And here we are at last: the Amsterdam photos are beginning to flood in! Today I wanted to share my 5-day itinerary with you guys. For me it was the perfect length stay; we still saw everything on our lists and more, but also had some downtime to just explore the city, have a picnic, or do some shopping. Like I have already mentioned, I fell head-over-heels in love with this city. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is buzzing with life, and there’s beauty absolutely everywhere. Definitely a must on everybody’s travel bucket lists. I hope that you guys enjoy reading reading how I filled my 5-days, and that you can hopefully use it as a guideline should you ever find yourself in the city of canals. And lots of magnificent photos ahead! Enjoy my Amsterdam itinerary
- We pulled into Centraal Station around 11:30 AM, and were at our hotel by 12:15. We checked in, took in the lovely harbor views around us (more on that later).
- The smartest move of the entire trip was the free walking tour we took on our first day. Lasting for about 3 hours and given by this organization, it really gave us an overview of the city. We figured out the basics of navigating it, which made the whole trip a lot easier. Our tour guide told great anecdotes about the city, and showed us hidden treasures galore. Superb, if you take my advice on one single thing, let it be this one.
- We ended our tour near The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes), one of Amsterdam’s most praised shopping areas. Filled with little Dutch boutiques, we crawled up and down the side streets, discovering funky things such as the outdoor bookstore pictured above, and places we couldn’t wait to try in the days to come.
- As the sun set, we headed over to the Anne Frank House. Even at 7pm on a Tuesday, we ended up waiting for an 1 1/2 in the freezing cold. I’m so glad we did it though, it’s something every person needs to see in my mind. Note to future travelers: either pre-book your tickets, or go in the evening. Lines are hopeless during the day!
- We had a delicious Thai dinner (more coming on that soon) and called it a night.
- We set out early the next morning to get acquainted with our own neighborhood, Waterlooplein (or the old city center). From colorful canal houses to hidden side streets, there is so much to see in this area.
- During your trip, try just wandering in and out of boutiques! The Dutch really care about decorations, leading to lots of cool discoveries (such as the “spectacular” sign above)
- The Bloemenmarkt that we ended up seeing after our morning exploring ended up being quite a disappointment. It’s really just a tourist trap, selling marijuana and tulip seeds in bulk. If you are on a tight schedule, avoid this one.
- After this we wandered over into Jordaan. That’s what’s so great about Amsterdam: each city section is just woven together, but still remains individual. Jordaan ended up being my favorite neighborhood by far. We enjoyed our afternoon shopping on the Nine Little Streets, and photographing the lights as they came on over the water.
- Dinner was tapas this night, but more on that later.
- Our “nightcap” was the Red Light District. While the area wasn’t the nicest, I am glad to have seen it. The only way I can describe it is interesting and thought provoking.
- First thing’s first: bike rentals! This day we headed to the opposite side of town, towards the major museums and Vondelpark.
- We arrived at the Rijksmuseum around 11, but the crowds were already going strong. After taking (mandatory) IAmsterdam pictures, I headed inside.
- I was pleasantly surprised at the discovery that because I am under 19, my ticket was free. My friend and I split up at this point, her choosing to explore Vondelpark, and me sticking with the art. Originally, I had planned to knock out both the Van Gogh and Rijks Museums with 2 1/2 hours. However, I ended up getting so drawn into the Rijksmuseum, that I spent the nearly 3 allotted hours just in there. More on my experience coming soon; let’s just say this museum is not one you want to rush through!
- We regrouped in the early afternoon, and headed into Albert Heijn (Dutch grocery store) to buy a picnic for Vondelpark. Best smoothies sold there, for only 2 Euros!
- We spent a lovely two hours just cycling through Vondelpark, and enjoying our food on the benches. Totally cyclist friendly (as the rest of the city is), so no worries.
- We then headed over to Jordaan, both of us photographers wanting to get some more pictures of this charming area. After a refreshing snack of Dutch Apple pie, we headed back to our boat to prep for an evening out.
- This night we revisited the Thai place from the first night with a new friend we had met on the boat.
- On our way home we were waved into a bar by two Dutch boys, and enjoyed having a few beers with them into the night. Such a fun way to end the third day, and so great talking to locals.
- This 3rd full day was essential to our trip. We managed to fit in every last thing we hadn’t been able to do the first two days, starting with me visiting the Van Gogh Museum in the morning. ADVICE: pre-buy your tickets!! The line snakes around the block, waiting times are up to two hours. I pre-bought my tickets during the walking tour on the first day, through the organization. They cost the same, and I walked right in!
- After the museum, the weather was beautiful, so I took about 30 minutes to just spread out on the Museumplein (museum lawns), and soak up the sun. These casual moments were some of the nicest!
- After meeting back up with Emily (my travel buddy) at the hotel, we headed towards Centraal Station to hop on a free ferry to the NDSM Werf. We spent a couple of hours exploring this artist’s island in the setting sun. To be honest, I was so beyond belief about this place that it made me slightly uncomfortable. I mean, a place just to create art? Seems surreal, but here it was. Great street art.
- Dinner at a Dutch locale, and back to the boat to get ready.
- Since it was Halloween on our last night, we felt like partying was a must. We danced the night away at Melkweg, a club that was holding Halloween festivities and a 90s throwback until 5AM.
- After dropping our bikes off, we explored Waterlooplein, including a successful visit to its large flea market. While not as hyped up as Jordaan, there are also boutiques galore to be found in this neighborhood (more on that soon!).
- Our trip ended with stops at the Dutch “Target equivalent” HEMA, getting groceries at Albert Heijn, and enjoying a long searched for Chai Tea Latte.
- By 1:30 we were saying our goodbyes. Until next time Amsterdam!
I hope you guys enjoyed this itinerary, and I really do hope you end up using it should you ever find yourself in Amsterdam! Thank you so much for reading, and many more Amsterdam posts coming soon.