You’ve managed to escape from work a little early and with your passport in one hand and hand luggage in the other, you’re ready to go. After barely finishing your coffee on board, you’ve landed. Walk through to the train station and catch one to Amsterdam Central. Huzzah, you’re in Amsterdam!
19:00 Drop Off Your Bags at Your Houseboat
Yes, a houseboat. You can stay in a hotel or a hostel literally anywhere else in the world, so why not try something different? Most of them will be in a central location, and you can choose one to fit your budget. You can even get a big one with a few rooms if you’re going with a group of friends!
I went for one that was 100 euros a night, and it was perfect – a room, bathroom and small kitchen. Everything you need. The owners were so friendly (as is everyone you’ll meet in Amsterdam) and even stocked the room with some complementary treats. Hello, Stroopwafel.
21:00 Dinner & Drinks at Boca’s
Once you’ve shaken hands with the owners and got your keys, it’s time for a late dinner and a bottle of wine.
Boca’s has some great vibes on Fridays – it’s buzzing but you’ll be able to squeeze in, unlike Saturday (good luck). The kitchen closes at 11 but you can chat away until 3am on a Friday. Make sure you get the Hamburger with Foie Gras and Truffle Mayonnaise.
23:00 Apple Pie at Winkel43
I’m not sure how else to put this, but if you don’t go here, I’m not sure we can be friends. Winkel43 is the home of the best apple pie. In the world. It’s probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. You’ll find people having drinks there and, of course, eating apple pie.
Pull up a seat for a nightcap and a slice or just get some apple pie to take away with you – but then make sure you get the whipped cream in a cup too!
Wakey-wakey, I hope you didn’t drink too much last night! This is your jam-packed day of tourist adventures, so you better be ready.
Here’s a tip: Get ahold of a bike. The owners of my houseboat provided each of us with one, so if you’re lucky enough to have that, or if you instead have to rent one, just do it. Walking isn’t a problem, but bikes rule the roads here and it’ll be a lot quicker, although maybe walk if you’re planning on not staying sober.
08:00 Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House is just something you have to do when you’re here. Just a warning, the lines will be long. Yes it only opens at 9am, but get there an hour early if you don’t want to have to wait even longer than that.
Don’t you dare complain – bundle up warm and grab a coffee and croissant at Headfirst which is nearby to keep you happy(ish) whilst you wait.
11:00 Cruise on a Canal Tour
Only go on a canal tour under one condition – you’re not sat in a boring-ass one where all you do is look at, well, the canals. I mean you see other things, but after a while it becomes one big blur, doesn’t it?
There are heaps of tours – ones with pure booze, ones with pizza, but I personally recommend G’s Brunch Boat. The best part is that it leaves right outside Anne Frank House! It’s only on the weekends, it’s 2 hours long and there are 2 trips a day, 11:00 and 13:30. You can book in advance or be spontaneous.
14:00 Drink Up at House of Bols
Since you’ll already be a little tipsy, you may as well top it off here. House of Bols is basically a museum of cocktails. It’s somewhere you just have to go. The main tour is alright, but the best part undoubtedly is the cocktail experience at the end. Remember not to buy any big bottles at the gift shop if you’re flying home with only hand baggage!
18:00 Roam the Red Light District
Yes, the famous Red Light District is a must-visit. You’ll hopefully be decently intoxicated by now, so it’ll all seem a little less strange for the faint-hearted (if you’re a little squeemish, go when its light outside so you don’t get too creeped out). For the more adventurous, you may even want to go in and watch a show, which they have a variation of. Expect naked women in the window and creepy men around – not a place to take the kids.
See where the night takes you after this – if you’re wanting to stick around the RLD, grab a few drinks at a nearby bar or maybe you’ve made dinner reservations somewhere else (maybe some late night pancakes?). Have a great night and make good choices!
You’ve had a pretty hectic first day, haven’t you? You can take it easy now. Sleep in a little later, you deserve it.
11:00 Stroll Through a Market & Have a Picnic
The beauty of Amsterdam is that there’s markets scattered all over. Browse around and get some goodies to have a little picnic with.
If you’ve planned your trip on the first Sunday of the month, then lucky you! Westergasfabriek turns into a big market with stalls selling all kinds of things and foods from all over the world. Fingers crossed there’s sunshine!
14:00 Coffee O’Clock at a Coffee Roasters
There are some pretty spankingly good coffee roasters around for a good cup of something delicious. If you’re looking for a spark of energy or just wanting to get out of the rain, have a look at my little list of the Best Coffee Roasters in Amsterdam. Remember not to use the term ‘Coffee Shop’ here, as that means something entirely different!
16:00 Experience an Amsterdam Coffee Shop
For those who are actually looking for a Coffee Shop (I know exactly why half of you come to Amsterdam, cheeky), then I’ve done a little research for you too. Tip: If you’re planning on hitting these up, remember to bring your passport as some places require this!
Barney’s is probably the most famous one there. Grey Area screams punk rock and is personally recommended by Willie Nelson. De Dampkring is for those who want the best with their award-winning spliff – Ocean’s Twelve was even filmed there! Also, if anyone finds the location of the notorious Stonerdog for munchies, promise me you’ll message me and let me know!
19:00 Dinner Time at De Foodhallen
Whether you now have the munchies or you’re just very hungry, De Foodhallen is calling your name. It’s some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam all under one roof and you can try as many things as your heart desires (and your stomach can take). EAT ALL THE FOOD!
You’ve either pulled a sickie or used up a valuable day off. Spend it wisely.
09:00 Coffee and Breakfast/Lunch at De Wasserette
If you’ve got some work to do or you’re just looking for a great cafe, head on down to De Wasserette. It’s a favourite among locals for good reason. Get some coffee and breakfast if you’re here early morning. If you’ve come for lunch, don’t you dare order anything other than their legendary sandwich of chicken, avocado, truffle mayonnaise, parmesan and pancetta.
11:00 The Heineken Experience
I remember when my sister Ming went here and brought me home a bottle of Heineken with my name printed on it. That in itself is a reason to go – it makes a great present to bring home with you! I’m not a beer girl myself, but it’s said to be worth a visit whether you’re a beer fan or not.
13:00 Grab a Salad at Venkel
If you’ve not been having your fill of vegetables, you might be craving some by now. Venkel do gorgeous salads with their seasonal menu (or you can make your own!). That’s if you’ve not bagged yourself a sandwich at De Wasserette. Or maybe both? Sharing is caring, after all. Good thing they’re right nearby each other!
15:00 Rembrant Museum and Van Gogh Museum
Now to fill the rest of your day with embracing as much culture as you can before you head home. The top choices are the Rembrant and Van Gogh museum – those were the two highly recommended to me before I went.
Sadly, it’s soon time to kiss goodbye to this beautiful city that you’ve now fallen in love with. Your butt is bike-seat sore, you’ve considered moving here and you’ll never be able to eat any other apple pie ever. Maybe one last trip to Winkle43 for the plane journey home?