Amsterdam is one of the most romantic cities in the world as well as most of the canal cities. There are a lot of things to do in Amsterdam in 4 days. You’ll be spoiled for choice! Amsterdam is a very versatile city and you can really enjoy it from different points of view. I planned a travel itinerary which is nice for culture lovers who also want to discover history, traditions and nature. Follow my tips to discover the best things to do in Amsterdam!
DAY 1. KEUKENHOF – ANNE FRANK HOUSE – WESTERMARKT – WOONBOOTMUSEUM – ROYAL PALACE
When I visited Amsterdam I decided to start from Keukenhof gardens because I was so curious to visit this magical place for flowers lovers. 35 acres of park with tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, bluebells, lilies. The best way to enjoy it is by bike. There are also a mill, a typical store of Dutch clogs, a maze and a petting zoo in Keukenhof. I recommend to buy a Combi ticket Keukenhof which includes bus from Schiphol, Leiden, Haarlem or Amsterdam. The park is open only from March 23 to May 21, 2017. You can also buy a ticket which combines a wonderful canal cruise in a luxurious boat with the visit to the Keukenhof Gardens.
Visit Anne Frank House in the Jordaan district. During World War II, Anna, her family and other Jewish refugees hid in these rooms, before Nazi forces raided the house and deported them to concentration camps. You can see an original copy of Anne’s diary. It is definitely a touching experience. It seems to breathe their fear and their hope.
TIP: It is better to visit it late in the evening because it is less crowded and you can fully immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of this place. I also define it a spiritual place and I thought about how Anne Frank was strong. She was only a child.
Just behind the house there is Westermarkt square, which takes its name from the church Westerkerk and where Rembrandt was buried (although nobody knows where he was buried). In Westermarkt there is a pink triangle homo monument dedicated to homosexuals exterminated by the Nazis. It is made of three triangular slabs of pink granite.
Walking from here (about 9 minutes) there is the Woonbootmuseum, the museum of the houseboats, at 296 of Prisengraght. These typical floating houses arouse the curiosity of many tourists. The price ticket is only €3.75 and the opening times are 11-17. Closed on Mondays.Do you love pancakes? Just near Woonbootmuseum try famous pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam. They are yummy! It closes at 19! After your snack go to Dam square where there is the imposing Royal Palace. I didn’t visit the interior of the Palace.
CURIOSITY: Amsterdam is one of the 25 cities in Europe where you can find cherry blossoms trees! Don’t miss Amsterdam Wood park if you are visiting this fab city in spring!
Enjoy a delicious beer at the pub In De Wildeman. For dinner try Bordewijk, if you like French cuisine. Here, you can taste local products, meat or fish. If you love to be surprised choose Daalder, which will amaze you with a surprise menu! These restaurants are both in Jordaan district.
DAY 2. VAN GOGH MUSEUM – RIJKSMUSEUM – HEINEKEN BREWERY – ALBERT CUYP MARKT – VONDELPARK
Starting a day with a yummy breakfast is what I always do and my advice is to go to Bagels & Beans at 70 Ferdinand Bolstraat. The bagels are a cheap solution. Paying approximately €5,85 you can choose different menu and enjoy a rich breakfast that includes even fruit juice, jam, tea or coffee in addition to bagels. Then visit the beautiful Van Gogh Museum, which is open daily from 9 to 17 (until 18 from March 1 to October 31) and until 22 on Fridays (this is when I recommend to visit Van Gogh Museum). The ticket price is €17 and I think that it is a bit expensive. So if you have a Holland pass use it to visit this museum. Here you can admire 200 paintings and 580 drawings. Only the third floor includes paintings by Impressionist artists such as Monet, Pissarro, Gauguin.
TIP: book the ticket online to avoid queues that often start from 10am. Children do not pay the entry.
Visiting Van Gogh Museum is very instructive for your little ones. In fact, they have to guess Van Gogh’s paintings through some questions on a booklet they receive before entering the museum.
At the end of your visit do not forget to look for the “I love Amsterdam” letters in the large square of Museumplein, where often there are festivals and events. This square is surrounded by the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Your next destination is the Rijksmuseum where there are stunning artworks of Rembrandt and Veermer. My favorite artwork is The Tempest. I spent about 2 hours to visit it.Then, if you are curious about the history of one of the most famous beers in the world visit the Heineken Brewery. Admission is €18, but if you buy the ticket online it is €15.
If you are hungry and if you love markets go to the Pijp, a neighborhood of Amsterdam. Here there is one of the most famous markets: Albert Cuyp Markt. You can buy products from all over the world. I had lunch at Bazar restaurant. This is a characteristic restaurant on 2 floors. The atmosphere is Moroccan and it was an old Protestant church in the past. There are beautiful decorations on the walls that recall this exotic style. You can taste Middle Eastern dishes.
Take a canal tour to discover Amsterdam from the water and go to Leidseplein, which is full of young people. For dinner you’ll be spoiled for choice because everywhere you will find restaurants with all kinds of cuisine, from Italian to Argentinean, Chinese, French, Arab.
Melkweg if popular for concerts of bands (very nice for live music lovers) and Jimmy Woo at 18 of Korte leidsedwarstraat is a nightclub, where you can try fab cocktails. The atmosphere is incredible and the ceiling of the second floor is illuminated by many lamps.
DAY 3. ARTIS ZOO – TROPENMUSEUM – GASSAN DIAMONDS – BLOEMENMARKT – BEGIJNHOF – NIEUWE KERK – FO GUANG SHAN HE HUA – OUDE KERK – RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Head to the Artis Zoo. Buy tickets online to avoid queues or try to arrive on time. This is a large zoo where there are over 1400 species. You can also visit the Planetarium, the Aquarium and the Butterfly House and also assist to shows. I love theme gardens such as Japan garden. It is really wonderful! The admission for adults is €19,95, but if you also want to visit Micropia (the invisible life) it is €27. The admission is free for kids aged 0-2.
TIP: add Micropia to your visit only if you are curious about micro-organism, otherwise only choose to visit Artis Zoo.
If you are not interested in nature and animals, but you are passionate about Caribbean and exotic culture visit the Tropenmuseum just a few steps from Artis Zoo. I love this museum! You can stroll through a Nigerian village, an Arab souk and also discover the life of nomads in central Asia! You can really live a tropical and exotic life for a while 😉Go to Waterloo to visit another flea market. Here you can taste whatever you want.
If you want to see something unique, visit the center Gassan Diamonds for a free tour to know more about diamonds: carats, colors, clarity and cuts. The tours are every day from 9 to 17.
Go to the famous Bloemenmarkt floating flower market. Don’t miss it! Here you can also buy lovely souvenirs as the typical Dutch wooden shoes with inside the bulbs of tulips. Go to the square of Spui and enter beautiful courtyard of the Begijnhof, a complex of small homes around a courtyard. it was built by beguines and it is symbol of the history of Amsterdam. It is a small peaceful oasis. There is a chapel I recommend to visit right inside the courtyard. Originally it was surrounded by water, with access via a bridge over the Begijnensloot canal.Visit also Nieuwe Kerk, and the largest Buddhist temple in Europe: Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple. The Oude Kerk, with wooden ceiling, is located in the Red Light District. The building is erected on a cemetery and inside you can read manyslogans, some of them are really funny.
In the evening, take a look at the Red Light District with red lights. Here there are prostitutes behind glass windows along canals and alleys. You cannot take pictures.
DAY 4. ZAANSE SCHANS – MARKEN – VOLENDAM
Choose a day trip from Amsterdam to visit the beautiful village of Zaanse Schans, which is famous for windmills still in use, the typical wooden houses and farms. Head to the Central Station. You have 3 options:
- take the train to Uitgeest and get off at the fourth stop Koog-Zaandijk. You will arrive in about 15 minutes. A one way-journey is €4.11.
- take the bus 391 and in 40 minutes you will arrive at your destination. The cost of the ticket is approximately the same price.
- rent a bike!
The admission is €3 for each mill. De Gekroonde Poelenburg is a mill sawmill. Here they produce the oils and pigments for painting the facades of wooden houses. Visit the Farm Cheese Catharina Hoeve. The admission is free. There is also a shop selling clogs and you can assist to clogs production process.Don’t miss the beautiful villages of Marken, the country of clogs with wooden houses painted of green and Volendam, the fishing village, accessible by ferry. You can try fried fish at the fish stalls. I tasted a yummy sandwich with smoked salmon and fried shrimps. Then, get jiggy in buying souvenirs that are cheaper than the ones in the center of Amsterdam. You can visit these villages in 6 hours.If you don’t want to visit other villages after Zaanse Schans go back to Amsterdam for shopping. Droog Design at Staalstraat 7b is my favourite place to buy lamps made by creative people and objects for your home.
As you can see there are many cool things to do in Amsterdam. I always love to go back to this charming city, because it is eclectic and young.
Have you ever visited Amsterdam? If yes, what did you most enjoy about it?