It’s no secret that Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities! Which is why I would always encourage any of you to spend more than just a day there. But if you’ve only got time for 24 hours in Amsterdam, here are my suggestions for seeing the best of the city without running yourself ragged!
Looking for a hostel in Amsterdam? Check out my favourites…
Old enough to have the cosy vibe of a proper hostel run by and for backpackers, but with the times enough to offer high-quality beds and bathrooms, the Pig’s personality will win you over in no time! But if you need a week to get over your hangover after booking your stay there… don’t blame me!
Stylish, modern, artistic, local, funky, the essence of hipster here and there, a soundproof nightclub (a.k.a. The Box)… all of which contribute to the laid-back community feel of the new ClinkNOORD hostel. One of the most innovative uses of space I have seen in a hostel, ClinkNOORD have managed to create functional spaces within their common areas, without destroying the open and flowing atmosphere between these spaces.
Hans Brinker Amsterdam is a party hostel that cares so much about showing you a good time in Amsterdam that not only did they renovate their stunning bar recently, they also have a late night club downstairs in the basement! Oh, and the breakfast is free – for those who need coffee to get over their hangover!
MEININGER Amsterdam is situated in a less-touristy part of Amsterdam, and close to some beautiful parks, which means that summers here will be a pleasure for anyone looking to see more of the city than the red light district. Their rooms are also fully equipped and extremely comfortable!
24 Hours in Amsterdam:
How to Spend an Amazing Day in Amsterdam
Get yourself up early and head straight for a hearty breakfast at Omelegg. With vegetarian and gluten-free options, Omelegg is the perfect place to start the day with new hostel friends. You might have to queue… but it will be worth it!
Once your eggs have settled, take a walk through the Red Light District to the centre of Nieuwmarkt. Here you’ll find De Waag (the Weigh House) which was one of the original gates to the city. These days the Nieuwmarkt is best known for its range of cafes and weekly markets.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday, spend some time tasting local delicacies in the food market. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, then enjoy your time browsing the traditional antique market.
Appreciate the traditional Dutch townhouses that line the canal as you head from Nieuwmarkt towards Museum Het Rembrandthuis (the Rembrandt House Museum). The famous Dutch artist actually lived and painted in this house, so it’s a must for art lovers! Adult tickets cost €13, and you can pay at the door or book them online here.
If art isn’t your thing and you’re keen to explore more markets, the Waterlooplein Market is one of the most famous in Amsterdam. It runs every day except Sundays. Or alternatively, if you’re more into books then the walk from Nieuwmarkt to Waterlooplein passes some of the best English bookshops in Amsterdam.
After exploring the best of the canals in Amsterdam, jump on tram 9 or 14 to Alexanderplein and take a stroll through Oosterpark towards Nescio Amsterdam. Designed in 1891, Oosterpark was the first of Amsterdam’s large parks and due to its location outside of the city, it’s one of the best places to get an idea of local, everyday life in Amsterdam. I’m a bit biased, because I used to live close by (find out how to move to Amsterdam). But the area is a far cry from the souvenir shops of the Red Light District.
Once you’re in the park, head towards Nescio for lunch. The cafe is part of Generator Hostel, but it’s open to the public and you’ll find the local Dutch crowd enjoy the stonebaked pizzas and infamous Gen Burgers as much as the hostel guests!
Now you’ve explored local Amsterdam, it’s time to explore the best of Dutch culture! No, not weed. At least, not yet. I’m talking about beer and art! With only 24 hours in Amsterdam, there’s only really time for you to experience one of these two museums. So here are my top two options: The Heineken Experience or the Rijksmuseum!
The Heineken Experience is more than just a museum. There are interactive demos detailing the history of the Heineken family, as well as opportunities to taste the beer which makes this the ultimate experience for beer enthusiasts. The queue can get pretty long, but it moves fast or you can buy your tickets in advance here.
The Rijksmuseum is my personal favourite. The art museum houses over 8,000 objects that detail 800 years of Dutch history in one of the most stunning buildings in the city. Honestly, you could spend your whole 24 hours in Amsterdam in here. But if you can’t, just taking an hour to walk through the masterpieces will leave you in awe of the talents that the Netherlands has nurtured throughout its history. Again, the line for the Rijksmuseum can also get pretty long so it’s best to buy your tickets in advance.
Note: If you’re able to spend longer than 24 hours in Amsterdam then this combined ticket offers you entry to the Heineken Experience and the Rijksmuseum, along with a canal cruise, for just €48.
Once your cultural experience is over, head straight to Cafe de Bieb for some traditional Dutch bitterballen. This cafe is a fantastic brunch spot, as well as a great place to hang out with friends in the evening, and it’s just around the corner from the Gollem Beer Cafe where you can try one of more than 150 bottled beers and 14 on tap! So head there after your bistro bar snacks at De Bieb. But don’t try too many of the beers because next we’re heading to one of the best viewpoints in Amsterdam!
You can’t spend 24 hours in Amsterdam without seeing the city’s rooftops. So jump on tram 24 and get off at Centraal Station, before hopping on the 24-hour ferry behind the train station that goes to Buiksloterweg. You won’t be able to miss the A’DAM Lookout Tower from the dock, so head straight for it.
Once you’re inside, buy the combined entrance ticket with the ‘Over The Edge’ Swing Ticket (or pre-purchase them here) and enjoy the experience! The ‘Over The Edge’ Swing at the top of the A’DAM Lookout is the highest swing in Europe! It’s terrifying, but exhilarating and if you only have one day in Amsterdam I highly recommend it!
Once you’ve had a thrilling adventure at the top of one of Amsterdam’s newest skyscrapers, it’s time to chill out a bit. Stromma (formerly the Canal Company) is a company that runs great experiences along the canals of Amsterdam. If you have more time and are interested in their hop-on hop-off canal boat tickets then I’ve written about my experience here.
But if you only have 24 hours in Amsterdam then I’m going to suggest taking the Evening Pizza Cruise that leaves from 8.15pm. Note that the cruise only departs at 8.15pm on certain days of the week, or you can take it at 6.00pm almost every day of the week.
You’ll arrive back from the cruise just before 10.00pm which leaves you enough time to explore the Red Light District at night. Of course, you could make your own way around the maze of coffee shops and sex shows if you like. But if you want to go where the locals of the district hang out then my top suggestions are Cafe A’ent Water, and Ziggy’s! Both of these places are tiny, but that’s why I love them so much.
If you’re up for a much bigger party, then head to Leidseplein Square. This is where many of the big pub crawl companies lead their nights out, as the bars and cafes come alive here after dark!
24 Hours in Amsterdam: The Map
Below I’ve embedded a map of Amsterdam on which I have pinned all the places mentioned in this guide. Hopefully, it helps you get around the city!
24 Hours in Amsterdam: Getting Around on a Budget
I’m not sure if it needs to be said, but by far the best and most enjoyable way of getting around Amsterdam is by bicycle! For those that aren’t intimidated by the bike lanes, my favourite bike rental shop is Discount Bike Rental which is close to Centraal Station.
However, if you’d rather use public transport then Amsterdam also has a great tram and bus networks. Don’t bother too much with the metro unless you’re heading way outside the city. The tram network is far more efficient!
Cost of bus/metro tickets and where to buy them in Amsterdam
A standard ticket for the bus and metro costs €2.90 and can be bought directly from the bus/tram driver or the conductor on the tram. Once you’ve bought a ticket, make sure to check-in at the doors (just see what everyone else is doing), and also check-out when you exit the bus or tram if you want to use the ticket again. A standard ticket lasts for one hour, so as long as you remember to check-in and check-out, you can switch trams or buses as much as you like within that hour.
You can also buy tickets for unlimited travel that begin at €7.50 for 24-hours (one day in Amsterdam) and go up to €34.00 for seven days in Amsterdam. If you want to buy these in advance, you can do so by clicking here.
Standard ticket: €2.90
24 Hour ticket: €7.50
48 Hour Ticket: €12.50
Travel passes in Amsterdam
24 Hours in Amsterdam: Final Travel Tips
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I really hope you find this guide to 24 hours in Amsterdam useful when planning your future travels to this incredible city! To read more articles about Amsterdam, just click here. And if you find this guide useful, please let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,
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