A Perfect Weekend in Amsterdam (Stay, See, Eat, Drink)

This guide walks you through how to spend a perfect weekend in Amsterdam! I have been to Amsterdam now a few times, and sharing some of my favorite places and things to do in the city, along with a roundup of all of the spots still on my list to try! This perfect weekend in Amsterdam guide walks hits some of my favorite attractions including a boat tour, Anne Frank museum, and Kaasbar (a must visit)!

What to Expect in Amsterdam, NL

  • Local Language: Dutch! However, almost everyone speaks English incredibly well in The Netherlands as a second language. Also, oftentimes in restaurants there will be non locals working there, so they also have to know English. You can typically find English signs/menus almost everywhere in The Netherlands.
    • Note it does go a long way to learn some basic phrases including hallo (hello – formal), hoi hoi/doei doei (hi/bye bye – informal), alsjeblieft (please/here you are), bedankt (thank you – formal), dank je wel (thank you – informal), and ja/nee (yes/no).
  • Currency: Euro! As of date written, $1 = €.92 (Euro)
  • Credit Cards: I used tap to pay everywhere and had no issues with Chase (didn’t notify them of travel before). Can definitely call your credit card as an extra precaution before traveling to let them know you will be abroad.
  • Cash Withdrawals: I did not need cash once while in Amsterdam. However, it is always good to have some cash as backup so maybe just take out a smaller amount to begin. Worst case, you can always find a place to spend it before returning home.
  • Safety: I felt incredibly safe in Amsterdam, however like any city, use extra precaution if alone (I was always with someone when exploring).

Where to Stay in Amsterdam:

HOTELS:

In the past, I have been a fan of the Airbnb experience, however as of late I much prefer a hotel stay unless you have a larger group or need kitchen amenities during your stay. The following are my top recommendations for hotels to stay at for a perfect weekend in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Canal Hotel

A cozy hotel with amazing views of the canals. I stayed here before for a weekend in Amsterdam and would absolutely recommend this spot when visiting. The location was great with it being close to Day 2 activities including Bakers & roasters/CT Coffee & Coconuts, the museums, Kaasbar, and the Albert Cuyp Markt. I don’t think you can go wrong with either hotel, however I loved this one for the amazing canal views it came with!

Swissôtel Amsterdam

Another great option I’ve also stayed at for a perfect weekend in Amsterdam. This hotel is a bit further north and closer to Day 1 activities including the Royal Palace, Pluk, Anne Frank House, Jordaan neighborhood, boat cruise, Winkel 43, and Tozi. Also had a great experience at this hotel and would definitely return.

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How to get around Amsterdam

  • Walk – so walkable and how I recommend getting around the bulk of your weekend in Amsterdam.
  • Metro/Tram – Another option if you need to get somewhere across town quickly.
  • Uber – Available in Amsterdam and a great option for going back to your hotel at night after a long day exploring.
  • Bike – You can rent bikes in Amsterdam, however I wouldn’t recommend. It’s so chaotic in Amsterdam and you are working with biking pros trying to figure out how to get around. This article sums up nicely why it’s prob not the best idea to rent a bike + plenty of other easier options.

Day 1 in Amsterdam

The following outlines how to spend a perfect day 1 in Amsterdam. The times are just a rough outline, and you can definitely tailor the times to your preference/reservations availability. If you are more of night owls, you can definitely push all of these times back as well and just end later in the night. The best part about summer nights is that you get many more hours of sunlight as well (sun doesn’t set until 10p in June)!

Pluk

9:30-10: Start your morning with matcha/coffee from the cutest cafe in Amsterdam: Pluk. There are two locations around the block from each other. You can also snag a pastry to go (the treat I had was UNREAL) and they have adorable pottery – bought a mug I love to take home. If you do want to have breakfast here just note they do get packed, and if one location is full, they’ll likely direct you to the other which is a bit annoying. However, the to go line was quick & easy!

Kaashuis Tromp

10-10:30am: If looking for a fun souvenir to take home, head over to Kaashuis Tromp (3 min walk from Pluk) for some amazing cheese options. They will even let you sample from all of the different cheese flavors in store and air seal your selection to take back. I took a few different cheeses home including a truffle cheese that was to die for!

Address: Elandsgracht 27, 1016 TN Amsterdam, Netherlands

Houseboat Museum

10:30am-10:45am: Pop into the Houseboat Museum just next door to see what life inside a Dutch houseboat looks like. There are currently over 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam! I personally have not done the houseboat museum myself, however it looks like a fun, quick spot to explore with great reviews. Plus, it is quick to get through from reviews (~10-15 min max) and only 5 euros to enter! You can book the morning entrance (10am-12pm) or all day pass (10am-5p) on their site here.

The Happy Pig Pancake Shop

10:45-11:15: Walk over just a 5 min walk from Pluk to The Happy Pig Pancake Shop for some incredible breakfast pancakes. They have a variety of create your own sweet & savory options to choose from including a Dutch Delight (gouda cheese with jam) and apple pie like filling (what I went with with chocolate on top). Literally everyone kept staring at our plates as they walked by us eating them outside.

Jordaan

11:15-1p: If visiting during warmer months, stroll around some of the most gorgeous streets in Jordaan neighborhood. There are a ton of great photo opps along these streets.

Anne Frank House

1-2p: A must visit in Amsterdam. I was finally able to get tickets my third time in Amsterdam and note you have to reserve these out way in advance. You will not be allowed entry without a ticket and they SELL OUT FAST!* Tickets are 16 euros for adults and can be reserved on their site here. Note that photography is not allowed inside. You will receive an audio tour upon arrival, and it took us about an hour to get through everything.

*Pro Tip: As of date written, you can buy tickets up to 45 days out. Once you know the weekend you will be in Amsterdam, I would set a calendar reminder 45 days before your trip date to buy tickets so you can get a good time slot.

Boat Cruise

2-3:30p: If this is your first time in Amsterdam, a boat cruise is such a fun way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time! There are tons of boat cruises to choose from, however I would recommend this tour (has a 2:30p option) both for location convenience (pickup is by Anne Frank house) and based on reviews. Plus it comes with cheese & wine! There are also plenty of other cruise times starting at 10:30am-10p, so you definitely have flexibility on choosing a time. We did the boat cruise during my 21 day Euro Contiki tour & had a BLAST!

If you prefer a private boat tour, you can also explore some options here!

Apple Pie @Winkel 43

3:30-5p: Head to Winkel 43 after the boat tour for some of the best apple pie you’ll ever have. They are known for their pie so you may have to wait a bit in line, but it is SO worth the wait!

Vondelpark

5-7p: Wind your way down through the Jordaan streets one more time to make your way towards Vondelpark. There are plenty of cute shops, cafes, and bars you could also pop in on your way down. Vondelpark is a huge park definitely worth seeing and you could easily spend an hour walking the park alone.

Tozi

7-9p: Head to Tozi for an Italian dinner (located right next to the park). The food and service was INCREDIBLE and you must try the Tonnarelli ‘Cacio e Pepe’ wheel pasta (pictured below).

9p-12am: If you want to continue the night, there are plenty of bars in the city you can pop into, or explore any of the bars that have caught my eye rounded up further below. Less my area of expertise, but there are also plenty of “coffee shops” you could check out in the city.

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Day 2 in Amsterdam

Bakers & Roasters

9:30-11am:Start your morning with breakfast at Bakers & Roasters (De Pijp location – other location in the center). They are walk in only but also have a digital queue. The breakfast burrito seriously hit the spot. You can check out their full menu here.

Address: Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54 1072 BH Amsterdam

Coffee & Coconuts

9:30-11am: An alternative breakfast option in the same area (the pijp). I did not try this spot, but was on my list to try!

Museumplein

11am-3:30p: There are three famous museums in this area you can explore:

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Moco Museum
  • Van Gogh Museum

We explored the Rijksmuseum which I LOVED and would absolutely recommend as a must visit during your weekend in Amsterdam. You can buy tickets here for anytime between 9am-3:30p. Rijksmuseum is huge and you could easily spend hours inside. Make sure to find the library, as that was one of my favorite rooms!

If time permits, you should definitely choose another museum to explore as they both look like great options (have not explored myself yet – still on the bucket list)!

Kaasbar Amsterdam

3:30-6p: Head to Kaasbar for a late afternoon, pre dinner drink and snack! I went to the Kaasbar location in Utrecht, and absolutely adored this spot. They have so many cheeses to choose from along with matching pairings + the cutest conveyor belt of cheese bringing the plates out. The Dutch are famous for their cheese, and every cheese we tried was unreal.

Heineken Experience

6-8:30p: Walk over just 2 minutes from Kaasbar to begin the Heineken Experience tour. This is another tour still on my bucket list, but I have heard really great things from friends who have done this, which is why recommending including the tour during your weekend in Amsterdam. Tickets on their website sell out FAST but you can purchase an entry ticket here. The tour takes about an hour and a half.

Capital Kitchen

8:30p-10:30p: Finish the night with dinner at Capital Kitchen. We had an amazing meal here, and the ambiance was very cool/chic inside. Note a bit of a curveball when we visited was that they did not have English menus (only time I experienced this in The Netherlands) however your server can walk you through it in English or you can use a translator app. This also may have changed since then.

10:30p+: End your night in Amsterdam exploring the Red Light District and finishing off with a nightcap at any of the bars below, or any others you walk by that catch your eye!

Hope you enjoyed the guide to a perfect weekend in Amsterdam. If you have more time, definitely check out the lists below as there is so much to see in this amazing city!!

Places to explore/see in Amsterdam:

  • Rijksmuseum
  • Moco Museum
  • Anne Frank House
  • Boat Tour
  • Bleomenmarkt
  • Cheese Shop (took home from Kaashuis Tromp)
  • Heineken Museum
  • Nxt Museum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Rembrandt Museum
  • “Coffee” Shop
  • Red Light District
  • Albert Cuyp Markt
  • Glow MiniGolf
  • The Upside Down Amsterdam
  • Royal Palace Amsterdam

Where to eat in Amsterdam:

  • Lolo
  • Gustatio
  • Mr. Sam Asian Bistro
  • Capital Kitchen
  • Foodhallen Amsterdam
  • Impero Romano
  • Trattoria Ceppi’s
  • PepeNero Cucina & PIzza
  • TOZI Amsterdam
  • Bar Bonnie
  • Kaasbar Amsterdam

Where to Drink in Amsterdam

  • Super Lyan Garden
  • SkyLounge Amsterdam
  • Bar Rouge Amsterdam
  • Rayleigh & Ramsay
  • Louie Louie Amsterdam
  • Cielo Skybar & Restaurant

Breakfast/Cafes/Bakeries in Amsterdam:

  • Pluk Amsterdam
  • The Happy Pig
  • CT Coffee & Coconuts
  • BAUT Oost
  • SAINT-JEAN
  • De Laatste Kruimel
  • Winkel 43

Have more time in The Netherlands? Some top additional places to explore:

  • Utrecht
  • Zaandam
  • The Hague/Madurodam
  • Gouda
  • Rotterdam Zoo

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xx,

Katya Ann Signature

hi, I'm Katya -- former D1 tennis player, certified CorePower Yoga Sculpt teacher, & soon to be IIN Certified Health Coach. Welcome to my page where I share all things wellness, real food recipes, and fitness. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to explore all things recipes, travel, yoga sculpt, wellness hacks, & shop all of my faves!

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