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Please critique my Amsterdam itinerary

Hello! I am hoping you good folks will critique the Amsterdam portion of my London/Amsterdam itinerary and let me know if I am planning too much for the number of days we will be there. Arriving in London 6 June for eight nights and then taking the Eurostar to Amsterdam for three nights- arriving on a Friday and departing Monday morning to return to London for the last two nights of our trip. I am 60, have no problem getting around and my 18yo granddaughter will be going with me. We will be using a 3-day GVB card for transportation. Looking for a good mix of history, sightseeing, and things that will interest a young adult. Need recommendations for moderately priced restaurants, shopping and a coffee shop that welcomes tourists.

Friday- Check in at Edson B&B. Rest of day free.

Saturday- Albert Cuyp Market and/or Waterlooplein flea market. Evening free.

Sunday- Will secure mid-morning advance tickets for Anne Frank House. Rest of day free.

Monday- return to London, not sure of train time.

We would also like to see the “This is Holland” attraction situated across the canal behind the Station, the Zoo and Aquarium, Red Light District (at an early hour), DeFoodhallen, the Pancake Bakery and Moder’s restaurants, and maybe take in a show at Boom Chicago and a canal tour. Can we fit this all in? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

Posted by
1424 posts

I didn't do a lot of the things on your list, so I can't comment on whether you should do them or how much time they will take.

You don't mention any art museums, of which there are many excellent ones in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rembrandt House and Museum, and the Hermitage are all worthwhile. And there are many more, plus many excellent non-art museums. Do a google search for Amsterdam Museums and look through the lists that come up.

Or better yet, have your granddaughter do that and give you a list of her top three or four.

Amsterdam is a great walking city, and there are some excellent walking tours available that will include stops and some of the sites you are interested in. And a canal boat tour is worth considering as well. (I did both a walking tour and a canal boat tour, and I'm glad I did.) Get a guide book and read about the options, or search this forum for recommendations.

Winkel in the Jordaan is a great cafe with outstanding apple pie.

Posted by
1023 posts

Hi dremr58,
You dont say where you are staying in the city. I have been to Amsterdam several times with my teens, and I dont make a point of visiting the Red Light district. Its very touristy in a knick-knacky kind of way. Maybe a brief walk around to see the oldest part of town. While there I would strongly recommend The Old Church in the Attic. You make your way up through an old house to the attic where there is a secret Catholic church, which is where devotees went when Catholics were no longer allowed to observe. The house is a wonderful tour through history, and the attic is a unique experience. Foodhallen is fun and loud. Its a warehouse with different food vendors set up inside. All of the food is yummy. Some nights (maybe just Saturdays) they set up ping pong tables out front, and have a DJ. My teen daughter finds it a little too loud and clubby, but I think its very fun for a lunch or dinner (and delicious and affordable). The zoo and aquarium wouldn't be my first choice. I might rent bikes for a few hours and ride around Vondelpark (if you're up for it), or just walk around the Jordaan/Nine streets area. I would definitely visit at least the Van Gogh museum, or the Rijks. The Night Watch by Rembrandt is truly incomparable. The Van Gogh museum is small and manageable, especially nice if you get there when they open. It took my daughter and me two hours to see it all and it was just starting to get crowded when we left. A cruise can be nice, to give you the lay of the land, or you could walk and walk and walk around the outer rings. Id say two hours is enough for Albert Cuyp. There is a gelato place called Delepel that is just beyond Albert Cuyp. It is our favorite Gelato place in Europe so far, after Fatamorgana in Rome. Turns out the owner is from Rome, and when I told him his is better he said "oh I know the guys who own Fatmorgana". I hope he is still there. Niewe Spiegelstraat, directly north of the Rijks, is a cute shopping street that is closed to cars, but the cutest shopping is the None Streets area. For Rijstafel, we like Puri Mas in the Leidseplein area, which is expensive (25pp is the option we choose) but a unique experience and oh so good. There's a burger place in the Nine Streets called Burgermeester thats very good, and a cafe one or two doors down from it that is also very good. Our favorite breakfasts are at Bakers and Roasters in the De Pijp neighborhood (theres always a line on weekends) or Greenwoods on Keizersgracht. We always rent bikes, Its our first stop, and then we keep them for the time of our sty. But biking in Amsterdam, while an exhilarating and truly Dutch experience, can be chaotic and not for everyone. Biking out along the Amstel river (we have gone along the north shore) is a treat.

Posted by
86 posts

Our travel companions enjoyed a combined bike/canal/walking tour. We all enjoyed an evening canal cruise with Those Dam Boat Guys. As far I can tell, all the coffee shops welcome tourists. I assume you know that a coffee shop sells marijuana. Make sure there is a French fry stand nearby. We went to the one by us three times in as many days, and we hadn't even been to the coffee shop. So good!

Posted by
306 posts

You have three days in Amsterdam and it is a weekend so be prepared for crowds and traffic - especially the bikes!
Your itinerary sounds easy-going and Amsterdam is a very walkable town.

You should be able to fit everything into your itinerary.
We used the Blue Boat Company near Vondel Park, although many forum users like the Dam Boat Guys.
Do be sure to try the frites and don't skimp on the mayo - it is the best you will have ever tasted.
finally, consider a splurge to Martine's Table. Reservations are required but the food and ambiance is well worth the money.
You might even consider a day trip outside Amsterdam just to see the countryside.
Might want to consider Haarlem.
Have fun!

Posted by
42 posts

Thank you all for your input! This is our first trip to Amsterdam. My granddaughter has wanted to see the AF house since grade school so everything other than that will be whatever we feel like on the day. We have reservations at Edson b&b about a 10 min walk from the station. I have run across the restaurants Winkel, Bakers & Roasters and Martine's in my research, so thank you for confirming that they are recommended. Same for the canal tour operators, I will look for them if we decide to do that. My granddaughter had said no to more museums (we are seeing several in London) but is crazy about zoos and aquariums. If we see the ones in London she may decide that is enough- or not. I did tell her about the Corrie ten Boom house in Haarlem but am unsure if we will have time to travel there on just a weekend visit. She also showed interest in a Red Light District tour conducted by a former worker. She is very interested in social justice issues. And yes, we know the difference between a coffee shop and a regular cafe :)

This trip is her HS graduation gift and I want to have some free time built into our schedule so she can choose what she feels like doing on the day. We may get caught up in shopping or have more free time than we expected. I do encourage her to see things she may later regret not seeing- it may be several years or never that we get back to Amsterdam. I want her to feel like we are doing things spontaneously, never realizing how well Grandma has researched the trip. I want her to think I have a extraordinary sense of direction and an uncanny knack for finding neat places. Again, many thanks and I welcome any suggestions.

Posted by
2828 posts

Instead of the Pancake Bakery, I strongly recommend MOKO (their main restaurant in the west, not their stall in the city center which is too busy). Their pancakes have a modern twist, look and taste good. It is near Moeders.

There is another great "converted industrial facility" to walk around - the Westgasfabriek, the old gasworks of Amsterdam. They have a mix of shops and restaurants there, and, on fair weather day, plenty of people go to the adjacent park to hang out.

Posted by
1790 posts

Most itineraries offered up for critique here would have listed everything you did except, all in one day so I say add one or two more things! A group bike tour North of the city would probably be a highlight of your trip. "Yellow bike" is really close to your B&B (make a reservation). Definitely check out the RLD and watch Rick Steves' video on Amsterdam and how they deal with social issues. For shopping, you should check out the "9 Streets" area in the Jordaan which is directly South of your B&B along the Herengracht. Lot's of boutiques, designers and items you won't see back home. 9 Streets webpage Leave a lot of time to wander around lost. Stop at the Hoxton Hotel lobby for a cup of coffee on your way to the 9 Streets. It's a very millennial international crowd and sure to be interesting to an 18 year old.

Posted by
4873 posts

Each to their own, but my visit to Amsterdam was memorable because I visited the Rijksmuseum with all the incomparable Rembrandt paintings. Also, the Van Gogh Museum is great. Further, take a canal cruise and day trip to the Zuiderzee Zee.