Imagine yourself on a warm, sunny summer morning as you arrive at Amsterdam Central station for the first time. The busy station fills your ears with various noises and you have just enough time to fully embrace the city for one whole day — and Urban Adventures is here to help you make the most of it! You, my friend will be a local today, so do what locals do and try to stay away from the most populated streets in town.
Start by walking along the Singel, the belt of our beautiful city. It is the first canal that goes around the main downtown area, and where you’ll notice the breathtaking buildings that stretch along both sides of the canal, each one more unique than the last. From there, you can begin your unforgettable 24 hours in Amsterdam… on foot. (Wanna see the city on two wheels? We have tips for the perfect 24 hours in Amsterdam by bike as well.)
We can’t expect you to start your full day in the city on an empty stomach, so let’s take this opportunity to enjoy breakfast the Dutch way! Make your way to Cafe Van Zuylen, one of the many typical Dutch cafes around the city. When someone asks me what I think the most typical Dutch breakfast is, I immediately respond poffertjes and black coffee. Poffertjes are delicious mini-pancakes served with powdered sugar. Once you’re fuelled up and caffeinated, head back out and keep exploring the city.
After leaving the cafe, you’ll cross one of our many bridges, the Tourenslus, which is a unique bridge with a statue of a famous Dutch writer in the middle. You make your way across two other canals, Herrengracht and Keizergracht, to see the site that every visitor wants to see: the Anne Frank Museum.
After your cultural lesson at the museum, head over to the main square in the city, Dam Square. Be sure to stand right in the centre of the square and look around — it’s the best spot to embrace the city beacuse you are in the core of it. Here is where Amsterdam got its name, as the river Amstel flowed through and we built a great dam in the 13th century. Amstel, Dam… Amsterdam! Take a little stroll around the central area but do not take too long, it is already noon and there is so much left to see!
Next, get on one of the trams near the Royal Palace and Dam Square area and buy a ticket to Museumplein, the heart of the museum district. The tram ride takes 20 minutes and you can spend this time noticing how unique the city of Amsterdam really is. For a quick lunch before continuing, I recommend you go one block away to Spiegelgracht, an area that is home to more than 10 different cafes and restaurants. (Alternately, you could just hop on our Amsterdam food tour to taste delicious local treats like pancakes, fries and cheeses!)
After lunch, go to Rijksmuseum for your dose of culture. The museum is dedicated to all things about local art and history, so be prepared for a very intellectual couple of hours.
Afterwards, step outside the other side of Rijksmuseum and go towards the food stands. Grab some quick Dutch snacks, like your traditional stroopwafles (waffle cookies filled with caramel syrup), take a picture by the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign and then go check out Vondelpark, the biggest and most beautiful park in the city. Here you will truly see the diversity of people. You’ll see locals walking their dogs, jogging, drinking beers, dancing, singing, reading books or simply relaxing.
Head back to the city centre and spend an hour in one of our many craft beer bars. You will meet the nicest, friendliest people in the city at places like these. I would suggest going Gollem or The Beer Temple. After your welcome drink, try two of our staples: herring and jenever. The Dutch herring stall is right next to the Royal Palace and the most famous jenever (Dutch gin) place is right behind it, called Wynand Fjockink. From here on out, I promise you will have the best evening of your life in our lovely city.