkerij

A cafe in one of Amsterdam’s oldest buildings – De Oude Kerk. There are splendid views of the canal river, narrow houses, and bridges.

Amsterdam for Couples – Final Thoughts and Tips 

Not every romantic experience in Amsterdam costs money, many of the best things can be done for free. Honestly, I have visited Amsterdam with hardly any money and sometimes I have visited with enough to splurge.

The romantic things to do in Amsterdam that are expensive aren’t necessarily always better than the free ones. Yes, some expensive experiences in Amsterdam for couples have no match but some of the free ones are very good too. I’d personally not try to do them all but pick a handful to make the trip memorable.

Over the years, I have learned that if you want to create good memories of a romantic travel experience with your partner, it is better that you do fewer things and make them count, instead of doing too much that ends up being stressful. 

Is Amsterdam a romantic city?

Amsterdam has everything it takes to be romantic. There are narrow buildings, cute canals, tiny bridges with little flower pots, and loads of bicycles.

There is no shortage of romantic spots in Amsterdam and the benches are placed strategically all over the city to set the mood for couples. There are many romantic restaurants in Amsterdam overlooking the canals, I have mentioned some of them in this post.

Is Amsterdam nice for couples?

Amsterdam is the perfect city for couples because it sets a truly romantic mood. Of course, there are things like canal cruises, and romantic dinners with views that can be enjoyed but even a simple walk on one of the many bridges over canals can give couples a romantic experience in Amsterdam.

What is the most romantic part of Amsterdam?

In my experience, the entire Jordaan neighborhood is Amsterdam’s most romantic part. Grab a blanket and find a bench here that overlooks the view. That’s it, you don’t need much and you will surely spend a magical evening here.

Why do couples go to Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has something for every kind of couple. Most couples visit Amsterdam for its romantic vibe. New couples may visit Amsterdam to test if their relationship is worth it or not, as I did with my husband. The ones who have been together for years may visit to rekindle their romance. Some may visit to spark their sex life because Amsterdam has a lot of sex shows.

Is Amsterdam good for Honeymoon?

Amsterdam is the perfect honeymoon destination. One can book a room with a view, get on a boat to cruise the canals, enjoy a drink in one of the bars with a view and even get a honeymoon photoshoot done by professionals. For more ideas, look at my list of romantic things to do in Amsterdam for couples.

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20 Quotes about Amsterdam [that You’d Want to Steal]

20 Quotes about Amsterdam [that You’d Want to Steal]

Have I told you already how much I love Amsterdam?

Amsterdam was the highlight of my first-ever trip to Europe in 2014. I moved to Europe in 2017 and I make it a point to visit this cute city every single year (even if it is just for a weekend).

If you search on the internet, you will find 100s of quotes about Amsterdam. Whoa!

But who has the time to read close to 2000-4000 words if one’s just looking for just short, punchy, and witty travel-related Amsterdam Instagram captions?

Quotes about Amsterdam Drifter Planet

A few days back I was looking for a super cute and quick Instagram caption for Amsterdam but I was overwhelmed by the search results.

Not just Instagram, but what if you’re writing something about Amsterdam and you want to start your post with a famous quote about Amsterdam? I don’t know about you but I definitely don’t have the patience to go through 100s of quotes.

So, if you’re in a hurry, I have shortlisted the best Amsterdam quotes for Instagram that you’d want to steal.

20 Quotes about Amsterdam for Instagram Captions

20 Quotes about Amsterdam, travel

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

― John Green, Author of The Fault in Our Stars. 

Yes, I started with the most famous quote about Amsterdam that’s mentioned everywhere, but I think this quote perfectly captures the essence of Amsterdam.

I have used it on my first ever blog post about Amsterdam in the opening line too because it fits the city perfectly.

“When you mention you’ll be making a stopover in Amsterdam, you get a reaction I can only describe as semi-collegiate. A knowing look … as if there can really only be 2 reasons you’d go to this lovely little city of canals.

Anthony Bourdain 

“It’s like the European version of Bangkok – a very high threshold for bad behavior”

Anthony Bourdain

Having visited both Bangkok and Amsterdam multiple times, I agree with this quote one hundred percent.

“Last time I was here I slept in a park because I spent all my money of hash and hookers.”

Anthony Bourdain

Yes, I just shared three quotes by the same person – Anthony Bourdain. I found them very funny and relatable. Anthony Bourdain’s Amsterdam Quotes are new and not many websites share them. They are from the Layover’s Amsterdam episode.

20 Quotes about Amsterdam

“Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from fleecing the tourist.”

Julie Burchill

I love this quote about Amsterdam because I think Julie Burchill must have been in Jordaan for an experience like this. I personally think Jordaan is the most romantic place in Amsterdam for couples.

“Stand outside De Eland, on the Berenstraat Bridge over the Prinsengracht, and you see what real Amsterdam life is like.”

David Hewson

“Amsterdam was a great surprise to me. I had always thought of Venice as the city of canals; it had never entered my mind that I should find similar conditions in a Dutch town.”

James Weldon Johnson

“In Europe, I always have fun bike riding in Amsterdam.”

Ezra Koenig

Btw, if you like riding bicycles and would like to explore Amsterdam this way, here’s my tried and tested itinerary for spending 2 days in Amsterdam with cycling map for each day.

“In Amsterdam, the river and canals have been central to city life for the last four centuries.”

Janet Echelman

“I think Amsterdam is to Holland what New York is to America in a sense. It’s a metropolis, so it’s representative of Holland, but only a part of it – you know, it’s more extreme, there’s more happening, it’s more liberal and more daring than the countryside in Holland is.”

Anton Corbijn

“Most visitors to Amsterdam will wander into the red-light district out of sheer curiosity. The narrow streets are mostly safe day and night – just don’t try to take pictures of the women working in the windows.”

David Hewson

Quotes about Amsterdam Red Light District

“I don’t have a problem with saying, ‘I love you.’ I probably said it to the whole of the red-light district in Amsterdam when I was about 21. “

Shaun Ryder

“Amsterdam lives and breathes creativity. One moment you walk into a building from the 17th century, and the next you find yourself in a hub of creative start-up companies.”

Marcel Wanders

“Amsterdam is a breeding ground for new creative pursuits in many areas fueled by a tolerance and openness to ideas unlike any world city I’ve been to. There is something for everyone here, especially when you dare to go off the beaten path.”

Marcel Wanders

“What’s special about Amsterdam is that the city is able to connect worlds that are not otherwise connected.”

Marcel Wanders

“You could spend your time with your nose buried in a guidebook, but Amsterdam really is best explored on foot, so you can stumble upon the city’s hidden gems. The architecture and the beauty of some of the buildings is also wonderful.”

Gregory Porter

“Amsterdam is such a fun, cool place, and it’s very Instagrammable with the canals and the boats and the flowers and the architecture. It’s amazing for outfit of the day shots.”

Nikkie de Jager-Drossaers

(Yes, I say this too all the time that Amsterdam is very Instagrammable. I also published my post about Amsterdam’s top Instagram spots which you will want to bookmark for your next visit.

“Amsterdam. It is so cute and quaint. I rode bicycles around the city and through the tiny little streets, rented a paddleboat and had a picnic lunch on the canals.”

Bridget Marquardt

“And in Amsterdam, you learn that a night out dancing is good for the soul.”

Brendan Hunt

I agree, Amsterdam’s nightlife is one of a kind. If you are already in Amsterdam or are heading there, then you should know that I have a post about Amsterdam’s party scene on my website. Just wanted to let you know, just in case you’re interested in that kind of a thing.

“I was told David Letterman and Kaufman had heart attacks on the same day. David Letterman’s heart attack was at a hospital in NYC. Kaufman’s heart attack was at the red light district in Amsterdam. I think Kaufman had more fun.”
Howard Stern

“The best travel tip that I ever received about exploring Amsterdam was to get the hell out of the center and explore other neighbourhoods”

Sonal, Drifter Planet

Yep, that last quote is from me and I say it to every single first time Amsterdam visitor. I also mention it on some of my blog posts.

I was actually stuck to the centre the first time I visited but never again after that and I saw a very different and better side of Amsterdam, and it became my favorite city break.

The worst place to hang out in Amsterdam is the main centre, the Dam square and around. Ideally you would want to get a quick look here and then move on to areas like Jordaan, Noord,

Instagram or not, I genuinely enjoy a quick look at what people have said about some famous historical destinations.

I remember when I visited New York City, I wanted to rub it on my friend’s faces but didn’t want to look like a show off at the same time, so I found a quote about the city and posted it on my Facebook Wall. (haha)

So, the next time you’re visiting Amsterdam and you want to discreetly brag about it, hope you find your perfect quote on Amsterdam on my website and post it on social media. If you do, tag me @DrifterPlanet and I’d love to share your post on my Instagram story.

NDSM Amsterdam: How to Reach + What to do in NDSM Werf (Wharf)

NDSM Amsterdam: How to Reach + What to do in NDSM Werf (Wharf)

What’s that one place in Amsterdam that’s different than all others? It is NDSM.

NDSM Werf (or NDSM Wharf in English) is in Amsterdam-Noord. It is unique because it is unlike any other neighborhood in Amsterdam. You won’t see the typical narrow buildings or canals but don’t be disappointed – there’s something else here.

What is NDSM Werf (or NDSM Wharf)

Riverside Pllek in NDSM Amsterdam

What was once an industrial shipyard is now a space with art installations, graffiti, beachside bars, vintage markets, environmentally conscious cafes, and an amazing creative hub with contagious creative energy. Sounds a bit too much? Well, that’s the best way to describe Amsterdam’s NDSM Werf.

The word Werf is Dutch and it translates into “wharf” in English. A wharf is a quayside area in which a ship may be moored to load and unload.

Kunststad Entry – NDSM Amsterdam

Expect to see a lot of strange-looking old shipyard tools here that are transformed into something arty or beautifully functional in another way. 

Technically NDSM Plein is a neighborhood of Amsterdam. The word “Plein” means a square or a plaza. Honestly, NDSM isn’t just a typical neighborhood or a square, it is a vibrant social space.

If you’re traveling to Amsterdam, then make sure you include NDSM in your itinerary. No matter how long or short your Amsterdam trip is, try to spend at least half a day in NDSM for a change of scenery. I have visited NDSM Werf on most of my Amsterdam weekend trips or even the longer ones.

How to reach NDSM Amsterdam

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord - Amsterdam Itinerary

Ferry from Amsterdam Centraal to Noord – Amsterdam Itinerary

In my numerous posts about Amsterdam, I have mentioned over and over again that the best way to explore the city is on a bicycle. Even though Amsterdam’s tram, ferry, and metro network is great, you probably won’t need a bicycle. Nonetheless, having one while you visit NDSM will give you much more freedom to explore. 

There is a free ferry that goes from Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam-Noord, and another one directly to NDSM-Yard. The ferry leaves from the other side of the Amsterdam Centraal train station, the exit that’s not towards the main city but the river. 

The ferry point is just outside the Centraal station and you won’t miss it because you will see people waiting with their bicycles or scooters. Yes, you can take the bike on the ferry.

Look for ferry 906 towards NDSM yard. The ferries leave after every five minutes and they cost nothing. It can’t get better than this. Remember, if you don’t have a bicycle then don’t get on the ferry that goes to A’dam tower because that’s 3 KMs away. Instead, take the ferry that’s going directly to NDSM werf. 

Ferry 906 will leave you near NDSM but if you want to check out other spots in Amsterdam-Noord, like the A’Dam lookout tower then you can ride your bicycle there, it is just 3 KMs, so will take you 15 minutes on the bicycle. If you’re scared to ride a bicycle in Amsterdam city, then you should know that riding it in Noord is super easy because of the wide empty spaces.

Things to do in NDSM

Cycle Around NDSM Werf + Top Sights

NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art

San and I exploring NDSM Werf on bicycles and admiring street art

When you arrive in NDSM, then the first thing you’d want to do is to explore the area on your bicycle. This will give you a sense of this space and will give you an idea of where everything is. This way, you can also keep a lookout for a brand new cafe or bar that looks interesting and is not on my list.

Here are some spots to look at while you cycle around NDSM Plein. These are the spots where you don’t have to necessarily stop, unless you’d like to click a photo. They can be enjoyed as you cycle around them too.

Let me be Myself” mural of Anne Frank by Eduardo Kobra

The Iconic Let me be Myself – Ann Frank Mural in STRAAT, Amsterdam NDSM

While Cycling in NDSM Plein, you will come across a massive face of Ann Frank smiling at you. It is called “Let me be Myself” and is by Eduardo Kobra. 

I spent a long time looking at this mural because it has so many interesting bits that collectively form one face. The giant scale of this work of art is magnificent and it is not easy to photograph it unless you have a wide-angle lens.

Let me be Myself mural of Ann Frank is actually the entry part of STRAAT – a museum dedicated to street art. I will talk more about that in one of my next points.

Spot the Faralda Crane Hotel

Amsterdam’s Crane Hotel Feralda in NDSM, Amsterdam Noord

Imagine a big old crane that’s converted into a high-end bed and breakfast. Yes, that’s what Faralda Crane Hotel is all about. There’s even a hot top on top.

The rooms in Faralda Crane Hotel aren’t cheap and cost at least 800 euros per night for a crazy unique experience. I did mention this place in my earlier post about Amsterdam-Noord and I still say that this is a super interesting sight. 

See Alternative Housing – Trams and Containers

Old Tram Converted into a house in NDSM Amsterdam – Anthony da Cruz via Unsplash

NDSM takes recycling to another level by using up old trams and shipping containers. It was interesting to see some of them converted into houses. 

Cycle around and hopefully, you will find even more interesting things to see that I didn’t notice. If you do, then please let me know too so that I can include the information on my website.

Head to Kunststad to see the Art Installations

The most obvious thing to do in NDSM Werf is to check out the art installations. They are mostly situated in a huge hall with a high ceiling, which is called Kunststad (meaning Art City). 

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

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

Kunststad is a massive industrial building and you won’t miss it. You can take your cycle inside this hall. Kunststad features the works of 250 artists. Some of the art installations are super interactive and will blow your mind.

Some art installations change over time and others stay here for a while. I saw something unique in 2017 here which was still in the same spot in 2021. It is called the Barbie peep show and is hilarious.

NDSM Werf in Amsterdam-Noord – my favorite Amsterdam photo spot

The Barbie Peep show is all about putting a coin in the slot and seeing naked barbies. Once you put a coin, then a peephole opens and you can peep for some time. I mean, no one ever needs to see naked barbies but it is a funny concept for collecting money. Moreover, with its pastel pink wall, it makes an amazing photo spot and is on my list of top Instagram spots in Amsterdam.

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

IJ-Hallen Flea Market

IJ-Hallen is a flea market that occurs in the same spot as the art installations in the first point. However this market takes place just once or twice a month, so make sure you check the website to plan your visit.

They say IJ-Hallen is the biggest flea market in Europe with 400 stands, I’m not sure because I have definitely seen massive flea markets in Puglia and another one near the Germany-Poland border.

Honestly, because this market occurs just once or twice a month, I always ended up missing it. I did visit Waterlooplein, one of the other flea markets in main Amsterdam. Just because I didn’t get to visit it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I still want to recommend this one-of-a-kind flea market in Amsterdam to you.

Head to Pllek – Beach Bar, Movie Night, Yoga

Sipping Beer on the beach in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

I have mentioned Pllek in many of my Amsterdam posts. It is a lot of things combined in one. It is a restaurant, a bar that faces the IJ river, and a spot for movie nights and Sunday morning Yoga sessions.

Pllek is a Dutch word that means “the spot” or “the place”, it is my favorite place in Amsterdam to relax and drink. Pllek is more than just a place, it is a vibe.

Pllek by the IJ in Amsterdam-Noord

While you’re in main Amsterdam, you may not realize but the city can sometimes get stressful because it is busy. This part of Amsterdam has somehow managed to stay under the radar of tourists and is the perfect place to relax the mind. 

Pllek is fun, it is colorful and perfect for couples or solos alike.

Sitting by the water in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord – 2021

If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy the sunset, Pllek is actually the best place because the beach chairs face the west side and you can see the magical sunset colors as you sit by the water. It is one of the most romantic things to do in Amsterdam.

I love Pllek’s contactless ordering service. You can just scan a QR code that’s displayed everywhere here, see the menu online and order. You can also pay online. When the order is ready, they will call your name, and then you can enjoy your food and drinks.

Pllek by the IJ - Amsterdam Noord

Live music in Pllek by the IJ – Amsterdam Noord – 2017

Pllek gets a bit busy in the evenings so try to get here early. Be prepared to share a table if you get here late, but that’s not a bad thing because Pllek is a social spot.

Relax at Café de Ceuvel

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

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

Pllek definitely is an interesting spot but another one that stole my heart was De Ceuvel. It is arty, interesting and beautiful. 

Cafe De Ceuvel is one of those places where you can chill for hours and would not want to leave. There are interesting places to sit around the water and streams. If you’re lucky then you can get a houseboat table on the water.

Delicious salad at De Cuvel Café, Amsterdam-Noord

Delicious Nutty salad at De Ceuvel Café, Amsterdam-Noord

Vegans would love De Ceuvel because of the variety of food options. The food isn’t Dutch but the fusion of many different cuisines. As an Indian, I can say that Cafe de Ceuvel is one of the FEW places in Europe that get “Dhaal” right. Dhaal is an Indian preparation of lentils. 

Apart from eating and drinking, De Ceuvel is a spot for many workshops that are focused on sustainability. In fact, the whole restaurant is sustainable with their kitchen waste going into the garden.

Cafe de Ceuvel in NDSM Amsterdam


Remember “Let me be Myself”, the Ann Frank mural that I mentioned in my earlier point about cycling in NDSM werf? Well, that’s actually a part of STRAAT – a museum that’s dedicated to street art.

Near the entry of STRAAT Museum NDSM Amsterdam – Anthony da Cruz via Unsplash

Amsterdam is famous for its museums and STRAAT is truly one of a kind.

STRAAT is kind of like Kunststad but is much more intense. It isn’t free and it features some of the most famous artists from all over the world. In STRAAT you will find the works of Bansky, Keith Haring, etc.

The art in STRAAT is divided into 5 themes. Expect to learn about the stories, the art form, the history of graffiti, street art, and NDSM Werf. Moreover, it also features different international street artists from time to time.

If you’re visiting STRAAT with your children aged 6 – 12 years, you will be happy to know that they can take part in a treasure hunt – just ask at the entry point about it.

Where to Stay near NDSM Werf

Inside ClinkNoord - a fun place to stay in Amsterdam-Noord

Inside ClinkNoord – a fun place to stay in Amsterdam-Noord

I normally stay in the main Amsterdam city but the only time I stayed in Amsterdam-Noord was in a hostel called ClinkNoord. It is near A’Dam Tower, which is 2.5 – 3 KMs from NDSM Werf.

Final Thoughts about NDSM Amsterdam

Pin It – NDSM Amsterdam

If you think this list contains information about too many places to visit in a small square called NDSM, you will be surprised to know that it has even more. I include NDSM in every single of my Amsterdam itineraries and every time I visit Amsterdam, I notice many interesting things to do in NDSM and a few new cafes and bars.

Amsterdam main has an old-school charm but NDSM has a contemporary new look (and vibe).  Spend a few hours or days here for a change of scenery and you wouldn’t want to leave.


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Amsterdam Instagram Spots: 18 Photo Spots in Amsterdam (+ Map)

Amsterdam Instagram Spots: 18 Photo Spots in Amsterdam (+ Map)

You asked and I answered, here are the exact locations of some of my Instagram posts from Amsterdam. It took me five visits to find some of the most amazing photo spots and to compile this list of my favorite Amsterdam Instagram spots.

I have said it before and I will again – Amsterdam is a beautiful city and every spot is picture-perfect. There are canals, rivers, bridges, and narrow streets – Amsterdam has everything it takes to make a city pretty.

Ok, so a lot of European cities already have all this, so what makes Amsterdam special?

Amsterdam has something that’s unique to it – super narrow old buildings that look insanely beautiful along the water. Not all the buildings look symmetrical and some appear to be leaning. And that’s exactly what makes them even more interesting because they all seem to fit well together for an insanely beautiful photo.

So where should you go in Amsterdam to capture the best of all? I will let you all know my favorite spots which I discovered during my 5 visits to this lovely city over the last few years:

Top Amsterdam Instagram Spots

1) Damrak, Near Amsterdam Centraal

Amsterdam’s Narrow Buildings by the water

Damrak is in Amsterdam Centrum and you will surely cross it at some point. It is literally just a 2-minute walk from the Amsterdam Central Station and Dam Square.

Damrak is the most popular photo spot in Amsterdam and it is for a reason – it is easy to click a good photo here and the results are always good.

If you have a little more time on your hands then you can play with the reflection and create something unique. I didn’t because I was alone on a weekend trip in Amsterdam and I did not have a lot of time. If you have a tripod then this spot is excellent for capturing a night photo of Amsterdam with long exposure.I’d also like to mention that Damrak is excellent for creating Instagram Reels because it fits a vertical frame really well.

You don’t need to arrive here at a particular time to avoid the crowd because this part of Amsterdam is always crowded. Still, it isn’t difficult to capture this place without people if you can wait for 2-5 minutes. But sometimes there are too many boats parked so you may need to wait for a little for them to leave.

Tip: Get yourself a cheap Amsterdam souvenir and hold it in front of the Damrak houses for an interesting photo.
  • How to reach Damrak: Just walk here from Dam Square station or Amsterdam Centraal train or tram stations. There’s another tram station that’s just 200 meters away – Nieuwezijds Kolk.
  • Click here for map coordinates.


2) Staalmeestersbrug over Groenburgwal with Zuidkerk View

Staalmeestersbrug over Groenburgwal with Zuidkerk – Amsterdam Photo Spots – CCO Unsplash

Yes, I can’t get enough of canal photo spots. This post does contain many different types of photo spots but my best-performing Amsterdam photos on Instagram are the ones that show canals, narrow houses, and bridges.

Bonus points if you can capture bicycles or an iconic building in the background. In this particular location, it is the Zuiderkerk Church tower.

The name of the bridge is Staalmeestersbrug and it goes over the Groenburgwal canal on one side you can see the Zuidkerk. There’s a painting by Claude Monet that depicts this exact setting. This is why this view is sometimes called “the million-dollar view”.


3) Leidsegracht and Keizersgracht Intersections

Leidsegracht and Keizersgracht Intersections – Amsterdam photo spots (CC0 via Unsplash)

Just like the Damrak Buildings, this particular spot is also a super famous photo point that’s usually featured in many famous magazines. This is the point where two canals intersect – Leidesgracht and Keizersgracht and the results are interesting.

Amsterdam Nightlife Guide - best nightclubs and bars
Amsterdam Nightlife Guide – best nightclubs and bars

There It is also a very good spot for night photography if you have a tripod. You can catch the trailing boat nights on long exposure and the results can be breathtaking.

Leidsegracht and Keizersgracht bridges in Amsterdam – IG spots
  • How to reach: Look for Pastini restaurant. From there, walk to the nearest bridge and don’t climb it. Just stand at the end of the bridge and see another bridge that’s going diagonal with arches under it. Capture the photo with water, the arches of the bridge, and those 3-4 buildings behind it.
  • Click here for the Location Coordinates.
Suggested: Hamburg Instagram posts – 13 amazing photo spots.

4) Kapitein Zeppos Restaurant

Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam
Kapitein Zeppos restaurant in Amsterdam
Just look at this picture. Is this the most instagrammable restaurant in Amsterdam? It is just a random restaurant with outdoor seating in a pretty alley and it isn’t even famous. The setting makes it so romantic that it is perfect for a date in Amsterdam.
It isn’t even featured in any of the top lists. The above is a phone photo but imagine how much more you can do with a slightly better lens.
I think Kapitein Zeppos restaurant is very pretty. I love this particular narrow street that’s fringed with flowering vines and the other building in the background. I actually found this place when I was walking around in Amsterdam in 2014 and then once more by chance in 2017.
Tip: For the best result, arrive here a little early before people start sitting on the chairs so that you can capture this spot without people. The best time would be a rainy day, it was for me! 

5) The Bridges on Princengracht or Bloemengracht

Jordaan has a lot of narrow canals with small bridges over them. A Gracht is Dutch for canal and Princengracht or Bloemengracht are the names of two of the canals that are in Jordaan.

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

Honestly, all the bridges on Jordaan’s canals are lovely. These bridges are decorated with flowers so you can capture a lovely frame with flowers, the canal, narrow houses on each side, and sometimes even a seagull or the Westerkerk. (Westerkerk is an iconic church building that’s next to the Ann Frank Haus).

I particularly like Bridge 62 on Princengracht and Bridge 160 on Bloemengracht. Many maps mysteriously don’t show Bridge 62, so you have to look for “Kees de Jongen Bridge”.

  • How to reach this photo spot: Just arrive near the Ann Frank Haus and walk in the opposite direction where you see narrower canals. Keep walking and you will find many photo spots.
  • Location coordinates on Google maps.

6) Oudezijds Achterburgwal, De Wallen

Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam
Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam via Unsplash
Oudezijds Achterburgwal a.k.a., OZ Achterburgwal is a narrow street and a canal in De Wallen (Amsterdam’s red light district). Here the houses in one part have their rear walls directly on the water – how cool is that!
Stand on Bet van Beerenbrug bridge and click a photo of super narrow houses along this skinny canal. You will see the curve of the canal as it joins a wider Oudezijds Voorburgwal.
As you walk on Oudezijds Achterburgwal Street along the canal towards the curve, you will see a lot more photo opportunities.  If you walk back, there are a total of seven bridges on this canal and each offers an interesting perspective. But the best view is from Bet van Beerenbrug to the curve in the canal.
The thing that I have realized about photographing Amsterdam is that the pictures are prettier when the streets or canals are super narrow. As a result, such spots highlight the narrowness of Amsterdam’s aesthetics, because even the houses are built that way. This is one such spot.
  • How to reach this photo spot: Arrive in De Wallen and walk to Cafe Corse and go to the part of this cafe that faces the water. The bridge Bet van Beerenbrug is right there. Go on the bridge or walk along the water for some interesting photos.
  • Click here for location coordinates.

7) NDSM Wharf (or werf), Amsterdam-Noord

If you’re looking for a place in Amsterdam to create unique photos that haven’t been overly popularized, then NDSM Wharf (or NDSM Werf) is the place for you. Seriously everyone posts a picture of Amsterdam’s canals or bridges, but not enough people post something different.

NDSM Werf was once a shipyard but now is an open-air space that’s full of art installations. No, this is more than just your typical street art, many of the installations are interactive and you will enjoy playing around there.

I do have a guide about the Amsterdam-Noord neighborhood of Amsterdam, be sure to read it before you go.

Tip: You can rent a bicycle for free with the I Amsterdam City Card. Make sure you do and visit this part of Amsterdam because it is different from the rest of the city.
  • How to Reach NDSM Werf: It is very easy to reach NDSM Werf. Just catch a free ferry from Amsterdam Centrum that goes over the IJ River and will leave you near the A’Dam tower. You can bring your bicycle on the ferry with you. From there, NDSM is 2 km away and you can reach there on your bicycle.
  • Location coordinates on Google Maps.


8) From the Edge of a Boat

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

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

Canals are a very important part of Amsterdam’s cityscape, so make sure you capture the beauty from the source itself. For the best result, stand on the edge of a narrow boat as it floats on a canal that’s lined with buildings on both sides.

Canal View of Amsterdam from the edge of a boat under the bridge – September 2017

A typical canal cruise on a boat will take you to most of the scenic spots in Amsterdam, so keep your eyes open and click loads of photos.
For an interesting perspective, wait for the boat to go under the bridge and click as soon as the bridge forms an arch with a view of the narrow buildings on the other side.
It took me 2 boat tours in Amsterdam to get the photos right because not all boats are fully open. The semi-open or fully open private boats are usually more expensive and don’t safeguard you from the rain. And normally you can’t go to the edge of the boat because you have to stay seated unless you pick a private boat tour.
Tip: The I Amsterdam City Card offers one free canal boat tour. There are many options for different kinds of tours, pick one wisely.

9) Hortus Botanicus

Butterfly Garden in Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

You may have not heard of this place in Amsterdam but it took my breath away. Not only it is a must-visit place in every Amsterdam itinerary but also super Instagram worthy.

Guess what, Hortus Botanicus was perhaps the only place that I visited in Amsterdam that had way more locals instead of tourists. That’s always a good sign!

This place is so lovely that people visit it for their wedding photo shoots. The time I visited Hortus Botanicus, there was a wedding photo shoot that was going on inside with an entire photography team.

Head to the tropical forest area and you will have endless photo ideas. The tropical forest area also has massive banana trees, vines, big peace lilies, waterfalls, and bridges. There are benches in some special locations where you can put the camera and click your photos.
I also clicked my favorite Amsterdam photos in Hortus Botanicus’ Butterfly Garden, but it may not always be possible to enter this section because the entry is restricted to a maximum of 6 people at a time.
Tip: The entry for the Hortus Botanicus is EUR 11,50 but is free with the I Amsterdam City Card, so consider getting the card if you’re visiting at least 2 attractions
  • How to reach Hortus Botanicus: Get off at Mr. Visserplein or Amsterdam Artis or Plantage tram stations. I was staying in a hostel near Hortus Botanicus so for me, Mr. Visserplein was the most convenient one. You can also arrive here from the Waterlooplein Metro station.
  • Location coordinates on Maps

10) De Beurs Passage (+ the Arch)

De Beurs Passage doesn’t look like it belongs in Amsterdam at all. In fact, it looks like it would fit Istanbul instead. This passage is in the centrum, just 1 minute’s walk from Damrak so it is usually crowded unless you are patient because you have to wait for people to move away.
I did see a bunch of people at De Beurs Passage who were clicking photos of the ceiling, but for me, the end of this passage was way more photogenic because of the arch, and you can see a glimpse of a street behind.
I would have absolutely loved to pose here with a pretty flowy dress but I was traveling alone. I didn’t end up wearing dresses because I was always on a bicycle and ended up clicking all the photos without me in them.

11) A’Dam Lookout Tower, Amsterdam-Noord

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 looking for a view of Amsterdam from up above, then A’Dam Lookout is the place to be. The rooftop viewing deck here offers amazing views over Amsterdam in all directions.

Moon Bar on A'Dam Tower - Amsterdam itinerary

Moon Bar on A’Dam Tower – Amsterdam itinerary

Not just the top, but you can visit the Moon Bar and get a place with a breathtaking view of the city. Honestly, I think the Moon Bar makes a better photo spot than the terrace because you can add an interesting perspective.

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

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

I’d like to mention that I also tried the Extreme Swing that’s on top of the A’Dam tower and it was an insane experience! Get someone to click your photo when you’re up there and trust me it will be one of the most memorable photos for you.

Moreover, the extreme swing will also give you an amazing Instagram reel opportunity. I do have a video of it on my YouTube channel, and honestly, it was just a super quick edit and I’m surprised that it has so many views.

Tip: The entry for the A’Dam Lookout is EUR 15 per person but is free with the I Amsterdam City Card. Consider getting the card to save money for transport and attractions.
  • How to Reach A’Dam tower: Get to the Amsterdam Centraal station and go on the opposite side. There’s one side that goes into the main city but the other side is towards the IJ river, reach there and you will see a few ferries. These are free public ferries that will take you to Noord. Get on the next ferry, it will leave you just next to the A’Dam tower in Noord.
  • Click here for location coordinates.


12) Waterlooplein Market

Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam

Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam

I have a thing for flea markets. No, not for shipping but I find them very interesting because of the casual set of shops and hanging merchandise. More than that, you can also see some interesting faces and lots of photo opportunities.

Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein market actually reminds me of Goa’s hippie flea markets. There are usually 300 stalls and they are lined up next to the Amstel river, so the backdrop is lovely.

Tip: The Waterlooplein Market is closed on Sundays, so keep that in mind if you’re spending a weekend in Amsterdam. It is just a quick walk from the Hortus Botanicus which is also featured on this list. You can combine both these spots one after another in your Amsterdam itinerary.

13) Rijksmuseum Library

Rijksmuseum Research Library - Amsterdam museums

Rijksmuseum Research Library – Amsterdam museums

Rijksmuseum is legendary and it is Amsterdam’s most famous museum. You can’t click a photo anywhere in this museum except in the library. The Rijksmuseum research library is the largest public art history research library in the Netherlands.

I think the Rijksmuseum library is stunning with its high arched ceiling and wooden pillars. I’d actually love to go back to Amsterdam for my 6th visit to click a photo in a dress here.

Tip: The Rijksmuseum is open every day but the library is closed on Sundays. The entry for the museum tickets costs EUR 20 per person but you can enter for free with the I Amsterdam City Card. Make sure you PREBOOK a time slot not just at the museum but ALSO at the library. This is the new rule because of Covid-19 post-June 1, 2021.

14) Pllek Restaurant and Beach Bar

Sipping Beer on the beach in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

Did you know it was possible to visit a beach bar in Amsterdam? I didn’t till the time I visited Amsterdam-Noord in 2017. From that time I made sure to include Noord in my itinerary to visit this particular bar and restaurant. I was so happy when I noticed that my favorite bloggers mentioned Pllek as the best sunset spot in Amsterdam.

Visiting Pllek is an experience because it is more than just a normal restaurant or bar, it was once a shipyard (the entire NDSM wharf was). Everything inside and also outside looks insanely interesting and unusual. It overlooks the IJ river and Amsterdam Centrum from the other side.

Beach bar at Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

I love Amsterdam city but sometimes it can get a little too busy and stressful for me. Honestly, the hours I spent sipping my beer by the IJ River in Pllek actually felt like a vacation. This place is lively, fun, and more than just a pretty photo spot.
  • How to Reach Pllek: In order to reach Pllek, you have to reach Amsterdam-Noord first. You can catch a free ferry to Noord from Amsterdam Centrum. Bring your bicycle on the ferry because you will need to ride it to reach here from the pier. And yes, you can rent your bicycle for free with your I Amsterdam City Card.
  • Click here for Pllek Coordinates on Google Maps.

15) Museumplein Entry Tunnel Arch

Amsterdam Museumplein entry tunnel copy

I have never seen this tunnel ever mentioned in any travel article or blog but I really wonder why. When you enter the Museumplein (museum square) on a bicycle or by walking, you get to see the most amazing entry tunnel with arches and lamps.

Museumplein isn’t exactly small so if you’re looking for this spot, this is the entry tunnel is towards the Rijksmuseum.

The thing is, the middle area is for bicycles and the one in the corner is for pedestrians. This isn’t a safe photo spot because you’re going to be standing right in the middle of the cyclists. Amsterdam’s cyclists literally rule the city and they will run over you if you stand in their way (as I mentioned in my travel tips post).

I actually shot a video here while I was cycling and made pictures from the screenshots of the video. Haha. Yes, I cycled here 4-5 times in this tunnel for the best photos.

Tip: Because you have to get into the middle of the cycling lane, the only way I suggest you click this is by arriving here super early before the people reach. If you stand in the middle point of the lanes to capture this tunnel, you can get hurt because there is a blind spot here, and approaching cyclists may not be able to see you. So, get this shot before people start arriving, or do what I did, create a video while cycling.

16) Bloemstraat with Westerkerk

Bloemstraat with Westerkerk in the background - Jordaan - Amsterdam IG spots

Bloemstraat with Westerkerk in the background – Jordaan – Amsterdam IG spots – Amsterdam July 2021

There’s a street in Jordaan where you will see the Westerkerk in the background. This makes an interesting photo spot, I realized this because I have this photo from many of my Amsterdam trips.
Jordaan, Amsterdam - travel tips for Amsterdam

Jordaan, Amsterdam – travel tips for Amsterdam – July 2017

If you see the first photo has a better perspective, it is because my photography skills became a little better over the years and so did my gear. The first photo here was clicked in 2021 and the second in 2017.

17) Vondelkerk

Vondelkerk – Amsterdam photo spots

Vondelkerk is near Vondelpark and near museum square. I actually arrived here because it is a peaceful area and I wanted to practice riding my new rented bicycle before heading out to the other parts of the city. This church looks very beautiful from many different directions and I cycled all around it and stopped for a few photos.
  • How to reach Vondelkerk: The nearest tram stops are 1e Con. Huygensstraat and Overtoom. If you arrive here on a bicycle as I did, then just follow the map coordinates in the next point.
  • Click here for map coordinates.

18) Outside Moco Museum

Moco Museum – visiting Museumplein on my rented bicycle

Moco isn’t the most famous museum in Amsterdam, but I found the building very cute. It is small and there is a lot of empty space on one side. This is in the direction that goes from Rijksmuseum to Moco.

So, one can stand next to it and make a pretty picture. In my case, I was alone so I just parked my rented bicycle where I would have liked to stand and clicked a picture.

  • How to reach: Get to the Museumplein tram stop and just walk or cycle from there to Moco Museum. To reach the location that I’m talking about, just walk from Rijksmuseum to Moco museum. After you will cross a few touristy shops on the right, you will arrive here.
  • Click here for the location coordinates.

BONUS: Intel Hotel Zaandam

There’s a reason why this place didn’t make it into the final list, that’s because the Intel Hotel is in Zaandam (and not in Amsterdam), it is right outside Amsterdam. Nevertheless, it is perhaps the most interesting hotel building that you will ever see. Just like Prague’s dancing house hotel building is now an icon.

Look how pretty it looks. Honestly, I have been eying the photos of this particular hotel on Instagram for ages but I didn’t get an opportunity to visit.

I’d still like to mention this place because I’d not want you to miss out on photographing it just because I didn’t.

Map of Amsterdam Instagram Spots

Here’s a map that I have made of all these Instagram locations in Amsterdam. This will help you plan your time and know where to go first and which places you can photograph together. If you like my list of photo spots in Amsterdam then please share it with a friend who’s going there.


What About the “Wake me up when I’m famous” Bench? It No Longer Exists

There used to be a super popular Instagram photo spot in Amsterdam with a bench right next to the “Wake me up when I’m famous” sign. People took some very interesting pictures pretending to sleep on the bench and some of them even carried their rugs and pillows for an elaborate photo shoot.

Sadly the bench is no longer there, but you can see the spot below. It is in a neighborhood called De Pijp, which is an excellent spot for eating and drinking.

Click here for the location coordinates for the “Wake me up when I’m famous” sign.

Wake me up when I'm famous sign in Amsterdam

Wake me up when I’m famous sign in Amsterdam

Final Thoughts about Amsterdam Instagram Spots

I hope you enjoyed my list of Instagram spots in Amsterdam. Over the years I have added more spots to my list because I visit Amsterdam pretty often.

I love photographing the same spots but I change the perspective a little bit. Of course, I am always in search of more photo spots. If you come to know of any more interesting Insta spots in Amsterdam then please leave a comment and let me know.

Amsterdam Instagram Spots – 18 Photo Spots in Amsterdam

Disclosure: I collaborated with the I Amsterdam (Amsterdam city tourism board) for a part of my trip in 2017 and 2021. However, all opinions expressed in this article are definitely my 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.   We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to pro

A Weekend in Amsterdam: the only Amsterdam Weekend Guide You’ll Ever Need

A Weekend in Amsterdam: the only Amsterdam Weekend Guide You’ll Ever Need

I spent a weekend in Amsterdam alone on my fifth visit to the city and it was during the leaner months of Covid-19. Here are my costs and itinerary for spending the perfect weekend here.

If you live in Europe or are traveling on this continent, then Amsterdam is a destination that you just shouldn’t let yourself miss. It has everything possible that you’d ever want in a travel destination.

Let’s talk about the typical European stuff, Amsterdam has it all – old buildings, churches, and whatnot. Yawn – that can get boring after a while. But Amsterdam is special because it has its own interesting spin on this. How cool is that?

Amsterdam has unique narrow buildings that look asymmetrical and are mostly red, black, and brownish-orange in color. Like little toy buildings that you might have played with as a child.

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

Admire Amsterdam’s Narrow Houses – Amsterdam for a weekend itinerary

While you can find baroque architectural style in most big European cities, in Amsterdam you will find the Dutch Baroque style, which evolved differently because of the Dutch Golden Ages.

As a result, the buildings are totally different and you can stare at them in wonder for long. I surely during most of my weekend in Amsterdam! 

Amsterdam has more bicycles than people - Info for Traveling to Amsterdam

Amsterdam has more bicycles than people – Info for Traveling to Amsterdam

Of course, you know that Amsterdam has canals – after all, that’s one of the things that Amsterdam is famous for. What I love about Amsterdam’s canals is that they are close to each other and most are super narrow so it makes them fun and easy to explore. I love walking on the little bridges that go over the canals and have bright flowers on them.

What makes Amsterdam even more special are the bicycles. There are a gazillion of them everywhere.

They are parked on the bridges, along the canals, actually alongside everything you’d see a bunch of them. I never thought I’d say this about bikes but they actually do a good job of bejeweling Amsterdam. 

Flowers, canals, narrow buildings and bicycles - typical Amsterdam

Flowers, canals, narrow buildings, and bicycles – Amsterdam

Talking about the bicycles, if you have even a little bit of experience riding one then by all means rent one and ride it in Amsterdam. It is the ONE place in the world where one needs to experience riding a bicycle.

Moreover, the city is insanely bicycle friendly so you will move around like a king. This brings me to the next point.

Oh hey, below is the structure of this Amsterdam weekend guide. If you want to jump directly to the weekend itinerary, then you can do so by clicking the link below for that section:

How much does a weekend in Amsterdam cost? 

Amsterdam’s Narrow Buildings by the water

Ahem, if it is your first time in Amsterdam then make sure you go through my essential tips for visiting Amsterdam along with this article. I have often visited Amsterdam for a weekend and most of my visits were in the summer months.

My last weekend trip to Amsterdam was in July 2021 and here’s what I spent. My Amsterdam weekend expenses will shock you, they were lower than what you’d expect because of the I Amsterdam card:

Cost of meals and drinks: EUR 110 – 160

Here’s how I spent money on food and drinks in Amsterdam during the weekend:

  • Dinner with drinks on Friday: EUR 25 (lot of snacks and 3 beers)
  • Breakfast on Saturday: EUR 10
  • Lunch with beer on Saturday: EUR 12
  • Sunset Beers on Saturday: EUR 10 (two beers)
  • Dinner on Saturday: EUR 20 (I overate, really I did eat double)
  • 2 Beers in a Bar after dinner: EUR 15
  • Breakfast on Sunday: EUR 13
  • Lunch with beer on Sunday: EUR 15

I could have further lowered my eating and drinking expenses if I had visited the restaurants and bars that offered a discount with the I Amsterdam city card but I didn’t. 

Moreover, your cost of eating and drinking can be cut in half if you don’t drink as much as I do. I don’t drink that much but it is more than most people do. I drank one beer with every lunch and two beers with most dinners.

Cost of Place to Stay in Amsterdam: EUR 80 for two nights (most likely you will pay more because I got a deal)

I definitely paid half than normal because the travel market was at an all-time low due to Covid-19 and was just picking up when I was there in July 2021. I stayed in a hostel called Generator Amsterdam and it was amazingly spacious.

Cost of the I Amsterdam City Card: EUR 85 for 48 hours

My I Amsterdam City card

I had the 72-hour one but if you’re in Amsterdam for 48 hours then you don’t need the 72-hour card.

This card covers the cost of museums, internal transportation (trams, buses, metros, ferries), bicycle rental, one canal cruise, attractions in 2-3 nearby towns and many other things that you’d spend your money on in Amsterdam.

Suggested post: Is the I Amsterdam City Card worth it?

Cost of a new backpack that I bought in Amsterdam: EUR 35

I could have avoided this expense but I love the small backpack I bought in Amsterdam. I didn’t pack a smaller backpack for cycling so I had to buy one there. Of course you will not need to spend on a small backpack unless you want to buy one in Amsterdam like I did.

Gifts for my family: EUR 30

Gouda Cheese and a bicycle - typical sight in the Netherlands

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

I bought Gouda cheese that the Netherlands is famous for and hangable 3-D butterflies from Hortus Botanicus. My husband loves Old Amsterdam, which is aged gouda so I bought that for him and also “chili cheese” for another family member.

The best gift turned out to be the 3D butterflies – there were three of them for 15 Euros. My daughter loved them because they appear to be floating and are suspended by threads from the ceiling of her bedroom.  I hate carrying cash and prefer paying by card.

Believe it or not, I had just EUR 300 in my wallet for the Amsterdam weekend trip, and I didn’t even get a chance to spend all of it. I didn’t have to pay for the I Amsterdam card, it was a gift from the Amsterdam tourism board.


Itinerary for a Perfect Weekend in Amsterdam

My travel style has evolved over the years – a few years back I’d try to do as much as I could in a short time. On many occasions, I handled it pretty well but at other times it was pretty stressful.

I have learned to slow down, savor each moment and enjoy a new destination more by not overdoing things. This itinerary is all about that – the pace of my Amsterdam weekend itinerary is relaxed and yet fun.

Out of all my Amsterdam trips, this particular one was the best one because I didn’t overpack my itinerary, left room for spontaneity and I had my own bicycle for flexibility. If you want to check out a fast-paced and packed itinerary for two days in Amsterdam, I still have one on my website and it is pretty popular.

Based on my experience, most of people arrive on Friday afternoon to spend a weekend in Amsterdam. Most likely you will too.


Arrive in Amsterdam and Check-In

Arrive in Amsterdam on Friday afternoon and pick up your pre-ordered I Amsterdam card from the I Amsterdam store at Amsterdam Centraal train station. If you’re arriving by train then in all probability you will get off your train here.

If you’re like me, then you would have probably downloaded an offline version of Amsterdam’s map on Google maps. Moreover, you would have already memorized which tram to take from Amsterdam Centraal to your hotel. I stayed in Generator Amsterdam and I took Tram 7. 

Reach your hotel, shower, or change your clothes. Spend a few minutes checking out your surroundings. If you have time then walk around your hostel or your hotel area to see some interesting sights before you head out for dinner and drinks.

Foodhallen in De Hallen for Dinner + Drinks (Closes at 10 pm)

Me in De Hallen Amsterdam

I always loved Amsterdam’s food scene but this place has changed the game for me. In today’s age, all the big cities are big on the international food scene and Amsterdam is no less.

So what’s De Hallen? It was once a train station but it has a dedicated food court kind of space which is called Food Hallen (or food hall). Honestly, it is so much livelier and more fun than a food court, so let’s just use the term “food hall”. Food Hallen has loads of food and drink options.

De Ballenbar in De Hallen Amsterdam

Foodhallen for me was a stress-free place to visit after a 4-hour train journey because I didn’t need to pick a restaurant and then stick with the choice of cuisine there are food options from all over the world.

Dim Sum Thing in Foodhallen, De Hallen Amsterdam

If you’d like to try out different foods then you will love them because no need to restrict yourself to one cuisine. Mix and have fun.

My recommendations for What to Eat at Foodhallen:

  • De Ballenbar – It means “the Ball Bar” haha, and yes you will eat balls here. Bitterballen is a traditional dutch specialty. They are fried balls and one can’t go wrong with a snack like that. This place is actually owned by the Michelin star chef Peter Gasteat. I highly recommend the Kom Kah Gai and Spinach with cheese Bitterballen.
  • Dim Sum Thing – I have a thing for dim sums. Dim sums are Cantonese dumplings – the best kind of dumplings that exist in the culinary scene. I love dim sums so much that I can eat them for every meal. I first ordered 6 and then ordered 8 more because they were so yummy.
  • Drink De Eeuwige Jeugd beer from the tap – its super duper yum and is available in many bars in De Foodhallen


Foodhallen, De Hallen Amsterdam

I actually found Food Hallen to be affordable compared to many other good eating in Amsterdam and the vibe was excellent.

Moreover, Food Hallen is easy to reach by tram, get off at Ten Katestraat tram station – De Hallen is just there and Food Hallen is a part of it. De Hallen isn’t just for food, Apart from Foodhallen, there’s also De Filmhallen (the Film Hall), and so many other things.

If you like food, beer, and just a nice setting with a lot of people, then include Food Hallen for your epic weekend in Amsterdam.


As compared to yesterday, you’re going to be having quite an adventure today. Wake up by 8 am, shower and eat breakfast at your hotel or hostel around 9 am.

Eat well and get caffeinated – you’re going to need some energy for today.  As promised, we will keep the pace relaxed, so get ready to leave your hotel at 9:45 am – 10 am. (If you don’t want to keep the pace relaxed, I have another itinerary for Amsterdam on my website that’s fast-paced).

Explore Amsterdam’s Canal Ring

Amsterdam's canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats, and narrow houses

Amsterdam is famous for its canals and exploring the canal ring is an absolute must-do. Most likely it is your first time in Amsterdam but even if it’s your 10th, then you have to walk along the canals and then on the bridges.

The Canal ring is called the Grachtengordel – and don’t worry you don’t have to see it all because I will tell you the prettiest spots. A bicycle isn’t a necessity because the canals are very close to each other.

Amsterdam’s Canal Ring

If you have a cycle then reach Jordaan, or else get on the tram to reach Westermarkt tram station. From here, walk to the Engelschmann Bridge, and take a right after the bridge. Continue walking straight in the direction of Bloemgracht. You will arrive at a narrower canal with tiny bridges which I think have the best views.

Amsterdam Jordaan July 2021 – Weekend in Amsterdam

The first one is right opposite Ann Frank Haus and you can see the Westerkerk (a big Church) too. Below are a few options of what you can do here: Find a nice bench to enjoy the view, or walk further in any direction from here.

If you want to visit the Ann Frank House, then you have to pre-book a time slot to avoid excessively long queues.

Alternatively, you can visit Paradox coffeeshop to enjoy Amsterdam’s weed scene. Honestly, that isn’t something that interests me anymore but it did during my first few visits to Amsterdam.

If you want to walk further, then I recommend you head to Bridge 62 on Princengracht and enjoy more lovely sights. I also have a post with top Instagram spots in Amsterdam, and many of them are in this neighborhood.

Amsterdam's floating flower market - Bloemenmarkt_

Amsterdam’s floating flower market – Bloemenmarkt

Another option would be to walk towards the Singel canal and walk along Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market. It is open on Saturdays but not on Sundays. 

Saturday Lunch

Arrive by 11:45 – 12 at your desired lunch place because most of the places fill up on Saturday. If you want to sit and eat comfortably then you have to arrive before most people do.

Visit the Museum Quarter – Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum (before 4:30 PM)

The Famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

From Jordan, cycle to the Museum Quarter or catch a tram that stops at Museumplein station. Even if you don’t want to visit the museums, I still recommend you walk (or cycle) through the museum quarter’s entry passage, it is lovely.

It is a very high arched ceiling and it is the prettiest passage in Amsterdam where I cycled. I did mention it in my post about top Instagram spots in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Museumplein entry tunnel copy

You may think that the museums are crowded at this time. Nope, Well things work a little differently post Covid-19. One must book a spot in advance and there’s no other way to enter. 

So only a limited amount of people can enter at one point. Even if people don’t know this and start queuing up, museum staff members walk around to see people’s booking spot email confirmations and send those away who don’t have it.

Rijksmuseum Research Library - Amsterdam museums

Rijksmuseum Research Library – Amsterdam museums

The Rijksmuseum closes at 5 pm and the Van Gogh museum closes at 6 pm. The last entry at Rijksmuseum is at 4:30 pm, so make sure you book a slot for that time or before, and then another slot for Van Gogh Museum just an hour after. (Both are free to visit with the I Amsterdam Card)

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - Amsterdam museums

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – Amsterdam museums

It is pretty easy to book a spot. If you have the I Amsterdam app installed on your smartphone then you can go to the option of booking a spot, and the app will directly take you to the museum’s webpage. See the list of available time slots and reserve one.

I reserved my spot the night before for the visit to Rijksmuseum and got it. But I still suggest you do it at least a week in advance for both museums. With your I Amsterdam card, you can visit almost all the museums except the Ann Frank Haus (because that’s privately owned).

Thankfully most of the museums are in the Museumplein – the Museum Quarter. They are right next to each other so you can get out of one and get into the next one.

Head to A’Dam Lookout (the view)

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

From the Museumplein, get on a tram that will leave you at Amsterdam Centraal station. If you have a bicycle, then you can just ride it to that point, it is a fun cycling route. 

There is a free public ferry that goes on the IJ river that’s right behind the Amsterdam Centraal train station. It is called the “Amsterdam Centraal ferry terminal”. Here is a location link, click on it and Google Maps will take you there. 

You can take your cycle on the ferry and it will leave you close to the A’Dam lookout tower on the other side, a slightly different side of Amsterdam – welcome to Amsterdam-Noord (everything is cooler here because it isn’t so mainstream like Amsterdam city center, hehe.)

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

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

If you have time, you can go to the top of the A’Dam lookout for the view – it is anyway free to visit with the I Amsterdam Card. A’Dam tower is more than just the lookout, there’s a lot more here. The lift that takes you up is super psychedelic, in terms of both visuals and sound. It is an experience.

Go to the top of the A’Dam Tower to A’Dam lookout and click a few photos. If you want, then you can try the extreme swing. San and I rode the extreme swing together. It was adventurous yet romantic because we did it together.

Quick Stop at NDSM Werf for Art Installations + Street Art

Amsterdam-Noord is way more relaxed and open as compared to the centrum and you’re going to enjoy cycling here. From A’Dam tower to NDSM Werf is around 2 KMs, so this is where you’re going to thank yourself for renting a bicycle.

Cycling in NDSM Werf Amsterdam

Arrive in NDSM Werf (or NDSM Wharf) and enter the complex. You can take your bicycle inside with you and explore the art installations inside.

It is free to enter this area. You did spend some time before this in the museums to see the work of some of the most famous artists in the world. Now it’s time to admire a different kind of art, in a very different kind of setting.

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

Cycling inside NDSM Werf in Amsterdam

NDSM isn’t really just street art, it is full of interactive art installations. Honestly, if I call it a place of street art, that’s like calling a campervan a van – because it is a van but it is so much more than that. (Haha)

If you like creating interesting photos, then you will be happy to know that NDSM Werf is actually very Instagram-worthy. Spend around 15-20 minutes looking at the art installations before you head to your next destination, which is literally just 1 minute away.

Pllek for Beach Sunset with Drinks & Dinner

Sipping Beer on the beach in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

Pllek is my favorite bar in Amsterdam and it is on the beach! From NDSM Werf, it will just take you a minute to reach here.

Park your bicycle outside Pllek and make sure you lock it. Click a picture of where you have parked it so that you can identify it amongst 1000s others when it is time to leave.

Pllek by the IJ in Amsterdam-Noord

Pllek has an amazing restaurant and a beach bar. Not just Amsterdam but it may just be the most amazing place to chill in entire Europe.

If you arrive early then you can find a place to sit on the beach. If not then the extremely nice staff members here will most likely arrange a beanbag for you to chill on the beach but you may have to share a table.

Beach bar at Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

I visited Pllek the first time in 2017 and then once again in 2021. I do remember when I was sitting on the beach outside with a drink in my hand, it finally started to feel like a holiday.

Amsterdam centrum may be unbelievably pretty but one definitely needs a place like Pllek to relax the mind and loosen up.

Sitting by the water in Pllek, Amsterdam-Noord

I highly recommend the veggie burger here with portobello mushrooms. If you are happily eating a burger or a sandwich for dinner then Pllek isn’t expensive. I didn’t order the avocado toast but it looked very interesting because it also has pine nuts on top. YUM.

Sunset in this part of Europe is usually pretty late in mid-summer (10 PM in June) but around 8-9 PM in August. Stay here for the sunset and you will thank me.

Once you have had enough, then get ready to cycle back to the ferry point. It is just 2 KMs away from Pllek. Get on the ferry to go back to the centrum and do something very touristy. 🙂 Your ferry will leave you back to Amsterdam Centraal.

See the Red Light District (skip this if you’re with kids)

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

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

From Amsterdam Centraal, the Red Light district is just a quick cycle ride away. You can also just walk from the Centraal station, it isn’t far. Or just hop on to a tram and get off after one station at Dam Square – the most touristy part of Amsterdam.

Dam Square is where you will see the national monument, and many people sitting around it and chilling. From Dam Square tram station, you need to walk for 3 minutes to De Wallen– that’s the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Get ready to walk through or cycle through it.

The Netherlands is pretty liberal and I like the fact that many things that should be legal are legal. So is prostitution in the Netherlands.

Red Light District in Amsterdam - Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam – Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Red Light is famous all over the world and while you’re here, you should experience walking through it once. What appears to be a pretty normal neighborhood during the day, turns into a completely different place when it’s dark. 

The narrow buildings along the canals are all studio apartments that sex workers rent. When it’s dark, then the red light shines on all the windows where the available sex workers stand. 

Respect the sex workers and don’t try to photograph them. Photographing a sex worker is a criminal offense and you can get heavily fined by the cops that walk around in this area. I went on one of the bridges and clicked a photo of the red light area in general, without photographic any sex workers.

Find a Bar and Drink before heading back to your hotel

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

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

Now that you’re in Amsterdam’s naughtiest neighborhoods – it is your choice if you want to continue here or go elsewhere. De Wallen or the Red Light District has a lot of bars and coffee shops where one can drink or smoke a joint.

To be honest, De Wallen isn’t my kind of neighborhood to party (anymore). There are too many extremely wasted tourists here and too many pissed-off bartenders (I don’t blame them). But the good thing is, that Amsterdam has some really good nightlife options (and of course, I have a separate post about it).

If De Wallen is too much for you, then head to the Rembrandtplein or Leidseplein. Rembrandtplein is closer. Both these areas have a lot of amazing bars that stay open till late.

You can reach here pretty easily by bicycle or tram. Walking is also possible since Rembrandtplein is a kilometer away and Leidseplein is 1.5 – 2 KMs away, depending on where exactly you are in De Wallen.

If I were you, I’d pick a bar that’s closer to my hotel or hostel. I’d go back, park my bicycle, maybe freshen up, and then walk to the bar to drink a few beers. That’s why when I was in Amsterdam alone for a weekend, I chose Bar Bukowski because it was just 2 minute’s walk away from my hostel – Generator Amsterdam.


After yesterday’s excitement, today will be a lot more relaxed and slow. Most of the weekend travelers leave Amsterdam on Sunday evenings or afternoons, most likely that’s what you’re going to do too.

Wake up between 8 am to 9 am, shower, and pack your bags so that you are ready to check out after breakfast.

If your hotel lets you check out by 12, then it is amazing. As per my experience, many hotels in Amsterdam stated that my check-out time was 10 am – ouch. So I had to check out literally right after my breakfast. 

Breakfast, Check Out & Return Your Rented Bike

If you can check out late, then it is amazing. If not, then eat your breakfast, and most likely you will need to return your bike as soon as the rental shops open, which is 9 – 10 am. If you have to check out by 10, then see if your hotel or hostel lets you store the luggage for a few hours.

In my case, I didn’t need to store my luggage in the hotel after checking out because I could just carry it with me on the bicycle (Yay for packing light). 

Hop Onto a Boat for a Canal Cruise

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

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

If you visit Amsterdam then you have got to experience how it looks from the canals. It is very interesting to sit in a boat that cruises over the narrow canals under the pretty bridges.

A canal cruise is a perfect way to enjoy your last day in Amsterdam after the excitement of the day before. Sit back and enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals one last time. Click photos of all the stunning places that you weren’t able to capture while you were on the boat.

Canal View of Amsterdam from the edge of a boat under the bridge

If you did buy the I Amsterdam card as I had earlier suggested, then you get a free canal cruise with it. During Covid times, you just need to book a slot a few hours in advance.

Canal cruises leave after every 10 minutes from many different operators so don’t worry, you should be still able to get a spot.

Most canal cruises are for 45-60 minutes long and they start and end at the same spot. My tip is to find a cruise that leaves from near your hotel or hostel.

The canal cruises that are covered under the I Amsterdam city card are:

  • The 100 Highlights Cruise by Stromma 
  • Canal Cruise by Amsterdam Circle Line 
  • City Canal Cruise Blue Boat Company 


Chill in Hortus Botanicus + Lunch in Hortus Cafe (the Oranjerie)

Butterfly Garden in Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

It took me my fifth visit to Amsterdam to finally get to Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam’s Botanical garden. It wasn’t possible before because it’s something I could do only on a solo trip since not many people who visited Amsterdam with me ever had an interest in a place like this. It is free to visit it with the I Amsterdam City card.

Now you’d say – why visit Amsterdam’s botanical garden, aren’t there enough botanical gardens all over the world? But did you know that Dutch garners and botanists are famous all over the world? Plants are a big part of their culture as much as gouda cheese is. 

A visit to Hortus Botanicus worked out perfectly as my last stop in Amsterdam with my luggage right after returning my bicycle, because I could store my luggage here in their gift shop. 

Hortus Botanicus is a place where I could spend hours but I had just 1.5 hours with me. There are many themed greenhouses inside.

All of the greenhouses were interesting but I specifically remember a few. One was a cactus greenhouse that had insanely beautiful cactuses. There was a tropical forest one which was massive and actually felt like a forest.

My favorite greenhouse in Hortus Botanicus was a very small one that I had almost missed. It was the butterfly garden and thousands of orange butterflies were flying everywhere in slow motion. At one time only 6 people could step inside this greenhouse, but that wasn’t a problem when I went in because apart from me, there were just other two girls.

There is also a pond outside with a beautiful water lily. I also saw the biggest Bird of Paradise plant (or a tree) which was taller than many houses.

After you’re done exploring Hortus Botanicus, I highly recommend you eat or drink something in Orangery – the in-house Hortus cafe. If you’re hungry then order something from their specials. I had my lunch and coffee here.

I ate pasta with green asparagus, artichoke, pine nuts, green pesto, and cherry tomatoes – it was exceptional. I liked that the vegetables weren’t cooked in the sauce but were separately baked or charred and thrown on top for extra crunchiness. I didn’t order any desserts but their cheesecake looks delicious.

Traveling internally in Amsterdam

No matter how good you are with directions but if it is your first time in Amsterdam then you will definitely get lost. It happens because to a first timer all the canals and bridges look the same.

Do yourself a favor and please download an offline version of Amsterdam on Google Maps. It will help you not just with cycling or walking but also in getting an idea about which tram or train to get on. 

Walking in Amsterdam 

It is very easy to walk from one place to another in Amsterdam and you can totally do this. You won’t get to do much if you’re only walking. I did this when I first visited in 2014.  Honestly, I just remember walking the whole time and not doing a lot more than visiting coffee shops and bars. I knew much better when I visited the next few times.

Trams + Metros in Amsterdam (inc in I Amsterdam City Card)

Inside Amsterdam tram – read about Amsterdam Covid Restrictions for travelers in my travel tips post – July 2021

Amsterdam has an amazingly good network of trams and metros. There are buses too but I never needed to take one because I could get anywhere in the city on the tram, and on the metro to some out-of-the-city places.

The only mistake that you may end up making would be getting on to the tram that’s going in the opposite direction. I have done it many times and it happened when I didn’t read the map carefully and hopped on too quickly.

If you keep your eyes open then you will realize your mistake as soon as you hop on, because there’s a screen that tells you about the next upcoming tram stops. No biggie, get off at the next top and take the tram from the opposite side. 

Cycling in Amsterdam (rental inc in I Amsterdam City Card)

Rent a cycle in Amsterdam with your I Amsterdam City Card – Amsterdam weekend guide

I have said it before and I will reiterate – cycling is the best way to get around in Amsterdam. Rent a cycle if you think you can do this, follow the rules, and cycle on the right side of the bicycle lane. It is easy to find it because there are signs and of course many other cyclists. Make sure you lock your bicycle because there are a lot of bicycle thefts in Amsterdam.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam for the Weekend?

I stayed in five different places during my numerous visits to Amsterdam, but I’m only recommending two that I loved.

NH Collection (Near Flower Market)

I stayed in the NH Collection chain with a friend during one of my visits to Amsterdam and I was impressed by how luxurious this hotel is. The bed was massive, I think 4 people could have slept on it, haha. This chain has hotels all over Amsterdam but I like this particular location.

There is a coffee machine in the hotel room so you can stay caffeinated. They also have a tablet in their suits for the guests to use, but we didn’t.

Click here to book NH Hotel on the website. Or, you can read the reviews about it on TripAdvisor.

Generator Amsterdam (Hostel)

Generator Amsterdam was my second hostel experience in Amsterdam and it was fantastic. I stayed in a 4-bed dormitory and it was super spacious plus clean. I think the days of dirty backpacker hostels are over and now the new-age hostels are fancy.

I ate my breakfast here on all the days. They have a complete set that you can order with four choices: vegan, healthy, English, and Dutch. I tried the vegan and the healthy ones and loved them. I also added mini pancakes to my order and they were fantastic.

I loved how convenient the hostel’s location is. It is close to everything and yet it is in a calmer area right next to Amsterdam’s Oostpark. It was my first time staying in this neighborhood and I think it’s my new favorite.

Click here to book the Generator hostel on the website. 


Is it Possible to Explore Amsterdam in a Weekend?

Not really. Yes, Amsterdam is a small city but there’s still a lot to see here. If you try to do it all, then you won’t be able to enjoy your time here. I highly recommend spending 3 – 5 days here. But I understand that not everyone has so much time to spend. So what to do when you just have a weekend to spend in Amsterdam? Read on.

If you want to get a glimpse of Amsterdam and fall in love with it during that time, then yes, a weekend in Amsterdam can be just enough. Plan your trip well and don’t spend all your time stuck in Dam Square like most tourists do, explore the real beauty of the city and make your quick trip to Amsterdam worthwhile.

Don’t try to do EVERYTHING that you read in guides about things to do in Amsterdam, instead pick a handful of nice things and enjoy them. This is exactly what this post is about – letting you get a taste of Amsterdam in a weekend at a fun pace.

Hotels in Amsterdam are super expensive. This is also one reason why most people prefer a weekend stay in Amsterdam and then they get out of there.

If you can travel on a long weekend to Amsterdam, then that’s awesome. If not, then just try your best to arrive early on Friday and leave late on Sunday. This way you can take things slow on Friday and check-in. You can also check out from your hotel on Sunday and carry your bag (like I did) and store it in a locker at the attraction.

What’s Closed on the Weekends in Amsterdam?

Literally, nothing is closed on a Sunday in Amsterdam, except the flea markets like Waterlooplein are closed on Sundays. Amsterdam’s flea markets are a lot of fun to explore even for the non-shoppers. There are loads of interesting sights and amazing history. 

Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam

Waterloo Square Flea Market in Amsterdam – Closed on Sundays

Are Museums in Amsterdam Closed on the Weekend?

Amsterdam’s museums are open on all days throughout the year. In my experience, the best time to visit a museum is right before they close. Unlike Germany where everything is closed on Sundays, none of the museums and tourist attractions are closed in Amsterdam on Sundays. (It was a big Yay for me because I live in Germany)

Are Supermarkets in Amsterdam Closed on Sundays?

No, they aren’t. Yay!

Check my Amsterdam Tips post to read about Amsterdam’s supermarkets vs Kiosks. Kiosks are obviously more expensive.

Which Supermarkets to visit in Amsterdam?

If it is your first time in Amsterdam or this part of Europe in general, then take note of a supermarket (supermarkt) versus a kiosk. Everything is cheaper in a supermarket but not in kiosks, but kiosks are open till very late. Most supermarkets are closed on Sundays.

I normally visit the below-mentioned supermarkets that you can find all over the city:

  • Dirk Supermarkt
  • Albert Heijn
  • Jumbo
  • Vomar
  • Marqt


Are Weekends Crowded in Amsterdam?

Weekends in Amsterdam can get insanely crowded in the summer months. It is the time when some hotels and hostels increase their prices. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid visiting. 

I did say in my earlier post about Amsterdam to completely avoid the weekends but now I change my words. Even if Amsterdam is full on the weekends it is still awesome. And yes, I didn’t follow my own tip and ended up revisiting Amsterdam on many weekends after writing that post.

How to spend the perfect Weekend in Amsterdam – Save this Pin for the ultimate Amsterdam Weekend Guide

Disclosure: I collaborated with the I Amsterdam (Amsterdam city tourism board) for a part of my trip in 2017 and 2021. However, all opinions expressed in this article are definitely my 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.   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 and affiliated sites.

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