Whilst travelling to Amsterdam from Hull on the P&O mini-cruises, I only had the opportunity to spend 36 hours in the capital of holland. So how do you prioritise the best tourist attractions when in a city so packed with fun stuff to do? Here’s a guide on how we spent just over a day in this myriad of canals and museums.
9am - Arrived in Amsterdam looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
We alighted our cruise at this time, arriving early in Rotterdam via P&O boat at roughly 8:30am. Our tour provided free transfers from Rotterdam ferry port to Amsterdam city centre, so we arrived not so well rested after our journey from hull ( to find out more read our blog here).
10:30am Breakfast - Waffles and coffee
If you’ve ever travelled with a male you will know that it is imperative to constantly monitor the time of their last meal and if it was enough to substantially satisfy them until your next planned one. I have been on enough trips with my boyfriend now to know that if he doesn’t eat/drink something every 3-4 hours he gradually becomes cloudy, withdrawing into a quiet state and occasionally snapping when asked to make simple decisions. Therefore if you plan to make the most out of your small period of time in Amsterdam take advantage of this first meal of the day, and treat yourself to waffles or crepes in some of the cute cafe on the outskirts canals.
12pm - Skip the tram and wander the canals of Amsterdam
The best way to accustom yourself with the winding roads, shop lined canals and thousands of bikes of the Dutch capital is to wander these streets, taking your time to windowshop the modern clothing boutiques and niche furniture stores.
1pm - Museums - Culture heaven
Whether your a history buff or an art-lover, Amsterdam is a major culture capital and is home to various world famous galleries and museums. Depending on what kind of culture makes you tick will dictate how your spend your afternoon but why not check out the best tourist attractions including:
- Anne Frank's House
Museum commemorating the home of WWII victim Anne Frank.
The Dutch national museum showcasing the art and history of the country.
- Van Gogh Museum
Celebrating the works of world-renown Vincent Van Gogh
The largest museum of modern and contemporary art in the Netherlands.
4pm - Dam Square - Pitstop
Time to check in on your travel partner's appetite, take this opportunity to wander over to Dam square, people watching in this busy centre of the city whilst nursing a drink and a snack in one of the many cafes and restaurants lining the square. This is such a pretty destination for lunch you can watch all the stag do's stumbling by, appraise the national monument and the Royal Palace.
5pm - The Notorious Coffee Shops
Ill admit, this isn't for everyone, but for those of you which have visited Amsterdam for this reason then I'd personally recommend trying a coffee shop towards the end of the day, so that if all else goes wrong you can sleep it off without feeling like you wasted the majority of your time in the city. After enjoying these coffee shops you always have the option to wander the streets in search of munchies in the form of crepes or waffles, or just head straight back to your hotel room for a nap.
8pm - Heading out on the town
If you're anything like me, you'll prefer to take your time getting ready and eat later in an attempt to miss the evening rush of screaming children and busy dining hours. We ate at a rustic Italian called Ristorante Italia Oggi, it was a really reasonable restaurant serving authentic italian cuisine and to be honest I was really surprised by the great food and drink going on in Amsterdam.
9:30pm The infamous Red Light District
This place is going all night long (excuse the phrasing), so there’s no immediate rush to make it to the red district. Visit after dark to get the full effect of the neon lights, signs and red-lit doorways. There’s plenty to do in the district that isn’t seedy, the red light secrets museum, there are plenty of bars and live sex shows - if you’re into that. Be cautious about where you take photos here, the women workers in windows do not allow photos and they are very vocal about this.
10:30am - Heineken Tour
An infamous tourist attraction in Amsterdam, the Heineken tour is a really interactive and fun tour for anyone who enjoys a good pint. From fun guide-lead activities to two free half pints, this brewery is definitely is worth the price of its ticket. En route to the brewery is the I am Amsterdam sign so why not have a quick Instagram on the way?
1pm - Heineken Boat Tour
Online you have the option to choose varying packages when it comes to the Heineken tour, we vouched for the 'Rock The City' tickets which includes:
- The Heineken brewery tour
- 2 free half pints of Heineken
- Canal tour with Heineken guide
- Entry to the A'DAM lookout
For €30 this is great value, as the Heineken tour is normally €21 alone.
After our tour of the brewery we hopped on the canal tour which is across the road from the Heineken building, although not before being taken down flat on my face by a bike (yes pedal bike, those things are EVERYWHERE in Amsterdam). The boat ride lasted around 45 minutes, we were offered drinks on board to purchase including Heinekens (of course) and was given loads of interesting and fun facts from our tour guide.
2:30pm - A'DAM Lookout
Also included in the Rock the City tickets, our boat tour took us to the A'DAM lookout building, also included in our tickets. The lookout is a 20-story high 360 degree observation deck, with views over Amsterdam and the Amstel. We reached the top via elevators, featuring a brief illumination show, and I was surprised by how modern this tourist attraction was inside with a really well decorated cafe serving food and drinks. A'DAM is host to one of the fastest growing attractions; the 'Over The Edge Swing' Europe's largest swing located on the sky desk. For those wanted an adrenaline rush you can swing 100 meters from the ground for €5 but beware there are often long queues for this and you will need to book a time slot with an attendant.
4:00 - 901 Ferry to Amsterdam Centraal
Catch the free 901 ferry from Buiksloterweg to Centraal station, a minuscule journey that departs every 4 minutes!
Perch yourself in one of the many bars or pancake houses on the edges of the square containing the central train station, people watch, enjoy the dutch beer and waffles and soak up your last few hours in Amsterdam.
Until next time guys!