Amsterdam is roundly referred to as the City of no limits, with Las Vegas widely regarded as its closest comparison in the world, which is why I came up with this Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary. Mention Amsterdam to anyone outside the Netherlands and the immediate picture that comes to mind is the weed capital and a raging Red Light District.
Well, the Dutch capital does have its fair share of free spirit nature. That the notion has sunk so deep into many people’s minds means that these acts will often be witnessed especially among visitors who have ‘letting go’ as the main item on their bucket list when they travel to Amsterdam.
That said, these things are neither present in the magnitude you see in movies neither are they the only things that are to be enjoyed in the City. This is a city born and bred out of creativity- it is the Dutch who got their land from the sea, remember? There are a variety of sights and activities to be enjoyed by people of all leanings.
The offerings of the city of Amsterdam will require several dedicated days to get through, but this article is designed specifically for people who have just one day to spend in Amsterdam. These could either be visitors on transit or people camping for several days but with just 24 hours available for sightseeing, which is why the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary is the best friend for those travellers.
For starters, Amsterdam is a tight fit. The Red Light District, for instance, is just an area of several hundred meters square. The streets are not wide, and the residents make the most out of every space available. Do not be surprised to see a coffee shop pop up where you’d only be expecting to see a corridor.
Do not, however, mistake the city’s tightness for congestion. There is a risqué design and organization that makes it as comfortable and easy to get round as if you were on the streets of London. According to me, the closeness makes it even more ideal for people looking to follow the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary. That you don’t have to travel long distances between sites means you can visit even more places from the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary than you would in a similar window in other cities across Europe.
In a span of 24 hours in Amsterdam, you can amuse yourself by visiting any or all of the Vondlpark, Van Gogh Museum, The Dam Square, The Heineken Square, the Leidseplein and more. All you need is a well-organized one day in Amsterdam Itinerary to help you get through these activities with ease.
Ultimate one day in Amsterdam itinerary – General information
In my opinion, you should know some details about the place you go to, which is the reason why I also put some general information in this Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary post. Amsterdam is the largest and capital city of The Netherlands. It however, does not host the seat of the government, a task which is carried by another city- The Hague. (Netherlands roles are divided between the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam). It serves as the country’s commercial capital and is also regarded as one of Europe’s premier financial cities.
The city is divided into three circles- the city proper, the urban area and Amsterdam Metropolitan area. Most sights to be seen during the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary lie within the city center. Walking is thus a viable option when getting from place to place.
The transport network is however very efficient and pocket friendly so you should not be worried if you don’t fancy getting around on foot.
The city enjoys all the seasons proper, with different sights to be enjoyed during each season. It is a relatively warm city by Europe’s standards and is also pretty humid. The winds range from medium to fast speeds but they are often broken down by the many narrow buildings within the city.
Biking is a popular practice within the city, with special paths designed for the same. The same goes for canal travel, which is only obvious given the widespread reclamation.
Before you follow the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary you should have some backround knowledge about the city itself and how it has developed. Amsterdam has existed as an urban center and grown since the 12th century. The most popular known source of the city names is the reference given to the dam built across the Amstel River following floods in 1275. It was founded after the cities of Rotterdam and Utrecht but has grown steadily to surpass both in many aspects.
The city grew as a result of trade in the Hanseatic League. It was elevated to city status as early as 1300, around which time there exists a claim of a miracle that also made it a protestant pilgrimage site. Land reclamation was ongoing throughout those periods, although not necessarily for agricultural purposes.
The city underwent several rough times before embracing the current modernity, among them an uprising against King Philip in the 16th century and protestant persecution during The Inquisition.
It then went ahead to become a key financial city in Europe during the Golden Era trade.
Today, the city is a world model in land reclamation and containing of rough waters. Delegations from across the world come here to take lessons about water and flood managements. See, one day in Amsterdam does not have to be all about weed and the Red Light District!
How to get to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is easily accessible from Europe and every part of the world. As always, flying in is the best option for travelers looking to spend one day in Amsterdam. Jetting in by plane allows you to arrive without much fatigue and preserves enough energy for the many activities to be slotted in the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary.
The Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main air entrance point into the city. It is the third largest airport in Europe with over 60 million passengers going through the hub every year. It is served by multiple airlines and has direct and connected flights from most major airports in the world.
You could still opt to come in by water or land. Some travellers opt to come in via Rotterdam port by water then connect to Amsterdam by road or rail. Whichever travelling means you choose, there is always a comfortable way to get to Amsterdam.
How to get around
As earlier mentioned, this is an easy city. The easiest way to get around is by public means. You buy a ticket that will allow you to access boats on canals, the metro, tram and buses for your entire stay. Not a lot of other cities make it that easy for you to follow a one day itinerary.
The option of walking is also very viable in Amsterdam. The major sights are not far apart, and the narrow design of the city buildings is something to behold as you walk around.
Before attempting the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary you should check the weather forecast. Amsterdam usually has a fair weather. The wind is pretty strong but rarely do temperatures go below zero. This affords three popular visit seasons- The Tulip season (March- May), the summer season (June-August) and the Fall Season (September to October).
Honestly speaking, Amsterdam will not be attending the festival of food cities. The Dutch literally eat to live and do not give as much attention to the cooking process as the Italians or the French would. This is not the city to liven up your palate.
That said, it is not to say that you will go hungry during the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary.
That the city is world famous destination has attracted culinary delicacies of all types. The restaurants are clean and decent, with servings for diners of all kinds of budgets. There are French, Mediterranean, Italian, French and American dishes on offer among many others.
If you want to follow the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary, you should obviously know where the best place to start from can be found. There are varieties of accommodation options in Amsterdam. Literally, the city does not sleep so they are not trying to make a killing from hospitality services. The townspeople are a welcoming lot and this has made Airbnb a popular and often preferred accommodation option.
Still, there are numerous hotels and boarding hostels that offer decent accommodation at very fair prices. I however maintain that when looking to follow the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary, you should try to make as little investment in accommodation as possible.
To give you a couple examples of good places to stay at:
Amsterdam is a fairly inexpensive city. In one day, you will need:
- Transportation: 10€ per day
- Food: 10€+ per day, if selfmade (30€+ for cafès & restaurants)
- Accommodation: 30€+ for a hostel (50€+ for Airbnb)
- Sights: 15€ per sight
Amsterdam has a great safety record both within itself and from the outside. It has remained largely untouched by the wave of terrorism that has dogged Europe. The residents are also friendly with low crime rates recorded. By all standards, a one day stay in Amsterdam is going to be an incident-free experience.
Ultimate one day in Amsterdam itinerary – Highlights
Van Gogh Museum
This is one of the most popular sites in the city and the first big highlight from the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary. It stocks the most famous works of artist Vincent Van Gogh and similar artists. It stands out among other museums within the city and welcomes around two million visitors every year.
The museum has been in existence since 1973. It sits within the Museum Square in the southern area of the city. Van Gogh’s popularity extends beyond Europe, occupying an impressive 31st position on the list of art museums with most visitors across the world.
This is the area that truly reflects Amsterdam’s red nights. When people speak of a limitless Amsterdam, they are usually- knowingly or unknowingly- describing the Leidseplein.
If you are the wild type- or don’t mind stomaching some raunchy stuff- then this is the perfect place to do so from all the highlights of the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary.
Anne Frank House
The 17th century house is known more for its role in the World War II than its long existence or architectural design. It is where Jewish diarist Anne and four others hid for long periods as the Nazis looked to eliminate the Jews. The Anne Frank House was converted into a museum in the beginning of the 1960s and protected from encroachment by passionate private developers.
This historically significant house tells a great tale of survival and there is a good reason why over 1.2 million visitors come here every year. Today, you will find books and other documentation of the Nazi persecution as well as other discriminatory acts that will make good reading during the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary.
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The beautiful yellow sandstone and wooden piles building has been in existence since 1655 and another Must See of the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary. Despite its long existence, it can compete quite favourably against modern buildings.
A total of 13, 659 piles were used to reinforce the giant piece of architecture, which has remained picturesque to date.
Take a Canoe cruise and bike ride
A cruise on the canals is one of the experiences that are especially unique to Amsterdam, which is why it simply has to be on the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary. It is a fast and enjoyable way to get to know the city, exposing you to places you might want to check out in future visits. The canoes are readily available for hire for both individuals and groups.
The result of the creation of canals is the rise of awesome biking paths that you will surely enjoy on a hired bike.
Johann Cruyff Arena
You may have noticed a consistent insistence on visiting football grounds in my Ultimate one day in xxx Itineraries within major cities. I am very well aware that there are many people who are not football fans, but I keep making this insistence on purpose.
The reason for this is that football matches and parks give just about the most ideal insight into a city’s culture and way of life. You get to see people in their real self, away from the everyday confines and stresses of work. In each of the cities I have been too, I have noticed that football days create a certain feel-good and authentic atmosphere of every single one of them.
Ajax Amsterdam is this Dutch city’s best football offering. The club has a huge and loyal following that paints the city red during their home games. It has a long-standing history both domestically and in Europe and unleashes some of the best one day in Amsterdam memories if you happen to catch them in action. Be sure to check out the teams fixtures during your visit and get in on the action. If the Ultimate one day in Amsterdam Itinerary falls out of match day, a stadium tour to the Johann Cruyff Arena will also give a wonderful insight.
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