Since we flew in and out of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam for our Belgium Trip, we wanted to explore the city. From visiting art museums to sailing on the canals for a dinner cruise, here are our trip's highlights and some ideas for a two-day itinerary in Amsterdam!
Take Pictures at Damrak
Amsterdam is very picturesque with its canals lined with narrow townhouses. At Damrak, the main street that runs from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Dam Square is a scenic spot with a line of houses across the waterway. A great place for photos!
Visit a Market
Next up, we visited Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam's floating flower market. The market is located alongside a canal and has many shops selling flowers, plants, tulip bulbs, and souvenirs. It's a quick stop to pick up some Amsterdam trinkets to bring home.
Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Albert Cuyp Markt
Another market to visit in Amsterdam is the Albert Cuyp Markt. This street market is open six days a week and is a great place to try Dutch food. You will also find vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits, accessories, clothes, jewelry, flowers, and fabrics. This isn't a must-do, but if you are in the area it's worth checking out.
Monday to Saturday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, closed Sunday
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels
Van Wonderen Stropwafels is a great place to get a picture-worthy stroopwafel, a thin cookie sandwich with caramel in the middle. They are made fresh to order with your choice of topping like shaved white chocolate, salted caramel, or brownie bits to name a few.
Lovers Dinner Cruise
We booked a dinner cruise through Trip Advisor here and it was a great experience to see the city at night and get dinner all at the same time! It was a three-course dinner with soup for the appetizer, your choice of a fish, meat, or vegetable dish for an entree, and a delectable dessert.
Tip: Try to get in front of the line and get a seat at the window so you can take pictures! Unfortunately, we were in the back of the line boarding the boat so we got aisle seats instead.
Van Gogh Museum
One of our highlights during our time in Amsterdam was visiting the Van Gogh Museum. The museum has the largest collection of works by Dutch painter Vince Van Gogh and features his famous masterpieces like his self-portraits, Sunflowers, and Wheatfield with Crows.
I enjoyed learning the context of certain pieces with the audio tour. To learn more, you dial your device to the matching painting number. The museum feels like you are walking through the life of Vincent Van Gogh and you can see his painting style evolve over time. My pictures below don't do the paintings justice, you have to view them in person to see all the details, brush strokes, and colors close up!
Since it is a very popular museum, make sure you buy your tickets and reserve a timeslot in advance. When we went it was all sold out. I would also suggest going earlier in the day for a less crowded experience.
€20 for adults, free for visitors under 18 years old
Unfortunately, this is no longer included with the Amsterdam card
Open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Stop at a Cafe for Lunch
Located near the Van Gogh Museum, we stopped for lunch at Blushing, a cafe with healthy food options, coffee, and desserts. We both got lattes and a carrot cake to share and it really hit the spot and kept us energized for our next stop!
The Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands' national museum and is home to Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. The museum also holds the largest art library in the Netherlands. It is located close to the Van Gogh Museum so it's convenient to hit both.
€20 for adults
Free for ages 18 and under
The museum is also free for holders of the Amsterdam card
Open every day of the year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam's botanical garden is a relaxing place to walk around and feels like a tropical oasis even in the fall! The garden has a café, store, greenhouses full of tropical plants, an outdoor garden, and a house of butterflies to explore.
€12 for adults, €6.50 for children
Free for holders of the Amsterdam card
Open every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Polaberry - Pre-Dinner Desserts
On vacation, it's completely acceptable to eat desserts before dinner, right? We headed over to Polaberry so I could try the Instagram-famous treats, fresh strawberries covered in Belgian chocolate!
We found dinner at Kinnaree Thai Cuisine, a Thai Restaurant in a quiet neighborhood of Amsterdam, right outside the busy main canal area. It was delicious and the service was great! Pictured here is the soft-shelled crab main dish, shrimp cake with lemongrass appetizer, and Pad Thai. If you like Thai food then you will be very happy with this restaurant!
Check Out the City at Night
Amsterdam might be even more beautiful at night! I love the reflections of color in the water and the illuminated canal houses. A walk through the city at night is a must-do!
I Amsterdam card
You can purchase the I Amsterdam card here for 24 hours (1 day) up to 120 hours (5 days). The pass gives you access to many of the city's attractions, museums, canal cruises, and bike rentals. You can also use city-wide public transportation (metro, tram, bus, and ferry).
The card makes exploring the city more convenient and worry-free. It is worth it if you plan on going to multiple museums.
Note: Two popular tourist attractions: the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House are not covered by the card so if you want to do those, go to them before you activate your Amsterdam pass!
Getting to Amsterdam from the Schiphol Airport
The Intercity Direct train from Schiphol Airport is the fastest route to Amsterdam Centraal station. The trip takes an average of 16 minutes and the train comes frequently. Tickets can be purchased from the yellow NS machines at the station.
Biking - Biking is huge in Amsterdam! It is the most popular and efficient way of getting around. There are dedicated cycling lanes and many cycling routes throughout the city. You can rent bikes from MacBike with your Amsterdam card for free or for €9.75 for a day.
Trams - You can buy a disposable one-hour pass from the rear tram conductor.
Metro - You can purchase tickets at the ticket system at each metro station.
You can also purchase a GVB day pass for €17 that will allow you to travel on the city trams, buses, and metros.
Thanks for reading!
- The Maine Chick