A Weekend in Amsterdam: The Ultimate Itinerary
How to Get There
Amsterdam Centraal, the main station, offers direct trains from various cities including London (via Eurostar), Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, and Vienna. It is advisable to book tickets in advance for the best prices. If you're arriving by plane, trains from Schiphol Airport provide direct transportation to Centraal station every few minutes. Booking in advance can secure a one-way ticket from the airport to the city center for approximately €5.80 (£5.16, $6.11).
Getting Around Amsterdam
Amsterdam is known for its bike lanes, making cycling a popular and environmentally friendly option for exploring the city. The Amsterdam metro, buses, trams, and ferries also offer convenient transportation. However, Amsterdam is a walkable city, and exploring on foot provides a better sense of the Dutch capital.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam offers numerous wonderful neighborhoods, and Oud-West stands out for its excellent location, affordability, and abundance of activities. This area features trendy bars, plenty of restaurants, and vibrant cultural spots while being close to the charming Jordaan and bustling Centrum districts. Hotel Alp is a recommended affordable option, housed in a traditional Amsterdam house with a small outdoor courtyard. Another choice is Hotel de Hallen, a design hotel located in a renovated tram depot that serves as a cultural hub, hosting a food hall and cinema.
Friday: Go Dutch
Upon arriving in the early afternoon, start by visiting cultural highlights. Begin with a leisurely stroll down Bilderdijkstraat, a lively street lined with independent restaurants and boutiques. Grab a coffee and snack from Uncommon Amsterdam before heading to the Van Gogh Museum. The museum houses the world's largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings, offering insights into the artist's life through his iconic works. After immersing in Van Gogh's art, take a walk through the expansive and leafy Vondelpark. In the evening, head to the romantic Jordaan district for dinner. Consider stopping by Bar Mimi or Cafe L'Affiche for a pre-meal drink before experiencing the unique dining experience at Men Impossible, a highly recommended plant-based ramen restaurant. To enjoy the local ambiance, explore the charming streets of Jordaan and visit bruin cafés like Cafe de Laurierboom, Cafe Chris, Cafe de Nieuwe Lelie, Cafe 't Smalle, Cafe de Tuin, and Cafe Tabac. For a lively night out, consider visiting De School, a former school turned electronic music club, or the community-focused venue, De Nieuwe Anita, which hosts a variety of evening events.
Saturday: See the Other Side of the City
Start your day at the west side of Haarlemmerdijk near Haarlemmerplein and explore the stylish shops as you make your way to Amsterdam Centraal. Stop by Toki for a coffee and snack during your walk. If you're interested in exploring Amsterdam's greener side, visit Coffeeshop Siberië for some supplies. Take the free ferry from Centraal across the IJ to NDSM, a former shipyard transformed into a thriving artist community. Wander through the area and, if possible, visit IJ-hallen, Europe's largest flea market, if it aligns with your travel dates. Explore STRAAT Museum, a gallery showcasing impressive graffiti and street art. For lunch with a view of the river, visit Pllek, a unique venue that offers a faux-beach experience. In the afternoon, choose between visiting Blast Galaxy, a warehouse filled with over 100 free-to-play arcade machines, or Nxt Museum, a gallery that combines technology and visual art. For dinner, try the delicious tacos at Coba or grab a slice from EUROPIZZA, ensuring you make reservations in advance. Close to the restaurants, you'll find two excellent breweries, Walhalla and Oedipus, with Oedipus having ample seating capacity. To continue your evening, head to Skatecafe, a popular party spot in Amsterdam. Alternatively, you can take the ferry back to the city center and visit the Red Light District (De Wallen), although it is known for its large number of intoxicated tourists and may not offer the most pleasant experience.
Sunday: A Picture-Perfect Finish
Start your morning with breakfast at Greenwoods on Keizersgracht, a charming canalside restaurant serving traditional breakfast dishes suitable for various diets. Afterward, indulge in a bit of retail therapy in the Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes), a picturesque part of the city known for its boutique shops. Whether you're looking for vintage clothes at Episode, a cookie from the famous Het Koekemannetje, or a new board game from The Gamekeeper, the Nine Streets offer something for everyone. To experience some culture, visit Foam, Amsterdam's leading photography museum, located in a modernized canal house and featuring a diverse range of intriguing exhibitions. Conclude your Amsterdam trip with a canal tour, choosing between a guided tour with Captain Jack or a more alternative experience with Those Dam Boat Guys. You can also rent your own boat, with or without a driver, from Mokumboot. Exploring the city from the water provides a unique perspective. If you decide to stay one more night, enjoy some Korean street food at The Bab Oud West and then head to Lab111, a cinema that shows a mix of classic, contemporary, and cult movies. The cinema's bar is an excellent place to unwind with a drink and discuss your experiences in the city. For a nightcap, visit Gebrouwen door Vrouwen, the flagship bar of a women-owned brewery that produces some of the finest beer in Amsterdam. It offers a perfect setting to relax and reflect on a well-lived weekend.