Amsterdam itinerary in 4 days
This lovely and small hotel, located in the Museum Quarter, has updated rooms which are very clean and functional. We stayed in a Large Twin Room. They serve a great breakfast, including their delicious home-made pancakes. The staff are very friendly and helpful. We found it very convenient to be so close to the museums. Everything is within a half-hour walk.
We had not been to Amsterdam in a long time - since our honeymoon 28 years ago. I figured it was time to return and I'm so glad we did. Amsterdam is a very pretty city built on charming canals, old houses and filled with cyclists. It is also home to three world-class museums, as well as many small and interesting ones to explore. So there is plenty to do if you just want to wander around and enjoy great art.
You many not know that the quiet and liberal country of the Netherlands, was once the most acclaimed country in the world in exploration, trade, science, military, and art. There is lots to learn in this small and walkable city.
Blushing Cafè. Located very close to the hotel and the museums, this restaurant is perfect for lunch. They serve fresh salads and sandwiches.
Jun Indonesian restaurant. When in Amsterdam you must try Indonesian food. This restaurant serves the traditional Rice Table with lots of yummy dishes or you can order a la carte.
The Pantry. For traditional Dutch food go to the Pantry. This small and busy restaurant serves mainly meat dishes cooked in traditional Dutch recipes.
Cafè P96. This family-owned, cozy pub/restaurant is located along one of the nicest canals. We had a perfect lunch with salad and sandwich.
Cafè Papeneiland. For the best Dutch apple cake come to this cafè. This was one of the stops on our food tour (see details below) and we had to go back. The apple cake is the perfect sweetness with fresh whipped cream. I'm still dreaming about it.
Carter Restaurant. This restaurant in the beautiful area just west of our hotel, serves the best rotisserie chicken I've every had. It's a sharing platter. The rest of the menu looked great as well. Highly recommend.
We arrived and checked into our hotel, Hotel Fita. This lovely, boutique hotel is conveniently located in the Museum District. We love art museums so this was a perfect location for us.
After settling into our room, we went to Blushing Cafè, which is around the corner from the hotel, and had a light lunch at this popular restaurant. As it was raining all afternoon, it was a good time to go to the Rijksmuseum, which is the Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history. The Rijksmuseum is known for its collection by Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and others. It houses the famous painting, Night Watch by Rembrandt.
After the Rijksmuseum, we decided to pop into the MOCO, which is a modern art museum, located in the Museum Quarter. This small museum had a special Banksy exhibit which we enjoyed.
Following a rest in our hotel, we headed to Jun Indonesian Restaurant for dinner. If you're in Amsterdam you must try an Indonesian food. As Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony there are many delicious Indonesian restaurants all around Amsterdam. We ordered a Rice Table - which is a set menu of many small dishes. It was delicious and the service was amazing.
Guides and Tours
Golden Age Amsterdam Tour. Alex Kiene took us on a very informative walking tour of the history of Amsterdam during its Golden Age which too place during the 1600's. Alex was very knowledgeable.
Jordaan Food Tour with Eating Europe. This fun tour gave us the opportunity to learn about the Jordaan area while tasting delicious food. The Jordaan area is a beautiful neighbourhood set on several smaller canals.
One of the great things about Amsterdam is the large number of world-class museums it has. There are also many small interesting ones to explore. So if you have a rain day, there's always somewhere for shelter.
Rijksmuseum is the Dutch national museum dedicated to art. It includes a large Rembrandt collection as well as other Dutch masters.
Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries. The audioguide incorporates the story of Van Gogh's life into the narrative. This museum should not be missed on a visit to Amsterdam. You must make a reservation in advance to visit.
The Stedelijke Museum is Amsterdam's museum for modern and contemporary art. It has a wonderful collection of art from the late 1800's to the present.
MOCO is an independent museum of modern and contemporary art located in the museum district.
Van Loon Museum is a canal side house which used to be the residence of the Van Loon family, a wealthy family who founded the Dutch East-India Company.
Museum of the Canals is a fun museum which gives some history about how Amsterdam was built and particularly how the canals and houses were constructed. It's an interactive exhibit walking you through one of the canal houses.
Anne Frank House. Since I had visited the Anne Frank House in my previous visit, I did not go back this time but I do recommend visiting. This biographical museum is dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank who was hidden here during the Holocaust. It is a very moving museum. Tickets and time slot should be purchased in advance.
Tip: There are several museum passes available in Amsterdam. We chose the Holland Pass as it covered the main museums we wanted to see and gave discounts at additional museums. This pass does not allow you to prebook the Van Gogh Museum so I recommend that you book that separately. I recommend that you compare the different passes to see which one might work best for you.
This morning following breakfast we headed toward the Jordaan District, located on the north east side of the city centre, for our food tour with Eating Europe. This area is made up of small canals lined with boutiques, small food establishments, sidewalk cafès and a small square with a market selling trinkets and vintage items. It is a trendy area of Amsterdam.
We walked along the Prinsengracht canal, which has lovely shops and restaurants.
Our food tour started at Cafè Papeneiland where we had a slice of the best Dutch apple cake ever! The tour included tastings of Gouda cheese, sausages, herring, Indonesian food, waffle cookies, Dutch pancakes and a glass of Jenever (Dutch gin). Our entertaining guide told us the history of this neighbourhood and several anecdotes during the tour which brought this charming neighbourhood to life.
Following the tour, we headed back to the Museum District to visit the Van Gogh Museum. This beautiful museum is dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries. They have an audioguide which I highly recommend. It incorporates the story of Van Gogh's life into the narrative.
This evening we walked out to a restaurant in the hotel neighbourhood for a bite to eat.
This itinerary can be combined with:
After breakfast today we headed to the centre of town and decided to visit the Van Loon Museum. This canal side house used to belong to the wealthy Van Loon family, who founded the Dutch East-India Company in the 1600's. The lavish canal house, with elegant furnishings and art, gives you an idea of how the wealthy families lived during this time. The home is still owned by the descendants of the family but they open it up to the public seven days per week.
The biggest surprise during our visit to this museum was the gorgeous and lush back garden and coach house. While we were there, there was a special exhibit in the coach house about the connections between Suriname and the Van Loon family. This shared history is told through the stories of eight historical figures – from enslaved workers in Suriname to wealthy consumers in Amsterdam. Descendants of the historical figures reflect on their common past. This is an important story which needs to be told.
After the museum we wandered around the canals and in particular the lovely area known as the Nine Little Streets - lined with boutique stores and restaurants. We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant along a canal.
This afternoon we booked a private tour of the Golden Age of Amsterdam with Alexander Kiene, booked through Airbnb Experiences. For nearly a century (in the 1600 - 1700s), Amsterdam was the centre of a worldwide empire. Alex explained how Amsterdam transformed from a sleepy medieval village to the most important city in the world. We met Alex in Dam Square and during the 2.5 hour walking tour we visited the Golden Age landmarks where Amsterdam's liberal and progressive heritage, and the Dutch empire's wealth and rich culture originated. Along the way we stopped for two typical Dutch Golden Age delicacies still popular today - herring and Jenever, the Dutch predecessor of gin.
After the tour we headed back to our hotel passing through both the Jewish Quarter and Rembrandt Square.
This evening we wanted to try a traditional Dutch restaurant so we made reservations at The Pantry. This small and busy restaurant is not meant for vegetarians! It serves mainly meat dishes with typical sides and delicious beer.
Today after breakfast we decided to spend the morning wandering around and exploring.
We started by returning to the Jordaan area for a piece of apple cake with whipped cream at Cafè Papeneiland from our food tour. We had been craving the cake for two days! We walked around the small streets and canals and bought some souvenirs.
From there we headed to the Flower Market. This was a bit disappointing because it's really just a tourist market filled with tulip bulbs but not many flowers.
We then stumbled upon the Museum of the Canals. This fun museum gives the history about how Amsterdam was built and particularly how the canals and houses were constructed. It's an interactive exhibit walking you through one of the canal houses.
We stopped for lunch at Cafè P96 along one of the canals. This small restaurant reminded me of a pub and had delicious salads and sandwiches to go along with our beers.
We walked back to the Museum District to visit the Stedelijk Museum. This is Amsterdam's museum of modern and contemporary art and design from 1880 to the present. Their collection includes Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama and many others. It is a wonderful museum.
For our last evening we made reservations at Carter Restaurant for dinner. This restaurant is located west of our hotel and the walk through this neighbourhood was beautiful. This area is filled with nice restaurants. Carter serves a contemporary French bistro menu. The highlight of the menu is their rotisserie chicken which is a sharing platter. It was delicious and we ordered some sides to go with it.
This morning after breakfast we departed our hotel and headed to the airport.