Less than a week after I returned from Istanbul where I’d been visiting a friend I was off again with a pal from work to Amsterdam.
If only every week could involve two trips away, eh.
It was hand luggage only as we hopped on our easyJet flight at Manchester Airport to make the 50-minute journey to the capital of The Netherlands.
Because of awkward flight times on the only days we could have made the trip we ended up with just over 24 hours in the city. So, I went fully armed with a list of things to see and do that I’d spent a few weeks researching. And my trusty Lonely Planet pocket guide, of course.
9:00 – Canal Cruise
We kick-started our day with a cruise on Amsterdam’s legendary canal rings.
The tour of ‘100 Highlights’ took us past pretty much every sight you could imagine. We managed to tick off seeing Anne Franks house, the Westerkerk, NEMO, houseboats galore and the beautiful houses from the Golden Age before lunchtime.
TIP: Most tours last around an hour and there are several different companies to choose from. We ended up going with Holland International as we bought all our tickets for the things we wanted to do from Tourist Information in one go. By doing it that way we managed to save a few euros.
10:30/11:00 – Royal Palace
Our next stop for the day was Amsterdam’s Royal Palace, the thing I had been most excited to do when planning our trip.
It certainly didn’t disappoint.
I could have spent all day admiring the plush rooms and wandering the marble corridors whilst secretly pretending I was a Princess.
TIP: Check online before you go that the Palace will be open to visitors on the day you want to visit as it doesn’t always have regular opening hours.
13:30/14:00 – I amsterdam sign and Rijksmuseum Catwalk Exhibition via floating flower market
With our stomach’s starting to grumble on the 30/40 minute walk from the Palace to the Rijksmuseum we decided to stop for a quick bite to eat – thick cut Dutch fries smothered in ketchup. IN A CONE. They were beyond amazing.
The I amsterdam sign is conveniently located just behind the Rijksmuseum and a stone’s throw from the Van Gough Museum. After getting slightly lost (I would still argue that I was only taking us the scenic route) we turned a street corner to come across a nice surprise addition to our itinerary: Amsterdam’s floating flower market.
The unique Singel market is made up of individual stalls situated on a row of floating barges.
After dragging ourselves away from the colourful array of tulips on sale we continued to the I amsterdam sign. The tall white and red letters have become a bit of a tourist staple when in the city so there were lots of people crowded round, all trying to get the obligatory photo like us.
A few snaps later we headed inside the recently renovated Rijksmuseum to check out the Catwalk exhibition.
Showcasing the finest in Dutch fashion from 1625 – 1960 the exhibition left me thinking that I seriously need some more glam in my wardrobe.
TIP: Because we were restricted on how much time we had in the city we looked online prior to visiting the Rijksmuseum to see if there were any exhibitions we were especially interested in checking out. There’s so much to look at at there that you could easily spend half a day or more exploring so I’d recommend looking at what’s on before you go if you’re short on time.
15:30 – The Heineken Experience
Thankfully I was proved totally wrong!
You don’t just learn about how Heineken is brewed but the story of the Heineken family and how to drink it properly. The self-guided tour is pretty interactive and you have the chance to leave with some silly photo’s and a certificate saying you have been successful in the art of pouring Heineken.
TIP: We didn’t but if you buy your tickets online prior to visiting you can save two euros.
20:00 – Sex Museum
We decided it would be rude to leave Amsterdam without visiting the world’s first and oldest sex museum.
Located in the city centre the collection on display at the Venustempel includes erotic pictures, paintings and photograph’s amongst other things.
It’s certainly worth a look for the laughs, especially when you’re being shown it all by an automated flasher.
TIP: Good for a giggle the museum is open from 9:30 – 23:30. You must be 16+ to go in.
Have you been to Amsterdam? Do you want to go? What would be on your list of things to see and do when in the city?