Greetings, Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Amsterdam itinerary! Amsterdam is one of the greatest cities in Europe, so we would certainly need more than a one day in Amsterdam itinerary to do everything there is to do there. But every perfect travel itinerary needs to be taken one day at a time, and this One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary is jam-packed with goodies.
We’ll spend the morning soaking up culture and madness at the Van Gogh Museum, we’ll feast on Indonesian treats for lunch, we’ll soak up natural beauty in Vondelpark, and chase that the finest Amsterdam beer tour. Laten we gaan!
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
Where to Stay?
I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists. The word “overtourism” was practically invented for Amsterdam. So the hotels can be a little expensive.
If you’re looking to save money when you’re enjoying 24 hours in Amsterdam, I recommend Motel One Amsterdam. It’s really comfortable and affordable, and the staff was super helpful. The only downside is it’s a little outside the main part of town, but with the public transportation it’s easy to get to the city center.
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
What to Pack?
- A cell charger so you can keep your cell phone charged for a full one day in Amsterdam itinerary
- The best travel adapter so you will be able to use American/Australian/British devices in Dutch electrical outlets.
- My favorite guidebook to Amsterdam
- I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age, and you don’t want to get stranded in a foreign country without help. You never know when extreme weather will strike or some other emergency. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a giant round of runaway Gouda during your one day in Amsterdam itinerary.
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
Morning: Van Gogh Museum
Pop quiz, hot shot. What do you know about Vincent Van Gogh? Sure, we all know that the man suffered from mental illness and cut off part of his ear. We know that Don McLean wrote a really depressing song about him. You might know that though he was born in The Netherlands, he did most of his painting in France.
But did you know that he studied Japanese art? Did you know he once worked as an assistant to a Methodist minister? And most importantly, did you know that his last name should be pronounced Hoch as if it rhymed with the Loch in Loch Ness?
Well you can learn all this and so much more when you start your One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary at the world’s foremost museum dedicated to the world’s most famous One Eared Reilly in history.
You can go through the museum on your own, though I would suggest booking your ticket online in advance. Or you can book a private guided tour of the museum, and that way you’ll get to skip the crazy lines and get hours of private attention and information. (I would recommend booking this tour by clicking here, if you choose to go that route.)
Either way, I’m sure you’ll learn more than…
THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT VINCENT VAN GOGH
IF ANYTHING ABOUT VAN GOGH CAN BE SAID TO BE FUN, WHICH PROBABLY IT CAN’T
(Photography is not allowed in the Van Gogh Museum except in certain very restricted areas, but the Museum can’t stop the Public Domain! So all the images I have used here belong to old PD.)
1) what’s with the flowers?
One of Van Gogh’s favorite subjects to paint was flowers. He is most well known for his dazzling golden sunflowers, but I preferred these delicate almond blossoms that he painted in the Japanese style.
In Japan, the art of flower arranging is very important, and you can see some of that influence in the composition of the flowers in Van Gogh’s still lifes. Of course, because it’s Van Gogh, the brushstrokes are a little more intense and the branches more twisted than you would expect to find in Japanese art.
2) who’s that guy?
Another subject Van Gogh was famous for painting was…Van Gogh himself. In fact, this is probably one of the most famous images you’ll see during your one day in Amsterdam itinerary. It’s interesting that an artist who so famously suffered from depression and ended up taking his own life was fascinated by capturing his own tormented image.
I wonder if the self-portrait was his own way of trying to work out his demons. Maybe if he’d just tried smiling or something in one of his paintings. I’m sure it couldn’t have hurt! A smile is like a sunflower for your face.
3) where is this?
Finally, Van Gogh was also well known for painting exteriors in his adopted home of Arles, in Provence. I found this painting, “The Yellow House”, very striking because the buildings and their colors look so quaint and cheerful.
But then you have this giant blue sky that looks like it’s going to fall on all our heads. Most people go to Provence and see incredible natural beauty, but Van Gogh went there and found an impending apocalypse.
24 Hour Treasure
My favorite painting in the museum is this very disturbing “Wheat Field With Crows”. It looks like the poster for an Impressionist Horror Movie. I can only assume that the waves of wheat are parting so that an evil scarecrow can rise from them and crush the peasants in the surrounding countryside.
PS. If you look at this painting in the right way, the two white balls look like creepy eyes in a demented face. Pleasant nightmares!
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s biggest park and a wonderful place to spend a sunny day in Amsterdam. You can stroll about Vondelpark and check out the lakes, fountains, rose gardens, etc. If you’re a solo traveler, bring a book so you can get some good reading/relaxation in. But before we go to Vondelpark, we’ll need some lunch. I know just the spot!
24 hour treat: nasi goreng at Sama Sebo
Because Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony, Indonesian food is extremely popular in The Netherlands. The most famous type of Indonesian meal is the elaborate rijsttafel. This meal consists of many delicious dishes presented in small servings, one right after the other. My first time in Amsterdam as a child, I ate a twenty course rijsttafel, but it is possible to have a thirty or even forty course Indonesian feast in Amsterdam.
The only problem for a solo traveler is that it’s hard to find rijsttafel for one! But I compromised by heading to Indonesian restaurant Sama Sebo for their Nasi Goreng lunch special. That way I could try lots of little Indonesian dishes on one plate, even as a solo diner. It’s the perfect lunch stop for our One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary.
You’ll find it hard to believe how many different dishes I was served at this lunch. Would you believe I was given: fried rice, beef in coconut sauce, a spicy bean sprout salad, unicorn scales, spicy fried tempe, sweet and sour pickle, fairy dust, spicy green beans, chicken satay (with peanut sauce), hen’s teeth, a crisp little chicken leg, leprechaun freckles, and a fried banana for dessert? See, what I mean? It’s pretty hard to believe.
But what you should believe is that the Nasi Goreng was a veritable feast, especially if you love peanuts and spicy food. The only times I have ever eaten Indonesian food have been in Amsterdam, and I think it’s a cuisine that should be more well known throughout the world. Now we’re well fed, and we can head off to Vondelpark!
24 Hour Tip: vondelpark
These gushing fountains are quite lovely, but there are some other gushing fountains in Vondelpark that are not quite as picturesque. That’s right; I’m talking about the public urinals.
Dutch men are not known for their shyness and you can find a few urinals right out in the open in Vondelpark, with only a partial wall in place to conceal the peeing one. So be careful where you look, or you might just find yourself with a front row seat to Amsterdam’s least popular peep show.
24 Hour Treasure: Vondelpark
My favorite thing in Vondelpark was the stunning array of colorful flowers. I recommend going on a Vondelpark flower scavenger hunt to see how many colors you can find. I got purple,
and yellow. Now get out there in Vondelpark and see how many you can find!
This sculpture in Vondelpark, called “The Fish” was actually done by Pablo Picasso. Apparently, this is what Picasso thinks a fish looks like. Oh Picasso! Never change!
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
Evening: The Original Amsterdam Beer Tour
Now that we’ve enjoyed Vondelpark, it’s time to get tipsy! The Dutch love their beer, so why not try a fabulously fun beer tour? I took one with three delightful ladies from New Jersey, and with our local guide, we had a simply spiffy time.
The exact tour I took isn’t available anymore, so I recommend booking this one. It has great reviews and goes to local craft breweries, so I’m sure it will be tons of fun. You can book it yourself by clicking right here.
I’m sure having four drinks on a beer tour doesn’t make one an expert of the Dutch bar scene, but let’s pretend that it does because I’m going to share with you…
APPROXIMATELY TOP FIVE: AMSTERDAM beer tour
1) Beer Temple
The Dutch have long been well known for beer, with Heineken probably being their most famous export. But we started our tour at Beer Temple, which our guide said was the first craft beer bar in Amsterdam. He also kicked off the tour by doing a kind of magic trick. We all told us about the kind of beers we liked, and he ordered a different one for each of us.
I said I liked craft beers, so I got an American IPA from Denmark called Wookiee. It was pleasingly hoppy and flavorful. I like a beer that has so much taste, it gives me the illusion that I am eating something. But the other ladies on the tour didn’t like such a strong beer, so they were able to get something a little less pungent. And a good time was had by all.
2) Bier Fabrick
Our next stop was at a place called Bierfabrick that brews its own beer. Our guide says that the Dutch don’t really like a lot of options or change when it comes to their food. They like to pick one thing and stick to it. So it makes sense that this place only serves three beers: a red ale called Rosso, a Dark Porter called Nero, and a Pilsner called Puur.
I ordered the Nero because I am half Irish and I love a nice dark beer. Once again, I want the illusion that I am eating something!
The beer was delicious, but my favorite thing about this place is that the beer came with peanuts in the shell, and it’s tradition here that you throw your peanut shells on the floor. They think it makes you feel more at home. I feel a little bit better about my cleaning habits if Dutch people are just going around dropping peanut shells on the floors of their homes! That doesn’t seem very sanitary.
3) Wynand Fockink
This bar Wynand Fockink which, no joke, has been around since 1670 was probably my favorite stop on the tour. They are famous here for having about a million different flavors of the classic Dutch liqueur, jenever. Because there are so many different flavors, they can mix any drink for you that you like, using nothing but the power of their strange liqueurs. Want something that tastes exactly like a fake Irish Coffee? A White Russian? A Cuba Libre? They can create the illusion of all these things and more.
I asked for something sweet, so I got a gorgeous dark purple concoction that kind of reminded me of cassis. It’s always full right to the brim, so you need to bring your face down to the bar and sip some off before you are able to lift the glass off the table. As I’m sure you’ve realized by this point, you get no points for being precious and dainty in Amsterdam.
24 Hour Tip
The drink here is not included with the price of the tour, but the shots only cost like three Euros, so it’s definitely worth it. Just make sure to have some cash on you and you’ll be fine.
4) Brouwerij de Prael
This last stop was also a place called de Prael that makes its own booze, but it’s the only bar on the tour that specializes in Belgian-style beers. However, as much as I loved my Belgian sour, I was even more impressed by the pub’s social conscience. They are dedicated to providing employment opportunities for people who face obstacles entering the job market. I like to support businesses that try to make a difference in their community.
We also got a yummy snack, bitterballen, which are warm and filling fried breaded meatballs. Apparently bitterballen are the classic Dutch bar snack. Well, no one ever accused Dutch food of being light and low-cal! Because this is a pub, a little beer is mixed into the batter of the bitterballen here. (Bitterballen beer batter is quite the tongue twister, FYI.)
24 hour treat: ramen
After three beers and a shot, you’re going to want to eat something more to soak up all that booze. I suggest walking just a few short blocks to Ramen-Ya, a hopping Japanese joint in the Red Light District. Despite the location, there’s nothing seedy about this place, just some good, old-fashioned, wholesome noodles. I opted for a thick ramen with pork a-plenty, but there were lots of veg-only choice for the meat shunners among us.
I loved this ramen; it really is the perfect drunk food. There is so much umami flavor between the pork and the broth, but then you get the saltiness from the seaweed and the soy sauce too. The noodles were slurping fresh. I could almost imagine I was back in Japan if I closed my eyes.
To accompany the ramen, I ordered my favorite Japanese soda, Ramune, but I forgot how to open it and flew into a panic. I had progressed to the point of trying to open the bottle with my teeth when the kind waitress came by and showed me how to use the cap to open the bottle. Never drink Ramune when you are tipsy is the moral of this story.
One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
How to Get There
Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a very valuable Van Gogh of your very own. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to your one day in Amsterdam itinerary.
But I can tell you that I used a lovely airplane to get from my hometown NYC to Amsterdam, and I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to Amsterdam at the best time of day. I flew a direct flight, which is easy to find from NYC to Amsterdam. If you don’t live on the East Coast it might be trickier, but I’m sure Expedia can help you find something.
You can even use Expedia to rent a car so you’ll be all set when you arrive at your destination. (I can’t drive, but if you can, this must be helpful.)
Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out to the one day in Amsterdam itinerary ASAP.
That’s a Perfect One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary
What would you do on a One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Amsterdam? Do you think you could eat 40 courses in one meal? And if you were going to name a beer after a Star Wars character, would you pick Chewbacca or someone cooler? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary. If you want another One Day in Amsterdam Itinerary, try this itinerary!