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How To Spend a Perfect Day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands | © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
Amsterdam is widely considered to be one of the world’s party capitals, but there’s more to this unique city than bars and booze. A perfect day in the city involves cycling through its streets and parks, stopping to discover hidden architectural wonders and trying local delicacies.

Morning

Amsterdam is one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities and its sights are best explored from the saddle of a gleaming retro ride. Head to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s urban oasis, and weave your way through the crowds, past pristine waterways and timeless sculptures created by famous artists, including Pablo Picasso and Nelson Carrilho.

Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Be sure to stop at De Waserette for coffee and wentelteefjes (French toast) with summer fruits. This cool corner café is popular with young Amsterdammers and great for people watching.

De Waserette, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
De Waserette, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Afternoon

Stay south and make your way to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, perhaps the most popular museum dedicated to Dutch art and history featuring greats such as Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Under the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Cycle around the historic canals that give the city its unique atmosphere, but make sure your bicycle isn’t one of the 12,000 retrieved from the waterways each year!

A beautiful canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Stop off at Patisserie Holtkamp to try the cheese, shrimp and veal croquettes – or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the raw herring sold on street stalls across the city, traditionally served with raw onion and a side of pickles.

A croquette from Holtkamp Patisserie, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
Raw Herring, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Head to the Oude Kerk Church in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The city’s oldest parish welcomes international artists to collaborate on intricate installations within its hallowed walls.

Next to the Oude Klerk Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

The Red Light District is littered with statues and sculptures depicting life in this controversial part of town. Make sure to look down at the latest bronze images hidden within the cobblestones; they were donated by an unknown artist.

Sculpture from an unknown artist, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Don’t leave this part of the city without visiting the erotic museum, dedicated to erotic art and telling the history of prostitution, and the Condomerie, with its wacky novelty condoms.

Condomerie, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip
Erotic Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Evening

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without getting to know some of its locals. With a reputation for being one of the world’s most liberal cities, its people are mostly friendly and are usually happy to strike a conversation with visitors.

A local on a bike, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Like most other cosmopolitan cities, Amsterdam is gripped with craft beer fever and there are new microbreweries, tasting rooms and canal-side bars opening all the time. Head to ‘t Smalle, an Amsterdam stalwart with stained glass windows and ornate wooden features – the perfect setting from which to watch the sunset with some food and a refreshing drink.

Cafe ‘t Smalle in the Jordaan district, Amsterdam, Netherlands © Ingrid Hofstra / Culture Trip

Looking for the perfect place to start and end your day?

DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station

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© DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station
The DoubleTree couldn’t be more centrally located, only a short walk from the Eurostar terminal and Amsterdam’s canals. Ask for a room overlooking the water and be sure to make use of the rooftop terrace, which is a fun place to hang out for an evening cocktail before heading into the city in search of adventure.
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