Discover the best of Amsterdam in just 24 hours with this ultimate one-day Amsterdam itinerary, featuring canals, museums, and vibrant neighbourhoods. Make every moment count!
I have been to Amsterdam 4 times and each time loved going to my usual hangouts and relaxing. If you have one day or 2, this European city is perfect for quick getaway. The city was founded in the 12th century but came into prominence during the Dutch Golden Age (1588-1672). At that time, Amsterdam was the center of the world economy and was both an economic and cultural powerhouse.
Amsterdam One-Day Itinerary: Explore the City’s Highlights
Uncover the charms of Amsterdam, a city renowned for its picturesque canals, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere. With only 24 hours to explore, you’ll want to maximize your time and soak up the essence of this captivating Dutch capital. Follow this Amsterdam itinerary to make the most of your Amsterdam adventure!
Morning: Start Your Day with a Canal Cruise and a Visit to Anne Frank House
Canal Cruise (8:00 – 9:00 AM) Begin your day with a relaxing canal cruise, allowing you to witness the city’s beauty from the water. This quintessential Amsterdam experience offers a unique perspective on the iconic 17th-century canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Book your tickets in advance to secure a spot on an early morning cruise, ensuring you have plenty of time to explore the city.
Anne Frank House (9:30 – 11:00 AM) Next, head to the historic Anne Frank House, the famous hiding place where Anne and her family sought refuge during World War II. Today, it serves as a poignant museum and a testament to their courage. To avoid long queues, purchase your tickets online ahead of your visit.
Tickets can only be purchased online in advance. You will reserve a specific time slot, which eliminates waiting in line. 80% of tickets are released exactly 2 months in advance. The remaining 20% of tickets are released on the same day.
- Cost: €16 per person, and included on the Museumcard, not included with the I Amsterdam Card.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Book your time slots two months in advance (this is when the tickets are released). For example, if you plan to visit the Anne Frank House on July 1, make your reservation May 1. There is such a high demand for these tickets that they sell out almost as soon as they are available.
- Opening Hours: Get updated hours on the official website
- Website: Book your tickets in advance and check hours for your date of visit on the official Anne Frank House website.
If you want to learn more about Anne Frank and WWII in Amsterdam, this walking tour is led by an expert guide and includes the Jewish Cultural Quarter. Learn about the Dutch Resistance, anecdotes of Anne Frank’s life, and important monuments in Amsterdam. It does not include admission into the Anne Frank House.
Stroll through Damrak One of the most beautiful photo spots in Amsterdam, you will not want to miss this spot.
Afternoon: Discover Art and Culture at Museumplein
Rijksmuseum (11:30 AM – 1:30 PM) Stroll over to Museumplein, home to several of Amsterdam’s most renowned museums. Start with the Rijksmuseum, which houses an impressive collection of Dutch art, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. Make sure to see the iconic “Night Watch” and “The Milkmaid” during your visit.
- Cost: Adults €22.50, 18 and under are free; included with the Museumcard and I Amsterdam Card
- Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm. Get updated hours and pricing here.
- Other ticket sellers: You can also purchase tickets through GetYourGuide.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: With the e-ticket and the Museumcard, you can skip the ticket line (saving you 20 to 30 minutes during busy times). If you have the I Amsterdam Card, you still have to collect a ticket in the ticket line.
Van Gogh Museum (2:00 – 4:00 PM) Adjacent to the Rijksmuseum, you’ll find the Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the famous post-impressionist painter. Admire the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s artwork, including “Sunflowers,” “The Bedroom,” and “Almond Blossom.”
The average visit to the museum lasts about an hour.
- Cost: Adults €20, under 18 are free
- Hours: Hours vary by season, but the museum is usually open 9 am to 5 pm with longer hours during peak season; Click here to check the hours for your dates of travel.
- Time Slot Reservations: visit the Van Gogh Museum official website to book your time slot in advance
- Skip-the-Line Tickets: If tickets are sold out for your preferred date and time on the official Van Gogh Museum website, click here to purchase a ticket through GetYourGuide.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you have a Museumcard or I Amsterdam Card, you will still need to reserve your time slot in advance.
Evening: Explore the Vibrant Jordaan District and Sample Dutch Cuisine
Jordaan District (4:30 – 6:30 PM) As the sun starts to set, make your way to the charming Jordaan district. Wander through its narrow streets, lined with boutiques, galleries, and cozy cafes. Don’t miss the picturesque canals and hofjes (courtyard gardens), which make Jordaan a beloved neighbourhood among both locals and tourists.
Strolling the canals is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. Spend the middle part of the day strolling through the Jordaan area of Amsterdam. Places to visit include Westerkerk and the Homomonument.
On this 3.5 hour walking tour of Jordaan, sample 13 different Dutch foods. Along the walk, you will also learn about Dutch traditions and see sites that most tourists never get to see. You also have the option to add on a canal cruise.
Winkel 43 While you are in the Jordan area, stroll to Winkel 43 and try their apple pie with cream, it is a must try. I have been to Amsterdam 4 times just to eat Apple pie from here.
Traditional Dutch Dinner (7:00 – 8:30 PM) End your day by savoring a traditional Dutch meal at a local restaurant. Sample dishes like erwtensoep (split pea soup), stamppot (mashed potatoes with vegetables), and bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs), all while reflecting on your action-packed day in Amsterdam.
Have more than a day?
If you have more than a day, then I would definitely suggest some short trips within an hour from Amsterdam. These day trips from Amsterdam are best both on its own or combined with the city trip:
Zaanse Schans – Zaanse Schans is the place you must definitely visit. It is a small neighbourhood near the town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam. It is a beautiful place filled with historic windmills and beautiful greenwood houses that were brought to the location to recreate the vibes of the 18th-century culture of the locality.
You can also take guided tours to Zaanse Schans, an open-air living history museum that is often known as the windmill town. Here, you not only learn about the inner workings of the windmills but other traditional Dutch crafts, like clog- and cheese-making.
Keukenhof in late April – In April and May, Keukenhof is a wonderland of flowering daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. It is gorgeous and well worth the visit if you plan to be in Amsterdam during these two months.
With two days in Amsterdam, you have enough time to visit Keukenhof and the best of the city. On day 1, after your visit to the Van Gogh Museum, skip Vondelpark and the Bloemenmarkt and make the trip out to Keukenhof. It just may be one of your favorite experiences in Amsterdam.
Opening time: In 2023, the park is open from March 23 through May 14. Tickets cost €19 for an adult and €9 for children ages 4 to 17.
Travel Directions: To get to Keukenhof, take the bus to Schiphol Airport. Bus 397 stops at Museumplein and the Rijksmuseum and takes you to Schiphol Airport. From the airport, take bus 858, the Keukenhof Express, to Keukenhof.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Purchase the Combi Ticket, which includes your transportation to and from Amsterdam, as well as your entrance fee into Keukenhof. Since this includes your Keukenhof entrance ticket, you will not have to queue for tickets at Keukenhof. Visit the Keukenhof website for more details.
Heineken experience – This museum used to be a lot better when it was cheaper and they offered more beer. It’s not a working brewery and, in comparison to the Guinness Museum in Dublin, it’s not great. But the price of admission buys you two beers and the interactive self-guided tour tells you all about how the beer was made and how the company evolved over the centuries (the beer dates back to the 1870s). It’s not a must-see, but if you like Heineken, then it is worth checking out. Get your tickets for the Heineken experience here-
This one-day itinerary ensures you’ll experience the best that Amsterdam has to offer, from its famous canals and museums to its charming neighborhoods and culinary delights. With these highlights in your itinerary, you’re sure to leave the city with unforgettable memories.
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