Walking Tour Amsterdam, Sight Seeing Amsterdam in one day

One Day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walking Tour

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Amsterdam is a city that is both historic and progressive, elegant and bawdy. There are 17th century canals and trendy cannabis coffee shops. Grand, gabled houses line the streets, while a neon glow emanates from the Red Light District. Bicycles outnumber the human population and the city’s long history of beer is being revolutionized by craft brewers. The city is robust, but it is possible to get a vibe of Amsterdam in one day – and an Amsterdam walking tour is a fantastic way to do it. To help other travelers, we designed a One Day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walking Tour to more than 15 of the city’s best sights. (Amsterdam Walking Tour Map included!)

 

Amsterdam Walking Tour

Sightseeing in Amsterdam is best done on foot – and our free walking tour highlights more than 15 Amsterdam attractions. Amsterdam is a flat, compact city, but the attractions are spread throughout. To see the best Amsterdam sights, our walking tour of Amsterdam covers some ground and includes a little zigging and zagging. Despite the challenges, we created an easy-flowing Amsterdam tour that is perfect for first-time visitors and travelers who have yet to discover the city sights.

Our Self-Guided Amsterdam Walking Tour includes everything you need to make your way through the city! We highlight individual sights, provide step-by-step walking directions (and a Google Map link) to each sight and include two Amsterdam Maps (an interactive Attractions in Amsterdam Map, as well as an Amsterdam PDF Map). You will also find our top Walking Tour Amsterdam Tips and more suggestions of things to do in Amsterdam in one day throughout the post.

 

One Day in Amsterdam

Planning what to see in Amsterdam is a huge task – especially if you are limited to one day in Amsterdam. Whether you have two hours or an entire day, you can use our outlined Amsterdam tour!

The main route of our walking tour in Amsterdam circles the city in a loop, taking in the major sights along the way in a relatively short amount of time. However, travelers who have an entire day to explore the city can use our ‘If You Have Time’ suggestions to complete a full day of sightseeing.

 

If You Have Time: Amsterdam in One Day Tips

With our tips, visitors don’t need to worry about what to see in Amsterdam in a Day – we’ve got it covered! Throughout our Amsterdam Tour, we offer ‘If You Have Time’ advice regarding nearby sights and alternate routes to our Amsterdam Walking Tour. We include both museums (that require a ticket or are free with the Amsterdam City Card) and free sights, too. 

Visitors can use our suggestions of places to visit in Amsterdam in 1 day that are ideally intertwined into our walking tour. Plus, we provide map links for detour directions!

Pro Tip: Even if you are short on time, we recommend reading through the ‘If You Have Time‘ sections to see if there are any detours you want to make during your walking tour in Amsterdam. 

 

Amsterdam Sightseeing Card

If visiting the museums and other attractions in Amsterdam that are listed in our walking tour ‘If You Have Time’ sections, consider purchasing a Amsterdam City Card. The card provides free entry into the recommended museums (excluding the Anne Frank Museum) – plus free public transportation and a canal boat ride (which is a beautiful way to end your one day in Amsterdam). 

Staying for more than 1 day in Amsterdam? Use our complete 3-Day Amsterdam Itinerary to plan your trip!

 

Walking Tour Amsterdam FAQs

Before you begin your Amsterdam City Tour, we are answering a few frequently asked questions.

 

Is This Really A Free Walking Tour Amsterdam?

Yes! And we think it is the best free walking tour in Amsterdam! Featuring top Amsterdam sights, our route is easy to follow and includes walking directions, a map and links to Google Maps. For each Amsterdam sight, we include a snippet of information and sometimes a link to more information.

 

How Long does the Amsterdam Walking Tour take?

This Free Amsterdam Walking Tour is Self-Guided – so how long it takes to complete depends on your pace, interest and number of extra stops. Visitors who follow our Amsterdam tour as it is written should allow at least 2 hours to complete the loop.

That said, visitors who have a full day in Amsterdam can use our If You Have Time tips to fill the entire day with Amsterdam Old Town sightseeing. Pro Tip: If entering all of the suggested museums, a City Card will save you money!

 

Where Can I Get An Amsterdam Tourist Map?

We make Amsterdam touring easy! For each sight, we provide written step-by-step directions and a clickable MAP link that shows the walking directions in Google Maps.

For the entire route of our Amsterdam walk, we have included an Amsterdam city map with tourist attractions at the end of the post. The interactive Amsterdam Sightseeing Map indicates each stop, as well as nearby attractions. Furthermore, we also provide a printable Amsterdam Sights Map with Walking Tour Route. Both of these maps will help to get you around the city.

Although we include a free Amsterdam walking tour map in this post, visitors can also pick up an Amsterdam city map from the tourist information office; there is a VVV Office in front of Central Station. Travelers looking for a more detailed Amsterdam Downtown Map can purchase one online – like this one on Amazon.

 

What Will I Need For This Amsterdam Walk?

Fortunately, not much is needed to complete our outlined city tour. Visitors will want to wear a comfortable pair of city walking shoes; I like the wear these Columbia Shoes and Kris likes his Merrell Shoes. We also recommend using an actual camera to capture the city sights (rather than just your camera phone); we use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens, which we love! 

Depending on the weather forecast, a packable raincoat or travel umbrella might be a good idea…but don’t forget sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat if it’s going to be sunny! And, of course, it is always a good idea to carry a refillable water bottle.

Internet Connection

Perhaps the most important thing to have is an internet connection. Visitors can print our Amsterdam Sightseeing Map PDF to use, which is helpful, but a WiFi connection is still necessary to access this post while touring the city. Furthermore, the Google Maps links will only work with connectivity. We use a GlocalMe Mobile WiFi Hotspot to stay connected abroad (the top features are that data packages can be purchased online, but SIM cards can be use as well, and we can connect up to five devices at one time!).

 

Are There Guided Amsterdam Walking Tours?

Yes, there are guided tours in Amsterdam – but not by us. We highlight some of the top-rated guided tours at the end of the post.

Free Guided Tours Amsterdam

Visitors who want to join a guided Amsterdam free walking tour have a few to choose from in the city. However, it is important to understand that the guides expect – and deserve – tips… so they are not really free. That said, we mention some of the popular guided free walking tours of Amsterdam below.


 

Self-Guided Free Walking Tour Amsterdam Sights

Lace up your shoes and grab your camera – it’s time to go see Amsterdam! Start your one day in Amsterdam at Central Station. MAP

 

#1 Amsterdam Central Station

Central Station was opened in 1889 and today 200,000 passengers pass through the station daily.

From the north side of Amsterdam Central Station, ferries (which are free!) transport passengers to the northern neighborhoods. Sights in the northern neighborhoods include the A’DAM Lookout Tower (free with the City Card), the NDSM artistic district and a few of our favorite Craft Beer Bars. Week-long river cruises – like the Amsterdam to Budapest Cruise we took – also depart from the north side of the station. Pro Tip: Access the north side of the station via the Cuyperspassage – a tunnel of 80,000 Delft Blue tiles. 

The south main entrance of Central Station opens onto the most historic part of the city. Across from the station (slightly to the left) is the towering, domed Basilica of Saint Nicholas. The church was built in the late 1800s and is open (and free!) to visit.

If You Have Time: Pop into the St. Nicholas Basilica for a quick look around the magnificent interior. For visitors using this guide for a short, 2-hour Amsterdam walking tour, consider ending at the church, but only if time allows.

Central Station to Damrak Directions: Walk straight away from the station onto the west side of Damrak Street. MAP Directions.

 

#2 Damrak

Damrak is the busy north-south route from Central Station to Dam Square. Once a busy canal of boats, the Damrak Canal was filled in to make a street in 1672. The remaining small body of water, Natte Damrak, was once a thriving harbor; buildings opened directly onto the water (as they still do) for quick unloading of goods.

Many of the buildings along Damrak were built from the 18th to 20th century – and more than 20 of them are designated as Royal Monuments. The large brick building, Beurs van Berlage, once the stock exchange building – now a concert hall, is one of the landmark buildings on the busy street.

Pro Tip: Many of the city canal cruises depart from the Natte Damrak harbor. We offer more information about canal cruises in Amsterdam at the end of the post. 

If You Have Time: Stay on Damrak to the south end of the Beurs van Berlage building; on your right, you will see the Old Amsterdam Cheese Shop (which is a great place to pop into for a free sample of cheese!). After a few nibbles, use the next alley on your right – the elegant Beurspassage – to cut across to Nieuwendijk. At the end of the lavish, green passageway, turn right to the first store on your right, Van der Linde Ice Cream Shop. There will likely be a line, but it moves fast, so pop in for a scoop of their one-and-only ice cream flavor: Mr. Whippy Vanilla. With cone in hand, walk south on Nieuwendijk. MAP Directions.

Directions from Damrak to Nieuwendijk: Take Oudebrugsteeg (or any narrow side street) to the right to Nieuwendijk. MAP directions

 

#3 Nieuwendijk 

Running parallel to Damrak, Nieuwendijk is a pedestrian-only shopping street and one of the oldest in Amsterdam. The narrow, brick street is home to 200 shops – most of which cater to tourists – and nearly 100 of the structures along the lane are labeled as national heritage sites. Note: If you crossed onto Nieuwendijk at Oudebrugsteeg, keep an eye out for the Van der Linde Ice Cream shop on your left, next-door to the bright and beautiful Beurspassage.

Directions from Nieuwendijk to Dam Square: Walk south to Dam Square. MAP directions

 

#4 Dam Square

Dam Square is in the historical center of Amsterdam and is located at the original Amstel River dam, which was built in 1270. Many notable buildings and monuments are on the square including the Royal Palace (built in 1655 as City Hall and converted to a royal residence in 1808); the De Nieuwe Kerk New Church (built in the 15th century; free with the City Card); and the National Monument pillar honoring the victims of World War II (built in 1956).

Pro Tip: For a stellar free view of the square from above, go to the 3rd floor of the Peek & Cloppenburg Department store…just be discreet, as it is not a tourist sight!

If You Have Time: Facing the front of De Nieuwe Kerk, take the narrow passageway, Eggertstraat, around the east side of the church into an ancient part of the city. On the backside of the church, you will find De Drie Fleschjes (Three Little Bottles).  The classic Amsterdam tavern is a jenever bar (jenever is a local Amsterdam gin) that dates to the year 1650. MAP directions. Pro Tip: Get a free shot with the City Card

Directions from Dam Square to De Oude Kerk: From the WWII memorial on Dam Square, walk north on Warmoesstraat to Wijde Kerksteeg and turn right to De Oude Kerk. MAP directions.

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#5 De Oude Kerk (The Old Church)

The 800-year-old De Oude Kerk, Old Church, is Amsterdam’s oldest building and was consecrated in the year 1306. Built as a Catholic Church, it is now a Calvinist Dutch Reform Church, but the space is also used as an art gallery (and is free with the City Card).

If You Have Time: Just north of the Old Church along the canal is the Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder – or Our Lord in the Attic Museum (which is included with the City Card). The hidden church and historic house museum is one of the most fascinating buildings in the city! If time allows, we highly recommend taking a look. MAP Directions.

Directions from De Oude Kerk to the Red Light District: Walk around the church to the right, cross the canal on Oudekennissteeg and continue to the next canal and the Red Light District. MAP directions

 

#6 Red Light District

The Red Light District is an odd prostitution-as-a-tourist-attraction sight. During the day, most of the red-lit window boxes are vacant, with only a few occupied by young women dressed in lingerie. At night, it is a different scene. Sex shops and the Erotic Museum are also found along the street.

Pro Tip: To get a better understanding of the area, take a Red Light District Tour at night, guided by a local.

Directions from the Red Light District to Chinatown: Walk north through the Red Light District to Korte Stormsteeg and go right to Zeedijk. Turn right and walk south into Chinatown. MAP directions

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#7 Amsterdam Chinatown

A plethora of Asian (not only Chinese) shops and restaurants line Zeedijk, the main street through what is commonly called Chinatown. The He Hua Buddhist Temple, built in 2000, is a striking difference to the rest of the architecture found in Amsterdam Old Town.

Directions from Chinatown to De Waag: Continue south to Nieuwmarkt Square and De Waag. MAP directions

 

#8 De Waag

Dominating Nieuwmarkt Square is De Waag, The Weigh House. The building, which is Amsterdam’s oldest non-religious building, dates to the 15th century and was once part of the city walls. Now, it houses a popular restaurant.

Directions from De Waag to Waterlooplein Market:  Exit the square to the south on Sint Antoniesbreestraat; cross the canal to the Rembrandt House Museum (which is an interesting museum for art and Rembrandt fans – and free with the City Card); turn right on Zwanenburgwal to the Waterlooplein Market. MAP directions

 

#9 Waterlooplein Market

Waterlooplein Market, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The outdoor Waterlooplein Market is one of the best Amsterdam markets. It has more than 300 stalls selling second-hand clothing, antiques, tools, books and other trinkets. It originated as a Jewish market in 1893 and was revitalized as a general market in the 1960s.

Directions from Waterlooplein Market to the National Opera and Ballet: At the end of the market street, turn right on Waterlooplein Street and right again before the bridge to the waterfront National Opera & Ballet. MAP directions

 

#10 National Opera & Ballet: Stopera

The National Opera and Ballet building, nicknamed the Stopera, fronts the Amstel River. The modern building, constructed in the 1980s, was met with many protests – thus the name: Stop the Opera… or Stopera for short. Many of Amsterdam’s iconic houseboats are moored in along the Amstel River.

Directions from Stopera to Blauwbrug: Walk a few steps south onto the ornate Blue Bridge, Blauwbrug. MAP directions.

 

#11 Blauwbrug Blue Bridge

The ornate bridge is named for a blue-painted wooden bridge that used to straddle the Amstel River on the same site. The current bridge dates to 1883 and features sumptuous decorations; despite not being painted royal blue, the original name stuck.

Pause a moment on the bridge and take in the 360-degree views and surrounding Amsterdam sights: The National Opera and Ballet is directly north. Look for the Hermitage Amsterdam Museum (hosting one of the city’s finest collections of art; free with City Card) to the southeast along the river. Directly south is the Magere Brug – or Skinny Bridge – which is a picturesque wooden drawbridge and one of the favorite bridges of the city.

If You Have Time: After taking in the sights from the Blue Bridge, complete crossing the bridge and walk straight ahead to Rembrandtplein to visit The Night Watch cast of characters and Rembrandt statue in the center of the park, then continue following the road to the next sight, Muntplein. MAP directions.

If You Have More Time: There are several Amsterdam sights near Rembrandtplein that are worth exploring. Two museums that we recommend visiting are the Willet-Holtuysen Museum and Museum Van Loon, both of which are historically preserved canal houses (and both free with City Card). The Archives Museum is also close by – and they offer free exhibits (and free bathrooms, too!). For a quick snack, pop into Eetsalon Van Dobben, an iconic Amsterdam sandwich shop – which offers a discount with the City Card. Map directions.

Direcrections from Blauwbrug to Muntplein: Retrace your steps off the bridge and walk west along the river beside the Opera House. On the corner is the Jewish Resistance Monument and just north is a bridge. Cross the bridge heading west and continue across three canals: Zwanenburgwal, Broenburgwal and Kloveniersburgwal. Once across all three, turn right onto Nieuwe Doelenstraat and walk south to Muntplein. MAP directions

 

#12 Munt Tower on Muntplein

This busy square is actually a bridge with six streets leading to it. The Munt Tower (Munttoren), after which the square is named, was once part of the city gate. In the 17th century, the tower served as a mint.

Directions from Muntplein to the Flower Market: Continue south and turn right (west) on Singel to the Flower Market. MAP directions.

 

#13 Bloemenmarkt Floating Flower Market

The flower market stalls are housed in floating shops and sell everything from seeds to fresh cut flowers. The floating market is one of the most colorful (and fragrant!) spots in the city. 

Directions from the Flower Market to the Canal Ring: Continue west to Koningsplein and turn left. Walk to Prinsengracht and turn right to follow the canal north along the Canal Ring. MAP Directions

 

#14 Amsterdam Canal Ring

The network of canals in Amsterdam date to the 17th century and, today, they are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The canal system is one of the most unique urban city plans in the world. Once an integral part of the city’s development and maritime trade, the land around the canals became coveted property, which was purchased by the city’s richest residents. Beautiful gabled houses were built, enhancing the appeal of the canals.

Pro Tip: Most houses were built on wooden foundations. As they warp and rot, the houses above are shifting and leaning. However, the homes that appear to be hovering over the street were, in fact, built in that style as a way to look bigger than they really were.

If You Have Time: Walk the two blocks of Leidsegracht, a quaint canal with lovely bridges. With ample time, make a bigger detour to the historic secret Begijnhof garden that conceals two hidden churches (and is accessed via an inconspicuous arched doorway). From the courtyard, continue to the Amsterdam Museum (included with the City Card) and take a peek into the (always free!) Civic Guards Gallery exhibit, then exit through the ancient, leaning portal. Now, hook back up with the tour and walk through the heart of the Nine Streets Neighborhood. MAP Directions.

Directions to the Nine Streets: Walk north along the canal to the Nine Streets neighborhood. MAP directions

 

#15 Nine Streets (Negen Straatjes)

A tiny neighborhood within Central Amsterdam, The Nine Streets are a 3-by-3 grid of picturesque lanes lined with boutique stores, high-end specialty shops and chic cafes. Originally occupied by tanners, many of the streets are named after animals.

Pro Tip: Visitors who want to take a quick stroll through the Nine Street District can use these Map Directions for a quick 10-minute walk.

If You Have Time: The Houseboat Museum (included with the Amsterdam City Card) sits on the west side of the Prinsengracht Canal at Berensluis Street. Although quite small, it’s interesting to see how the inside of a houseboat is decorated! MAP.

Directions from the Nine Streets to Westerkerk: Continue walking north on Prinsengracht to Westerkerk. MAP directions

 

#16 Westerkerk

Westerkerk Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Westerkerk is a protestant church that was built between 1620 and 1631. The tower, which stands at 279 feet, is the tallest church tower in Amsterdam (and can be climbed, for a fee). Famous Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn is buried at the church and, in 1966, Queen Beatrix chose Westerkerk as the location of her wedding ceremony. 

Directions from Westerkerk to the Anne Frank House: From the church, walk north along the Prinsengracht Canal to #263. MAP Directions

 

#17 Anne Frank House

The story of Anne Frank – a young, Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during World War II – is known worldwide. Her diary detailing her time spent hiding in an Amsterdam house was first published as a book, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, in 1947 and has since been read by millions of people; her story has also been made into a play and movie. The house where she hid, numbered 263 Prinsengracht, is now a museum. The Anne Frank House Museum is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam.

Pro Tip: Tickets should be booked in advance; this museum is not included in the City Card! If tickets are unavailable during your trip, consider joining a private or guided Anne Frank Tour to learn more about her life in Amsterdam.

If You Have Time: In the area, there are a few notable places to stop for food and drink. For a quick snack of classic Amsterdam fries, go to Heertje Friet (map); for a savory meal of Dutch-style pancakes, the Pancake Bakery is nearby (map); and for a locally produced beer, head to the charming Proeflokaal Arendsnest (map).

Walk north past the Anne Frank House to the first bridge, Leliegracht, and cross west into the Jordaan Neighborhood. MAP directions.

 

#18 Jordaan Neighborhood

The working class settled the Jordaan neighborhood in the 17th century and attracted many with radical political ideas. In the 1970s, gentrification overtook the area, attracting young professionals, well-to-do families and, along with it, trendy cafes, bars, galleries and specialty shops.

The inviting neighborhood is characterized by elegant gabbled houses, many of which hide hofjes (inner courtyards) and feature Gable Stones. The stone plaques, which are displayed on the front of the house, were first used in the 16th century and were a means of identifying the home’s inhabitants by depicting the owner’s profession or family name.

Pro Tip: For a unique way to experience the Jordaan neighborhood, join the Jordaan district food walking tour.

If You Have Time: Located in the Jordaan District not far from the Anne Frank House, the Tulip Museum (free with the City Card) is one of the most surprisingly interesting museums in the city. Informative – and often humorous – the museum details the history of tulips in the Netherlands – as well as the hysteria of the Golden Age Tulipmania. MAP

Directions from Jordaan District to Central Stations: Crisscross north through the neighborhood and turn right (east) onto Brouwersgracht. Named in the late 1500s for the breweries that occupied the canal houses, it is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful canals in the city. From here, it’s an easy walk back to Central Station. MAP Directions.


 

Amsterdam, Netherlands Maps

Below find our two Walking Tour Amsterdam Maps. Use these maps of Amsterdam, Netherlands to route your way through the city to our recommended walking tour sights. And, remember, we provide map links for each of the Amsterdam points of interest in the directions from sight-to-sight.

 

Amsterdam City Map: Interactive

This map of Amsterdam City Center is interactive; click on any of the markers for more information and zoom in or out of the map for a better view. The Amsterdam top sights listed in our walking tour are numbered; the blue markers show mentioned sights; the orange markers indicate the If You Have Time attractions. Use this link for an online version of our Amsterdam, Holland Map. 

 

One Day in Amsterdam: Self-Guided Walking Tour Map

This is a printable map of Amsterdam that highlights the main route of our Amsterdam Walking Tour. To print the Amsterdam City Center Map, click on it and then right click outside of the map and select print! 

One Day in Amsterdam self guided walking tour map


 

Top Amsterdam Sightseeing Tips

If you have just one day in Amsterdam to see the sights, these tips may help!

 

What to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam

We absolutely love Netherlands food! Read Dutch Cuisine: 17 Must-Try Things To Eat in the Netherlands, which includes everything from cheese to apple pie – and incredible Dutch dishes that tempt the palette. 

Dutch Cuisine 17 Must Try Things To Eat in the Netherlands by JetSettingFools.com

Dutch Cuisine: 17 Must Try Things To Eat in the Netherlands

Having a locally brewed Heineken is an essential Amsterdam experience. The distinctive red star logo is plastered throughout the city and it’s sold just about everywhere. Even though Heineken is mass produced (and available in 192 countries), it wouldn’t be right to visit Amsterdam and not have one. That being said, don’t miss out on the local craft beer, too. We have a complete post of the Best Amsterdam Craft Beer Bars

 

Stroll The Canals

Charming. Quaint. Lovely. Picturesque. Beautiful. The canals in Amsterdam are worthy of these overused adjectives and many more. It is not just the water flowing through the neighborhoods that make it so appealing. It is the allure of the entire scene: the floating houseboats, endless number of bridges and detailed architecture of the gabled houses that stand in the background. We have had the pleasure of seeing it all with autumn leaves and in the winter decorated for the holidays. No matter the season – and even if you only have one day in Amsterdam, take some time to savor the scenery and wander aimlessly! 

 

Watch out for Bikes in Amsterdam

Bicycles are everywhere. As fans of pedal power, we were impressed with so many people using bikes as their method of transportation. We found it amazing how effortlessly people moved about on bicycles, even with the extra encumbrance of hauling groceries, musical instruments and multiple children. Visitors need to be aware of bikes as much as cars. It is wise to always look both ways when crossing the street. And, for shutterbugs like myself, be aware of your surroundings when looking through your lens.

Amsterdam and Marijuana

The scent of potent pot is always floating in the air in the city. Within 24 hours of being in Amsterdam, the smell becomes commonplace. In The Netherlands, the laws covering the buying, possessing and using of small quantities of marijuana are complicated and evolving.

Individual joints are sold in coffee shops and can be purchased for less then $5 USD. Some shops, with names like Coffeeshop Reefer, seem to be geared toward tourists who find the freedom to smoke up a novelty. Other shops are more reserved. The unfortunate side effect of tourists using drugs is that some idiots overdo it. We saw more than one foreigner dazed-and-confused and struggling to function in broad daylight. Not cool.

To Visit – or Not Visit – the Red Light District

We didn’t venture into the Red Light District after dark, but even during the day, young women stood in the red-lit, glass-paneled box windows in their lingerie. The girls we saw looked bored, texting on their phones and not even looking into the crowd outside their windows. The scene is not for everyone. Visitors using our One Day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walking Tour who not keen on walking through the Red Light District can simply continue walking north on Warmoesstraat from De Oude Kerk to Prins Hendrikade. Turn right (east) and follow it as it curves into Zeedijk and continue through Chinatown.


 

More Amsterdam Walking Tours

We have outlined a free walking tour that is easy to follow and can be completed at any pace. However, there are many Amsterdam tours that are led by knowledgeable, professional Amsterdam tour guides. We already mentioned a few Amsterdam guided tours – like the Red Light District Night tour, the incredibly popular Anne Frank Tour and the Jordaan Food Tour – but here are a few more to consider. 

Best Tours in Amsterdam

  • Alternative Tour: A 2-hour walking tour that focuses on the city’s alternative side and subcultures. Find out more!
  • World War II and Jewish Quarter Tour: Learn about the city’s Nazi occupation and poignant memorials. Get the details!
  • Craft Beer Tour: Explore the city with a local Amsterdam tour guide while sipping craft beer. Book it now!
  • Cheese Tour Amsterdam: Join a Cheese Tasting Workshop in Central Amsterdam (accompanied by local beer or wine). Reserve your spot!

Visitors can choose from a private walking tour with a local guide or join a small group for Amsterdam sightseeing. Looking for a different way to experience the city? See the city sights while on an Amsterdam City Bike Tour or Pub Crawl. Find the guided Amsterdam walking tour you are looking for on this list of tours

Free Amsterdam Walking Tour

Visitors looking for a guided free tour have many options, including Sandemans New Europe tours. Keep in mind, however, that these ‘free walking tours’ are tip-based and guides should be tipped for their time. For a truly Free Amsterdam Walking Tour, use our outlined guide above. 


 

Amsterdam Sightseeing Options

Amsterdam is a fascinating city and there is a lot to see! There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to see the city – so we are sharing a few ideas of ways to discover the city, besides walking!

Amsterdam Itinerary: How To Spend 3 Days in Amsterdam by JetSettingFools.com

Amsterdam Itinerary: How To Spend 3 Days in Amsterdam

Sightseeing in Amsterdam by Boat, Bus or Bike

IToo much walking? There are two great Amsterdam sightseeing options that don’t require nearly as much walking: See the city by boat or bus!

Amsterdam Bus Tour

The classic Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus moves tourists through the city streets to top attractions. 

However, unique to Amsterdam is the Canal Bus Hop-On-Hop-Off Boat, which transports visitors via the waterways. Another alternative is to rent a bike and discover the top places to visit in Amsterdam on two wheels! 

 

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Want to cruise the canal? In Amsterdam, there are plenty of options when it comes to taking a boat cruise on the canals! From sightseeing cruises to candlelit cruises to pizza cruises to dinner cruises – pick one that fits your style! 

 

Beyond The City Limits

Have time to explore beyond the city? Consider taking a day trip to see the famous windmills and The Hague, the iconic tulip fields or to nearby fairytale Bruges, Belgium. For a shorter half-day trip, hop on a train to Haarlem

Top 5 Things To Do in Haarlem, Netherlands by JetSettingFools.com

Top 5 Things To Do in Haarlem, Netherlands

 

Where To Stay

During our trips to Amsterdam, we stayed in a few different places. For an Amsterdam layover hotel, Ibis Budget Amsterdam Airport, was just a short walk to the bus station where we could catch a bus into the city center.

More recently, we stayed at the stylish (yet affordable) Volkshotel in Amsterdam South near the hip De Pijp District. Key features of the hotel were the creative rooms, co-working space and rooftop hot tubs. 

However, for those who prefer staying closer to the city, there are many Amsterdam hotels to choose from. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip – or check availability at Park Mansion Centre Hotel or The Toren. 

Budget travelers can find accommodations at Amsterdam hostels, like The Flying Pig UptownClinkNOORD Hostel or Generator Amsterdam.

However, we’ve often found Airbnb apartments to be cheaper (as well as more spacious and comfortable!) than hostels or hotels, especially if there are two or more people traveling together. Use this link to create your Airbnb account and save money on your first stay!

 

Getting There

Amsterdam can be reached by plane, train, bus or car. Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and when we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.

To get from city to city when flights are not possible, we usually rely on public transportation and take trains or buses. In Europe, we use Rail Europe to find train tickets and our preferred bus company is FlixBus – as it is economical, clean and comfortable with on-board wifi and usually a toilet. We aren’t keen on driving abroad, but renting a car can often save time and money (especially when traveling with more than two people) – and it allows for greater discovery. 

 

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

We think travel insurance is essential! Not only can travel insurance help with cancelled plan or lost luggage, but it really comes in handy when travelers become ill or get injured while on the road. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads

 

Start planning your trip to the Netherlands! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

We want to know: Have you spent just One Day in Amsterdam? What is your favorite thing to do in Amsterdam? Is there anything you would add to our Amsterdam Walking Tour? Tell us in the comments!

 

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1 Day in Amsterdam A Self Guided Walking Tour to 15 Sights by JetSetting Fools

Amsterdam Free Walking Tour by JetSettingFools.com Free Amsterdam Walking Tour by JetSettingFools.com How To Spend One Day in Amsterdam by JetSettingFools.com
One day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walking Tour Netherlands JetSetting Fools
One Day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walk to 15 Sights by JetSetting Fools
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37 thoughts on “One Day in Amsterdam Self-Guided Walking Tour

  1. Thero

    Great list! It really sends people to a bunch of the highlights. You should add getting an ice cream cone on Nieuwendijk from Van der Linde. It is a true Amsterdam original!

  2. Bekah

    Thank you so much for this guide. We had a 12 hour layover from 8am-8pm and this was just perfect. By the time we got out of the airport and took an Uber to our starting spot, we added an hour long canal tour and spent 5 hours total with this tour. It was the perfect day to see all the big stuff without feeling too ‘touristy’. We always love self guided tours because we are cheap and don’t like crowds. This one was just perfect!!

  3. Becky

    Thank you for this! I was in Amsterdam by myself for the day and this gave me a great way to get out and see the city. It was a nice walking loop and allowed me to see the sights on my own schedule. I felt safe and didn’t get lost. I was also able to take small detours on my own and get right back on the path you’ve created. Again, thank you!

  4. Andrea Hopf

    Thank you so much for this clear and no fuss itinerary. I had a really lovely morning walking and now it’s time to explore some more.

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  6. Georgia

    Thanks for the article! Just wondering if you could share the location that the first two photos were taken (of the bridge, canal and Dutch houses)? I think they’re just stunning!

    • Thanks Georgia! Both photos were taken on Leidsegracht. The orange bike is on the Keizersgracht bridge and the 3-arched bridge is Herengracht. I’ve dropped a pin on each bridge on this Amsterdam map. Hope that helps! There are so many beautiful canals in Amsterdam 🙂 Enjoy!

  7. Jen

    We are going to Amsterdam this October, and this is exactly what I need. Thank you so much!! Plus we are also staying in Ibis Budget Amsterdam, it makes me giddy. Thank you mucho.

    • Hi Jen –
      So exciting! Hope you enjoy your time in Amsterdam – the autumn is a fantastic time to visit. One more tip: you can buy a day bus pass from the hotel check-in desk 😉
      Cheers and have fun!

  8. Claire

    I am doing a very short layover in Amsterdam next month and was looking for something just like this – thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Mel

    Stop at the pancake bakery, it is some where near Anne frank house, it was one of the most amazing meals I have ever ha d in my life!

  10. Jillian

    I’m heading to Amsterdam for a day next month and stumbled on your article – what a fantastic guide – will be trying it out! Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Deanna

    Visited Amsterdam many years ago with a tour group. Loved it. Hope to visit again. It rained a lot and the tulips bloomed before we got there.

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  13. Dana

    Hello! I have a 22 how layover in Amsterdam in my way home to the States and it starts at 11 am from the airport. I was wondering how long your tour took so I would know If I have enough time to complete it?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Dana –
      Our walking tour could probably be completed in under two hours without too many stops. The sights are located within close proximity – and, if time doesn’t permit, spend less time wandering Jordaan and cut back through the city. Enjoy, it’s a beautiful city!

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