Quite often you get to visit a place just for a few hours, or if you’re lucky, you get to spend a whole day there. Probably you are on a road trip with friends, going around Europe, either by train or car. You might be flying to some country and you get to stop in-between. Either way, Amsterdam is one of the top destinations that even in 24 hours you can get the most out of it. So, here is how you can have a blast in only 24 hours in Amsterdam.
A city of open-mindedness and hospitality
It is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, and probably the world, with people coming from all corners of the globe. If you walk around the city, you will be greeted by people from about 180 different countries, sharing a common goal: living, co-existing, and thriving within a particular community. It is exactly this mentality that makes Amsterdam a city of open-mindedness and hospitality to every foreigner and outsider.
Immersed into art, history and design
Time might be of the essence, but you simply have to visit at least one of its museums. Counting more than 60 museums, you will be able to witness first-hand the long history of the 13th-century fishing village, which is today the city of Amsterdam.
Your best option is for you to visit the Museumplein, the location that hosts three of Amsterdam’s major museums: the Rijksmuseum, offering an overview of the Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages onwards, within the premises of an amazing building with a magnificent interior design; the Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the works of Van Gogh; and the Stedelijk Museum of modern and contemporary art and design. Don’t miss Oude kerk, the city’s oldest building – dating back to 1213 – located in the Red Light district. Oude kerk is a Gothic church which has been evolved to one of the youngest and most interesting art institutions of Amsterdam where you can see a diversity of internationally renowned artists.
Other sights around the city
If you do not give your right arm for visiting museums, then a walk around Amsterdam is much more like you. Go to the most central part of the city, where you’ll find the Dam square, the biggest and most important square of Amsterdam. There you can admire the King’s Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) and witness signs of pure luxury and extravagance. You can even take part in one of the tours inside the palace. Last but not least, visit some of the most impressive churches of Amsterdam, Zuiderkerk (Southern Church) located in Nieuwmarkt and Westerkerk (Western Church).
Where and what to eat
You can find many restaurants around Amsterdam, most of which offer you both traditional and modern eating choices. Try the Getto burger bar with a wide variety of burgers served with wedges and salad. If you like something inducing more elegant and unique flavours, grab a Filet American of veal at the Restaurant Vlaming and finish up with a slice of Sticky Toffee Pie as dessert. Some other choices are the Rob Wigboldus Vishandel for tasting the genuine seafood fast-food side of Amsterdam, the Bistro Bij Ons or the Hemelse Modder.
Situated in a 17th century ex-warehouse at the famous Singel canal (opposite of Joselito) you will find Café Kobalt, a nice café where you can enjoy delicious food and have a drink. If sustainability is your thing, then you should visit Bistro Neuf, a small cozy restaurant which aims to have as little impact as possible on the environment. And for your sweet tooth try Patisserie – Chocolaterie Holtkamp at the northern part of Amsterdam.
If you are a foodie and eager to explore the Dutch gastronomy here are some typical dishes you might want to taste during your visit:
- Haring: A typical Dutch delicacy is eating a raw herring, often with raw minced onion.
- Zeeuwse mosselen: Mussels from the Dutch province of Zeeland are a famous specialty, simply cooked with herbs and vegetables.
- Poffertjes: Very small pancakes that are traditionally served with lots of powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
- Pannekoeken: Dutch pancakes that are the equivalent of French crepes, although thicker, served with powdered sugar, syrup, jam, hot apples, banana or chocolate; but also with toppings as cheese, ham or bacon.
- Drop: a sweet (liquorice) that comes in a very large number of different forms and tastes, from salt and hard to soft and sweet.
- Vla: a thick sweet milk pudding which is similar to English custard, made mainly from milk and offered in a variety of tastes, from vanilla, chocolate to strawberry.
- Stroop wafel: Two waffles with caramel in between served in different sizes.
- Croquettes: Normally contain a tasty beef or veal ragout, but can be enjoyed in more variations like shrimp, cheese or veggie.
- Deep fried breaded meat balls (mini meat croquettes): Usually dipped in mustard. They can be ordered in most cafes and bars. The best you can get can be found at Holtkamp.
Where to drink
To finish your 24h-trip to Amsterdam grab a coffee at one of the numerous coffee shops around the city, like Dampkring or the Abraxas. If you are more into beer, then take a tour of the Heineken Experience brewery and drink plenty of original Dutch beer. Lastly, if you don’t worry about the time and want to explore the vivid nightlife of Amsterdam, then enjoy your drink at the Wynand Fockink bar. To complete your visit don’t forget to make your way to the Red Light District, and other pubs and bars near the area.
Other Useful tips
Where to shop like an Amsterdammer
Maybe asking for a souvenir? With a lot of shops in the city open 7 days a week, from 9h00 until 18h00, you have all the time you want in order to do your shopping. Bear in mind that on Mondays the shops open at 12h00 and on Thursdays they are open until 21h00. The warehouse “Bijenkorf” at Damsquare is open until 19h00, while on Thursday & Friday until 21h00.
De negen straatjes (the nine little streets) is the Amsterdam’s historic canal ring which was dug into nine little streets during the 17th century. These narrow streets intersect the main canals between the Leidsestraat and the Jordaan district, and are dotted with great restaurants, cafes, art galleries, jewelers, boutiques and vintage stores; with an exceptional array of styles, trends and prices. A fantastic area!
The Spiegelkwartier emerged into Amsterdam’s centre and it’s the ideal place for antiques and curiosa. Shops in this area boast impressive collections of paintings, ceramics, glass, jewellery, furniture etc. Haarlemmerdijk is a nice and long shopping street, filled with shops all the way to Central Station. You can start from Haarlemmerpoort. It’s a lively strip where you will find everything from shoes, independent labels and vintage clothes to food, interior design etc.
Cycle your way through the city
Needless to mention that Amsterdam is the city of cycling, so if you want to combine wanderlust and fitness you shouldn’t miss that opportunity. The city hosts 400 kilometers of bicycle paths, thus making bike the most popular form of getting around. Amsterdam itself is the Europe’s busiest cycle city. Renting a bike in Amsterdam is a great experience, and by doing so, you will be able to enjoy the best of the city in a very relaxing and entertaining way. You can also take a guided cycle tour during which you will have the opportunity to experience Amsterdam and blend with locals at the same time.
Get to know Tulipmania
Did you know that Tulips bulbs were used as a currency in 17th century during the Dutch Golden age? Known as Tulipmania, the phenomenon of trading bulbs for extraordinary sums of money or even exchanging them for land properties has been characterized as one of the first financial bubbles in economy. Nowadays, Tulipmania is luckily associated with Dutch peoples’ love for this flower which you will find literally everywhere in Netherlands.
You can trace the history of the tulip at Amsterdam Tulip Museum or if you are lucky enough you will witness the National Tulip Day when Dutch growers present 200,000 tulips in a temporary garden on Dam Square. Dutch people don’t miss any opportunities to celebrate their national symbol so if you visit Amsterdam during April you should join the annual Tulip Festival. The goal of the festival is to eventually have one tulip for every Amsterdammer – amounting to 800,000 tulips in the city alone. It’s an amazing experience as you go tulip-spotting around the streets and attractions of Amsterdam like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Vondelpark, the Rembrandtplein and EYE Filmmuseum.
Have you visited Amsterdam? What are your thoughts on our suggestions? If you ask me, however, 24 hours aren’t just enough for the pure ‘Amsterdam experience’!
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