Amsterdam—the “Venice of the North”
Most of you surely think of hip coffee shops, tulips as far as eyes can discern, and countless canals everywhere you go. As accurate as these may be, Amsterdam has a lot more to offer. Even if you only have one day to discover it all.
#1 Strike a pose with the canals
Have you even been to Amsterdam if you haven’t posed by one of the iconic canals?
They are representative of the city’s history and subsequently gave Amsterdam the nickname “Venice of the North”. The 17th-century canal ring was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. Each of the numerous canals has its own historic and fascinating sights to explore. Don’t forget to go on a canal cruise with your travel buddies to wrap up this unique experience.
#2 Discover Museumplein
The Museumplein is a public museum square in Amsterdam’s Museumkwartier neighborhood, where you can find some of the most famous museums in the city, such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. The complex is also used for popular cultural events, such as festivals and celebrations, as well as an artificial ice-skating rink in winter.
#3 Indulge in traditional culinary delights
If you need a quick refueling break, try out a sweet Stroopwafel in one of the many cafés for a complete Dutch experience.
As for coffee…this is where it all began. Coffee shops in Amsterdam represent the core of the city’s culture, and you can easily find high-quality cafés everywhere. We recommend trying out some of the most popular ones such as Back to Black, Lot Sixty-One, or De Koffieschenkerij.
Did you know that Heineken comes from Amsterdam? There’s even an interactive tour you can take through the former brewery – including 2 free beers at the factory bar! The Heineken Experience tour takes about 2 hours and tickets start at €19.50 for all visitors 18 years and older. But don’t worry – non-alcoholic beverages are served as well, and children are also welcome to ensure a fun and entertaining activity for the entire family. Check out tickets HERE.
#4 Visit Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is a biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank located on the Prinsengracht canal. The museum opened in 1960 and hosts a permanent exhibition on the life and hardships of Anne Frank. It’s one of the most visited museums in the city, with over 1 million visitors in 2014.
The Anne Frank House can only be visited with tickets bought online in advance. Get yours HERE.
#5 Meet the locals at Albert Cuyp Market
Take a stroll through the Albert Cuyp market and feel the true spirit of Amsterdam and its citizens. In the Netherlands’ biggest open-air market, one can find anything—from clothes and shoes to vegetables, fish and sweets. Both locals and tourists alike come here to enjoy the colorfulness and vividness of the place, interact with each other, share a laugh and bargain. You won’t have to search a lot to find great and affordable deals.
The Albert Cuyp is surrounded by the De Pijp district, a lively area full of ethnic restaurants, local shops and cozy cafes.
#6 Lose yourself in Dam Square
In the center of the historical city of Amsterdam lies Dam Square, one of the most visited places in Amsterdam – a must-have under your list if you have only one day in Amsterdam! You’ll find plenty of entertainment here, such as street performances and carnivals during the spring.
On the south side of the square stands the National Monument, a cenotaph that commemorates the victims of World War II. Other interesting attractions on the square are the New Church, which nowadays is used for organ recitals and as an exhibition space, and the Madame Tussauds Amsterdam wax museum.
However, the highlight of the square is without a doubt the neoclassical Royal Palace, which dates back to the 17th century.
#7 Admire the city from above: A’dam Lookout
For the best panoramic view of Amsterdam, go to the A’dam lookout, situated on top of the 100 meters high A’dam tower. It is much more than a regular observation deck: its cutting-edge interactive exhibitions and modern attractions will make sure that you experience Amsterdam and its history to the maximum. Plus, they will provide your trip with some extra adrenaline.
Learn some fun facts about the city on the free audio tour or through the interactive binoculars. Keep yourself steady on the Amsterdam VR Ride, which takes you on a virtual rollercoaster race through the highlights of the city. If you feel extra brave, swing on the highest Over The Edge swing in Europe. After that, reward yourself with a snack or an extensive dinner at the Panorama Restaurant.
#8 Shop on De Negen Straatjes
De Negen Straatjes are nine little streets, divided by two canals, that represent the trendiest shopping area in Amsterdam. The neighborhood is full of original craft shops, fashion stores, vintage accessories, nice restaurants and cozy cafes. It also doesn’t lack cultural institutions, such as museums and art galleries. Most of the buildings date from the Dutch Golden Age and contribute to a picturesque ambiance.