Less than an hour’s flight from some UK airports, Amsterdam is accessible and affordable for a city break. Whether you’re into art, fashion, food or all of the above you can find a vintage store, museum or street food market to satisfy your needs. With an unrivalled café culture, eclectic nightlife and easy going pace of life, this cycle-friendly city is perfect for a few days of exploring.
Day one: Museumplein, Food Hallen and Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods
There’s a lot to see and do in Amsterdam depending on what you’re interested in. A great place to start is with the array of museums, so culture vultures will appreciate Museumplein. Home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Moco Museum, it’s located in Oud-Zuid – one of the city’s most prestigious neighbourhoods.
Spend your afternoon over at Amsterdam’s popular Foodhallen – an indoor street food destination. It’s about a 20 minute walk or 10 minute tram ride from Museumplein, so you can easily get there in time for lunch. Amsterdam has a real sociable vibe, so you can always find great places to hang out, eat and meet new people and this is definitely one of them.
End the day with a wander through some of Amsterdam’s coolest neighborhoods. Westerpark lies adjacent to the centre in Amsterdam West, about 20 minutes from Foodhallen. There’s a huge park and plenty of independent shops, a retro arcade, and a collection of bars and pubs. Westergas, a cultural powerhouse, features food and entertainment venues, pop up events and regular Sunday markets.
Another great area is Oost (Amsterdam East). This neighbourhood is full of hip places and green spaces. It’s a culturally diverse area, so you can expect to find everything from Turkish bakeries and Indonesian street food, to Middle Eastern café’s and Ethiopian coffee houses. Oost is also teaming with trendy bars, outdoor terraces, shops and music/theatre venues.
Day two: Canal cruises, bike rides and parklife
If you have good weather, take to the waters for a canal ride. They make this picturesque city what it is today, and there’s no better view than from here gliding past town houses and under bridges. You can hop on a guided tour from operators like Stromma or Blue Boat from various points in the city, or you can get a Canal Cruise Ticket online in advance. If you have an I Amsterdam card, then this includes a free one hour cruise.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, rent a bike for the afternoon. Most residents get around on bikes so you’ll feel like a local riding through the city and taking in the sights. There are several rentals such as Bike City and MacBike. Take a stop off at one of over 30 parks. Vondelpark is a fvaourite; it’s the largest park in Amsterdam with café’s and an open-air theatre. Sarphatipark is another oasis in Oud-Zuid perfect for picnics and sunbathing. Or try Frankendaelpark in Oost; this ecological park is full of wildlife and quiet paces to reflect.