Amsterdam Instagram Spots: 17 Photo Spots in Amsterdam (+ Map)

Amsterdam Instagram Spots: 17 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, 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 visited to this lovely city over the last few years:
 

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 2 minute walk from the Amsterdam Centraal 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 for 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. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sonal | Drifter Planet (@drifterplanet)

I’d also like to mention that Damrak is excellent for creating an 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 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 and 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 other 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.

 

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. I think it is and 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, 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 the bridge 160 on Bloemengracht. Many maps mysteriously don’t show the 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) NDSM Werf, Amsterdam-Noord

If you’re looking for a place in Amsterdam to create unique photos that haven’t been overly popularized, then 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 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 KMs away and you can reach there on your bicycle.
  • Location coordinates on Google Maps.

 

7) 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 the 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 of different kind of tours, pick one wisely.
 
 

8) 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 photoshoot 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 maximum 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
 

9) 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 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 the 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.
 
 

10) 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 the Amstradam 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.

 

11) 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.

 

12) 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 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 cost 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.

 

13) 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. 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 for 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 Map.
 

14) 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 the bicycles and the one in the corner is for the 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 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.

 

15) 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.
 
 

16) Vondelkerk

Vondelkerk – Amsterdam photo spots

Vondelkerk is near Vondelpark and near the 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 like I did, then just follow the map coordinates in the next point.
  • Click here for map coordinates.

17) 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 in 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 taking 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 iconic landmark, so is this particular hotel.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Pema Prima Photography (@pema.prima)

Look how pretty it looks? Honestly I have been eying the photos of this particular hotel on Instagram since 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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Travel couple (Roel & Eline) (@trendytravelduo)


 

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 “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 “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

 

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 often create the same photos but I change the perspective a little bit. Of course, I am always in a search for 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.

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 articles 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

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

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

I spent a weekend in Amsterdam alone in July 2021. It was my fifth visit to Amsterdam and it was during the leaner months of Covid-19. Here are my tips and itinerary for spending the perfect weekend here.

If you live in Europe or are traveling in 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 what not. Yawn – that can get boring after a while, but Amsterdam has its own interesting spin on this. Amsterdam has unique narrow buildings that look asymmetrical and are mostly red, black, and brownish-orange in color.

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.

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

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

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 supper narrow so it makes them fun and easy to explore. I love walking on the little bridges that go over the canals and 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 in 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 an 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? (Based on What I spent in July 2021)

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 spend 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 into 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 on 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 hanging 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 on other occasions 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 the people arrive on Friday afternoon to spend a weekend in Amsterdam. Most likely you will too.

Friday 

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 in Amsterdam Centraal train station. If you’re arriving by train then in all probability your 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 for 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 an 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 a space which is called Food Hallen (or food hall). Honestly, it is so much livelier and fun than a food court, so let’s just use the term “food hall”. Food Hallen has loads of food and drinks options.

De Ballenbar in De Hallen Amsterdam

For me it 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, because FoodHallen has 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 it because no need to restrict yourself to one cuisine. Mix and have fun.

My recommendations of What to Eat at Foodhallen:

  • De Ballenbar – It means “the Ball Bar” haha, and yes you will eat balls here. Bitterballen are a traditional dutch speciality. 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 as to many other good eating in Amsterdam and the vibe was excellent. Moreover, it is easy to reach with tram, get off at Ten Katestraat tram station – De Hallen is just there. De Hallen isn’t just for food, Apart from Foodhallen, there’s also De Filmhallen (the Film Hall), and so many other things.

Saturday

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.

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 to the direction of Bloemgracht. You will arrive at a narrower canal with tiny bridges which as per me have the best view.

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 prebook 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 the 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 of the 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.

You may think that the museums are crowded at this time? 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 who don’t know this 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 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 smart phone 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 did reserved my spot the night before for the visit at Rijksmuseum and got it. But I still suggest you do it at least a week in advance for both the 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) & NDSM Werf for Art Installations + Street Art

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. Or cycle to that point. There is a free public ferry that goes on the IJ river that’s right behind the Amsterdam Centraal train station. Your Google Maps will take you there. 

You can take your cycle on the ferry and it will leave you close to the A’Dam look out tower on the other side, a slightly different side of Amsterdam – welcome to Amsterdam-Noord.

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 on 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 on 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. I did and I loved it.

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 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 to in the museums to see the work of some of the most famous artists of the world. Now it’s time to admire a different kind of art.

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 here 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 the 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 happy 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 are rented by sex workers. 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 coffeeshops where one can drink or smoke a joint.

To be honest, De Wallen isn’t my kind of a 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 with your 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 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 walk away from my hostel – Generator Amsterdam.

Sunday

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 (Yayy for packing light). 

Hop On to 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 the 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.

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 Orangegy)

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 good but I specifically remember the 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 it thousands of orange butterflies that were flying everywhere in slow motion. At a time only 6 people could step inside this green house, 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 form 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 sauce but were separately baked or charred and thrown on top for the 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 coffeeshops 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 metro for a little 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 in 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 did stay in five different places during my numerous visits to Amsterdam but I’m only recommending two of them 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 super 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 Booking.com 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 one and loved them. I also added mini pancakes on 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 Generator hostel on Booking.com website. Or, you can read the reviews about it on TripAdvisor.

 

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 can have the 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 here.

If you can travel on a long weekend to Amsterdam, then that’s awesome. If not, then just try you best to arrive early on Friday and leave late on Sunday. This way you can 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, 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 an 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 the days throughout the year. In my experience, the best time to visit a museum is right before they close. Unlike the nearby Germany where everything is closed on Sundays, none of the museums and tourist attractions are closed in Amsterdam on Sundays.

Supermarkets in Amsterdam

If it is your first time in Amsterdam or this part of Europe in general, then take a note of a supermarket (supermarkt) versus a kiosk. Everything is cheaper in a supermarket but not in kiosk, but kiosk 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 articles 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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Is the I Amsterdam City Card Worth It? My Honest Review After Using it Twice (+ How to make the most of it)

Is the I Amsterdam City Card Worth It? My Honest Review After Using it Twice (+ How to make the most of it)

It’s 2021, most of the cities have some sort of a “travel card”. If you’re looking for an Amsterdam Card or any kind of Amsterdam passes, then the I Amsterdam Card is what you’re seeking. Good news, I have used it twice and here are my thoughts.

It isn’t a secret that I’m hopelessly in love with Amsterdam. It is a stunning city with an amazing vibe and I wish to live there at some point in my life.

I sometimes pretend I’m living there when I visit – which is pretty often. Thankfully I’m just a 4 hour train ride away.

If you are a regular reader of my website, then you would have noticed that I have a lot of posts about Amsterdam and in most of them I highly recommend the I Amsterdam city card.

After using the card pretty well on two of my visits, I think it is finally the time to share my review in an in-depth post about it. But hey, this isn’t really a sale-sy post, because this card isn’t for everyone. I’d let you decide if this card is for you or not.

Amsterdam's canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

I want to be honest with you before you start reading further – the first time I used the I Amsterdam card was in 2017 and the second was 2021 when I spent a long weekend in Amsterdam. Back in 2017, I wasn’t even aware of it’s existence and I thought it was some sort of press campaign called “I am Amsterdam” – see I even got the name wrong back then.

Anyway, on both the occasions the card was provided to me without costs by the Amsterdam tourism board so that I could fully experience the city. Honestly, after using it in 2017, I would have bought it anyways myself in 2021 because the purpose of my trip was to fully explore Amsterdam solo.

What is I Amsterdam City Card?

I Amsterdam City Card – Amsterdam Travel tips

In today’s age, most of the European cities offer a possibility to buy an all inclusive city card and I Amsterdam is one such card.

The I Amsterdam City Card covers internal transport + an entry to Amsterdam’s 70+ museums. (Yes, Amsterdam really has a lot of museums and some of them are world famous). More than that, it also includes a canal boat tour, bicycle rental and free entry to some other attractions.

It is possible to buy the I Amsterdam card for a duration of 1 day to 5 days.

I Amsterdam City Card Costs

The below are the I Amsterdam city card costs in 2021 based on the duration. The good thing is that the validity doesn’t end when the day ends, but it is a 24 hour card. The validity starts from the time you first use the card.

24 Hours

48 Hours

72 Hours

96 Hours

120 Hours

Yes, the card isn’t cheap. Like I said, the I Amsterdam card isn’t for everyone but in case you’d like to enjoy some of the things that Amsterdam is famous for, then it can be a very affordable option. Read on to see what’s included in it.

What is Included in the I Amsterdam City Card

Here’s what’s included in the I Amsterdam city card without an extra charge

  • Entry to Amsterdam’s 70+ museums – including the super famous Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Nemo science museum to name a few.
  • Entry to many other attractions. – A’dam Lookout, Zaanse Schans Windmills, Muiderslot Castle, Hortus Botanicus and many more.
  • Use of public transport – trams, buses, metro and ferry lines.
  • Canal Cruise – pick one you like from different options.
  • Bicycle rental

So if you see the list, that’s pretty much includes almost everything that a person would spend money on while visiting Amsterdam. Except – what about eating, drinking and sleeping?

Unfortunately the card doesn’t cover your hotel or hostel bill but it does offer discount on a lot of restaurants, bars, pancake bakeries, chocolate stores, cheese stores, and cool stuff that Amsterdam is famous for.

What’s more is that you get some free activities and attractions in the nearby Haarlem, Volendam and the Zaanse Schans too, so that you don’t have to restrict yourself to just Amsterdam.

Costs of Amsterdam’s Must Do Things and Attractions

Here’s what some of Amsterdam’s most popular activities will cost you. Of course you don’t have to do them all but this is a general idea:

  • Canal Cruise: EUR 15 per person
  • Rijksmuseum: EUR 20 per person
  • Van Gogh Museum: EUR 19 per person
  • A’dam Tower Lookout: EUR 15
  • Hermitage Museum: EUR 27,50
  • Moco Museum: EUR 15,50
  • Rembrandt House: EUR 15
  • NEMO Science Museum: EUR 17.50
  • Jewish Cultural Quarter – Jewish Historical Museum and Portuguese Synagogue
  • Bicycle rental per day: EUR 15
  • Public transport per day: EUR 8-10

The above list is just to give you a glimpse, of course the full list of free activities and museums is massive. The good thing is that almost most of the museums are together in just one square – Museumplein so you can do them together.

So, even if you pick 2 museums, do a boat trip, rent a cycle or travel by public transport, then you are saving quite a lot of money with the I Amsterdam card. I did mention this in my Amsterdam travel tips post earlier that if you’re doing 2 attractions and 1 boat trip then you are already saving money with the card.

How to Make the Most of your I Amsterdam City Card (& use the card properly)

1) Select the RIGHT Duration of the Card

The 72 Hour I Amsterdam City Card

If you’re visiting Amsterdam for 5 days, then you don’t need to get the I Amsterdam City card for the entire duration of your stay. But choose the duration wisely.

A one day card is definitely the cheapest and it makes total sense to buy it if you’re going to be in Amsterdam for 24-36 hours However, picking a 24 hour card for a 2-3 day trip may not be the best idea. I will explain this further below.

If you get a 24 day card for a 2-3 day long trip to Amsterdam, then you are pushing yourself to use all the freebies that you want out of the card in just one day (which isn’t possible because there are too many).

Even if you are thinking of activating your card around mid day of your first day to use it till the mid day of your second day as some blogs suggest, keep in mind that you will still most likely spend before and after your card a minimum 20 EUR on other things like public transport, bicycle or a boat trip anyway.

Guess what, a 2 day card is just 20 euros more. So if you’re trying to save money and using up the card for just museums in one day and are going to slow the pace on the second day, you will still most likely spend more than the difference of price in the two cards. You may think you are saving money but it is an illusion, moreover you will end up limiting yourself in terms of time.

Similarly, a 3 day card costs 20 euros more but after that it is just 15 euros more for 4 days and 10 more for 5 days. This is the extra money that you will spend anyway if you stay in Amsterdam on public transport, etc – but you will at least buy yourself the peace of mind that you don’t need to rush from one attraction to another before your card ends.

2) Plan your time well (if you’re picking a smaller duration card)

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

Bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam

You only need to plan your day well if you’re getting a smaller duration card like the 24 hour one. In order to use your card well, take some time to see what all is included in the I Amsterdam card and plan your time in advance.

It is likely that you don’t know about at least a few activities that you can get out of the card. Most of the museums are together and you can pick 2-3 of your choice and do them together in half a day and then eat in a restaurant that’s discounted with the I Amsterdam city card (more details about that in the next point).

I highly recommend that you get on a boat because seeing Amsterdam from one as you explore the canals is an interesting way to see Amsterdam. If you want to rent a bicycle, then plan your day in a way that you reach the bicycle rental place in time before they close for the day. Most close at 6 pm. After the bike rental, you may want to cycle around and then hit a restaurant or a bar.

3) Use the I Amsterdam App + Google Maps

When I was picking up my I Amsterdam City Card, the reps in the store suggested that I should install the app, so I did and it made things much easier. Not only I could see a list of things that were offered but also could always filter them based on what was free and what was discounted.

I didn’t need to search on Google all the time for websites of different museums but I could book everything through the app, and the app would further take me to the museum’s website. You will need to do this too if you want to look for last minute slots. You can always delete the app when you leave Amsterdam.

Apart from the I Amsterdam App, I also depended a lot on Google Maps. I actually use Google Maps for everything when I travel, so Amsterdam was no exception. My point here is that use your smartphone and plan your trip well.

4) Set Aside Half a Day for the Museums

The minimum time you need for a museum is around 40 mins but you will most likely end up spending a full hour. If you want to visit 2-3 museums with a quick snack in between, then set aside half a day for this purpose.

5) Don’t Restrict Yourself to Just Museums

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

The I Amsterdam City Card offers so much more than just museums. I understand that not everyone would enjoy going down the history lane or seeing some sort of exhibit but there are other cool activities and places that one can enjoy for free with the card.

You can enjoy the A’dam lookout, the Holland flight, Klimbos Fun Forest climbing park, or my personal favorite Hortus Botanicus. I have a video about the A’Dam Tower on my youtube channel. I will also publish a separate post about Hortus Botanicus.

6) Prebook slots for Everything + Last Minute Slots

When I visited Amsterdam in July 2021, museums and attractions were open again but it was necessary to prebook a slot everywhere, even at famous restaurants. Make sure you do this. It is likely that you can’t preplan everything but when I say prebook, it doesn’t have to be all weeks in advance. It can just be a day before or an hour before in some cases.

Don’t lose hope if you don’t find open slots because it is possible to find last minute slots. Believe it or not, I had booked a slot for the Rijksmuseum at 9 pm for 10 am the next day.

7) Visiting During a Busy Month? Avoid Peak Time 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Believe it or not, people are super predictable. Most of them like to wake up at 8 am, shower, eat a breakfast at their hotel and then make their way to the attraction they’d like to visit. As a result most of them arrive from 10:30 am to 13:30 pm because right after that they eat lunch.

If you’re visiting during a peak month – perhaps a summer weekend in Amsterdam then you should try to avoid the peak time. Visit before or after these peak hours. This way you will move faster and can surely get more done.

8) Pick Restaurants closest to the museums with the I Amsterdam card discount

To save time (and money), I suggest you check out the restaurants very close to the Rijksmuseum (and the Museum Square) where you will get a 15% discount with your I Amsterdam Card. These are actually very popular and during the COVID time, you have to book a slot on their website.

  • De Hoop op d’Swarte Walvis – Dutch
  • Pasta E Basta – Italian
  • Wagamama Max – Japanese

PLEASE NOTE that the first two restaurants only offer lunch discount with the I Amsterdam card. It is always good to show your I Amsterdam card before you order.

I actually made the mistake of not properly seeing the restaurants and bar listed in the discount section. I remember walking past 1-2 such restaurants / pubs and thinking that they are probably too expensive for me and I didn’t go in.

What I love about the I Amsterdam City Card

Flexibility & Freedom

The biggest advantage of using the I Amsterdam City card for me was enjoying the flexibility that it gave me. I could just go to any attraction whenever I wanted without needing to get a ticket or sticking to only a fixed time of my ticket booking or a fixed place. I could get into any tram or metro whenever I wanted.

You Can Visit Most of the Museums Together

Moco Museum – visiting Museumplein on my rented bicycle

The most amazing thing about visiting Amsterdam’s museums is that almost all of them are right next to each other in Museumplein – the Museum Square. So, one can just get into one museum, get out of it and then get into the next one.

The I Amsterdam Card Covers Almost Everything that I’d Spend My Money On

Over the past few years my travel style has changed. During my backpacking days I wouldn’t really spend a lot of money, but even then when I visited Amsterdam in 2014, I spent EUR 13 on a canal boat tour and around 10 euros on public transport.

I didn’t do any attractions because I thought I’d have to spend a lot. Little did I know back then that I just had to spend a few more euros for a city card.

Of course, things have become a little more expensive now. Now that I’m older, my travel style has changed. I actually like to spend money on things that are specific to a certain location. So in that sense, the I Amsterdam covers almost everything that I’d like to spend my money on

Suggested Things to do in Amsterdam with the I Amsterdam City Card

1) Enjoy the Museums of Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Spend half a day exploring Amsterdam’s amazing museums. The ideal situation would be if you’re in Amsterdam for 2 – 3 days. That way, you can book your museum time slots towards the second half of the first day. If you still think you missed out on something then you can always go back the next morning early.

Considering the card provides a free entry to Amsterdam’s 70-ish museums, you are probably confused about which ones to visit? Here are the top museums:

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Moco
  • Foam
  • Joods Historisch Museum in Joods Cultureel Kwartier
  • Stedelijk
  • NEMO Science Museum
  • EYE Film Museum
  • Amsterdam Pipe Museum
  • Het Woonbootmuseum (Houseboat Museum)

 

2) Use the Internal Transport – Trams + Metro + Buses

You will end up utilizing your I Amsterdam City card the most for the internal transport. You can use the trams, metros, buses and ferries.

Honestly I always end up traveling on the trams more often than the other things because I find them super adorable and convenient. Make sure you tap your card on the card reader at the time of entry and exit both.

3) Take the I Amsterdam Card Canal Cruise

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

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

The best way to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals is by enjoying a boat ride on them. Thankfully you can take one boat tour for free with your I Amsterdam city card. A typical boat tour is for 45 – 60 minutes so it can be a nice break for your legs from all that cycling or walking.

It can rain anytime in Amsterdam and thankfully most of the boats are semi covered. Don’t miss out on this experience and click a lot of photos.

The below mentioned Canal Cruise Operators work with I Amsterdam:

  • The 100 Highlights Cruise by Stromma (Free)
  • Canal Cruise by Amsterdam Circle Line (Free)
  • City Canal Cruise Blue Boat Company (Free)
  • Dutch Cheese and Wine Cruise by Stromma (Discounted)
  • Cocktail Cruise by Stromma (Discounted)

During the Covid times, you need to prebook a slot for most of the above mentioned cruises. Please note, you can just take one canal cruise for free per card in Amsterdam, Haarlem

4) Rent a cycle

Rent a cycle in Amsterdam with your I Amsterdam City Card

Of course your I Amsterdam City card will let you travel freely on trams and metros but you should not miss out on the joy of cycling in Amsterdam. Your I Amsterdam City Card will let you rent a bicycle for a day from MacBike, A-Bike or Yellowbike for free.

I rented one from MacBike and I enjoyed the experience.  It may appear a little scary because there are too many cyclists but honestly it isn’t difficult because there are bike lanes everywhere that are nicely marked. When in doubt, just follow the cyclists in front – haha.

5) Visit Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam’s Botanical Garden

Me in Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Did you know that the majority of plants and houseplants (in Europe) come out of Dutch nurseries? The Dutch botanists and gardeners are famous all over the world. Yes, they are famous for their tulips but there is a lot more that just tulips that you can discover and fall in love with.

If you love plants then you will really enjoy Hortus Botanicus. It is near the Waterlooplein Market and is like a breath of fresh air away from Amsterdam’s hustle bustle. No doubt the outside garden area is stunning but that’s not even the best part.

There are several themed greenhouses here and my favorite was the rainforest one. I also enjoyed the small butterfly garden, it was unreal.

6) Visit the A’Dam Lookout for the View + Extreme Swing

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

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

Take a free ferry from Amsterdam centrum to Amsterdam-Noord to get to A’Dam tower. On the top of this tower is the viewing deck with an amazing view of Amsterdam in all the directions.

A’Dam Lookout entry is included in the I Amsterdam City Card but if you’re in the mood then you can also try the extreme swing on top. You have to pay extra for that. I did it and I highly recommend it.

7) Visit Muiderslot – the Most Famous Castle in the Netherlands

Muiderslot is an adorable castle that looks like it jumped right out of a fairy tale. It isn’t in Amsterdam so you have to get to Muiden with the train or metro.

8) See the Nieuwe Kerk from Inside

This is a 15th century church that’s on the Dam Square. You can go inside and see the exhibition space for free with your I Amsterdam city card.

Dam Square is the most touristy part of Amsterdam and most likely you will end up visiting it as you explore Amsterdam. Visit the Nieuwe Kerk while you’re there to ustilize your I Amsterdam Card well.

9) Enjoy the view from Nemo Science Museum

If you visit Amsterdam with kids then they will enjoy their time at the Nemo Science museum. Even if you’re alone, you will love the view from Energetica – the open air restaurant and terrace.

It is a good spot for sunset photography too but only in winter because the museum closes around 5 and that’s too early for summer sunsets.

10) See the Windmills of Zaanse Schaans

The I Amsterdam City Card includes a bunch of free tours in Zaandam too, that’s a popular destination outside Amsterdam because of the scenic beauty and Zaanse Schaans windmills.

If you filter and look for “Zaandam” location, you will find many tours and attractions. You can further filter this list to show you just the free tours.

11) Enjoy Dutch Cheese

Dutch cheese is famous the world over. If you aren’t lactose intolerant or vegan, then this is something you should absolutely do.

The I Amsterdam City card offers two cheese related activities – the Dutch Cheese and Wine cruise and Reypenaer Cheese tasting. The first is a cruise that you can take with your partner and the second is an hour long cheese tasting session at Reypenaer Tasting Room.

Both these activities aren’t totally free but are at a discount with the card.

12) Visit the Bars and Restaurants listed with the I Amsterdam City Card

I have this thing for food. When I travel, I often research about the best restaurants, best local specialities to try and also the most amazing places to drink with a lively atmosphere.

If you’re also like me and you do a similar search, then you will be delighted to know that the best places to eat and drink offer a discount (usually 15%) on I Amsterdam card. Below are some restaurants and bars where you can get a discount with the I Amnsterdam city card:

  • Amsterdam Icebar – 25% discount on the entrance fee, incl. 3 drinks.
  • Bar Bitterbal – Bitterballen are the traditional Dutch fried balls and this is a speciality restaurant where you get 25% off – but only on Bitterballen.
  • Blue Amsterdam – 25% off on lunch, not on drinks
  • De Drie Fleschjes – a free shot with the card
  • In de Waag – 25% off on lunch, not on drinks
  • Pasta E Basta – 25% off on on a three-course men, not on drinks
  • Wagamama – 25% on total bill – lunch or dinner
  • The Pancake Bakery – 25% discount on an international pancake (excl. drinks).
  • Pancakes Amsterdam – 25% discount on the breakfast menu, served till 13:00

 

13) Make a Quick Trip to Haarlem

Haarlem is a cute nearby town which is just a 10 minute train ride away from Amsterdam. The I Amsterdam card offers a canal cruise there and a free entry to some decent museums, so you’re covered.

Please note that you can just take one canal cruise with your I Amsterdam Card, so if you have already take one in Amsterdam, you won’t get a free one in Haarlem.

Is the I Amsterdam City Card is for you? I Will Help You Decide

1) Get an idea about what to do in Amsterdam

Admire Amsterdam's Narrow Houses - Amsterdam itinerary

Admire Amsterdam’s Narrow Houses – Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam isn’t a big city but it is packed with excitement. There are tonnes of options for things to do, that one can get overwhelmed. I have a post about what to do in Amsterdam which will give you a decent idea. My website has man y other posts about Amsterdam, go get comfy, grab a coffee and give them a read.

Write down the things that you would want to do. Amsterdam. isa spectacular city and most likely you will just visit it once or twice. Make the most of your time there and research.

2) Check the list of things the card offers

See the list of all the things that are included in the I Amsterdam Card. Write down Ask yourself if you’re you interested in at least 2-3? Yes, the card is worth buying because normally one activity is around 20 Euros.

3) What is your purpose of traveling to Amsterdam

Are you visiting Amsterdam just to visit the coffeeshops and to experience the weed scene? If yes, then you don’t need the card. I have a super detailed post about Amsterdam’s coffeeshops with information about the prices, and how to experience the city’s marijuana scene as a first timer.

4) What is your pace of traveling?

Are you a slow traveler who likes to visit just one attraction a day and spend the rest of the time walking around or sitting in a cafe? If yes, then you most likely don’t need the card. The card makes sense if you’re visiting at least 2 attractions a day.

5) Will You Visit Amsterdam Again in the near future?

Not everyone gets to visit a city like Amsterdam often, mainly due to geographical reasons. Also, the hotels in Amsterdam aren’t cheap – even if it is close by, you may not end up visiting it so often unless you can stay at a friend’s place. So if you’re like me, you’d utilize the time well.

Ask yourself the above mentioned questions and you have the answer if the I Amsterdam card worth it or not for you.

Where to buy the I Amsterdam Card

You can book your I Amsterdam card online for the duration that you’d like and pick it up in person when you arrive in Amsterdam at the I Amsterdam Store in Amsterdam Central train station.

When you arrive in Amsterdam, then by all means you will arrive at the Amsterdam Centraal. Not just by train but also by air or bus. When you arrive by air then you will take the train from the Schiphol to Amsterdam Cenraal. When you arrive by bus, most buses will leave you at Duivendrecht or Sloterdjik. You will still end up crossing or getting of at Amsterdam Centraal station. The I Amsterdam store is right there at the station, closer to the exit. Your Google Maps app will guide you to it.

Disclosure: we collaborated with the I Amsterdam (Amsterdam city tourism board) for a part of our trip in 2017 and 2021. However, all opinions expressed in this articles are definitely our own.

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

The Ultimate Amsterdam Nightlife Guide: Best Nightclubs + Tips

The Ultimate Amsterdam Nightlife Guide: Best Nightclubs + Tips

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

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

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

From posh nightclubs to abandoned warehouses, Amsterdam nightclubs are always overflowing with wicked people who like to party. Amsterdam might be a small city, but it has several districts.

Suggested: Amsterdam Weekend guide – itinerary, tips and budget

Every area has a different vibe and different party culture. So, if you don’t want to miss out on any of the hot tips of Amsterdam nightlife areas, here are the best nightclubs in Amsterdam.

Best Amsterdam Nightclubs 

Amsterdam West (Oud-West)

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

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

De School

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

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

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

VLLA

Club Vlla - Amsterdam Nightclubs and Party Guide

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

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

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

WesterUnie

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

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

OT301

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

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

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

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

Thuishaven

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

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

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

BRET

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

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

Warehouse Elementenstraat

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

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

De Marktkantine

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

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

Radion

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

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

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

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

Bar Bukowski

Bar Bukowski is just outside the entry of Oostpark and is perhaps the livliest bar in the area. The service is amazing and so is the craft beer. I highly recommend you order “Lellebel” beer from the tap – it is super delicious. So what’s up with the name? It is namded after a writer called Charles Bukowski, and an artwork of his face is on the coasters that are amazing.

I’d like to mention that you can also order plenty of yummy bar food in Bar Bukowski after hours when a lot of restaurants are closed. Yayy!!

Oosterbar

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

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

De Tropen

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

Amsterdam Roest

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

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

Panama

Panama in Amsterdam-Oost

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

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

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

Places to Party in Amsterdam North: Amsterdam Noord Bars

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

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

Pllek

Pllek by the IJ in Amsterdam-Noord – July 2021

Pllek was once a shipyard but is now an amazing party venue. There is a massive outdoor sitting area by the beach, so you can enjoy beach parties during summer months. The sunset time in summer in this part of Europe is as late as 9:30 pm or 10 pm, so you can have an amazing beach sunset cocktail scene at Pllek before you start to party.

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

 

Café Noorderlicht

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

Garage Noord

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

Shelter

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

Bars in Amsterdam Central (including Leidseplein)

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

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

Bitterzoet

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

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

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

Paradiso Noord

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

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

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

Melkweg

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

Paradiso

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

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

Amsterdam Nightlife Tips

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

Amsterdam nightlife dress code

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

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

Getting into Clubs in Amsterdam

You yay get turned away if..

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

Carry a Photo ID

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

What time do Bars Close in Amsterdam?

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

Bars in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are Expensive

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

Where to Stay in Amsterdam for Nightlife?

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

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

Did follow our nightlife recommendations for Amsterdam?

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

 

About the writer:

Alara BenlierAlara Benlier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most famous destination in the Netherlands is Amsterdam – but you know that already. It is a part of every single itinerary for the Netherlands. But hey, don’t miss out on all the other amazing things to do in the Netherlands just because of Amsterdam.

If you’re visiting this amazing country, then don’t just spend all of your time in Amsterdam. Here are the top places to visit in the Netherlands, check them out. 

Suggested: How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Amsterdam

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

Important notes about this itinerary:

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

 

Maastricht – along the River Maas – Day 1

The Lovely Maastricht - the Netherlands

The Lovely Maastricht – the Netherlands

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

Maastricht - Places to visit in the Netherlands

Maastricht – Places to visit in the Netherlands CC0 via Pixabay

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

Maastricht along River Maas, Places to visit in the Netherlands

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

Amsterdam to Maastricht

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

Maastricht Hotels and Places to Stay

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

 

Efteling, Kaatsheuvel – Fairytale Theme Park – Day 2

Efteling Fairytale Theme Park in the Netherlands

Efteling Fairytale Theme Park in the Netherlands

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

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

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

Baron 1898 in Efteling - the Netherlands

Baron 1898 in Efteling – the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

Fairlyland - Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands

Fairlyland – Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands

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

Amsterdam to Efteling

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

Efteling Hotels and Places to Stay nearby

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

 

Rotterdamthe Cubic Houses – Day 3

Rotterdam's Amazing Skyline - the Netherlands

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

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

Cubic Houses in Rotterdam - Places to visit in Netherlands

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

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

Rotterdam's cubic houses - the Netherlands

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

Amsterdam to Rotterdam

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

Rotterdam Hotels and Places to Stay

 

Delft – Gouda, Ceramics & Historical Canals – Day 4

Delft - Netherlands travel guide

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

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

Blue and White Ceramic Plates in Delft, Netherlands

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

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

Delft - Places to visit in the Netherlands

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

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

Amsterdam to Delft

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

Delft Hotels and Places to Stay

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

 

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

Den Haag or the Hague - Flowers and Architecture

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

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

Mauritshuis - the Hague - places to visit in Netherlands

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

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

Night time in Den Haag - the Hague - Netherlands

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

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

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

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

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

Amsterdam to Den Haag 

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

Den Haag Hotels and Places to Stay

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

 

Lisse – the Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Day 6

Keukenhof Flower Gardens - Lisse - the Netherlands

Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Lisse – the Netherlands

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

Even if you have just two days, keep Lisse in mind because it is the perfect destination for a romantic weekend in the Netherlands.

Keukenhof Garden in Lisse near Amsterdam - Netherlands Itinerary One Week

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

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

Keukenhof - Lisse - Places to visit in the Netherlands

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

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

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

Amsterdam to Keukenhof 

Tulips in Keukenhof, Netherlands

Tulips in Keukenhof, Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

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

Lisse Hotels and Where to Stay

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

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

 

Zandvoort – the Beaches – Day 7

Zandvoort - beach destination near Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Zandvoort – beach destination near Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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

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

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

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

Amsterdam to Zandvoort 

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

Zandvoort Hotels and Places to Stay

 

Haarlem – History, Shopping & Windmill Adriaan – Day 8

Haarlem Windmill Adriaan at night - the Netherlands

Haarlem Windmill Adriaan at night – the Netherlands

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

The Amsterdamse Poort in Haarlem - the Netherlands

The Amsterdamse Poort in Haarlem – the Netherlands

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

Haarlem - places to visit in Netherlands

Haarlem – places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

Windmill Adriaan in Haarlem, the Netherlands

Windmill Adriaan in Haarlem, the Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

Amsterdam to Haarlem

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

Haarlem Hotels and Places to Stay

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

 

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

Amsterdam's canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

Amsterdam’s canals, bridges, boats and narrow houses

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

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

The Canal tour 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloemenmarkt to Waterlooplein Flea Markt

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

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

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

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

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

Coffeeshops and the Red Light District 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SkyLounge Rooftop Bar 

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

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

Heineken Experience 

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

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

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

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

 

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

Giethoorn - Little Venice in the Netherlands - One week Itinerary

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

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

Giethoorn - Places to visit in Netherlands

Giethoorn – Places to visit in Netherlands – CC0 via Pixabay

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

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

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

Amsterdam to Giethoorn 

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

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

 

 

Giethoorn Hotels and Places to Stay

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

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

 

Netherlands Itinerary Suggested Route [Summary] + MAP

Netherlands itinerary suggested route - Map

Netherlands itinerary suggested route – Map – PIN IT to save

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

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

Day 1: Maastricht

Day 2: Eftelingsestraat Park

Day 3: Rotterdam

Day 4: Delft

Day 5: Den Haag / the Hague

Day 6: Keukenhof Flower Gardens at Lisse

Day 7: Zandvoort

Day 8: Haarlem

Day 9, 10 & 11: Amsterdam

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

About the writer:

Alara BenlierAlara Benlier

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

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

Visiting Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam’s Hippie Flea Market

Visiting Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam’s Hippie Flea Market

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

Waterlooplein Market is Amsterdam’s oldest flea market with over 300 stalls. Not just in Amsterdam, but it is one of the most famous markets in the Netherlands. You will see eye catching stuff from many different parts of the world in these stalls.

This market’s colorful stalls are lined up next to a canal and the Amstel river. You will also see the rustic Munttoren (Mint Tower) in the background. 

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Waterlooplein Markt in Amsterdam with canal and Munttoren in the background

Shopping isn’t the only reason why I urge you to visit this flea market in Amsterdam, but an opportunity to experience the sights. Let the sounds, chatter, atmosphere and the liveliness of the Waterlooplein Market charm you.

I highly recommend including this amazing flea market in your Amsterdam itinerary. The Waterloo Market reminds me of the hippie flea markets of Goa. Note that if you’re planning on spending a weekend in Amsterdam, this market is closed on Sundays, so be informed and plan well.

What to Expect in the Waterlooplein Market

Clothes in Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam

Clothes in Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam

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

Amsterdam's Waterlooplein Market - Amsterdam itinerary

Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein Market – Amsterdam itinerary

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

Eating at the Waterlooplein Market

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Flea Market in Amsterdam – 2 days in Amsterdam

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

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

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

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

History of the Waterlooplein Market

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

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

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

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

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

How to Reach 

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam - 2 days in Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam – 2 days in Amsterdam

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

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

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

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

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

Opening Hours

Waterloo Square in Amsterdam

Waterloo Square in Amsterdam

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

 

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