24 hours in...AMSTERDAM

(Update December 2018)

This category 24 hours in... is designated to transform a - maybe forced - stay like a layover into a short extra-vacation. You'll see that my itinerary is so attractive and fun that you might postpone your connecting flight just to enjoy 24 hours in Amsterdam.

Biking in Amsterdam
"Fietsen", Dutch for bicycles, everywhere in town.
Photo: Koen Smilde/iamsterdam.com

And if you're not on a layover at the capital of the Netherlands - well, you also can come visiting on purpose; even if it's only for...24 hours!

Amsterdam has over 850,000 inhabitants and is the Netherlands' most populated city and according to the constitution the capital. 
Its Airport Schiphol is one of Europe's busiest aviation hubs. 
However, the parliament and the government are situated at The Hague. 

Mainly the former water transportation ways, the Grachten, together with the narrow row houses give this modern metropolis a romantic village charm. 
A couple of parks and world-famous museums make it worth visiting at any time. 

The center's proximity to the international airport allows a short visit on a day trip or for a couple of hours during a layover.

💰   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.39 US$ (December 2018) / current rate

🚔   Emergency Hotline:

Police, Fire Department, Ambulance 112

🛫   National Airline: 


🛬   Airport:

Schiphol Amsterdam Airport / IATA-Code: AMS

🗺   Tourist Info online and onsite:

I Amsterdam Visitor Centre
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Arrivals 2/Aankomsthal 2
1118 AX Schipol

🚆   Getting Downtown and Back

The easiest and cheapest way to get from Schiphol airport to Amsterdam Centraal, the main station, is by train, that takes you there for € 9,50 one way or € 14,50 round trip. The trains run very often and take you downtown in less than 20 minutes. You can buy the ticket also online before going.
If you have luggage, you can store it at the lockers at the main station.

The easiest way to get back from the Jupiter Hotel to the main station is to walk to the streetcar stop Elandsgracht and to take the car No . 17 to Amsterdam Centraal (check this schedule and maps below).

Although the train from and to the airport is not included in the I Amsterdam City Card, I highly recommend you to buy one as soon as you set foot on Dutch soil if you follow the rainy day-itinerary - or you order it online before you go. For € 60 for one day to € 105 for four days, you can choose between four cards. All the attractions listed in the rainy day-version are included; for the sunny day-version, you could use it only for the canal tour and public transport, so that it probably doesn't pay.

🌞   Morning Activities

Grachten. bye:myself
Amsterdam lies 2 m/7ft below sea level.
Photo: Philipp Benedikt/iamsterdam.com

Needless to say that you have to explore Amsterdam from the water on one of the numberless Grachten trips. The Grachten are excavated waterways to carry the goods from the harbor into town. They used to be Amsterdam's vital line - and that was not always very hygienic. One reason why the Dutch preferred drinking beer over water.

Nowadays there are mainly tourists carried on these canals, but still, people do live in houseboats at some spots.

A trip on the canals is included in the I Amsterdam City Card. Normally it costs € 16.

Vondelpark. bye:myself
Idyllic Vondelpark, conveniently located
next to the Museum Square.
Photo: Koen Smilde/iamsterdam.com
To enjoy cozy, friendly Amsterdam just like the locals, just walk along one of the banks and then turn into Leidseplein walking away from the Grachtengordel, the belt of Grachten, towards South West.

The park is not just a meadow, it's like an open-air culture center, especially during the Summer months when the Openluchttheater, the open air theater, is taking place, a free spectacle for everyone.

⛈  Morning Activities

Rijksmuseum Bike Lane. bye:myself
In the city of bikes, they have even a bike lane
 at an imperial museum.
Photo: Koen Smilde/iamsterdam.com
Rain in Amsterdam? No problem, that gives you enough time to explore the rich cultural past of the Netherlands. For instance at the freshly renovated 'Rijksmuseum', the imperial museum, hosting more than 8,000 works. The most famous will be Rembrandt's 'Night Watch', but not to be missed are the dollhouses that were by no means toys, but the bored, wealthy ladies' leisure pursuit.

Museumstraat 1
1071 XX Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 647 70 00

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Van Gogh. bye:myself
"This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you"
(from "Vincent" by Don McLean)
Photo: iamsterdam.com
Lucky you, three of Amsterdam's most important museums are located just a stone throw from each other.

A must is the Vincent Van Gogh museum, owning 200 paintings of this ingenious impressionist as well as art by Van Gogh's contemporaries such as Caillebotte, Courbet, Gaugin, Millet, Pissaro, Seurat, Signac - do you really want to read the whole list?!

Van Gogh Museum
Museumplein 6
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 570 52 00
Email: info@vangoghmuseum.nl

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Fridays till 10 p.m.)

Maybe you prefer to skip one of the above mentioned mandatory venues in favor of some wild, contemporary art? No problem, almost next door is the world-renowned Stedelijk Museum at Museumplein 10 waiting for your visit every day from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. (Fridays till 10 p.m.)

Stedelijk Museum
Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 573 29 11
Email: info@stedelijk.nl

🍝   Lunch

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: 24 hours in Amsterdam - De Taart van mijn tante
Whether cakes or decoration: obviously the "tante"
likes everything original and sumptuous.
One of the beauties of travelling by yourself is - what happens abroad, stays abroad. So today we'll have cake for lunch! Amsterdam prides itself to have one of the world's most inviting bakeries - the prettiest and tastiest in cakes you can get! And if you choose the traditional Dutch apple tart - it's your apple a day, so a very healthy choice 😉

To get there, let's walk back towards the Singelgracht and turn right into the Stadhouderskade and after about 500 m / 0.3 miles you turn right into Ferdinand Bolstraat, and at No. 10, the gate to sweet paradise opens: You arrived at De Taart van mijn tante - my aunt's cake.

De Taart van mijn tante
Ferdinand Bolstraat 10
1072 LJ Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 -776 46 00

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Dec 24 and 25, Jan 1, and April 27).

🌞  Afternoon Activities

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: 24 hours in Amsterdam - Albert Cuypmarkt
Big market - bis sizes...
After the cakey lunch, some more walking is indicated, and not far from De Taart is the perfect opportunity - Amsterdam's probably best market, The Albert Cuypmarkt three blocs South. It has been there for over a hundred years, and at the 260 stalls - which makes the Cuyp Europe's largest day market - the craziest in accessories and fashion is offered next to fresh fruits and firm vegetables and of course a wide variety of Dutch cheese.

The perfect place to take a rest and maybe sample some of the produce bought at the market is the idyllic Sarphatipark just one block South. It's by far not as spacious as the Vondelpark, but the lush meadows around the statue honoring Samuel Serphati, who in mid-1800 had the idea to add a park to a then-new housing project, are just as comfortable to relax on.

⛈  Afternoon Activities

Willet Holthuysen Museum. bye:myself
Dinner's ready! The dining room at the
Willet Holthuysen Museum.
 ©Hans Fonk
There are not only the big, famous museums worth a visit. At the Eastern part of the Grachtengordel are a couple of ancient, originally furnished townhouses where you get a close look at how the wealthy merchants and their families used to live during the Dutch gilded age (of course often from their colonies).

There is the Willet Holthuysen Museum, a magnificent double-fronted townhouse, built in 1687. Unquestionably it was always a home to very wealthy families, the last one Abraham Willet and Louisa Holthuysen, who after her husband had died, donated the house including all furniture and decoration to the city of Amsterdam, modestly demanding to name the museum after the couple's names.

Museum Willet-Holthuysen
Herengracht 605
1017 CE Amsterdam

Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Weekend and Holidays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Dec 25, Jan 1, and April 27).

Tassenmuseum. bye:myself
Some of the less exotic pieces from the
"Tassenmuseum Hendrikje", the handbag museum.
About one block West on the Herengracht is the fairly unbeknownst "Tassenmuseum Hendrikje", a venue housing an incredible number of handbags from the first beaded pouch to nowadays clutch. There are even some creepy models like the crocodile bag with the animal's head on it. Even if you're not handbag-buff, it's interesting, inspiring, and great fun.

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje
Herengracht 573
1017 CD Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 524 64 52
Email: info@tassenmuseum.nl

Now you have to cross two canals down South to get to the other bank of the Keizersgracht where another ancient townhouse is to be admired, namely the Van Loon Museum. This fine mansion was built in 1602 by Willem van Loon who co-founded the Dutch East-India Company, and we all know how and by which means all these good people who did business in the former colonies got rich. Today, the van Loon family allows visitors to admire their wealth on a daily basis. Make sure to stroll through the exquisite garden in the back.

Museum Van Loon 
Keizersgracht 672
1017 ET Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 624 52 55

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Dec 25, Jan 1, and April 27).

At the end of your day, don't miss the wooden Amstelkerk from 1670, located on the Kerk Straat just one bloc South from the Van Loon Museum.

🍝   Dinner

A stone throw from the Jupiter Hotel is the Bar DK Amsterdam, popular with the local crowd for good food and pleasant atmosphere. It's located at Tweede Helmersstraat 26.

🍸   Nightcap

Actually, at The Waterhole, you'll get much more than just a nightcap, so make sure you're connecting flight is not too early in the morning. They have a generous happy hour and live music every night. It's only ten minutes walk from the Jupiter Hotel.

The Waterhole
Korte Leidsedwarsstaat 49
1017 PW Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 - 20 - 620 89 04
Email: info@waterhole.nl

They are daily - weekdays from noon till 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday from noon till 4 a.m.

😴   Accommodation

Hotels at Amsterdam are ridiculously expensive. You have to do a lot of research and book in advance to get a halfway acceptable price. The Jupiter Hotel is close to many points of interest and recommendable if you don't expect 'luxury'.

Jupiter Hotel 
Tweede Helmersstraat 14
1054 CJ Amsterdam
Phone: +31 - 20 - 618 71 32 and +31 - 20 - 61 24 964
Email: info@jupiterhotel.nl

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  1. When I get to visit Amsterdam, I will not miss the Van Gogh museum. My eldest daughter would love it there, too.

  2. It's absolutely wonderful - very long lines, though

  3. I love your post. So informative. I am planning to go to Amsterdam and I would definatly look at the recommendations.

  4. One of the hardest itineraries to make are those 24-hour trips! And I love your blog because of that. I believe Amsterdam is one of the common layovers when visiting Europe. This post will come in handy in my Euro-trip!

  5. I have been to Amsterdam several times already, but I can definitely pick up suggestions from here if I am there again! I love it how you organized the suggestions according to the time of day, it makes life so much easier!

  6. I went Amsterdam last year and it's cool how many blog posts on Amsterdam I read and the travel experience is always unique with different activities done compared to my trip. This is another I've found really unique and it's a testament to how much there is to do in Amsterdam. I really want to see what the Van Gogh museum is like!

    Johnny | Johnny's Traventures

  7. Thank you for this 24 hours in Amsterdam guide! I can't wait to check out the bakeries and apple tart :D. It sounds like they have amazing ones!

  8. Love the idea of having a layover in AMS and will definitely be using this as my guide when I get over there. Definitely eating cake for lunch too ;)

  9. These activities sound fun and right down my alley. I'm particularly interested in the Van Gogh Museum. I'm a fan of his work. And of course, the Grachten trips too. I think it is something one have to experience when in Amsterdam, even though it's a little touristy for my liking.

  10. Great post, although after reading it I have to admit I want more than 24 hours to explore Amsterdam :-)

  11. Awesome so many activities in 24 hours. I'm loving your lunch idea with prettiest and tastiest cakes of Amsterdam :) I think without a Grachten trip Amsterdam trip is incomplete. Cool experiences!!

  12. This brings back many great memories for me, as my brother used to live there, in the museum district in fact! That said, I was a regular at the Van Gogh Museum as it was across the road! The canals are always a must too.

  13. This brings back many great memories for me, as my brother used to live there, in the museum district in fact! That said, I was a regular at the Van Gogh Museum as it was across the road! The canals are always a must too.

  14. I have been to Amsterdam several times but your guide covers many off the beaten path places I have never heard of before. I will make sure to visit the bakery Tart for a lunch with my daughters soon and to have a glimpse into the bags museum to reward the fashionista in me!

  15. I've visited Amsterdam several times and find there's always something new to explore. Vondelpark is a favourite of mine! I only got around to Rijksmuseum on my last visit but it was great.

  16. Great post, to much things to explore in one day but yes thanks to your tips will help me to explore Amsterdam very wwell.

  17. I visited Amsterdam for two days and I'm sure I need to go back. An amazing city and I hope to have more time to explore more around Amsterdam also.
    The Holthuysen Museum looks wonderful.

  18. Not a bad way to spend 24 hours in Amsterdam. The city isn't huge, but there is so much to do.


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