What to see in Amsterdam in 1 day
Amsterdam is one of the most interesting cities in Europe, a city of contrasts where history and modernity coexist in harmony. A day is not enough to see it all. But in case you missed a long layover at the airport or came with a day trip from other European cities, we’ve compiled a short route that shows you what to see in Amsterdam on your own in 1 day.
What to see on your own in 1 day on foot
Most of Amsterdam’s sights are concentrated in the old city center, so you can easily get around them on foot without using public transportation.
Let’s start our route from the famous Dam Square, the name of which, however, is not connected with the beautiful ladies, but with the dam, which existed in this place in the XIII century. The square is about 750 meters south of Amsterdam Central Station and has a rectangular shape with dimensions of 200×100 meters.
On the square is located the Royal Palace – the residence of the Dutch monarch King Willem Alexander. The palace can be visited, but only if the royal family is not receiving guests or does not hold important events. In addition, on Dam Square there is also a beautiful Gothic New Church, which these days instead of services holds interesting exhibitions.
There’s also the Waxwork Museum and the De Beyenkorf department store. The De Beyencorf department store is a must-see for shoppers everywhere. Dam Square is always full of tourists taking a break from long walks through the Dutch capital.
Red Light District
The red light district (De Wallen) needs no introduction – the “heart of debauchery” is near the northeast corner of Dam Square. It’s worthwhile to visit this old neighborhood if you haven’t been to Amsterdam.
This area dates back to the 16th century when the Magistrate of Amsterdam gave the area around the street Aude Nieuwstraat, Audezeids Achterbürhval and along the promenade Audezeids Vorburgwal to the “night moths” and forced them to pay taxes. These days, prostitution has been recognized as a regular profession in the Netherlands since 1988.
Today, the Red Light District is a city within a city, with a dozen streets, stores, cafes, and even museums. Here about a thousand priestesses and priestesses of love work to provide sexual services to tourists and the general population. You can see them behind the windows of special showcases. But you should remember that it is forbidden to take pictures of the girls because there are private guards and you might end up without your cameras.
Right in the red light district on the Audekerksplein is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church, the Audekerk. Despite its piquant proximity, the church is active and, in addition to church services, hosts ceremonies, light shows, and even an organ music festival: Since 2016, the church has been designated an official art space.
The name of the church translates as “the old church”, and Audeckerk fully justifies it: the chapel on this site appeared at the beginning of the 14th century, and the stone church was built later. In order for the local soil to bear the weight of the structure, which now has an area of 3,350 square meters, it was repeatedly completed and rebuilt. The temple has perfect acoustics, it has three organs, the largest of which is considered the best in Europe.
Inside there is a permanent small exhibition of works by Rembrandt, whose wife Saskia rests in this church.
The next point of our walk in Amsterdam is the Begeenhof, one of the oldest and most beautiful architectural ensembles in the city. It is a green medieval courtyard, located one meter below the level of the rest of the old center. You can get here only through a narrow vaulted passageway from the side of the square Spui.
The Begeinhof was founded in the 14th century as a convent of béguines, pious women who led monastic lives but did not take monastic vows. In 1971, after the death of the last of the Begeinhof women, the complex was restored and opened to the public. In houses Begeinhof as before lived alone women, so tourists are asked to respect their peace and not to make noise.
In total there are 47 houses in the courtyard, built in the Gothic style. One of them is a medieval chapel (Begijnhof Kapel). In the southern part of the complex is the Church of England (Engelse Kerk) built in 1392, and to the west of it – the oldest wooden building in the Netherlands house Het Houten Huis (1465). The center of the courtyard is occupied by a green lawn with a statue of Christ on it.
On our way the famous Blumenmarkt Flower Market, absolutely unique because it is floating. The market has been known since the 17th century, when flower traders sold their goods directly from the boats.
The current market, founded in 1862, is a row of barges moored along the waterfront. On the ships are stores selling flowers. Here you can buy a luxurious bouquet, and plants for planting, including bulbs of the famous Dutch tulips. Tourists come here not only for shopping, but also just to take spectacular photos.
A day trip to Amsterdam should include a museum, of which the city has a huge number. The main museums are Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, located in the historic center near each other and considered “the best museums in the world” according to Travellers’ choice by TripAdvisor. Choose one because you can’t visit both of them in a day trip, and you must allow two to four hours for each.
Rijksmuseum is an art museum, founded with the participation of King Louis Bonaparte of the Netherlands. It is located in the current building since the 1880s.
The museum is so huge that to get acquainted with all of its exhibits in one visit is not possible. There are exhibits dating back to the 11th century: paintings, furniture, household items, porcelain, sculptures and more. Among the most important works are Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Vermeer’s The Milkwoman, and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. There are also the most famous works by El Greco, Rubens, Van Dyck, Veronese, etc.
A lot of popular among tourists are the exhibitions of, for example, ancient doll’s houses or models of ships. And there is also a unique library with shelves on four floors.
It is advisable to buy a ticket in advance and download the official museum app: it is easy to navigate and has a free audio guide.
Van Gogh Museum
Next to the Rijksmuseum is the Van Gogh Museum, founded on the initiative of the artist’s family in 1973.
Visitors can see around 200 paintings, arranged in the way Vincent van Gogh once intended, first the early works, then paintings created in Paris, then in Arles, then in Saint-Rémy and finally in Auvers-sur-Oise. This collection is the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works. Among the most famous paintings are Shoes, Sunflowers, and The Yellow House.
You can get into the museum by purchasing tickets in advance on the website.
Cruise on canals
According to many tourists, a boat cruise on the canals of Amsterdam was perhaps their strongest impression of the city.
There are a total of 165 canals in Amsterdam. The trip lasts an hour and a half. It can begin or end your program to see the capital of the Netherlands. On a cruise tourists can not only see the city from the water and take a note of sights that then visit on their own, but also a break from walking.
Water tours offer dozens of companies, their cost starts at 20 euros. You can buy a romantic trip with lunch or dinner, or themed tour, for example, the places associated with the name of Van Gogh.
Also on the canals of Amsterdam ply red Hop On – Hop Off Boat, they go on a circular route and make stops at popular attractions: there you can disembark, look at the surroundings and climb aboard the next boat.
You can also take a canal tour with local Russian-speaking guides, who will tell you about the history of the city and the most interesting sights along the banks.
Stories, routes, and tourist tips with photos
Going to Amsterdam, we recommend reading the reviews of fellow travelers who have already been to the capital of the Netherlands. In them our users share impressions and useful advices, show pictures and answer questions in the comments. For example, you may be interested in the following materials:
- One day in the capital of the Netherlands in the review “City of Museums and Museum City” by our tourist Vit. in a story by Marina Fedorova.
- About the one-day walk “Through Amsterdam – with herrings and cheese, but without the coffeeshops” in the review of Oksana Razorenova.
- Amsterdam in Elena Itenberg’s story, “Bacon, Gingerbread and a Herring Sandwich.”
Before your trip it’s worth reading our mega-guidebook to Amsterdam , and also check out our FAQ section where all your questions will be answered. There are expert answers to all your questions.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands is not the largest European city, but here there are trends and rules for choosing accommodation, suitable for all major European cities and not only. Convenient, pleasant and attractive to visitors is the center, spreading like a fan south of Central Station. Of course, accommodation there is expensive, and the best price and quality options are sold out long before the trip. The subway can help get you to all attractions from other areas, and hotels within walking distance of its stations are also in demand. The neighborhoods around the center vary widely, from well-maintained affluent housing to former ghettoes. Avoid Bos en Lommer, Indische, Oosterparkbuurt, Transvaalbuurt, and watch out for attractive prices in Zuidoost, as they are home to most migrants.
Amsterdam is known to be one of the most expensive European cities. When booking at Ostrovok.ru we save with cashback: Cashback offer at Tourister. Ru
If you don’t have a lot of time to see Amsterdam, we recommend you to pay attention on ready sightseeing tours.
These city tours can be by foot, bike, car or boat, and all include visits to the most important local tourist attractions. Although itineraries vary from guide to guide, and tour topics may differ, sightseeing tours will give you an overview of the city and help you decide whether to plan a longer visit to Amsterdam in the future.
Where to go from Amsterdam for 1 day
If you have already seen all the sights of the Dutch capital or are just tired of the cityscapes, you can go to the outskirts of Amsterdam – thankfully, the distances in this compact country are quite short.
Zandam is a scenic and leafy little town, only 15 minutes away and only 18 kilometers from Amsterdam. It spreads out on the banks of the river Zahn and attracts guests with its charming atmosphere: colorful houses, as if composed of child’s Lego, and a number of interesting sights.
So, here you can see the house-museum of the Russian Tsar Peter I, a monument to him, the Museum of History and Culture of Zandam, mill “Cat”, etc.
You can get there from Central Station by Amserdam Central – Kooq Zaanndijk trains leaving every half an hour or by Konnexxion buses #92, 94 (from the bus station, which is to the left of the railway station).
About 20 kilometers to the north of Amsterdam there is a popular site of an open-air museum of Saanse-Schans . Here you can see those famous Dutch mills – they are not just monuments of antiquity, but also quite actively working industrial facilities, where they grind flour, spices, produce paint and oil.
Also in the village you can see 30 green cottages, which represent the life of local people of the XVII-XVIII centuries. There is also an interesting museum of the first Dutch store Albert Heijn.
To get here from Amsterdam you can take bus number 91 from the bus station or the train Amserdam Central – Kooq Zaanndijk, but you should get off after two stops from Zaandam. So you can see both Zandam and Zaanse-Schans in one day, if you wish. There is also a ferry from Amsterdam, for which you can buy a ticket on board or on the Zaanferry website.
It takes only an hour or so to get from Amsterdam to the seaside resort of Zandvoort on the North Sea.
The resort is famous for its long sandy beaches, especially during the hot summer, although a change of scenery is nice in any season. The beaches are well equipped with everything you need for recreation, with bike paths along them, cafes and restaurants.
You can get here by train from Central Station, which runs every half hour.
Volendam – Edam – Monnickendam – Marken
This route, called ‘Little Holland’, can be done in a day. Volendam, Edam, Monnickendam and the island of Marken are idyllic little towns with provincial life of inhabitants, old traditions and a special flavor. Tourists going to these places can experience the atmosphere of the real Dutch countryside.
Each of the cities has its own specialty: Edam, for example, is famous all over the world for its cheese, and Volendam – for smoked eel and herring.
You can take bus 118 from Central Station, which runs every 20 minutes. It is best to buy a ticket for the whole day. You can get to Marken Island by ferry from Volendam or by car from the dam.
Köckenhof Flower Park
If your visit to Amsterdam happens to be in spring, you are in luck: for only two months of the year the Netherlands’ famous Royal Flower Park Kekenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is open in the Netherlands – the pride and one of the main attractions of the country. The park is included in all travel guides as a must-see, and trust me, this recommendation should not be ignored.
This unique park is located near Lisse, 30 kilometers from Amsterdam on the road to The Hague. It is open from about mid-March to mid-May. A variety of trees and flowers grow here on an area of 32 hectares among lakes and canals: tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, freesias, lilies, irises, carnations, orchids, etc. The legendary Dutch tulips alone are represented by more than 700 species, they amaze with a variety of colors and shapes.
Throughout the territory are arranged picturesque flower beds, mazes and flower carpets, there are also the ruins of a medieval castle and an old mill, against which tourists love to be photographed.
From Amsterdam to get to the park is very simple: first take the train to the airport Schiphol, and then take bus number 858 directly to the park. There is also a special express bus Keukenhof Express, which leaves six times a day from Damrak Street, 34, and the price of the ticket includes a visit to the park.
Amsterdam sights in 1 day
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, but this status is quite controversial, the King is sworn in there, but the entire apparatus of state administration is in The Hague, The Hague is most often also home to the royal family. Amsterdam is undoubtedly the main city of the Netherlands, which attracts the most attention of tourists from all over the world. Naturally, everyone has heard of the Red Light District, Coffee Shops, where they sell not coffee and a large number of canals, on which it is a must to take a boat ride. That’s the program to a minimum.
In addition to these almost unique tourist attractions, Amsterdam has many museums – Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam History Museum, Rijksmuseum, where there are paintings of famous Dutch painters such as Rembrant, Vermeer, Hals, Anne Frank Museum, Madame Tussauds and many others… If the weather is not favorable for hiking in the fresh air, visiting museums can save the situation.
Prices in the article are current as of June 2022.
Important. If you really want to visit the Van Gogh museum be sure to buy yourself an e-ticket a month before your intended trip, tickets are flying very fast, even I amsterdam city card or Holland Pass do not give the right of access to the Van Gogh museum without a reservation time. It takes no more than 1.5 hours to visit the museum.
Features of public transport in Amsterdam
There are no ticket offices at the station, like in Russia, you have to take your tickets from a terminal, which resembles our terminals for phone top-ups or other payments. The terminal that sells tickets switches to English, and then everything is very clear and accessible. An adult ticket for any means of public transport in Amsterdam costs 3,20€ and allows you to transfer within 1 hour. A day pass costs €8.50. The fastest way to get into and out of the city center is to hop on and off. Amsterdam is not the largest city in the world and its center is quite compact.
It is not possible to pay cash fare directly on the bus or streetcar.
If you pay €3.20 for a one-hour ticket or €8.50 for a full-day ticket, remember to check in on the bus or streetcar to start the countdown. In the subway check in is done at the turnstiles, so you can’t avoid it. Important. If you change from one mode of transport to another, don’t forget to do the check out, for this you will have to bring your ticket to the validator again, this does not apply to the day ticket. Watch the locals, you will see how they check out.
To the entrance of metro station, notice the stairs going up
The subway, by the way, is also unconventional, it doesn’t go underground like ours, but along a high embankment, almost at the level of the upper floors of residential buildings. Probably in light of the Dutch dampness, this is the most cost-effective method of building the subway.
How to save on tickets
A plan for good weather
Even if you plan to visit Amsterdam in 1 day, a boat trip on the canals is a must, especially since audio accompaniment is available in Russian, as well as in the tour bus. The cost of such a walk is 19 €. In Amsterdam there is also a huge number of museums and tourist attractions, for one day it is reasonable to plan only one of them to have time to walk on foot if the weather is favorable. The best way to make such a plan to see the city is to buy a combo ticket, which saves between 6 and 18€ depending on the combination you choose.
You will receive two different tickets in the mail. E-tickets are widely used in the Netherlands and are cheaper than paper tickets at the box office. You don’t even need to print them out, they can be scanned with your phone screen. In my opinion the best option is Rijksmuseum + Amsterdam Canal Cruise, it’s a very busy day. 3 hours for the Rijksmuseum, 1.5 hours for a boat trip to the canals, and the rest for wandering around the city.