Amsterdam can be believed that it has two faces. The lovely side has cobblestone streets leading to picturesque canals lined with gorgeous gabled homes. There’s also the rowdy side, the thriving Red Light District, where you’ll see strip clubs and “coffee shops” selling cannabis. However, the city has much more, including the many vibrant outdoor markets and street art, such as the former shipyards of Amsterdam-Noord and the bright flowering tulips just outside the capital. With seven days in the city to spare, you can see everything.
We built this itinerary by utilizing Tripadvisor reviews and ratings to discover the best tour operators, attractions, and hidden gems tourists enjoy. We scoured further reviews to find the best bars and restaurants for visitors to relax and enjoy their palates. Then, we arranged the itinerary to allow you to move quickly from one location to the next, ensuring you can get familiar with the city instead of tripping around the city.
MORNING: Wander medieval streets
Start your day with a visit to your Centrum in De Koffieschenkerij, a sweet courtyard cafe located on the property of Oude Kerk (Old Church), Amsterdam’s oldest structure. Users of Tripadvisor rave about this quaint garden venue and the apple cake it serves. The church also serves as the central point of downtown’s Red Light District. If you’re interested, visit the area after a cup of coffee. You’ll find erotic bars, shops, “coffee shops” that offer cannabis, and the windows of stores that feature sex workers (no photographs permitted).
When you’re in the area, make sure to visit the museum Our Lord in the Attic, a townhouse built in the 17th century that houses the remains of a Catholic church hidden on the highest floor. The enigmatic yet adored hidden gem will take longer than an hour of your time to explore.
The reviews of visitors comment: “This museum is inherently intriguing and is a reminder of the hidden Catholic Amsterdam however, it’s been so meticulously and carefully curated that it’s now about the development of the area through time, the evolution of the daily life of households in Amsterdam and the story of tolerance as well. The tour can be self-guided using an audio guide that is simple to follow. We thoroughly enjoyed it.” –@ MieageMB
Evening: A busy Dam Square and a very peaceful courtyard
Continue south until Dam Square, stopping for food at Haring and Zo, a street kiosk offering a staple local to the area herring sandwiches. (Don’t be concerned; even first-time herring customers will be awed by the cold snacks.) If you have a couple of hours to spare, a self-guided tour through the enormous Royal Palace lets you take in the grand rooms filled with chandeliers and statues. The Royal Family uses the palace, so verify its availability.
Go south on the only pedestrian street, Kalverstraat. If the famous shopping avenue is causing you to be overwhelmed, then you’re in luck. Begijnhof is a charming and serene medieval courtyard, one of the oldest in the city, and offers some respite from the commercial hustle.
Go onto Canal Ring and visit Canal Ring and visit the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt), which has been selling tulips, as well as other flowers, since the mid-1800s. Plus, it’s a hot spot for inexpensive souvenirs. (wooden tulip, anyone? ).
AMSTERDAM CITY CENTER TOUR OPTIONS
- If you’re stressed by the endless walking out, or you do not like maps, If you’re looking for a way to get around, this 2.5-hour stroll is an excellent introduction to the medieval city center. It will provide background information on the most popular attractions and lesser-known sights.
- This lively 4-hour walk with an Amsterdam-based local will introduce the visitor to Amsterdammers, that range from a sex workers to a proprietor of a coffee shop. The tour takes you throughout The Red Light District and beyond and stops at a coffee shop (the cannabis variety), microbrewery, a coffee shop, and a brown café to enjoy a slice of Dutch apple pie.
- You can explore many terrain with a bike, and the three-hour bike tour of Amsterdam’s Highlights and Hidden Gems shows. The time takes you almost everywhere, starting at the Canal Ring to Vondelpark and an excursion to Begijnhof in the city’s central area.
The evening: Rijsttafeland live music
After you’ve had your pre-game dessert, go to dinner at Sampurna, a famous Indonesian restaurant in the city’s center. This is your chance to try a city staple–“rijsttafel,” a Dutch take on an Indonesian specialty. A variety of smaller seafood and meat and vegetable dishes are designed to be shared and accompanied by a large plate of rice.
If you have gasoline in your tank, it’s 10 minutes of walking or a short tram ride to the lively Leidseplein. There are plenty of late-night choices here, including the Waterhole Live Music Bar, which has all the perfect vibes to enjoy a night out. Additionally, Dutch drinks are flowing with local beer brands such as Bavaria and “jenever,” gin with some Juniper.
MORNING The world’s most renowned Golden Age gallery
Start your day with a visit to the lavish Rijksmuseum The Rijksmuseum is the nation’s museum. The Netherlands. It is best to be there in the morning at around 9:00 a.m., when it opens, to eliminate the crowds. (You should book tickets online for a specific time, particularly in summer.) In the summer, The Gallery of Honour gets downright packed, so make sure you go there first to take in the famous seventeenth-century Golden Age paintings from the likes of Vermeer and Rembrandt, and don’t forget Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” which has an entire gallery. Once you’ve finished the main attractions, continue exploring. Even after 3 hours, there’s no stop at hand.
Travelers have said: “Outside, the sheer splendor of the structure is stunning. Inside, you’ll be amazed with gallery after gallery with flooring after floor, of culture, art, and historical significance. Jaw-dropping.” –@ String W
RIJKSMUSEUM TOUR OPTIONS
- Download the no-cost Rijksmuseum application on your smartphone. It’s a great tool that offers many audio tours, including some of the museum’s most popular and one specifically for the Gallery of Honour. Please bring your headphones (headphones are what it is), but if you don’t have them, you can get an inexpensive pair at the entry point.
- Does looking at paintings make you go, huh? This two-hour excursion of Rijks lets you see the most famous images and explains the history behind the museum’s top works.
- If the idea of visiting museums can be overwhelming, then it’s time to take your pick. The 5.5-hour Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Guided Tour covers everything, including admission to museums and an informative tour of their most famous works.
Afternoon picnic in the park
Take a bite to eat on one of the trucks serving food on Museumplein and stop at the Albert Heijn supermarket at one corner of Museumplein and Vondelpark. Then, stroll for five minutes towards Vondelpark and bring your food to the table. Relax on the grassy fields with locals, and enjoy a meal down. After that, you can spend long hours strolling along the tree-lined streets walking along the lakes, outdoor cafes, sunbathers, playgrounds, and even an outdoor theater.
Evening: An acoustic experience
Stroll through the park to eat dinner in De Wijnkaart, which serves elegant yet filling meals with Eastern European wines. The best part is that it’s just five minutes to walk through the next restaurant, The Royal Concertgebouw–said to have the finest acoustics anywhere in the world. This may be why Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Igor Stravinsky have graced its great Main Hall. Cello concertos, orchestral performances, and other performances are all evenings of the week, typically at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are booked in advance.
MORNING: A quintessential canal stroll
Enjoy your morning exploring another seventeenth-century Dutch masterpiece, The UNESCO-listed Canal Ring. Explore the famous Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) with boutiques lined narrow streets that connect to the endlessly stunning Amsterdam canals.
CANAL RING TOUR OPTIONS
- Many boat tours depart from outside Centraal Station, which offers a different viewpoint of the city from its canals that are a part of history (plus the chance to relax your feet). Tours run at any time of the day. Most are one hour long and include audio or a guide’s commentary.
- Its Canal Cruise by Captain Jack is a cult favorite and an improvement over your usual Central Station boat trip. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable, and the boats cruise past several sites in less than 90 minutes. A bonus? You can lounge in a comfy chair or snack on cheese and sip a pint (all provided).
Afternoon The studio of Rembrandt
For lunch, stop at the simple The De Struisvogel, located in a cellar of the canal house, which serves a reasonably priced pre-set menu with Dutch food. From here, you can take an easy 15-minute walk toward the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, where you’ll be able to look around the famed artist’s former studio and home during a 60- to 90-minute self-guided tour. After that, walk towards Rembrandtplein by passing through the Waterlooplein, an Amsterdam flea-market Jewish Quarter on your way.
Travelers have said: “Rembrandt’s house, built in the 1500s, is astonishingly extravagant for the time …Rembrandt loved the most luxurious things in his life. The self-guided audio tours are excellent and simple to use. Be prepared to climb the narrow spiral staircases in order to reach the highest point. The museum also has a beautiful collection of etchings. Some were created from Rembrandt but the majority of them of them inspired by him.” –@638janisc
EVENING: Michelin-star dining
Rembrandtplein, The HTML0 Rembrandtplein, is packed with options for dinner. If you’re willing to spend a bit, we’d suggest Spectrum, an elegant two-star Michelin restaurant that offers innovative takes to Dutch and international cuisine. The tasting menu is exquisite. If you’re looking for a place to have a drink and a drink, the speakeasy-style Door74 is a great place to go. Glamour vibes that work with the Michelin food.