A weekend in Amsterdam offers a fascinating blend of rich culture, artistic heritage, and vibrant nightlife. This dynamic city, renowned for its picturesque canals and welcoming atmosphere, has become a popular destination for a short getaway. With the right planning, you can experience the best of Amsterdam in just a few days, making it a perfect choice for a weekend trip to Amsterdam.
To make the most of your time, consider purchasing the I Amsterdam City Card, which grants you unlimited access to public transportation and free entry to numerous museums and attractions.
This handy pass is an excellent way to explore the city efficiently while also saving money on admission fees. As you wander through the charming cobblestone streets, you will surely discover both famous landmarks and hidden treasures, enriched by Amsterdam’s unique blend of history and modernity.
In order to fully immerse yourself in the essence of this marvelous city, follow these Amsterdam weekend trip tips for an unforgettable experience. Delve into the city’s world-class art scene, stroll along the picturesque canals, savor authentic Dutch cuisine, and indulge in its thriving nightlife.
Whether you plan to spend a weekend in Amsterdam or extend your stay to a long weekend, Amsterdam promises an enchanting, unforgettable experience for all visitors.
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Visit Amsterdam
A weekend in Amsterdam can be delightful any time of the year, but the months from April to October are our favorite because they offer the best weather and outdoor activities. The tulip season, which runs from mid-April to early May, is a particularly beautiful time to visit- particularly for the Instagrammers/photographers among us.
Budget and Expenses
Amsterdam can be expensive, but a well-planned weekend trip can help keep costs down. Here are some estimates for a weekend trip to Amsterdam:
- Accommodation: €50-€150 ($55-$160) per night
- Meals: €25-€40 ($27-$50) per day
- Transportation: €7.50 for a one-day public transport ticket, €19 for a 72-hour I Amsterdam City Card
- Attractions: €10-€25 per attraction
Please note that we’ve listed most things in Euros as the conversion rates are all over the map these days.
To save money during your weekend in Amsterdam, consider purchasing the I Amsterdam City Card, which offers free entry to many attractions and includes public transportation.
|Transportation||€7.50/day or €19/72-hour Card|
It is always a good idea to be VERY familiar with the travel insurance coverage you may already have via any credit cards, and purchase travel insurance for any trip in case that coverage isn’t enough, including a weekend in Amsterdam. Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. Ensure you choose a policy that suits your needs and budget.
- Book early: Book your accommodations and activities early to secure the best prices and availability.
- Pack light: Since you’re only planning to spend a weekend in Amsterdam, pack only the essentials to make it easier to navigate the city and avoid checked luggage fees.
- Public transportation: Take advantage of Amsterdam’s efficient public transportation system. It’s the most cost-effective and convenient way to get around the city.
- Explore on foot or by bike: Amsterdam is a very walkable and bike-friendly city. Rent a bike or simply walk to explore the city and enjoy the sights.
Where to Stay
When planning a weekend in Amsterdam, choosing the right accommodation is essential. The city offers a range of options, catering to various budgets and preferences. Some popular neighborhoods for travelers include Jordaan, De Pijp, and Oud-West.
Amsterdam has a wide variety of hotels to choose from. For a luxury experience, consider staying at the iconic Amsterdam Marriott Hotel or the elegant Pulitzer Amsterdam. Budget-friendly options include the Hotel ibis Amsterdam Centre. But, overall, where you decided to stay in Amsterdam depends on your budget, and what activities you have in mind for the weekend.
|Amsterdam Marriott Hotel||$$$||Stadhouderskade 12|
|Pulitzer Amsterdam||$$$||Prinsengracht 323|
|Hotel ibis Amsterdam Centre||$$||Stationsplein 49|
While it’s been a while since we’ve stayed at a hostel, we still think of them really fondly, and wouldn’t trade those experiences. For a affordable stay, consider one of Amsterdam’s many hostels. These budget-friendly accommodations offer a great way to meet fellow travelers and often have unique atmospheres. This is perfect for those traveling solo as most hostels do provide private rooms so you do get the privacy that you’d want, but also have the social aspects that comes with the hostel life.
- Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark: Located near the beautiful Vondelpark and close to popular attractions, this hostel offers both shared and private rooms.
- ClinkNOORD: Situated in a renovated 1920s building, this hostel offers a mix of modern design and historical charm.
- Generator Amsterdam: Housed in a former university building, this trendy hostel offers a variety of room types and a lively bar area.
Remember to take advantage of the I Amsterdam City Card during your weekend trip to Amsterdam, as it can save you money on transportation and attractions. No matter where you choose to stay, Amsterdam’s excellent public transportation system ensures that exploring the city during your weekend getaway will be a breeze.
Cycling and Bike Rental
Amsterdam is a cyclist’s paradise, thanks to its flat terrain and extensive network of bike lanes. Bicycles are an essential part of the local culture, and renting a bike is an excellent way to explore the city for a weekend. There are numerous bike rental shops throughout the city, offering a variety of options and prices. A popular choice for a bike tour is to ride along the picturesque canals or explore the charming streets of Jordaan.
For those who prefer not to cycle, Amsterdam’s public transport system is efficient and affordable. Options include trams, buses, and metro lines. The I Amsterdam City Card provides unlimited access to public transport, as well as offering free admission to many top attractions, making it an excellent choice for a weekend trip to Amsterdam.
|Trams||Single-use tickets, day pass, I Amsterdam City Card|
|Buses||Single-use tickets, day pass, I Amsterdam City Card|
|Metro||Single-use tickets, day pass, I Amsterdam City Card|
Amsterdam is a compact city, making it perfect for exploring on foot. Walking tours are a popular way to appreciate the rich history and architecture. One option is to join a free walking tour led by a knowledgeable local guide.
For those looking to tailor their experience, customized weekend Amsterdam tips can be found online or obtained through a local visitor’s center. No matter how you choose to explore, a weekend in Amsterdam will undoubtedly be a memorable experience.
Museums and Art Galleries
Amsterdam is home to numerous world-renowned museums and art galleries, making it an ideal destination for a weekend trip. While visiting, one can’t miss out on the Rijksmuseum, which houses an extensive collection of Dutch masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. For art enthusiasts, the Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh and offers an impressive collection of his paintings and drawings.
The Stedelijk Museum is another must-visit for those interested in modern and contemporary art. It showcases works by notable artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and De Kooning. Additionally, the I Amsterdam City Card can grant visitors access to many museums and attractions around the city.
The rich history of the Netherlands is beautifully showcased throughout Amsterdam’s many historic attractions. A stroll around the atmospheric Jordaan neighborhood, with its charming streets and picturesque canals, is a perfect way to experience the city’s past.
The 17th-century Singel canal with its stunning architecture is also worth exploring. Another iconic historic site is Dam Square, located in the heart of the city and surrounded by notable buildings, such as the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk.
The Oude Kerk, Amsterdam’s oldest church, offers an intriguing glimpse into the city’s religious history. Moreover, the infamous Red Light District is a unique part of Amsterdam’s past and present that cannot be overlooked.
Parks and Nature
Amsterdam is home to several beautiful parks and green spaces that offer a bit of nature amid the bustling city. To enjoy some fresh air and a relaxing walk, head to Vondelpark, the city’s largest park.
Another popular option is the Westerpark, which features landscaped gardens, open-air markets, and various cultural events throughout the year. Boat tours along the picturesque Amsterdam canals provide a unique perspective on the city’s scenic beauty.
A weekend in Amsterdam promises a delightful mix of art, history, and natural beauty that any visitor will treasure.
The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Amsterdam’s Culture and History:
Amsterdam’s culture and history continue to captivate visitors, offering a unique blend of the old and the new through its remarkable Golden Age canals, world-renowned artists, and cherished local traditions.
Food and Dining
Cafes and Restaurants
Amsterdam has a variety of cafes and restaurants to suit any traveler’s taste buds. Many cafes offer a cozy atmosphere, perfect for relaxing and watching the world go by.
- Café de Jaren: This charming cafe features a spacious terrace overlooking the Amstel River.
- CT Coffee & Coconuts: This unique cafe is a former 1920s cinema that’s been transformed into a multi-level café with delicious coffee and food options.
When indulging in Dutch cuisine, be sure not to miss dishes like stamppot, a hearty dish of mashed potatoes and vegetables typically served with smoked sausage. Another must-try is herring, which can be found at various stalls and fish shops throughout the city. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try eating it Dutch-style by holding the fish by the tail and dangling it into your mouth.
Of course, no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without tasting some local cheese.
Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room: This famous spot is the perfect spot to sample various aged Goudas.
Wynand Fockink: This historic liqueur distillery offers an opportunity for visitors to experience the Amsterdam’s spirits and learn about their rich history.
Snacks and Treats
While exploring the city, be sure to refuel with some classic Dutch snacks and treats. No backpack is complete without stroopwafels, thin waffle-like cookies filled with caramel syrup. They can be found at almost any market or grocery store. For a savory option, try the famous bitterballen—deep-fried meatballs usually served with mustard. These are a popular bar snack, but can also be found at street vendors and Dutch food stands.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck. Amsterdam boasts an abundance of confectionery shops and bakeries. Indulge in poffertjes, small fluffy pancakes typically dusted with powdered sugar or smeared with Nutella. And let’s not forget the irresistible Dutch waffles, which can be enjoyed with various toppings such as whipped cream, chocolate, or fruit.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Bars and Clubs
Amsterdam boasts an exhilarating nightlife scene, with a vast selection of bars and clubs catering to a wide range of tastes. The city’s most popular party spots are located in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, offering an energetic atmosphere and diverse crowd. You’ll find everything from cozy pubs to electric dance clubs, ensuring a memorable night out.
- Leidseplein: Known for its lively square filled with bars, clubs, and street performers. This area is perfect for bar hopping and mingling with locals and tourists alike.
- Rembrandtplein: Another bustling square, featuring trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants, offering a unique and vibrant experience for visitors.
Live Music and Theater
For those interested in live performances, Amsterdam is home to various music and theater venues, offering an array of genres and styles. The city offers intimate jazz clubs, grand opera performances, and everything in between.
- Amsterdamse Bos: This expansive park hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including outdoor theater performances and live music.
- Jazz: Music aficionados will appreciate the city’s thriving jazz scene, with several clubs dedicated to showcasing live jazz performances.
- Opera: Amsterdam’s National Opera & Ballet is a must-visit for opera enthusiasts, showcasing stunning productions in a magnificent setting.
Film and Cinema
Film lovers visiting Amsterdam can indulge in a diverse selection of cinemas and film events, from blockbuster hits to arthouse showings. Movie theaters in the city offer an unmistakable charm and character that’s uniquely Amsterdam.
|Pathé Tuschinski||A stunning historical cinema, built in 1921, showcasing a mix of mainstream and independent films.|
|EYE Filmmuseum||An architectural gem, the EYE Filmmuseum hosts a variety of film events, retrospectives, and exhibitions in addition to screening films from all over the world.|
Things to do in Amsterdam: Shopping and Souvenirs
Markets and Shops
Amsterdam is a paradise for shoppers, offering a range of shopping experiences from bustling markets to charming boutiques and definitely one of the fun things to do in Amsterdam. One of the most popular shopping destinations is De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets). This picturesque district, nestled within the historic canals, features a combination of designer shops, vintage outlets, and cozy cafes. While strolling through its cobbled streets, one can discover unique finds and enjoy a true Amsterdam experience.
Another must-visit place for shopping enthusiasts is the vibrant Flower Market. Located along the Singel canal, this market overflows with beautiful and fresh flowers and plants. It has been a critical part of the city since 1862 and is perfect for those who wish to take a piece of Amsterdam’s signature blooms home.
Amsterdam Weekend Gift Ideas
When looking for souvenirs and gifts from Amsterdam, consider these recommendations:
- Tulip bulbs: No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without bringing home some famous Dutch tulips. At the Flower Market, tulip bulbs are available for purchase in various colors and varieties. Before buying, ensure they have the “Customs Cleared” label, enabling you to carry them abroad.
- Cheese: The Netherlands is known for its delicious cheese, and there are numerous cheese shops around the city offering a variety of flavors and types. Bring home a wheel of Gouda, Edam, or Maasdammer as a savory souvenir.
- Dutch clogs: Traditional wooden shoes, known as klompen, make an iconic Dutch gift. Shops around the city sell painted or plain clogs for both wearing and decorative purposes.
Remember to explore the many markets and shops throughout Amsterdam for an enjoyable and memorable shopping experience, and don’t forget to pick up a few souvenirs to bring back home.
Dutch Golden Age
Amsterdam is known for its rich culture and history, particularly during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. This period saw a significant growth in trade, fueled by the Dutch East India Company’s ventures, which paved the way for the city’s remarkable wealth. The Golden Age canals stand as a testament to the city’s prosperity in this era, creating an iconic and picturesque cityscape.
The city saw the emergence of notable artists such as Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh, who both made significant contributions to the art world. Rembrandt, a Dutch painter and etcher, is considered one of the greatest painters in European history. His work reflects the heart of Amsterdam’s Golden Age, and his masterpieces can be viewed at numerous museums around the city.
On the other hand, Vincent van Gogh, another famous Dutch painter, made significant contributions to the modern art movement. His works are showcased at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Things to do in Amsterdam: Immerse in Local Traditions
Amsterdam’s local culture is a vibrant combination of tradition and modernity. Some of the city’s most celebrated customs include:
- Herring and Gouda: Widely regarded as national dishes, herring and Gouda cheese can be found at snack bars and markets around the city.
- Bicycle Culture: With more bikes than residents, Amsterdam is known for its eco-friendly bike culture, which contributes to its charm.
- Tulips: The Netherlands is famous for its tulip fields, and Amsterdam celebrates its floral heritage with vibrant flower markets.
A Weekend In Amsterdam Must: Exploring Neighborhoods
Jordaan and De 9 Straatjes
Jordaan is a charming neighborhood in Amsterdam known for its narrow streets, picturesque canals, and welcoming atmosphere. Here, you can enjoy cozy cafes, vintage shops, and art galleries. Spend your time meandering through De 9 Straatjes, a network of nine narrow streets filled with unique, locally-owned businesses. Grab a coffee from a local café and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the area.
Museumplein and Oud-Zuid
If art and culture are your interests, Museumplein is the place to visit. The area hosts the renowned Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum, all within a short distance of one another. Nearby, you’ll find Oud-Zuid – an elegant neighborhood filled with luxury boutiques, fine dining, and impressive architecture. A must-see is the Concertgebouw, a magnificent concert hall known for its exceptional acoustics.
Red Light District
The Red Light District is both infamous and iconic, offering a glimpse into Amsterdam’s more risqué side. As you explore, you’ll encounter adult-oriented entertainment, lively bars, and a variety of dining options. Remember to be respectful as you walk through the district; photography is prohibited in certain areas, and it’s essential to treat the local community with respect.
Amsterdam Weekend Itinerary
Day One: Iconic Amsterdam
Begin your weekend in Amsterdam with a canal cruise to get a feel for the city’s picturesque waterways and enchanting architecture. Board a boat in the morning and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city from a different perspective. The cruise typically lasts for about an hour, offering ample opportunities for photos and sightseeing.
After the cruise, head to Vondelpark – the city’s largest park. This tranquil oasis is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply people-watching. Spend a few hours exploring the park’s winding paths, sculptures, and ponds. You might also catch free performances at the open-air theatre on weekends during the summer months.
Day Two: Local Experience
On the second day of your weekend in Amsterdam, discover a more local, offbeat side of the city. Start with breakfast at Pllek – a unique restaurant built from shipping containers on the city’s waterfront. This quirky spot offers incredible views of the River IJ, and its menu boasts sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients.
Afterward, take some time to wander around the NDSM Wharf – an old shipyard turned creative hub. Filled with vibrant street art, trendy bars, and industrial-chic architecture, this lesser-known area will provide a refreshing contrast to Amsterdam’s classic canals and historic buildings.
Throughout the weekend, make use of Amsterdam’s excellent public transport network and diverse array of rental bikes to easily navigate the city. Your well-planned itinerary will ensure a memorable and enjoyable weekend in this beautiful and alluring capital.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of a weekend trip?
The cost of a weekend trip to Amsterdam varies based on factors such as accommodation, transportation, and personal preferences. On average, a traveler can expect to spend between €100-€200 per day on accommodations, meals, and activities. Budget-conscious travelers can find hostels or low-cost hotels for as low as €30 per night while luxury seekers can find upscale hotels upwards of €250 per night.
Transportation expenses, including flights and public transit, will also vary. A visitor should consider their tastes and interests when budgeting for their trip.
Are 3 days in Amsterdam too long?
Three days in Amsterdam is generally a suitable amount of time for most travelers to explore and enjoy the city. During this time, they can visit major attractions such as the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum, and take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque canals.
They may also explore the vibrant food scene and sample local delicacies such as stroopwafels and Dutch cheeses. Additionally, a three-day stay allows for a day trip to nearby picturesque towns like Zaanse Schans or Giethoorn. Ultimately, the ideal duration of an Amsterdam visit depends on personal interests and the desire to explore surrounding areas.
READ MORE: One day in Amsterdam
A weekend in Amsterdam is an unforgettable experience filled with rich history, charming canals, vibrant culture, and delicious food. Whether you’re exploring the iconic landmarks, visiting world-class museums, or simply strolling along the picturesque streets, Amsterdam has something to offer for everyone.
Don’t forget to indulge in local foods, try a canal cruise, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the city. With its blend of old-world charm and modern excitement, Amsterdam will leave you with cherished memories. Plan your weekend getaway and get ready to fall in love with this captivating city. Cheers to a memorable weekend in Amsterdam!