Despite being small, Amsterdam is a variegated city full of art galleries, lively markets and bright colors. Here you can either enjoy the historical and artistic side of the city or you can entertain yourself with the many attractions that Amsterdam has to offer. In 4 days you have to make the most of it, so I prepared this itinerary, including all the “major” attractions to help you out.
Take a walk or a bike ride
Amsterdam, also known as ‘Venice of the north’ is a city that grew around its canals. Take a walk in the city center and you’ll see one of the world’s most unique urban landscapes. If you don’t feel like walking, rent a bike. You’ll experience an important part of the Dutch culture in doing so. In Amsterdam you’ll find more bikes than people and they rule the streets, so look out because I’ve almost been run over!
This is a huge green area where, as suggested by the name, you’ll find most museums. In here, Van Gogh’s museum deserves a visit. Here you’ll find some of the masterpieces of the artist, collected by his brother Theo, supported by over 850 letters send to him by the famous painter. This museum and the artist himself, hold a special place in my heart as I love painting and when I was 7, the first subject that I painted was my take on the “Sunflowers”.
Next to the Van Gogh museum, you’ll find the Rijksmuseum and I really advice you to visit it. However, check the time before going in to make sure you have enough. The place is enormous and it usually closes at 5PM. This museum features a huge collection of Dutch art, over a million works, and one of the masterpieces that you can find here is “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt.
If modern art is your thing and if you still have time, you could also visit the Stedelijk Museum!
The Heineken Experience
During the visit you’ll be able to learn a bit about the history of Heineken. The tour is very interactive and overall a nice experience. If you are curious about Heineken or you simply enjoy drinking beer (with the price of admission, 15€, you can have three) you’ll love it!
This is the first Amsterdam photographic museum and it’s hosted in the ex-residence of a rich French merchant. Many exhibits are set up during the year with works from all photographic genres. You can inform yourself online about which kind is hosted, so you can check if you are interested or not.
This is Amsterdam’s largest park and it’s a great place to relax, especially after a long day of walking. Vondelpark is usually filled with young people, especially during the summer.
Anne Frank House
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I didn’t enjoy the experience much. The museum was packed with people who were disrespectful, talking loudly and disrupting the atmosphere that should allow you to meditate on the tragic events of the Holocaust. If you are curious about Anne’s history it might be worth visiting, but if you want a quieter and more detailed experience, the Jewish History Museum is a better pick. For Anne’s house I advice you to book tickets online in advance to avoid the very long line outside.
Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder “Our Lord in the Attic” (Amstelkring Museum)
This is probably the most peculiar attraction in Amsterdam. This building is a Catholic church hidden inside a 17th-century canal house, built during Protestant rule. It was never secret but it was out of sight of the authorities.
This Square is the heart of Amsterdam and it’s located near the station. It hosts the neoclassical royal palace, the Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New church), the Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum and right in the middle: The National Monument.
Red Light District
This was the obvious step since it’s located near Dam Square. The infamous Red Light District manages to balance sex with being a touristy attraction. During the day, it’s quiet and it looks like any other part of the city, but at night, thhe area becomes alive. Me and my friends had a not so pleasant experience here: a mad man chased us while screaming in Dutch, now we laugh about it but at that time, we were terrified!
Van Loon Museum
Own by the aristocratic Van Loon family, this patrician house is only in part open to the public. In here you’ll visit the family’s art collection and you’ll get an idea of the luxury of a household of the XVII century.
Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House Museum)
You can explore the house in which Rembrandt lived and worked from 1639 to 1659; it could have been organized better, but it’s still a nice attraction.
Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish History Museum)
This museum displays the history of Amsterdam. It’s distributed in 4 old synagogues, and you’ll need around 3 hours to visit it all. It gathers a large collection of religious artifacts and documents about the holocaust. This is definitely an interesting and well made museum that is often unfortunately skipped.
“The Fault in Our Stars” Bench
Me and my friends had recently watched the movie “The Fault in Our Stars” based on the novel by John Green and, a good part of it, is set in Amsterdam. There was an emotional scene on a bench (located in Leidsegracht 4) and, while walking aimlessly in the city center, we decided to look for it. Even if the original bench is no longer there, we were still able to recreate the scene on a new one!
If you wish to visit Amsterdam, I think that the best season to do so is spring. You’ll be able to enjoy the scenery below in Keukenhof, a breathtaking botanical garden that it’s located at 35 km south-west of Amsterdam.