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  • Jes Bellamy

Quick Trips: Amsterdam in 1 Day

When it comes to taking small or quick trips, it is ideal to try and fit everything in that is your priority. As a flight attendant, we typically have up to 2 days to tour our destinations, making us pros at taking quick trips. So, maybe you are just passing through the city, have limited time to travel, or are on a cruise visiting the city. Either way, getting the most out of your trip is what's important. 


I've visited Amsterdam many times and am seriously always in awe of its allure. In my opinion, Amsterdam is far more charming than many famous European cities, and honestly, it should be among everyone's top five places to visit.

This city has a wealth of history and is surrounded by beautiful sights and friendly locals. I recommend spending at least a week in Amsterdam; however, if you have 1 day, you still have more than enough time to experience this fascinating city and get everything you need out of it.

When To Go

In my opinion, the best time to go is July through September, especially if you want a little sun. However, this is peak season. So, to avoid crowds, go during the non-peak season. Just be prepared for rain and cold.


I suggest that you stay in the downtown area (Centrum) so that you can get the most out of exploring Amsterdam, and it will be easier to move around. There are many hotels and Airbnbs in the downtown area that you can't go wrong with. Just make sure you do your research.


One of my favorite things about this city is how walkable it is. Even if it's a 30-minute or longer walk, it's doable because you will get the full experience of Amsterdam.

Other options exist besides walking, such as taking a train, Ubering, or riding a bike.

I don't recommend the first two if you are in the downtown area, mainly because they may take longer, and you may miss out on experiencing the city. Plus, most of Amsterdam is built for walking and biking, so getting around with a car may be challenging.

As for biking, the city isn't called the bike city for nothing. No joke, everyone has a bike; it's one of the main ways locals get around. For these reasons, I don't recommend renting a bike to get around unless you are an exceptional biker on busy streets. Because, trust me… you don't want to upset the locals or get yourself hurt. With all that said, I think it is best to stick to walking.

Itinerary for One Day

While there is so much to do and see, here are my recommendations to get the most out of your day. This sample itinerary, which covers the morning (9 am) to nighttime (9 pm), will allow you to get a good feel of Amsterdam, mostly the downtown area. Make sure you wear some comfy shoes because you will be walking a lot, but it will all be worth it.

Morning: Get Dutch pancakes

Dutch packages are similar to crepes and are delicious. I love anything with chocolate and fruit, but you can also go savory. With some coffee, this will be a good way to start off your morning. There are hundreds of restaurants and cafes to get them from, and you can't go wrong with most places!

Take a river cruise

In my opinion, taking a river cruise earlier in the day is better because it is less crowded. I've also noticed that going early sometimes helps you beat any rain that may come during the day. You can also do a sunset tour; just be ready for some crowds.

You can choose from many companies, and most that I've seen charge less than 25 dollars for the most amazing ride of your life. Also, there's no need to book these in advance unless you want to do a very specific cruise. Otherwise, there are tours along the rivers from which you can purchase!

Afternoon: Walk around the city

After a river cruise, you can walk around the city, exploring and doing whatever you want. You can visit coffeeshops, see other attractions, sit and enjoy the atmosphere, hit a bar, get food, or even just go to a souvenir shop. The world is your oyster at this point for a couple of hours.

Take pictures near bridges

While you're walking, you will come across many streets with the famous river bridges. You can start from one of the streets called Singel and take all of your pictures, and enjoy the ambiance.

Visit the Anne Frank House/Museum

On your walk, you can even visit the Anne Frank House. Due to limited time, I don't recommend taking the full tour on a one-day trip. However, visiting the area and the house is just as powerful. If you have two days or more, you can see and do the whole experience, just buy your tickets early. It is worth it.

Visit the A'dam Lookout

This one is a bit of a trek but a lot of fun. Walk to the central train station area and take the 15-minute free ferry F3 (to Buiksloterweg) to visit the A'dam Lookout. Here, you get to swing over the rooftop and get a beautiful view of the city. They also have a bar on the rooftop where you can get a nice Heineken (Amsterdam's own) or any other drink you'd like.

Evening: Eat at Loetje's Tenderloin for dinner

Loetje's offers one of the best steak dinners you can ever have. If you're not a meat eater, they have many other dishes besides steak. However, I highly recommend you go there if you're looking for award-winning steaks.

Visit the red-light district

If you're looking to experience or witness the red-light district (DeWallen), I recommend going around in the evening and getting a table along the river to have drinks outside. There are also plenty of bars and places to dance in this area too. If you do plan on going, read my tips below to know what not to do while there!

Tips While Visiting 

While Amsterdam is one of the most laidback and charming cities, there are some things you should know before visiting:

  • Don't drink or smoke in public. You can get in a lot trouble doing so and even be fined.

  • If you don't know, marijuana and prostitution are legal in Amsterdam. Even if you don't participate or agree with those things... don't be judgmental.

  • If you're visiting the red-light district, don't take pictures of the workers there. The workers don't like it, and it is considered rude. There are also guards, and I've even seen them throw phones into the river because of pictures.

  • Also, if you visit the red-light district, try not to stare and gawk at the workers. This is their livelihood, and they are there for work. So just be mature.

  • There are Coffeeshops and Coffee Shops. You might think they are the same, but they are not! Coffeeshops are not cafes and don't serve any sort of cup of joe. They are actually where people over 18 can buy and consume marijuana and hash.

  • If you are going to Amsterdam for marijuana, make sure you know the laws. One of them is that foreigners and non-residents have been prohibited from buying it since 2013. So be careful and smart if you come across it!

Overall, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Whether you are on a week-long vacation there or just got a day, there are plenty of ways to get a full experience of this city!


For more quick trip ideas, check these out:


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