Netherlands — Amsterdam Day 1

Amsterdam — Day 1 of a 2-Day Trip in the Netherlands

I was in the Netherlands and Italy for a week in December 2019 for a business trip. Unfortunately, I did not have a whole lot of time to see the sights in Italy and the Netherlands, but did have one and half days to myself to explore Amsterdam. I am disappointed I did not get to see more of Italy, but Amsterdam is a beautiful city! Below is the itinerary including a suggestion for an evening in Hengelo!

Day 1 


I landed in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) at 10am after a 10 hour flight. After picking up my car, I drove 20 minutes to the hotel, Leonardo Royal Hotel Amsterdam, to drop off my luggage. Despite the jet lag, this was the only full day I would have to myself so I headed out to Amsterdam’s City Centre. I picked this hotel due to its proximity to the train station — less than a five minute walk from the hotel and only a two minute train ride to City Centre. As I exited the train station, I was greeted by the Heineken Brewery. The entrance line was too long and I was hungry, so I decided to return later in the afternoon for a visit.

Heineken Brewery

I headed to Barca for lunch at the Marie Heinekenplein Square. Barca serves Barcelona-inspired tapas. Despite this, I ordered the steak salad. The portion was large and I was barely able to finish the meal. After lunch, I boarded the Amsterdam Canal Cruise. The cruise is a great way to experience the history, city canals, and culture. The tour is offered in multiple languages (use the headphones and pick the preferred language).

After the cruise, I walked to Museumplein. It is an open park with green lawns and two well known museums — Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

It was already late in the afternoon and as much as I had wanted to experience the history and artwork at Rijksmuseum, I wanted to do some more exploring. I strolled the streets of Amsterdam — past the scenic canals and neighbourhoods. I was glad I did not drive downtown, the streets are tight and pedestrians are everywhere.

Amsterdam Streets

I walked through the Red Light District and continued to Dam Square. No photos are allowed in the Red Light District and you can get into a lot of trouble if caught. Dam Square is home to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam (second photo), Nieuwe Kerk, and the War Memorial . The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is 1 out of the 3 palaces in the Netherlands and is open to visitors.

Dam Square

I headed back to the Heineken Brewery. Heineken is a well known beer brand originating in the Netherlands in 1873. The brewery has an attraction called the Heineken Experience, a self-guided tour of the brewery’s history and brewing process. The tour also gives visitors 3 pints of Heineken beer — 1 during and 2 after the tour ends.

Heineken Experience

After visiting the Heineken Brewery, I headed to Cafe Berkhout just across the street for dinner. Cafe Berkhout is a small pub serving classic Dutch meals. I ordered a sandwich with Dutch sausage and a salad on the side. I was exhausted and still jet lagged, so I headed back to the hotel for the evening.

Complete Day 1 Itinerary

*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.

8:00am: Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Most hotels will have the option of breakfast included in the stay.

9:00am: Head to the Amsterdam Canal Cruise. Enjoy the cruise and take in Amsterdam’s rich history.

10:00am: Walk to Museumplein (12 minute walk from Amsterdam Canal Cruise). Visit Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.

12:00pm: Enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants at Marie Heinekenplein Square (9 minute walk from Museumplein). Barca is a possible option.

1:00pm: Walk around Amsterdam, stop by the shops, and enjoy the canal views. Visit the Red Light District and Dam Square (24 minute walk from Marie Heinekenplein Square). Stop by the Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, the War Memorial, and the Anne Frank House.

4:00pm: Visit the Heineken Experience at the Heineken Brewery (23 minute walk from Dam Square).

6:00pm: Head to Cafe Berkhout for dinner and evening drinks (1 minute walk).

7:00pm: Enjoy the Amsterdam lights during an evening walk.

2-Day Netherlands Itinerary

Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 2-Day Netherlands Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in the Netherlands!

Netherlands Links:

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