One Day in Amsterdam: A Guide to the Best Sights and Activities

Amsterdam is a city that offers a lot of attractions, and it’s possible to see many of them in just one day. With proper planning, visitors can explore the city’s museums, canals, coffee shops, and Dutch cuisine, among other things. A one-day itinerary in Amsterdam can be a great way to experience the city’s highlights without feeling overwhelmed.

If you’re a coming in to the city with a love for good food, photography, and culture, you’re in for a treat. Amsterdam is a vibrant and picturesque city, filled with captivating sights and experiences. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the city’s highlights, providing recommendations and insider tips for an unforgettable day. Let’s dive in!

This one day in Amsterdam guide is everything you need to plan your time. From canals to culture, explore the city's highlights with our ultimate itinerary. #OneDayInAmsterdam

The Perfect One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary

If you only have one day in Amsterdam, it’s important to plan your day carefully to make the most of your time. Here’s a suggested itinerary that covers some of the city’s top attractions, museums, and neighborhoods. Remember, an itinerary is a guide, not a rigid schedule.

It provides structure and suggestions, but also allows room for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries. So, whether you choose to follow it strictly or adapt it along the way, having an itinerary ensures that you make the most of your one day in Amsterdam, creating a memorable and fulfilling experience.


Getting Around During One Day in Amsterdam

When it comes to getting around Amsterdam, there are several options for tourists to choose from. The city is known for its bike-friendly culture, but there are also public transportation options available, such as trams and metros. Additionally, walking tours are a popular way to explore the city’s many attractions.

This one day in Amsterdam guide is everything you need to plan your time. From canals to culture, food and nightlife, explore the city's highlights with our ultimate itinerary. #OneDayInAmsterdam

Public Transportation: For those who prefer public transportation, the GVB is the main provider of trams, buses, and metros in Amsterdam. The GVB offers a variety of ticket options, including single-use tickets and day passes, which can be purchased at ticket machines or at GVB service points. It’s important to note that the GVB does not accept cash payments, so tourists should bring a debit or credit card to purchase their tickets. If you’re only going to be in town for a day, we recommend The Amsterdam Travel Ticket

Bike: Another popular way to get around Amsterdam is by renting a bike. There are several bike rental shops located throughout the city, and renting a bike is a great way to explore Amsterdam’s many bike paths and scenic routes. 

Pro tip: Tourists should be aware that biking in Amsterdam can be challenging, especially for those who are not used to biking in busy city streets.

Walking: For those who prefer a more guided experience, there are several walking tours available in Amsterdam. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can provide insight into the city’s history and culture. Walking tours are a great way to explore Amsterdam’s many attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.

Overall, there are several options for tourists to choose from when it comes to getting around Amsterdam. Whether you prefer public transportation, renting a bike, or taking a walking tour, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and exciting city.

This is a 90-minute boat cruise in Amsterdam that offers scenic views of the city’s canals and landmarks. The tour includes drinks and snacks, making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Passengers can sit back and enjoy the sights while sipping on a cold drink and snacking on some tasty treats. The tour is perfect for those who want to see Amsterdam from a unique perspective and learn more about the city’s history and culture.

Morning: Immersing in Art and History

Begin your day by immersing yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage. Visit the iconic Anne Frank House, where you’ll gain insight into the life of Anne Frank and the impact of World War II.

 Pro tip: To avoid long queues, purchase your tickets online in advance. Another must-visit is the Van Gogh Museum, home to an extensive collection of the legendary Dutch painter’s works. Lose yourself in the vibrant colors and intricate brushstrokes that define Van Gogh’s artistry.

One of our favourite ways of immersing ourselves in the local art scene is by joining one of the amazing tours offered.

Afternoon: Exploring Charming Neighborhoods

After a morning of cultural exploration, it’s time to dive into the heart of Amsterdam’s neighborhoods. Start with Jordaan, a picturesque area known for its narrow streets, quaint boutiques, and cozy cafés. Take a leisurely stroll along the canals and soak in the charming atmosphere. 

For a taste of local life, head to De Pijp, a vibrant neighborhood filled with trendy shops, delightful eateries, and the famous Albert Cuyp Market. Treat yourself to some Dutch street food and snap Instagram-worthy photos along the way.

Night: Unforgettable Evening Experiences

Canal tour: As the sun sets, Amsterdam transforms into a city of enchantment. Hop on a relaxing canal cruise and witness the city’s illuminated beauty from the water. This Canal tour is one of our favourites and  is a 90-minute boat cruise in Amsterdam that offers scenic views of the city’s canals and landmarks. The tour includes drinks and snacks, making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Passengers can sit back and enjoy the sights while sipping on a cold drink and snacking on some tasty treats. The tour is perfect for those who want to see Amsterdam from a unique perspective and learn more about the city’s history and culture.

You’ll be captivated by the historic architecture, charming bridges, and the romantic ambiance of the illuminated city. Remember to bring your camera! 

Dinner: After your delightful canal cruise, it’s time to satisfy your taste buds with a memorable dinner at one of Amsterdam’s renowned restaurants. One restaurant that comes highly recommended is “De Kas.” Located in a former greenhouse, this culinary gem offers a unique dining experience. Indulge in their farm-to-table concept, where the chefs create dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced directly from their own nursery. The elegant setting, combined with the exquisite flavors, makes for an unforgettable evening of culinary delights.

For those seeking a more traditional Dutch dining experience, “Restaurant Greetje” is the perfect choice. Known for its authentic Dutch cuisine with a modern twist, this cozy restaurant captures the essence of Dutch flavors and culinary heritage. From hearty stews to succulent meats, you’ll savor the rich and comforting dishes prepared with a touch of creativity. Don’t forget to try the famous Dutch apple pie for a sweet ending to your gastronomic adventure.

Pro tip: To ensure a seamless evening, make a reservation in advance at these popular spots. Amsterdam’s dining scene can get busy, especially during peak hours, so securing a table will guarantee a memorable dining experience.

Embarking on a canal cruise and indulging in a delectable dinner at one of Amsterdam’s renowned restaurants will truly elevate your evening, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s enchanting atmosphere and create lasting memories.

Photo Worthy Places In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a picturesque city with countless photogenic spots, so it’s no surprise that photography enthusiasts flock to the city. Here are some of the best photo-worthy suggestions to capture the essence of Amsterdam in one day:

Firstly, the canals of Amsterdam are iconic and provide a stunning backdrop for any photo. Take a stroll along the canals and snap photos of the charming canal houses, bridges, and houseboats. Some of the most photogenic canals include Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Singel.

Next, head to Dam Square, the heart of Amsterdam. The square is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Royal Palace and the National Monument, making it a great spot for photos. Be sure to also check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Canal Ring, which includes the aforementioned canals.

For nature lovers, Vondelpark is a must-visit destination. The park is filled with lush greenery, ponds, and sculptures, providing ample opportunities for beautiful photos. Additionally, the A’dam Lookout observation deck offers panoramic views of Amsterdam and is a great spot for capturing the city from above.

If you’re interested in Dutch art, Museum Square is home to some of Amsterdam’s most famous museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The architecture of these museums alone is worth photographing.

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, check out the Nine Streets neighborhood. This area is filled with quaint boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, and the narrow streets and charming buildings make for great photos.

Finally, no trip to Amsterdam is complete without capturing photos of the iconic tulips and windmills. Head to the countryside outside the city to see fields of colorful tulips and traditional Dutch windmills.

Overall, Amsterdam is a photographer’s dream, with endless opportunities for stunning photos.

What about the iAmsterdam sign?

The iconic red and white “I Amsterdam” sign was once a must-visit spot for tourists in Amsterdam. However, in December 2018, the sign was removed from its original location in front of the Rijksmuseum due to concerns about over-tourism and its impact on the city’s image.

While the original sign may not be available for tourists to take selfies with, there are still a few places where visitors can find similar signs. One such place is Schiphol Airport, where a smaller version of the sign is located in the arrivals area.

Another option is to visit the Amsterdam Museum, where there is a replica of the sign that visitors can take photos with. The museum also has an interactive exhibit that explores the history and significance of the sign in Amsterdam’s cultural and political landscape.

Tips for Making the Most of Your One Day  in Amsterdam

When visiting Amsterdam for just one day, it’s important to make the most of your time. Here are some tips to help you plan your day and see as much as possible:

  • Start Early: The earlier you start your day, the more you will be able to see and do. Amsterdam is a city that wakes up early, so you will find that many of the shops and attractions open at 9:00 am or earlier. If you start your day early, you will be able to beat the crowds and make the most of your time.
  • Book in advance: Amsterdam’s most popular museums book up well in advance. If you want to visit the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, or Anne Frank House, be sure to plan ahead and book your tickets online.
  • Explore on foot or by bike: Amsterdam is a compact city with many narrow streets and canals. The best way to explore is on foot or by bike. Renting a bike is a popular option, but be aware of the traffic and follow the rules of the road.
  • Visit the iconic landmarks: Amsterdam is known for its canals, narrow houses, and historic landmarks. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum.
  • Try the local cuisine: Amsterdam is famous for its Dutch cuisine, including stroopwafels, herring, and bitterballen. Be sure to try some local delicacies while you’re there.
  • Take a canal cruise: A canal cruise is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. There are many different types of canal cruises available, from hop-on-hop-off to dinner cruises.
  • Be respectful: Amsterdam is a vibrant and diverse city, but it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Be aware of your surroundings and follow the rules and regulations.

By following these tips, visitors to Amsterdam can make the most of their time and experience the best that the city has to offer.

Visiting the Red Light District In Amsterdam

When venturing into Amsterdam’s renowned Red Light District, it’s essential to be aware of a few best practices. First and foremost, respect the privacy and dignity of the individuals working in the district. Avoid taking photographs or engaging in any intrusive behavior.

Remember, they are professionals conducting their livelihoods. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow local regulations and guidelines. Stay within designated areas, refrain from causing disruptions, and listen to instructions from authorities.

Keep in mind that the Red Light District is more than just a tourist attraction; it holds historical and cultural significance. Approach your visit with an open mind, curiosity, and a willingness to understand the context behind the district. By adopting a responsible and considerate attitude, you can navigate the Red Light District with respect for its inhabitants and appreciation for its unique atmosphere.

In addition to the city’s main attractions, visitors can also experience Amsterdam’s vibrant nightlife and take day trips to nearby destinations. There are also plenty of places to stay in Amsterdam, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels if you find yourself staying in the city longer.

While one day in Amsterdam may not be enough to see everything the city has to offer, there  is certainly enough time to get a taste of the city’s unique charm. With its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and vibrant culture, Amsterdam is a city that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.