Amsterdam Canal

How to Spend a Week in Amsterdam (2024 Guide)


Then you’ve come to the right place! Amsterdam is a fabulous city and while it is small, there is so much to see and do.

With 7 days in Amsterdam, there is plenty of time to take some day trips out of the city centre and enjoy many other areas of the Netherlands and beyond.

This guide will give you all the details you need to have a jam-packed, exciting and interesting week in Amsterdam!

Where is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is the capital city of The Netherlands located in the western part of the country. It is well-known for many things but mainly for its picturesque streets and an extensive network of canals. Its canals are so beautiful that they have actually been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

The city’s central location within Europe makes it easily accessible and has contributed to its historical significance as a major trading hub.

Its close proximity to the UK means that you’ll likely find many English tourists on your travels around the city and English has become very widely spoken in Amsterdam.

While it might be popular with British tourists, Amsterdam has recently been trying to deter so many young visitors from the UK due to them becoming a bit of a nuisance when they take advantage of Dutch laws that don’t exist back home!

That being said, Amsterdam is very welcoming and there is an understanding between the locals and tourists that you are free to enjoy yourself as much as you wish – just don’t go overboard and start causing trouble!

Much of Amsterdam’s charm comes from its relaxed and vibrant atmosphere mixed with the beautiful architecture which lines the canal networks. There are lots of things to enjoy in Amsterdam and it should not be overlooked when considering a location to visit in Europe!

Why Visit Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has such a unique atmosphere with romance and charm meeting you at every corner. The canals in particular have been marked as a couple activity with many tour companies offering private boat tours of the network.

Amsterdam’s beauty has been showcased more and more through TV and film and tourism has been impacted by their influence.

Brought to fame in the teen movie ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘, Amsterdam tourism has blown up in recent years for couples and younger travellers. The tourist industry is booming in the areas that the on-screen couple visited. Particularly in the Anne Frank House where the couple shared a heart-warming kiss.

Ted Lasso has also drawn attention to many tourist attractions in their Amsterdam episode, the Van Gogh Museum being very popular before and after the show. Some canal tours even point out key locations where filming took place!

But, don’t just visit Amsterdam because your favourite characters made it look good! Amsterdam is a city of culture, architecture and history. It deserves to be fully enjoyed and explored.

Go to Amsterdam for the open-minded atmosphere – Amsterdam is renowned for its progressive outlook. It is a diverse and welcoming city, embracing people from various backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles. The city’s attitudes are most evident in the Red Light District, where regulated sex work operates openly.

Amsterdam is a very celebratory city with plenty of festivals and events throughout the year. The city is one of the top celebrants of Pride – so if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate love this year then definitely plan your trip around this time!

There is a huge range of celebrations with something suitable for everyone, the Amsterdam Light Festival might be the most appealing to all visitors though!

Amsterdam’s food should also be a top reason for visiting the city. Dutch food has a special place in my heart – in particular stroopwafels! Cheese lovers will also love Amsterdam with many shops offering free samples so you can ensure that you’re getting the best quality.

One final reason (but there are hundreds more) to visit Amsterdam is for those that don’t love cities all that much. Travellers who find cities overwhelming and prefer to stick to beach resorts often holiday way less as it is more expensive. I would highly recommend a few days in Amsterdam if you’re in need of a break or trying to ease yourself into solo travel.

The city is so welcoming and laid-back. There are plenty of green spaces to relax so close to the city centre. In fact, Amsterdam has a very large green space right in the middle of the city. Vondelpark is enjoyed by thousands of visitors every day and is the perfect spot to relax after a long day of exploring.

How Long to Spend in Amsterdam

While many travel sites will probably suggest that 3 days is long enough for Amsterdam, I’d be pushing you to stay longer.

You can absolutely see the city for 3 days but your schedule is often cram-packed and there isn’t much time to rest. I visited Amsterdam myself for 3 days and enjoyed it so much but we missed out on some top attractions due to having no time.

I think you could easily explore Amsterdam and beyond in 7 days and know the city like the back of your hand by the end of it.

Amsterdam has so much to do and see, there are so many things to learn about in the city. The fact that English is widely spoken in the Netherlands is really helpful for many travellers, even if English is a second language.

Spending a week in Amsterdam will ensure that you get to fully immerse yourself in the city’s culture and give you a great opportunity to try many new things.

There are many great areas to stay in Amsterdam, but as with most capital cities, it is more affordable and practical to stay outside of the city centre.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Accommodation in Amsterdam can be quite pricey, even for basic hostels and so staying a few miles out of the busiest areas helps to reduce your costs and gives you a bit more freedom to explore.

I’d highly recommend looking at hotels and hostels near Amsterdam-Zuidoost. The area is close to main transport links and is a lot quieter than the northern regions of the city.

Make sure to take a look at Duivendrecht. Duivendrecht has a train station with lines running directly to the Central Station and is within walking distance of the Ajax Stadium.

There is a fabulous hostel in the area called Outside Inn. It isn’t a traditional hostel with rickety bunk beds, it is modern and has a lot of character. Outside Inn offers beds in converted caravans, chalets and holiday homes, all stylishly decorated.

Outside Inn Hostel

The best bit about it is that they are all inside, meaning you don’t have to worry about bad weather. There is a common area, self-service snack bar and communal bathrooms all on-site.

This hostel is perfect for travellers who prefer a bit more privacy, or couples on a budget. The design idea is so fun and unique – it is definitely worth looking into staying at Outside Inn.

Transport in Amsterdam

Getting around Amsterdam is super simple and there are many ways you can get tickets. If you’re arriving in the city from Schiphol Airport then taking the train is a super cheap way to go and there are so many services passing through the city centre.

Getting tickets at the airport is easy with ticket machines positioned at most entrances to the train station, simply select where you’d like to go, print your ticket and you’re good to go!

Alternatively, Amsterdam allows passengers to use credit or debit cards to ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ of transport. By tapping your card on the yellow pillar machines before getting on a train and before leaving a station, the price for your journey will be calculated and deducted accordingly.

Ticket machine at a metro station, multiple languages can be selected to use.

Travelling around the city can also be done using your debit or credit card but I’d highly recommend buying a multi-day ticket that covers buses, trams and metros. They are super affordable and well worth the money. It works out far cheaper than tapping your debit card for each journey.

Transport in the city is very advanced and reliable, you will not struggle to get around as there are so many services running in all directions.

Rokin metro station is one that we constantly found ourselves travelling to and from as it is just a short 5-minute walk from Dam Square. Metro services travelling to Amsterdam Noord and Zuid run every 6 minutes at peak times.

Things To Do In Amsterdam

The list of things to do in the Netherlands’ capital city is almost endless and there is so much to see and enjoy. Here’s a list of some of the things you should definitely consider having on your week-long Amsterdam itinerary:

Anne Frank House

One of the most visited attractions in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House. It really is an amazing experience – even for those who don’t know much about her story. The house has been beautifully preserved and that odd feeling still descends upon you standing in the Frank family bedrooms. Tickets go FAST, with tickets coming out every Tuesday 6 weeks in advance!


The Westerkerk in Amsterdam stands as a historic testament to Dutch architecture and culture. The Westerkerk is a Protestant Church built in the 17th century, visible from Anne Frank’s hiding place, providing a reassuring presence in her confined world. It is a quick visit which any visitors going to the Anne Frank House should stop at.

The Upside Down Museum

The Upside Down is a good experience to have in Amsterdam. The museum is split into rooms which all have creative backgrounds and props to take photos. You simply scan your QR code on your ticket to take photos and receive them at the end.

* Please note: Maybe it was just my personal experience at the Upside Down (and I did visit in peak summer) but some people were very rude and would not wait for you to take photos. They’d often step in the way or make you feel very rushed. This meant we had to go back to rooms several times or let people skip in front of us to get rid of them.

Prepare to be assertive while at the museum to make sure you get what you want!*

๐ŸŽŸ Make sure to buy your Upside Down Museum tickets well in advance, as spaces are limited due to the nature of the museum.

Floating Flower Market

Situated along the Singel Canal, the unique floating flower market features a collection of houseboats converted into floating stalls, each adorned with a dazzling array of flowers, bulbs, and plants. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs to take home to family and friends!

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is a special place full of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. You can see his colourful and unique artworks, like “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night.” It’s like taking a journey through his life and seeing how he painted different things. If you like art, you’ll really enjoy visiting this museum!

๐ŸŽŸ Want to see some of the world’s most famous paintings? Guarantee your spot and buy your Van Gogh Museum tickets today.

Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is a vibrant one where you can buy everything from juicy fruits to stylish clothes! There are so many vendors on the market street – it seems to never end and there are so many tasty treats to try – it’s a great place to stop for a spot of lunch!

Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels is a great place to stop off to try one of Amsterdam’s biggest dessert obsessions!


The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is filled with amazing art and history from the Netherlands. Inside, you can see paintings by famous artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer and even a giant dollhouse that’s hundreds of years old!


๐ŸŽŸ Sound good? Book your Rijksmuseum tickets today!

Canal Boat Tour

A trip to Amsterdam would not be complete without a canal tour! The city has more canals than Venice and they offer the best view of the city’s amazing architecture. You only have to be the city for a couple of minutes before you’re guaranteed to be greeted with the sight of dozens of tourist canal tours!

The best canal tour that you can take though is with Those Dam Boat Guys! They offer smaller boats with less capacity and enthusiastic tour guides who really love what they do!

Amsterdam Tulip Museum

The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is a little treasure trove all about tulips! You can learn about the history of these beautiful flowers and why they’re so special to the Netherlands. They have colourful displays, cool facts, and even show how tulips are grown. It’s a place where you can discover the magic behind these iconic blooms.

My favourite part of the museum however was actually the shop! There is such a huge range of tulip bulbs on offer to choose from as well as dainty to take back to relatives. The staff were super helpful in offering growing advice and can even give you certificates so that you can get them through border control if you are from the US or Canada!

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a super cool way to explore the city of Amsterdam. You can hop on and off the double-decker bus whenever you want at different stops to see famous places like museums, canals, and cool neighbourhoods. It’s a flexible and convenient way of seeing Amsterdam at your own pace!

The company also offers really cool boat tours that run on the same principle – hop-on and off wherever you’d like!

๐ŸŽŸ Want to see all of Amsterdam’s sights in the easiest way possible? Buy your hop-on hop-off tickets, then sit back and enjoy the view.

Dam Square

Dam Square is like the heart of Amsterdam, a big open space where lots of things happen. You can see the Royal Palace there, which used to be for kings and queens. There are also cool street performers, shops, and places to eat. It’s a busy and exciting spot where you can feel the energy of the city.

Cannabis Museum

The Cannabis Museum in Amsterdam is a unique place that tells you about the history and culture of cannabis. You can learn how people have used it for different things over time and see interesting displays. It’s not just about smoking โ€“ they explain the science and even the laws around it. It’s a chance to explore a topic that’s part of Amsterdam’s identity in a new and informative way.

๐ŸŽŸ For one of the most unique museums in Amsterdam, buy tickets to the Cannabis Museum and get ready for a museum like never before.

Madame Tussaud’s

Madame Tussauds Amsterdam is located right on the corner of Dam Square and is home to a huge range of famous wax figures. You can take pictures with lifelike statues of movie stars, historical figures, and even superheroes. It’s a fun place to feel like you’re hanging out with famous people and maybe even have a chat with a wax version of your favourite celebrity!

Madame Tussaud’s is also located in many other cities with different wax figures in each museum – it is also one of the top things to do on a trip to London!

๐ŸŽŸ Fancy taking some pics with some celebs? Tickets to Madame Tussaud’s are your golden ticket.

The Red Light District

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is a famous area with lots of bright lights and small streets. It’s known for having windows where women pose in very little clothes to entice clients. Prostitution is perfectly tolerated in Amsterdam and sex work is considered as good a job as any! But don’t just wander down the streets to gawk at the women, it’s important to be respectful โ€“ you can find cool shops, restaurants, and even museums in the area.

Walking Tour

Walking tours are a great way of navigating a new city and getting to know a bit of the history and culture. Taking a walking tour of Amsterdam will allow you to see some of the top sights and learn all about the creation of the city. WWII is often a key topic of discussion on the walking tours as well as the tolerance of prostitution and marijuana.

Johan Cruijff ArenA

Johan Cruijff ArenA is home to the Ajax football team and the location of some of Amsterdam’s top concerts. The tours of the inside of the arena allow visitors to see the field, changing rooms and the trophy room. The stadium is absolutely huge and deserves a visit from sports fans!

Johan Cruijff Stadium

๐ŸŽŸ Seeing the stadium from the outside is cool, but stepping inside is the real deal. Book your tour of the Johan Cruijff ArenA today!

I Amsterdam Sign

Don’t make the mistake that I did in Amsterdam and assume that there is only one I Amsterdam sign! There are actually two! The first is located just outside of Schiphol Airport – perfect for if you miss it on your travels and the second actually travels around the city for events.

I amsterdam sign

One of the most popular places you will find the letters are in front of the A’DAM Lookout. On our August 2023 trip, we found them outside the European Convention Centre.

A’DAM Lookout

The A’DAM Lookout is the tallest building in all of Amsterdam and has a truly terrifying feature at the top! A large red swing on the top of the building allows you to soar across the city and get an amazing view – only try it if you’re feeling brave! You can take an elevator to the top of the tall building and see the whole city and the river below.

There is also a restaurant in the building which offers a stunning 360-degree view of Amsterdam by turning a full revolution in one hour.

But there are only a few swings, and it’s incredibly popular, so be sure to buy your tickets with plenty of time to spare.

XtraCold Ice Bar Amsterdam

The Xtracold Ice Bar in Amsterdam is a frozen wonderland where everything is made of ice, even the glasses you drink from! You get to wear warm coats and step into a chilly world of ice sculptures and icy decorations. The bar allows visitors to enjoy their evening in freezing cold temperatures – who needs Iceland?!

๐ŸŽŸ Ready to step into a winter wonderland? Then be sure to book your Ice Bar tickets.


ARTIS is a great green space in the middle of Amsterdam which is home to animals from all around the world! ARTIS is a zoo, aquarium and planetarium all in one and promises to be a great day out while in the city of Amsterdam – without leaving the city centre.

๐ŸŽŸ For one of the best zoos in the world, book your tickets to ARTIS.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is home to many weird and wonderful artefacts and exhibitions. The museum is full of bizarre artefacts and optical illusions and very educational. It would be a fun place to visit if you have kids with you in Amsterdam!

๐ŸŽŸ Want to have your mind blown? Or just keep the kids busy for a few hours?… then definitely book your Believe It or Not! tickets ASAP.

Amsterdam Dungeon

Amsterdam Dungeon is an interactive museum which educates visitors about the dark past of the city. The museum employs the use of live actors and special effects to make a more immersive experience. The Amsterdam Dungeon focuses on terrifying times in history including when the plague and witch trials had citizens living in fear.

๐ŸŽŸ For a look into the darker side of Amsterdam, book some Amsterdam Dungeon tickets.

Body Worlds: The Happiness Project

Body Worlds is a fantastic experience for anyone that loves science and learning about the human body. Body Worlds uses human plastinated bodies (not for the faint of heart) to showcase a range of body systems and allows visitors to study how intricately human nerves, muscles and organs are arranged.

Body Worlds Amsterdam

๐ŸŽŸ To take a close look at the human body and learn all about it, get your tickets to the Body Worlds Museum.

Cheese Museum

The Cheese Museum in Amsterdam is a delightful stop for cheese enthusiasts. You can learn about the cheese-making process, discover different types of Dutch cheese, and even taste some samples. The museum showcases the rich tradition of cheese in the Netherlands and offers a chance to appreciate the flavours and craftsmanship that go into this beloved culinary art.

Diamond Museum

The Diamond Museum in Amsterdam is a dazzling place where you can discover the magic of diamonds. Inside, you’ll learn all about these shiny gems โ€“ how they’re formed deep underground, how people cut them to make them sparkle, and why they’re so valuable. Diamonds are very important to the Dutch economy and Amsterdam has a long history in diamond trade and jewellery creation.

๐ŸŽŸ *insert a lyric from Rihanna’s song to tell you to buy your tickets for the Diamond Museum here ๐Ÿ˜‚*

Day Trips from Amsterdam

Having a whole week in Amsterdam means you’ll have plenty of time to explore the surrounding area and even cross borders!

There are many great locations to visit from Amsterdam and it’s a great idea to visit areas that celebrate Dutch culture. Tour companies around Amsterdam offer some really great deals for day trips which include transfers, activities and sometimes meals.

Here is a list of 8 best places to take a day trip from Amsterdam:

  1. Zaanse Schans – Zaanse Schans is a unique little village, just a short 30-minute drive from Amsterdam. It retains classic Dutch design and has beautifully painted houses. Zaanse Schans is one of the best places near Amsterdam to see windmills and taste some handmade cheeses.
  2. Rotterdam – Rotterdam is a port city, bustling with trade and has fast become an interesting area for tourists with many museums and modern architecture. Rotterdam is a great city to spend a weekend away from Amsterdam.
  3. The Hague – The Hague, while not the capital of the Netherlands is a very important city. The Dutch government has its basis in the Hague and all key decisions are made there. The Hague is also home to many other international organisations.
  4. Delft – Delft is home to the gorgeous blue and white pottery you’ll find throughout the Netherlands. Delft’s central market square is flanked by stunning buildings, including the towering Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), where Dutch luminaries such as Vermeer are buried.
  5. Kinderdijk – Kinderdijk is another small town just a short trip from Amsterdam. Nestled amidst serene canals and lush green fields, 19 historic windmills showcase the Netherlands’ ingenious water management system.
  6. Paris – Yes, Paris! The high-speed Thalys train can whisk you from the charming canals of Amsterdam to the romantic streets of Paris in just over three hours, offering glimpses of picturesque landscapes along the way. Spend the day sightseeing at Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
  7. Brussels – The Thalys train also runs to Brussels – Belgium’s capital! In a short number of hours, you can be in the chocolate capital of the world savouring the most delicious treats in the Grand Place. You can find out how to spend one day in Brussels here.
  8. Bruges – Another Belgian city worth considering as a day trip from Amsterdam is the wonderful, medieval region of Bruges. Why not swap the authentic Dutch canals for a day exploring the Gothic structures of Bruges.

Conclusion: a Week in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a fantastic city to spend a week in and has so much on offer to fill your time.

Being in a small country brings the benefit that you can also see plenty of the Netherlands if spending a week in Amsterdam. You can also go even further afield to Belgium or France! Some train journeys take nothing more than a few hours – perfect for day trips!

The city is so refreshing and has such a great atmosphere, the people that you’ll come across are also so friendly (apart from cyclists in a hurry!) and there is such a welcoming feel to Amsterdam.

The city is packed full of culture and this is celebrated through the many museums that you’ll find all over the city, you can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting at least a few of them!

However you choose to spend your week in Amsterdam, it is guaranteed to be a great experience and I’m sure you’ll make some unforgettable memories!