I recommend spending more than a day in Amsterdam, however that's not always possible. I’ve been living in Amsterdam for over two years and this is an itinerary for 24 hours in Amsterdam with insider tips for Amsterdam. This is a self guided walking tour of Amsterdam by a resident (7miles/11km) or an Amsterdam itinerary for one day with public transit (4 miles / 6km). It includes more than 20 attractions/famous food places in Amsterdam. Keep reading for the perfect itinerary for 24 hours in Amsterdam (starting bright and early). This guide to one day in Amsterdam includes a free downloadable map of your walking tour of Amsterdam.
This post containsaffiliate links. Map at the very bottom.
Things to mention about this self guided walking tour of Amsterdam and Amsterdam in general
Don’t walk in the BIKE LANE. As a biker, it makes me so angry and nervous when I'm dodging tourists in the bike lane. You all have a sidewalk and and you might get hit by a biker if you decide to walk in the red instead of the sidewalk. That said, don't take selfies in the bike lane, don't jaywalk and realize that some bikers will not stop for you even if you're in the crosswalk (they are supposed to stop). Be careful, please. If you're being dinged at, you're doing something wrong.
This is a walking tour because biking in Amsterdam is a terrible idea if you don’t bike at home as you’re likely to not really understand the signage and/or hit a tourist who is walking in the bike lane. City biking is very different than biking leisurely in the countryside.
If you’re in a wheelchair, this 1 day itinerary for Amsterdam goes through quite a few crowded areas and/or cramped streets. If you’re in a wheelchair, cut out the narrow street in the Red Light District and although I’ve tried to be on less crowded streets, navigating the old part of the city of Amsterdam (mostly the morning itinerary) is more likely to be the problematic part. Similarly, the Begijnhof may be difficult due to the door. (Wheelchair users in electronic chairs often take the bike lane when possible FYI.)
I carefully laid out this tour to include my favorite places in Amsterdam and food that wasn't too far from the route.
If you struggle a bit with long distances, I include many stop off points and cafes. Similarly, you'll find many benches along the main areas. Similarly, if you do this walking tour of Amsterdam with the help of public transit, it will cut the distance in half.
Now presenting: Your one day in Amsterdam walking tour! (Map at bottom of post)
Overview for your itinerary for one day in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is generally safe although pickpocketing is an issue in very touristy areas (especially the Red Light District), so avoid having your phone out if you don't need it out.
Part I of your one day in Amsterdam; Centre in Amsterdam (2.1km)
8am: Start off at Centraal Station, Views & Breakfast
Start off Centraal Station by crossing the road towards the most photographed canal houses in Amsterdam.
You have lots of great options for breakfast in Amsterdam. Then have breakfast at Omelegg, one of my favorite breakfast places in Amsterdam for an American style breakfast. If you’re feeling like you want to indulge your sweet-tooth, lots of people are obsessed with De Bakkerswinkel for fresh made pastries at one of Amsterdam’s best bakeries. For a Kiwi style vegan breakfast, I recommend Bakers and Roasters.
(Pro tip: the Pancake Bakery near Centraal Station is super touristy with long lines, so skip it)
9am: Canal Cruise in Amsterdam
Go on a canal boat cruise and if you’re craving a bit more adventure, rent your own boat (which is how the locals do it). There’s nothing like seeing Amsterdam from the canals.
If you happen to have more than one day in Amsterdam, renting your own boat is so much fun although you’ll need a bit more time if you decide to do so, so you might need to adjust this schedule a bit. Renting your own boat is about 50 per hour, so it’s worth it for a larger group of 4+.
You’ll have many canal tour options from Centraal Station, but most canal cruises in Amsterdam are pre-recorded. It’s much more fun to do a canal cruise where you have a live tour guide showing you the sites and history, so check before you book your canal book cruise.
10am: Our Lady of the Attic
Head to my favorite museum in Amsterdam, Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lady in the Attic). If you’re a history or architecture buff, this is where to come (except on Sundays when they open at 1pm). The idea of going to a converted church does not sound cool, but you’ll walk past one of the house that holds this museum...and you’ll realize that the creator of this hidden church (a fascinating part of Dutch history) sewed together three of these houses and hid a decently sized church in the attic of all three. All canal houses have been kept in as close to original condition as possible, so you’ll learn not only about the history of the Netherlands, but also about Dutch architecture, and what life was like in the Golden Age of the Netherlands. If you’re short on time and you have a little less than one day in Amsterdam, walk by to admire it and try to figure out where the church is!
11am: Red Light District in Amsterdam, Begijnhof, & Break
You’re probably already starting to see the the red light windows as you walk towards the heart of the Red Light District in Amsterdam, which is all around the Old Church (Oude Kerk). For the real heart of it, you’ll need to squeeze down Trompettersteeg. (Is before lunch too early to visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam? Probably, but if you go at night, it's quite crowded although you'll see the iconic red lights. If you have one day in Amsterdam, seeing it ONCE is enough.) For the record, you cannot take any photos in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. If you really want to see Dam Square, you can pass by it on your way out of the Red Light District.
Stay walking along Nes or Oudezijds Voorburgwal and find the door to the Begijnhof (next to the American Book Centre). Here, you’ll find the most famous and touristic hofje in Amsterdam. Hofjes were closed communities from the middle ages where seniors and/or widows would live together as a community. However, the Begijnhof functioned almost like a nunnery, only for devot women, however women could leave to marry.
Stop for a coffee at de koffiesalon spui and try a famous/delicious warm chocolate cookie at Van Stapele Koekmakerij to hold you over until lunch. (Note don’t eat lunch yet. I got you covered and you’ll want to be hungry for lunch!)
Bloemenmarkt. Walk towards the flower market although be warned that not all flowers can brought home depending on where you live (Americans: ask the vendors for which tulips are allowed to be brought back into the US.) That said, you should be waiting until it’s getting cold to plant your tulips, so if you’re visiting in the peak of summer, it’s less likely that your tulips will pop up every year.
If you dream of seeing the tulips in the field, you can see them in the tulip fields in the Netherlands for free on another day. Click for information on how to see the tulips!
Take the 24 tram towards the Heineken Experience (Marie Heinekenplein stop).
If you’re keen on doing your own self-guided walking tour instead, walk towards the 7 Bridges look out spot for that iconic Amsterdam photo. Avoid Vijzelstraat. Take Reguliersgracht until you pass the Heineken Experience. (The map of the walking tour at the very bottom describes this route for your perfect one day in Amsterdam!)
Part II: De Pijp (1km)
You’ll be close to the Heineken Experience. I really don’t recommend visiting the Heineken Experience as there’s so much good beer in Amsterdam and paying 20+ euros is crazy to me when you can pay 5 euros for a tour and a beer at my favorite Amsterdam brewery. (Take a picture outside and get a Heineken at a nearby bar if you’re really excited about trying it in Amsterdam. Enjoy your 16 euros extra.)
Now you’re in De Pijp, one of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam. If it’s any day besides Sunday, I recommend getting cash out and eating the fresh made food along the Albert Cuypmarkt, one of Amsterdam’s largest neighborhood markets. Be sure to get a FRESH stroopwafel for dessert, which is made in front of you by the vendors here are famous for stroopwafel. Definitely browse the market for delicious food (this is why I made you wait to eat!), souvenirs, and spices.
Keep an eye out for Surinamese Roti, Indonesian food, haring stands, and freshly made Stroopwafel. You'll want cash for this market!
If you’re looking to sit down or it’s a Sunday, head to Bazar, The Butcher, or my favorite Indonesian restaurant in De Pijp, Sari Citra for a reasonable relaxed meal. Ferdinand Bolstraat is the heart of De Pijp, however you’ll find lots of cute streets off of it, including the Wake me up when I’m famous Bench.
Museumplein is a 7 minute walk from Marie Heinekenplein or only 500m from the Wake me up when I’m famous bench.
Part III: Museumplein
2pm: Art museum of your choice
Walk over to Museumplein to see the iAmsterdam sign as well as the Van Gogh museum, the Stedelijk museum for modern art, and the RIjksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum requires at least three hours if you want to visit although the Stedelijk museum/Van Gogh museum can be done in two hours if you’re fast. Book your tickets in advance for the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum to avoid lines. I’ll assume you’re going to one of these.
Side note: If you're a fan of Van Gogh, you can discover how he began painting as a day trip from Brussels.Read more about Van Gogh's home in Belgium here!
Before it gets dark, walk 1km to Vondelpark to enjoy Amsterdam’s most beautiful park! If you want more time, you'll need a bit less time at the art museum, however if you want to stop for a drink, I recommend the Blauwe Theehuis, which also happens to be one of the best spots for PokemonGo in Amsterdam.
It’s 1.5km to the Foodhallen, so you can take the tram/bus from Vondelpark to the Foodhallen. Alternatively, you can walk.
5:30/6pm: Dinner time at the Foodhallen
Head to the Foodhallen for an dinner (or early dinner) in one of many booths. I personally love Mazza although I’m also a huge fan of the Bitterballen bar (very Dutch). The booths change often although make sure that someone saves your table while you get food, otherwise your table will be gone when you get back. You can sample good Amsterdam local brews, including Two Chefs, at the bar here. If you only have 24 hours in Amsterdam, you need to try some of the fantastic craft beer in Amsterdam, not just Heineken.
From here, take the tram towards the stop Westermarkt.
8pm: Anne Frank House
The Jordaan is one of my favorite areas of Amsterdam, however before you explore the Jordaan, you'll want to visit the Anne Frank House. it’s a little known fact that the Anne Frank House is open until 10pm everyday. Take advantage of the lull in the crowds if you don’t have tickets and get in line at the Anne Frank House. People usually start leaving around 7-8pm, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.
Alternatively if you reserve your Anne Frank tickets online (which is best), you'll be going to the Anne Frank House in the morning and early afternoon. (The Anne Frank museum has changed their policy and it is ticket-only in the morning, so no point in lining up early). You may want to reverse this Amsterdam itinerary depending on your Anne Frank ticket time. That said, if you're not a museum person, I'd choose between the Anne Frank Museum and the Rijksmuseum. If you only have one day in Amsterdam, use the time to use the Jordaan instead.
If you want to stop off at a great cafe after, I recommend Struik for hipster vibes, Cafe Chris if you’re into dive bars, and Mazzo if you’re into nice wine bars.
9-11pm Enjoy the Jordaan at night
Walking along the canals in Amsterdam is still one of my favorite things, so after you leave the Anne Frank house, walk along Prinsengracht. Stop off at Winkel43 for the best apple pie in Amsterdam or Monte Pelmo IJS for the best ice cream in Amsterdam for dessert. There’s tons of cosy brown bars in this area as well as hidden hofjes, but all are closed to the public at night.
I recommend getting a craft beer at Finch Cafe or a traditional drink (maybe some jenever) at the beautiful Papeneiland Cafe. If you want to wander, head towards the tip of the Jordaan towards Palmgracht and Brouwersgracht for the architecture. If you're tired after this one day in Amsterdam, I hope that you enjoyed this walking tour of Amsterdam!
Love trying new drinks? We tried out all the Dutch liquors that we could find. Read about 13 interesting Dutch liquors and spirits to try in the Netherlands.
More into beer? We're rounded up the best beer in Amsterdam and where to drink the best beer in Amsterdam. (Proost y'all.)
Late night in Amsterdam
Well, you have one day in Amsterdam and possibly one night in Amsterdam, you might as well party it up.
If you’re still in the mood for an artisanal cocktail after the Anne Frank House, head to Vesper if they’re open. Otherwise, head back along Haarlemmerdijk to find the buzzing coffeeshops (not coffee) and late night snacks. It's about 1km from Papeneiland back to Centraal Station.
If you’re looking to go out at a nightclub in Amsterdam, you can head to Leidseplein for the biggest clubs in Amsterdam. Things don’t usually get started until at least midnight/1am, so take the time to relax for the night if I haven’t exhausted you yet. ;)
If you’re looking for a more relaxing evening with more walking, I always love walking down Herengracht and Keizersgracht late at night. It’s so quiet and relaxing.
Good things to know about going out in Amsterdam: Most things in the outer neighborhoods will be closed besides bars and maybe a late night food place. However, Centre will be going ALL night. This is when the Red Light District is the most crowded, but it’s really best to go in the daytime if you’re set on visiting the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Public transit mostly shuts down after midnight, however there’s night buses that run late although they cost considerably more than the normal bus. Plan ahead before you go out and avoid taxis if possible as they're known to scam tourists.
Sleep (a little)
Depending on when your trip is, be aware that Airbnb is getting much more regulated in Amsterdam and during high season, finding an affordable hotel close to your dates is more difficult. I recommend booking your hotel/hostel ahead.
The next morning...
The next day, get up for another good breakfast (preferably somewhere different) and say goodbye to Amsterdam! (If you prefer a slower pace, this itinerary for one day in Amsterdam is definitely doable within 36 hours in Amsterdam.)
End of your walking tour of Amsterdam and total milage round-up for this free walking tour of Amsterdam...
I really hope you come back for longer (I think that three days in Amsterdam is perfect) or at least take a day trip to one of the beautiful castles that are possible with a day trip from Amsterdam.
Have you been to Amsterdam? Let me know what you thought of this one day in Amsterdam itinerary! Please share if you found this self guided walking tour of Amsterdam helpful! [Keep scrolling for downloadable map of the walking tour.]
If you need any more tips for Amsterdam...
Your free map for your one day in Amsterdam free self guided walking tour!
Karen and Jacob. American expats and cat lovers from New York City and Kentucky who lived in Amsterdam.... Now in Paris with moving back to the Netherlands this month.
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