Honestly, one day isn’t enough to see everything this incredible city has to offer. But if 24 hours is all you have, make every second count with this realistic guide of things to do in one day in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is an architectural wonderland and in many ways, it’s the perfect destination for a quick trip. With so many museums, cafes, shops, and canals to explore you’ll never want to leave! So put on your comfiest sneakers, grab a portable phone charger and a bottle of water, because there’s a LOT to see and do in a single day in Amsterdam.
1. Amsterdam Canal Belt
Start the day right by taking a stroll through the marvelous Amsterdam Canal Belt. Walk at your own pace and stop to grab a few stroopwafels or croquettes along the way. You can also cruise around the canals on one of the many open boat tours that depart from Damrak avenue. You really can’t miss it! Damrak is only footsteps away from Amsterdam Centraal.
These historical waterways are lined with traditional Dutch houses that were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. This place is truly like an open museum full of the most stunning architecture.
2. Delight the Senses at the Floating Flower Market in Singel
When you’re done, take some time to wander through the picturesque Flower Market, (or Bloemenmarkt). This dazzling floating flower market offers a stunning selection of flowers, plants, seeds, bulbs, and traditional Dutch Souvenirs.
3. Café Papeneiland
When you work up an appetite, stop at Het Papeneiland, a cozy canalside café that’s been around for more than 400 years. This historical diner is famous for serving the most scrumptious apple pie in the city. But it’s also home to a mysterious tunnel that used to allow Catholics to enter a hidden church where they could worship in secret.
With opulent chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, Delft plates decorating the walls, and delicious Friekandellen sausage, you’ll probably want to sit around for at least an hour here.
4. Zaanse Schans Windmills Village
If you’re looking to get the most beautiful countryside vistas, then hop on a train and head to Zaanse Schans. This colorful neighborhood is only 15 minutes away from the capital city and is full of windmills, barns, workshops, museums, walking routes, boat tours, and lots of unique chickens, sheep, and cows that roam around freely.
5. Jordaan Neighborhood & Tiny Hidden Houses of Amsterdam
Your Amsterdam mini trip isn’t over until you walk around Jordaan, a traditional Dutch neighborhood where you can find great food, breathtaking gable stone houses, and cafes. If you’re walking around Jordaan, be on the lookout for the famous tiny hidden houses, a series of 7 miniature rowhouses hiding in the tiny crack between 70 and 50 Westerstraat. You’ll find this secret gem at 54 Westerstraat. The hidden houses are stacked on top of one another and they’re really small, so keep your eyes peeled!
Whether you choose to wander on your own or head to any of the locations on this list, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to visit museums, quirky attractions, or eat croquettes from street vendors. Swing from the tallest swing in Europe at A’dam Lookout, or stop by De Poezenboot, a floating cat sanctuary that has grown into a full-blown animal charity. Don’t be afraid to stroll around aimlessly. After all, you can’t discover some beautiful paths without getting lost first.