Amsterdam, also known as the “City of Sins,” is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Numerous European vacations begin and end there. After all, the city’s distinctive narrow buildings, intricate canal systems, and pretty bridges frequently adorned with vibrant flowers leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.
Despite the fact that Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in the Netherlands, many people fail to explore the rest of the country. If you don’t plan to go anywhere else in the Netherlands, be prepared to spend a lot of money if you stay in Amsterdam, which is expensive.
Because the Netherlands is such a tolerant nation, a trip to Amsterdam will undoubtedly present new experiences. Even if you only spend a short amount of time here, you will continue to tell stories about it long after you return home.
On your first day in the city, we recommend visiting one or two popular museums, taking a canal cruise, walking through the canals, and exploring the main areas of central Amsterdam. You’ll get a good sense of the city from this. Here’s how your first day in Amsterdam might go:
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam. Many tourists visit Amsterdam just to see the house where a young Jewish girl and her family hid from the Nazis during WWII. She kept a diary during that time (1942-44), in which she described daily life in their hiding place, as well as her thoughts and feelings.
When their hiding place was discovered in 1944, Anne was deported to Auschwitz and then to Bergen-Belsen. She died just a few months before the war ended in 1945. Only Anne’s father survived the entire family. He later published her diary, which has been translated into 70 languages and is now widely known throughout the world.
Amsterdam Canals & Canal Cruise
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without taking in the city’s magnificent canals. Amsterdam canals were dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and are lined by some of the city’s most impressive buildings. Nowadays, the canals are the best place to see authentic Amsterdam. Lovely, chaotic, lively, and vibrant.
The canals of Amsterdam can be explored on foot, by boat, or by bike. Remember that there are many kilometers of canals and that it is impossible to see them all in such a short visit. To explore more, we recommend walking at least a few sections of the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht and taking a canal cruise.
Now is the time to learn more about the city after your canal cruise. Check out the side streets of the main canals to get a sense of Amsterdam’s real character! Exploring Jordaan, a well-liked city center neighborhood is the best approach.
Stop by one of the quirky neighborhood cafes for a cup of coffee or lunch.
Because you will be walking a significant amount more here before retiring for the night, this will give you that extra boost. Dutch pancakes are a must-try in this neighborhood!
This neighborhood is easy to explore on your own. Jordan is well-known for its architecture, cuisine, and arts. There are parts of it that are very popular with tourists, but if you go a little further away from the main canals, you’ll find an authentic Amsterdam with a lot of locals and (thankfully) more locals than tourists.
The Nine Streets
Another interesting area to visit in central Amsterdam is the Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes). This is a network of cobblestone streets that connects the major canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat.
The 9 Streets neighborhood is known for its narrow streets, charming houses, and independent boutiques.
Here, you can still find a taste of authentic Amsterdam and quirky stores that haven’t been taken over by large corporations that have forever changed so many other places in the Netherlands.
Explore the nine alleys and canals that surround it for some time.
Damrak, Dam Square & the Royal Palace
After that, proceed to Dam Square, the city’s main square. The Royal Palace Amsterdam is on one side, and a National Monument is on the other.
This is a popular meeting place, and various events are frequently held here. It’s always busy. Nonetheless, it’s worth a quick visit for a few photos; just be wary of pickpockets.
Continue north along Damrak, an avenue that connects Dam Square to Amsterdam Central Station. The former stock exchange Beurs van Berlage, as well as some of the typical Amsterdam houses seen on postcards, can be found here.
There are numerous options for spending your second day in Amsterdam! You can choose to see more of Amsterdam’s top attractions, such as the floating flower market, world-class museums, a relaxing time in a park, or even a 15-minute train ride to Haarlem for dinner. Alternatively, you can conclude your trip with a relaxing canal cruise in the evening…
This is the detailed itinerary described further below.
Bloemenmarkt – Floating Flower Market
Visit Amsterdam’s renowned floating flower market to kick off your day. Numerous florist shops line the Bloemenmarkt, offering a wide range of Dutch souvenirs and flower bulbs.
The most beautiful flowers that the Netherlands is known for can be found here, which is the best spot in the city. Likewise, the tulips, of course. Additionally, it is the most vibrant of the attractions in Amsterdam!
The flower market is very popular with tourists because it sells so many souvenirs and attracts a lot of groups of people. However, you really shouldn’t miss it because it is also one of the places in Amsterdam that are so typical. Additionally, you are not required to spend anything if you do not wish to!
Just enjoy the stunning views of flowers and make sure to snap a lot of pictures for Instagram.
Van Gogh Museum
We recommend the Van Gogh Museum as an excellent museum to visit in Amsterdam in addition to Anne Frank’s House. The world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh masterpieces can be seen here. Additionally, they display over 750 personal letters and approximately 500 drawings.
The museum is not your typical gallery of art; rather, it uses art to tell the story of Van Gogh’s life. You will gain an intimate understanding of his life and the sources of his inspiration. The museum is so well done that even if you don’t like Van Gogh or his art, you’ll still have a great time!
Visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for at least an hour. The ideal time for a visit is between one and two hours. This time will be well spent if you plan well and buy your tickets in advance.
You can have dinner in the nearby town of Haarlem if you want to see more of the Netherlands. You can get there by train in just 15 minutes from Amsterdam, but first, you need to get to Central Station, etc.
Take a leisurely stroll through the city center and eat dinner in the main square in Haarlem. It is a lovely medieval town with old buildings, cobblestone streets, and winding canals that are surrounded by a defensive wall.
Haarlem is a beautiful place. Additionally, it is referred to as a “scaled-down” Amsterdam.