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One Day in Amsterdam | Best Local Guide [2024]

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Looking for the ultimate list of things to do with one day in Amsterdam?

Well, look no further, for a complete one-day in Amsterdam itinerary that covers all the very best things to do in the magical city.

As an Amsterdam resident for the past 3 years, I know what you should see and what’s worth missing with limited time in the city. This itinerary is packed in order to show you the best of what Amsterdam has to offer, so prepare for a day of excitement in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and the most visited place in the country. This city attracts millions of tourists each year and there is no question as to why. Amsterdam is a city like no other with its maze of canals, quirky houses, unheard-of attractions, and more!

You will not get the same kind of beauty, excitement, and uniqueness anywhere else in Europe. This makes it a great travel destination for all types of people since there truly is something to do for everyone.

Here is the ultimate one day in Amsterdam itinerary for experiencing all the best of the city.

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)

The Ultimate One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary

β˜•οΈ Morning: Breakfast on the 9 streets, Explore the Jordaan, and go to a Museum.
🌞 Afternoon: Canal Cruise, Dam Square, Sweets, Vondelaprk
πŸŒ™ Evening: Dinner and Red Light District

Morning: One day in Amsterdam

Breakfast on the 9 streets

To start the day off right it is important to eat a delicious breakfast from one of Amsterdam’s many cafes. One of the most underrated things about Amsterdam is the food.

There are so many restaurants with amazing dishes that will blow you away. Amsterdam’s restaurant scene is one of my favorite things about the city, you can find just about anything!

It doesn’t matter if you are a coffee and croissant type of morning person because Amsterdam is packed with cafes, here is a list of 20 of Amsterdam’s best cafes. Or if you are the type of morning person who wants to eat a full meal packed with nutrients to fuel you for the day. Amsterdam is ready for you.

Although the cafes and restaurants are scattered all around Amsterdam the top area to dine in for the best Amsterdam experience is in the famous 9 Streets (Negen Straatjes). This area is located in the middle of the famous Amsterdam canal belt which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.

This area is full of cute shops, stunning views, and amazing cafes. It is the perfect place to head to right in the morning to eat and continue exploring from there.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: Some of my favourite restaurants in the Jordaan are Bakkerij Wolf, The Dylan, Winkel43 (the best apple pie in the CITY!), The Pancake Bakery, and Greenwoods Singel.


Walk Around the Jordaan

Amsterdam’s most beautiful area is the Jordaan. It is the best area to spend your time exploring with only a limited amount of time in Amsterdam. After a nice breakfast, it is ideal to simply walk around the Jordaan neighborhood soaking up its creative and bohemian atmosphere.

This is a very historic neighborhood in Amsterdam, known for its picturesque canals, quaint streets, and artistic vibe. It offers a blend of cute cafes, unique boutiques, and cultural hotspots.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: This is the best place to take photos of Amsterdam. Whether you want to be in them or not the background of the canals and houses is something out of a movie. There is no specific one spot but by walking around you are sure to find quite a few stunning places to snap some photos!

Visit a Museum

In the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam sits the city’s most famous museum; The Anne Frank House. This is a museum you cannot miss while visiting Amsterdam. It tells the profound story of a young girl who was hidden in an attic in Amsterdam during WW2 and kept a diary during her days.

She was unfortunately discovered and sent to Auschwitz to die but her memory and story live on through the museum that brings you through the actual attic she was hidden in.

Like most European cities World War 2 had a significant effect on it, and this is one way in which visitors can transport themselves back into that time and remember a past that should not be forgotten.

*IMPORTANT: The Anne Frank House has now limited its amount of guests to 1 million a year. As a result, tickets ONLY go on sale ONLINE on the first Tuesday of the Month*

πŸ’‘ In a hurry? Discover everything you need for your trip to Amsterdam in one place
πŸš‚ Book your Train/Bus/Transport to Amsterdam here.
πŸ”οΈ Best Tours in Amsterdam here.
🏨 Best Hotels in Amsterdam HERE.
❀️ Get Health Insurance for Amsterdam HERE.

If there are no tickets available for your required date or you prefer a less heavy museum you can also go to the Van Gogh Museum.

This is another great option that brings you into the life and mind of Vincent Van Gogh. The museum displays his works of art in chronological order so you can see his spiraling mental state in order.

Another great option is the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is a world-renowned museum that houses an extensive collection of Dutch art and history. It is home to masterpieces by iconic painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer.

The museum offers a captivating journey through the Netherlands’ artistic and historical heritage, making it a must-visit cultural destination.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: The best way to see all the attractions in Amsterdam with a discount is with an IAmsterdam city card. This card gives you a ton of perks like unlimited access to public transport, entrance to various museums and more! Below you can find the IAmsterdam city card as well as some museum and historic tours.

Afternoon: One day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

If you get the IAmsterdam city card that was recommended above then you get a free canal cruise included with your purchase. However, even if you don’t get the IAmsterdam card, embarking on a canal cruise is a must.

The best way to see Amsterdam is by boat, and with only one day in Amsterdam, you need to see as much as you can with the limited time you have available. Luckily, there are a ton of canal cruise companies in the city that will bring you around Amsterdam and tell you all the important historical information.

There is so much to learn and see in Amsterdam and a cruise is the best way to soak it all in. Plus, after a morning of exploring it is nice to sit and rest up for a short while.

➑️ Book this canal cruise to ensure you get a ticket!

Amsterdam Gingerbread Houses

Most canal cruises end at the central station which makes walking to the famous Amsterdam Gingerbread Houses very accessible. This landmark is a set of houses in the city that are uniquely formed and look like real-life gingerbread houses.

Walking straight down from the central station towards Dam Square will bring you right past them, which makes for the perfect photo opportunity. In fact, this is one of the best photo spots in Amsterdam.


Dam Square

Dam Square is Amsterdam’s largest and most impressive square and is home to the Royal Palace, Madame Tussauds, and the National Monument. It is one of Amsterdam’s most vibrant areas and the square is also full of performers ready to entertain.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: With only one day in Amsterdam simply viewing Dam Square is enough but if you find yourself having more time you can tour the Royal Palace or enter Madame Tussauds. I don’t find Dam Square to be all that amazing and prefer other places in the city much more!

Floating Flower Market

The Netherlands as a whole is very well known for flowers, especially tulips, and Amsterdam is no different. People from around the world come to Amsterdam to see the tulips in bloom in the stunning tulip fields.

However, these fields are only in bloom from late March – Early May which is a small window of viewing. But there are other ways to see tulips in Amsterdam beyond the fields.

One way is by heading to the floating flower market. This is a long market full of tulip bulbs, flower seeds, and flower souvenirs.

The whole market is situated on top of a canal making it the world’s only floating flower market. This is a great place to head to to pick up souvenirs from Amsterdam.


Indulge in Sweets

Amsterdam is a sweet lover paradise with various places to get your sweets craving in check. The best dessert to try in Amsterdam is a Stroopwafel. This is the city’s famous treat which consists of two thin waffles stuck together with gooey caramel.

There are shops around the city that sell specialty options such as; van Wonderen, or Mellys. You can also find a street market like Albert Cuyp and get a fresh one from there.

Some of my favourite places to get other unique sweets in Amsterdam are:

🍭 Van Stapele Koekmakerij
🍭 Banketbakkerij Het Koekemannetje
🍭 The Happy Pig Pancake Shop
🍭 Fort Negen


Vondelpark

Vondelpark, located in the heart of Amsterdam, offers a range of experiences perfect for your one day in Amsterdam.

Biking through the park is one of the best ways to explore it and experience it like a local. Whether you’re riding solo or with friends, the park’s beautiful paths are an adventure in themselves. This is also one of the best places to test biking in Amsterdam – an Amsterdam MUST DO since biking is ingrained in the culture of the city.

One of my favorite things to do in Vondelpark is to have a picnic! The endless green space provides the perfect setting for spreading out a blanket and enjoying an outdoor meal. Head to a grocery store, pick up some snacks, and soak in the park’s serene ambiance.

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: On warm, sunny days in Amsterdam, you will find Vondelpark packed with people. This is one of the best ways to experience what “local” life is like!


Evening: One day in Amsterdam

Dinner in the city

There are few things as romantic as Amsterdam at night. With the surrounding darkness and house lights casting reflections on the canal, it doesn’t get much better. I sometimes think I like Amsterdam more at night than during the day because of how beautiful the city looks all lit up.

To start the evening off right it is best to enjoy a full meal. If you are traveling as a couple, going out for a nice dinner in Amsterdam is great for creating a romantic date night.

There are a ton of restaurants in Amsterdam to choose from with a wide variety of different cuisines, settings, and vibes.

As a vegetarian, I always head to restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options but there are more than that in the city. If you are looking for vegetarian options in Amsterdam check out this post.

Here are some of my favourite dinner restaurants in Amsterdam:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Fiaschetteria β€œPistoia”
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Miri Mary Indian Restaurant
πŸ‘‰πŸ» NAZKA
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Lillie Wine Rebel
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Madre

πŸ’‘ INSIDER TIP: You MUST call and make a reservation for restaurants in Amsterdam. If you don’t you will likely not get a seat.


Red Light District

The Red Light District is one of Amsterdam’s more controversial places to visit. It is entirely up to you if you visit or not but it is unlike anything else and something you can really only see here. It is a very interesting area where you will see the women in red-light windows, bars, smoke shops, and other promiscuous shows.

The area does start to feel a little dodgy as it gets further into the night so be sure to avoid heading here after 11 PM. Also be sure to not take any photos of the woman as this is not allowed.

Red Light District

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 1 day enough for Amsterdam?

One day in Amsterdam is enough to see a few of the city’s highlights but it’s far from sufficient to fully experience all this vibrant city has to offer. Amsterdam has a rich cultural tapestry, picturesque canals, and a multitude of museums, historic sites, and culinary delights.

To truly immerse yourself in its charm, consider spending at least a few days exploring the city. This way, you can leisurely visit its iconic attractions, savor local cuisine, and enjoy the relaxed Dutch pace of life.


How much is Amsterdam per day?

How much you spend in one day in Amsterdam completely depends on your spending habits and desires. Below is a breakdown on an estimated budget if you get a mid-range hotel, do some tours/experiences, and eat out.

One Day in Amsterdam Budget
🏨 Hotel: €200 / night
🚴 Activities: €60 for the IAmsterdam Pass
πŸ• Food: €50
πŸš‚ Transportation: €30
TOTAL: €340


When to visit Amsterdam

Every month in Amsterdam has its charm and enchantment.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Winter – The months of November – February do welcome significantly more rain, however, it does not often go below 0Β°. During these months it is much less busy and the prices are lower. If you are visiting in winter check out this Amsterdam Winter Guide.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Spring – From March-May Amsterdam has its spring season which welcomes some unpredictable weather conditions. You can expect days with a high of 20Β° and some days with lows of 5Β°. The spring is very popular as this is when the flowers start to bloom, especially in Amsterdam in April.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Summer – Summer offers warm templates (20Β°-30Β°) and less rain than the other seasons. During the months of June – August the city is very packed with people and the prices for accommodation and flights are more expensive.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Fall – September, and October are the quick fall months in Amsterdam and are unpredictable weather-wise. Sometimes there is a ton of rain and colder conditions (10Β°) sometimes you can get warm sun days (15Β°). Nonetheless, the city is stunning in fall and prices will be lower.


Where to stay in Amsterdam

With only one day in Amsterdam, it is important to stay in the city center near all the excitement. However, the city center is the more expensive option when deciding where to stay, and Amsterdam is an expensive city.

Check out this guide and find out the best place to stay in Amsterdam. Here are some additional suggestions.

 

Amsterdam Travel Tips

For a complete detailed list of Amsterdam travel tips check out this post. Here are some other tips below!


How to get around Amsterdam

This one day in Amsterdam itinerary is outlined in a way that walking between attractions is easy. If you want you can rent a bike to explore during the day or take public transport.

If you have an IAmsterdam city card you get unlimited access to public transport, or you can get a GVB public transport card (listed below) to get around the city.


One day in Amsterdam is just enough to give you a taste of this magical city. This itinerary will have you exhausted by the end, but your admiration and love for Amsterdam will have begun. After visiting for one day, you will surely be planning a trip back to see more of the city.

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