How to spend a day in Amsterdam

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Amsterdam Bike

Amsterdam Canals Selfie


Lucy Amsterdam Canal

How to spend a day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known for its first class museums, complex canal system, narrow houses, plentiful cheese shops and cycling which is significant to the city’s charm. A deep history of prostitution surrounding its red light district and numerous ‘coffee’ shops add to the attraction for millions of tourists each year.

We booked the 2 for 1 mini cruise through DFDS Seaways. The ship leaves from North Shields and provides one night on board as you cruise across the North Sea. Then you get a good 5-6 hours to roam around Amsterdam the following day and another night on the ship on the way home. All in for a mere £35pp you really can’t complain. Check out their latest deals here.

north shields to amsterdam

So if you’re short for time here are my top tips for how to make the most of your day when roaming around this beautiful capital.

Have your breakfast at the local’s fave hotspot PIQNIQ. Freshly prepared, tasty food in a small and friendly, relaxed cafe. I had a vanilla latte, cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon and freshly baked sourdough wholemeal bread which was delicious.

piqniq amsterdam

piqniq breakfast

Personally I think Amsterdam is best experienced by foot. Each time I visit I end up stumbling across a cute little bistro or an independent bakery a little walk away from the main attractions that’s not packed with tourists. 

dutch bakery

Wherever you wander you will admire the beautiful Dutch scenery from its diverse housing styles to the intricate details of their interiors.

amsterdam house

ceiling architecture

Stroll along the narrow streets and take the obligatory shot of the ‘bike on a bridge over a canal, yes I’m in Amsterdam pic’

Head towards Musuemplein and on the way appreciate the beautiful Bloemenmarkt ‘flower market’, a little repetitive in its offerings but very colourful and makes for a stunning walk. You can also pick up some traditional tulip bulbs to take home and plant a little piece of the dam in your garden forever, or select one of the many lovely fridge magnets on offer to add to your collection.

Make sure you take a selfie with the I AM AMSTERDAM sign too!

Wander in to the many cheese shops dotted around and you will be greeted by a chunk of their famous Gouda. I didn’t realise you could get so many different types of it until I spent a good 30 minutes sampling different aged and flavoured cheeses! Take home a wedge for a taste of Holland in your own home.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to do everything in just one day? There are so many things to see and do in Amsterdam that you’ll have to prioritise just a little bit throughout the day. Choose from 1 of the options below to spend a few hours of your day.

Option 1: 

Visit The Heineken Experience (Adult: €16) to enjoy an interactive tour through this beer giant’s history in their former brewery. You will end your visit by enjoying the perfect pint that you pulled yourself. I recommend booking these tickets online in advance to skip the queues.

Option 2: 

Go to Anne Frank’s house (Adult €9), now a biographical museum that makes for a very popular tourist attraction. Discover the hiding places during the harsh reality of war in this eerie but emotional walking tour. You should also pre book tickets or be prepared to queue.

Option 3: 

Visit the colourfully-lit Xtra Cold Ice bar where everything from the walls to the glasses are made out of ice. Again I would recommend that you pre book your tickets to the *coolest place in town lolz* to avoid wasting time queueing. For 19 you get three drinks and the special clothing needed for the experience.

Option 4: 

If you’re into art and culture the make sure you spend some time to visit the Van Gogh museum (Adult: €17) and the architecturally stunning Rijksmuseum (Adult: €17.50). If you're visiting on a Tuesday then you can enjoy the opera or ballet as the National Opera and Ballet offer free lunchtime concerts.

Option 5: 

You could spend an hour discovering Amsterdam by water, floating around its famous canals and discovering plenty of interesting facts about the city along the way. You can book online, or at many of the tourist information spots throughout the city. Other types of canal cruises available include hop-on hop-off services, romantic candle-lit tours, child friendly adventures and intimate guided boat tours for smaller groups.

A trip to The Dam is not complete without a visit to the famous Red Light District. It's such an eye openers to the reality of prostitution around Amsterdam. It does get very busy in the evenings, as there are many pubs and coffee shops in the area. It's one of those you have to see it to believe it, real women stood in the windows trying to lure people in to their 'rooms'. You will also need to be wary of pick pocketer's.

So you’ve done a lot of walking and you need to replenish your energy. Well these cones of wonderfulness ticks all the boxes. I recommend going to Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx tucked away down a lil cobbled side street. For over 57 years they have been selling home-made fries with lashing of sauce served in cute paper cones. The tangy tomato and mayo combo is a winner!

Others have jumped on bandwagon and are doing a pretty good job of keeping up too. Another one of my faves is Manneken Pis, located on the popular Damrak ensures there’s almost always a queue. With 22 kinds of sauce it’s a little overwhelming but I recommend the house special (oorlog) which is a mix of special mayo and satay sauce topped with fried onions *mmm*

The Venustempel (temple of Venus) is the world's first and oldest sex museum and for just €4 you can spend as long as you like discovering many aspects of sensual love through the ages. There's an extensive collection of erotic photographs, paintings, recordings, life sized robotic models and much more on display.

You’ll no doubt be looking to take a souvenir home from your trip. Stroopwafels are a must! But don’t get sucked in by paying €4-5 a pack at the tourist shops, pop into one of the local supermarkets such as Dirk and grab a pack for just €1.30… they’re exactly the same!

If you’re peckish again (I don’t judge, I’m always hungry too and anyway you are on your hols) then you should get yourself to Hasta la Pasta. This hidden authentic Italian gem is down a lil side street off the hustle and bustle of the Damrak. I’ve been here twice now and each time it gets better and better. Friendly family owned restaurant where the pasta is fresh and cooked to order with wonderful service too.

If you have a little longer into the evening make sure you check out Tales and Spirits, recently voted in the World's 50 best bars. They serve amazing cocktails with a great selection of bar bites in unique and vintage glassware.

Enjoy your trip!

Love Luce x


  1. I'd love to go to Amsterdam, the flower market looks so beautiful! I feel like it's one of those places where I'd constantly be taking photos of everything.

    1. It is Liv! So beautiful - you need to make sure you have plenty of space on your phone/cam before you go. I think I took over 500 photos in one day! x

  2. This is such a great guide. Love all of the photos. I will definetly be saving this as Amsterdam is on my bucket list!

    1. Thanks for your lovely words Francesca! Enjoy The Dam when you get there x

  3. I'm dying to go to Amsterdam! This guide is great!x

    1. It's one of my fave places! Hope you get there one day soon :) x

  4. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities! I wish I had seen this post before I went - you have such great suggestions!

    1. Thanks Katie!! Hope you enjoyed your trip and get to visit again soon x

  5. Your trip sounds like so much fun and I love the photos, especially the ones of the market. I would love to visit Amsterdam one day!

    Sarah x

    1. It was Sarah, there is so much to do! Thank you for your lovely comment and hope you get there one day x

  6. I love how you laid this all out! What a charming little city. I love the orange shutters on that one building, and I really like how you provided multiple options! If I'm ever lucky enough to see Amsterdam, I will def look back at this post!


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