Can you see Amsterdam in one day?
Updated: Sep 1
Is Amsterdam on your bucket list?
Amsterdam receives around 15.8 million tourists every year and this number only rises. There’s a reason for this. Amsterdam has such a rich and iconic cultural identity that it’s on everyone’s bucket list.
There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam you may be wondering, “can I see Amsterdam in one day?” Well, the answer is yes. You can get a great overview of the cultural sites, famous canals, slanted homes, shops, cafes, and restaurants. While only one day in Amsterdam will be enough to satisfy your curiosity it will certainly make you want to book a longer stay in this extraordinary city.
That being said let’s explore some of the wonderful things you can do on your day in Amsterdam.
When you arrive in the city center you will be coming by train, whether you fly in or take the train from another European destination. Upon exiting the central station be sure to turn around and take in this magnificent structure, it will be your entry into the feel of the city.
Head out on foot
The best way to explore the city is on foot. There is beauty everywhere you look. From the slanted homes flanking the canals to the green spaces and oddities hidden in every nook. There is no shortage of amazing restaurants and bars throughout the city that you can stop at along your way to recharge your energy.
Let’s begin your journey!
Damrak and Dam Square
Head straight out of the station you will find yourself on Damrak – the big avenue running into town, home to the former stock exchange building, the monumental Beurs van Berlage, and some other historic buildings that you often see on postcards of Amsterdam.
Stroll down this avenue and you will wind up at Dam Square where you will see the Royal Palace, one of the most well-known locations in Amsterdam. While you won’t have time to explore the interior the exterior is a sight enough to behold.
The Nine Streets
Continuing on your stroll you will encounter a quaint area called The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes). These the old cobbled streets that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat are a must-see.
Just past the 9 streets you will wind find the neighborhood of Jordaan, one of Amsterdam’s most well-known neighborhoods. This area is home to the famous Anne Frank house. If you want to tour the museum it is best to get tickets ahead of time as it is a very popular stop on most people’s visit. Here is a link to check on museum hours and ticket sales. Jordaan is also home to many art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. It is a bit less crowded than the center so the visit will provide a bit of a rest stop. Perhaps a great spot to grab lunch outside.
After a stop in Jordaan head East towards Museumplein to see the famous Amsterdam sign as well as the Van Gogh museum, the Stedelijk museum for modern art, and the Rijksmuseum. While you won’t have time to visit the museums ( they take at least 3 hours each to fully explore) the area is so beautiful it’s worth passing by. When you plan a longer trip to the city you can put the museums on your list.
Once you have passed through the Museumplein you’ll find yourself in another of Amsterdam’s famous neighborhoods – De Pijp. Ferdinand Bolstraat is the main thoroughfare and on it you will find Albert Cuypmarkt a wonderful outdoor market with amazing street food and interesting wares. Definitely take some time to explore all that this trendy neighborhood has to offer.
After walking through this amazing city on foot the next step on your one day journey should be to take a canal cruise. No matter how much exploring you do on foot, seeing the city from a boat gives a completely different perspective – it’s a don’t miss activity. You can also start your day with a canal cruise then go explore the city – either way, you’ll see the best the city has to offer. Finish your evening with a meal in one of the many casual or fine dining restaurants in the city and cheers a toast to an eventful day in Amsterdam. Here is a link to an article with some of my favorite restaurants.