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Amsterdam Itinerary Help/Suggestions

FH and I are slowly starting to chisel away at the day-to-day itinerary for our three week Europe trip this August. We're starting in Amsterdam and I think we have a rough idea of our itinerary there but I'd love any feedback or suggestions from those of you who are more experienced travelers. Is there anything glaring that we're missing? Any recommendations for restaurants or pubs that we can't miss?

FYI, we are 29 and 30, not at all into museums, but very into local food and drink as well as history, particularly WWII history. We only have 2.5 days in Amsterdam and it's where we will be getting over jetlag so we definitely did not want to try and pack too much in, which is why this itinerary has some flexibility (I think) and evenings free.

Here's what I have:

Sun 7/30 Depart for Amsterdam
Mon 7/31 Arrive at Schipol @ 1pm
Arrive @ B&B between 2-3pm
Relax, get situated
Take a walk around the neighborhood
Early bed

Tues 8/1 Amsterdam
Breakfast @ B&B
9am Anne Frank Huis
11am FreeDam Walking Tour, meet @ the Old Church @ 11am
2pm: Walk to Albert Cuyp Market, browse & have street food/snacks for lunch (walk to Vondelpark to eat?)
Walk back toward Heineken Experience, stop at IAmsterdam sign for pictures
5-6ish Heineken Experience (16 E)
Dinner/walk back to B&B in the Jordaan and just explore on the way

Wed 8/2 Amsterdam
Breakfast @ B&B
10am: History Walk
Lunch (any suggestions?)
2-3ish Dutch Resistance Museum
Canal boat tour
Entire evening to explore/dinner

Thurs 8/3 depart for Bruges

Posted by
333 posts

Amsterdam is such a great city! I've been there twice now and I don't think you can ever tire of it- I'd love to go back again! You have a pretty good itinerary going, though, you might find that your Tuesday day is a bit heavy if jet lag kicks in hard. You might find yourself exhausted by 5 or 6- just a heads up. Jet lag can last more than a day. Plan to do your 2 best things early each day- one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Have a 3rd thing "on tap" that you'll be okay giving up on if you're too worn out.

You'll love the Jordaan area. It's easy to navigate and not far from Damrak and the Anne Frank Huis. Both times when I was there I rented a room on a canal boat less than a mile from AFH. The area was so great for people watching and exploring. There's lots to see by AFH. The Ode Kirk next door, little shops and restaurants are there, as well as the canal boat rides. Most people speak English well, so communication is rarely a problem. When I went with my daughter (who was 20) we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe for fun and otherwise would just pop into local cafes to eat and try out. There are a ton of those in the Jordaan and half the fun is in exploring and just picking one at random. One thing you should try if you can is FEBO which is a food automat- perfect for a quickie meal or to satisfy a munchie craving after your Heineken tour! Google it and see if it trips your trigger! It was fun and very different than anything we have in the midwest. We also took a day trip to see the windmills at Zaanse Shans- just lovely. While there we also got to taste local cheese and chocolate. We also went to Volendam (same trip) and saw how wooden shoes were made. We wanted to take an informative tour of the Red Light district, but had to cancel due to our exhaustion. Same with the castle we wanted to tour. :-( I did see the Anne Frank Huis both times- crowded, but emotional. Amsterdam also has a special theater (Theater Amsterdam) with incredible sets where they perform a play of Anne Frank, if that might be of interest to you. Be sure when you look around Amsterdam that you try to find one of the skinniest houses- they're fascinating! One of them is "Smalstsehuis" at Singel 166. It's 5 1/2 feet wide. There are also a couple of hidden churches dating back to the reformation times when Catholicism was banned. I visited "The Parrot Church" aka The Church of St Peter and St Paul OR H.H. Petrus en Pauluskerk (Papegaai). It's called the Parrot Church because it was originally hidden behind the home of a bird trader. The church has some parrot decor inside.

Bruges is another great little city. Be sure to get lots of chocolate! And maybe visit the Heilig Bloedbasilek (Church of the Christ's Blood) to see the vial of Jesus blood. A canal cruise is a MUST there!

You've got a great trip ahead of you!

Posted by
15051 posts

Who is FH? Anyway, I did the Heineken tour many years ago when it was basically an excuse for free beer. You paid 1 guilder (which Heineken donated to UNICEF), took 45-minute brewery tour and then got lots of free beer. For well over an hour, they just kept coming around and picking up the empty mugs and putting down full ones, gave out a few souvenir glasses or shirts or something to people with birthdays and everyone left happy. Now it sounds like a very pricey pint. BTW, from the reviews on tripadvisor, you should buy online tickets - several mentioned long, long lines.

A few years ago I went to Bols (the gin distiller). It's across the street from the Van Gogh Museum. You take a self-guided tour (€16) through the museum (full explanations in English) that was very interesting. At the end, you get a cocktail of your choosing (there's a long list you select from by computer - they are very creative) and it's fun to watch them make the cocktail. Additional cocktails can be had for a decent price.

Otherwise, sounds good to me. You may want to consider renting bikes for 2 days and going around like locals.

Posted by
5518 posts

I am assuming that you have done the research about the Anne Frank House and know that you need to buy your timed tickets about 90 days out. I would like to suggest adding the Corrie Ten Boom Museum in Haarlam. The tour and history of this family that saved many jews during world war II is quite interesting. Small tours of 15-20 people give a much more intimate experience than the crowds at Anne Frank.

For fun: rent some of the canal pedal boats.

Posted by
254 posts

Lisa, thank you very much for those tips!

Chani, FH is "future husband" is forum-speak, although I suppose that abbreviation is more appropriate for the wedding boards that I also frequent. :) Thank you for the tip about Bols! I just looked it up and it seems right up our alley. Definitely going to see where we can fit that in.

Carol, I do know about the timed tickets for AFH, thank you. I believe on their website you can buy them only 60 days in advance but I'll check again in case it is 90. I originally did have Haarlem and the Corrie Ten Boom House on our list, but I wasn't sure where we could fit it in. Do you have any thoughts? The only thing I'm thinking is possibly on our last day in The Netherlands, before we catch a train to Bruge. We haven't booked that train yet so could potentially book it for later in the afternoon and do Haarlem in the morning. Do you think we'd be shortchanging it that way?

Posted by
228 posts

You could eat your Albert Cuyp market snacks at the very nice Sarphati park which is just a skip from the market . If you do any of the hop- on- hop- off canal boat tours you could save time and energy and may see Vondelpark somewhere on the way.

Posted by
15051 posts

Thanks for the enlightenment. DH I recognize, but the F had me going in another direction . . .

Posted by
7263 posts

Your trip is more than 7 months from now
I'm assuming you are young (29 and 30) and healthy physically and mentally
So don't follow this to a T leave room for some spontaneity.
Read guidebooks before u go; only u know what you are interested in. For Example some might say you are missing a visit to a coffee shop where you buy and smoke weed.
Ask the B&B a local where to eat when you get closer to the date or when you get there.

Posted by
2929 posts

I suggest you do Anne Frank Huis. It was quite a few years ago now, but we found the Carrie Boom house to just be proselytizing by a religious group with a brief 'Oh here is were we hid them' and felt we'd really been fooled and taken advantage of. So be sure you know what it is before you add it to an already full schedule.

Posted by
5518 posts

Wray, I had a completely different experience at the Corrie Ten Boom House last summer than you are describing. I wonder if the tours have changed or if it is entirely tour guide dependent? They did talk about the Ten Boom's faith, but not in pushy way, just to describe the motivation of family for doing what they did.

Posted by
1005 posts

@Wray--Like Carol, I was at the Corrie ten Boom House last fall and I also didn't feel that the proselytizing was overdone. I do think they have been changing the tour--or maybe the volunteer tour guides--so your mileage my vary. I'd like to add that because of the crowd control, it is a much more intimate experience than Anne Frank House, so in my view, it's worth going if you are in Haarlem and have the time.

Posted by
1821 posts

Book AF two months out and leave everything else up in the air. Good you are not over planning, you can pick and choose from your options once on the ground, Amsterdam is easy. Don't plan on an early bedtime your first day although you'll think you want to. Stay up as late as possible your first day so you don't wake up at 1:00AM wide awake.

Posted by
115 posts

IMO, if you're planning rest time, you might be planning too much... but everyone travels differently. The way you describe your interests, you sound like my wife and I (28 and 30), and if you like culture/food, not museum people, etc... you may benefit from less of an itinerary and more of an understanding of what your options are, that way you can just go with it.

Here is my suggestion for lunch: Wander aimlessly until you find a place that looks interesting, hopefully you'll get a little lost in the process.

Posted by
436 posts

At the Anne Frank House they sell a phamphlet (€0.50) for a self-guided walking tour called "Persecution and Resistance in Amsterdam" which my daughter and I found informative and easy to follow. It goes from Anne Frank to the Resistance Museum.

Posted by
1940 posts

If you're cheese lovers, look into the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting. It takes about an hour, and you get to taste some amazing cheeses with wine pairings. You get a discount in their shop if you want to buy some cheese to take with you. It's near Jordaan neighborhood. Check it out on Trip Advisor. I think you need to book ahead.