48 Hours In Amsterdam

There is something special about Amsterdam in springtime. The Keukenhof gardens are open for a couple of months, as the tulips paint the landscape in brilliant colours. The city is on party mode all through April in anticipation of Holland’s biggest holiday—Queen’s Day, on the last day of the month.

If you are in Amsterdam for only a couple of days, here is how to get the best of it. First, buy the 48 hour IAmsterdam Card, which allows free public transport and entrance to key attractions, discounts at some restaurants and even on bike rentals. Pick it up at the main tourist office (www.iamsterdam.com) opposite the Amsterdam Centraal (sic) railway station. Also pick up a guide to Keukenhof gardens. Or, since Amsterdam is cyclist heaven, hire a bicycle for the duration of your stay—choose from one of these options recommended by the authorities.

Once you’re set, here’s how you can make the most of your two day in the city.

DAY ONE 9am: Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at an open air café on the Leidseplein (translated, Leiden Square), watching the city slowly come to life.

10am: Head to one of the many fabulous museums in Amsterdam for a morning of high culture. Choose from the Van Gogh Museum (www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp) orthe newly renovated Rijksmuseum (www.rijksmuseum.nl/en). The two are located close to each other, so you can quickly take in the highlights of both.

1pm: Have lunch at one of the Indonesian restaurants that the city is known for. Order the Rijsttafel (Dutch for ‘rice table’), which is a meal of several, tiny side-dishes accompanied by rice.

3pm: Pose for photographs on the iconic IAmsterdam installation (some tourists try to climb on top of the letters for that quirky photo) and then make your way to the sprawling Vondelpark for a walk in the spring sunshine. If you are feeling particularly sporty, join in a raucous game of football that is sure to be on at several places in the park.

4pm: Walk or bike your way along the main canals of Amsterdam that form a ring in the inner city—the Prinsengracht, Keijzersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan. The canal ring is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage ites and celebrates its 400th year in 2013. There are beautiful old buildings lining both sides of these narrow streets and several canal-side cafés to nip inside for a quick coffee.

6pm: Take an open boat ride on the canals, which comes with a guide and usually lasts for an hour. This is a great way to see the city and know a bit of its history.

7pm: Devote the evening to beer quaffing at a pub of your choice; you can never go wrong with beer in Amsterdam. Our recommendations are the ‘t Smalle, a distillery set up way back in 1780 near a picturesque canal (Egelantiersgracht 12), and In De Wildeman (Kolksteeg 3) famous for its Dutch and Belgian beers. And if you must, then take a stroll around Amsterdam’s (in)famous red light area, De Wallen. It is in Amsterdam’s old side, in the vicinity of the Oude Kerk (Old Church). Be sure not to point your camera at people or shops there since it is frowned upon.

DAY TWO 8am: Grab a quick croissant and coffee on the run and make an early start to the Keukenhof gardens. Devote the entire morning to tulips and all the other attractions of Keukenhof.

1pm: Try some local specialties like Bitterballen—minced beef fried with a coating of bread crumbs at a brown café, so called for its darkwood panelling (and not because of the ‘substances’ they deal in, as some people think).

2pm: Take a lazy saunter through the floating flower market on Singel canal and the Albert Cuyp street market (www.albertcuypmarkt.nl/ac_english.html).

4pm: This is a must-do for any visitor to Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House. It is a grim reminder of the city’s Nazi history. Note that entry here is not included in the IAmsterdam card and that it may not be suited for small children. Buy your tickets online (www.annefrank.org) to avoid the long queues.

5pm: Pick up a helping of poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) and patat (fries) and sit at Dam Square watching buskers ply their trade. Or, walk around the shopping haven of Negen Straatjes or “nine streets” around the canal area, filled with pretty boutiques, art galleries and vintage stores

7 pm: Have a quiet dinner at Hap-Hmm (www.hap-hmm.nl) for Dutch food “like grandma used to make” and at prices that make you hum with happiness. The restaurant is justly popular among both locals and tourists.

More on tulips: No visit to Amsterdam in spring is complete without a trip to Keukenhof gardens (www.keukenhof.nl/enjust outside the city. The garden is open from 8am to 7.30pm (till May 20 this year) and it is best to arrive early to beat the crowds and get the most of your morning. Buy tickets for a boat ride around the gardens as soon as you arrive, since these are very popular and tend to get booked fast. Apart from the thousands of tulips in myriad colours, Keukenhof has other attractions like rows of daffodils and hyacinths, greenhouses for orchids, play areas for children and cafés dotted throughout. There are buses to Keukenhof from Schipol airport (easily reached from the centre of the city by bus or train) and it is best to buy a combination ticket online before you go.

You may also like:

3 DREAM EURO-TRIPS

THE 10 MOST ANNOYING CO-PASSENGERS

12 COUNTRIES TO TRAVEL TO DESPITE THE WEAK RUPEE

Charukesi Ramadurai

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Meryl Streep funds initiative to help women screenwriters
    Meryl Streep funds initiative to help women screenwriters

    By Maria Caspani NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - U.S. actress Meryl Streep is among the funders of a new initiative to support women screenwriters in a film industry dominated by men. The Writers Lab, run by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and announced at the Tribeca Film Festival, will provide mentorship to eight women screenwriters over the age of 40 at a location in upstate New York in September. Screenwriters Kirsten Smith (Legally Blond, Ten Things I Hate About …

  • Prognosis unclear for daughter of late singer Whitney Houston - lawyer
    Prognosis unclear for daughter of late singer Whitney Houston - lawyer

    Bobbi Kristina Brown is expected to live a long life, but her prognosis remains unclear, an attorney for her father Bobby Brown said on Monday, clarifying the singer’s remarks at a weekend concert that she was awake months after being found unresponsive in her bathtub. She's watching me," Brown told concert-goers at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, according to a video posted on the website TMZ. "However, Bobbi Kristina is presently embarking on a rehabilitation process and the …

  • AC/DC's Rudd pleads guilty to threatening to kill, drug possession

    Phil Rudd, the Australian-born drummer from world-famous rock band AC/DC, pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court on Tuesday to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs, his lawyer said. Rudd, 60, who has been on bail since his arrest last November, reversed an earlier not guilty plea and admitted to one charge of threatening to kill, as well as possession of cannabis and methamphetamine. The district court in the seaside city of Tauranga, about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of …

  • Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to U.S., Chinese investors
    Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to U.S., Chinese investors

    By Allison Lampert MONTREAL (Reuters) - Cirque du Soleil, the ragtag group of street performers in Canada that grew into a global circus and entertainment colossus, is selling a majority stake to a U.S. private equity fund and its Chinese partner, Cirque du Soleil said on Monday. The deal to sell control to a group led by Texas-based TPG Capital LP values Montreal-based Cirque at about $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.. TPG will own 60 percent, while a unit of …

  • Bobby Brown says daughter with late singer Whitney Houston 'is awake'
    Bobby Brown says daughter with late singer Whitney Houston 'is awake'

    (Reuters) - Singer Bobby Brown said at a weekend concert that his daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who has been hospitalized since being found unresponsive in her bathtub nearly three months ago, was awake but did not elaborate on her medical condition. She's watching me," Brown told concert-goers at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, according to a video posted on the website TMZ. It was not clear whether Brown's statement reflected a change in the health of his 22-year-old daughter …

  • Rock band The Slants cannot trademark disparaging name - U.S. appeals court

    By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asian-American rock band the Slants, which says it chose its name as a way to reclaim a term usually considered a racial slur, cannot trademark the name because it is disparaging, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected the band's argument that the government's refusal to grant a trademark violated its free speech rights. The ruling could have implications for the high-profile fight …

  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal over Arizona 'fish pedicures'

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the owner a Phoenix-area spa that ran afoul of Arizona state regulations that barred her from providing pedicures in which clients have their feet nibbled by small fish to remove dead skin. The procedure involves customers placing their feet in a water tank filled with toothless Garra rufa fish, also known as doctor fish, which suck the dead tissue off their feet to leave them feeling softer. Cindy Vong, who has operated a nail salon in …

  • Coming-out musical 'Fun Home' gets rousing welcome on Broadway

    By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway welcomed its first lesbian lead character in the musical "Fun Home" with open arms and glowing reviews, praising the groundbreaking show for its originality and sensitivity. It is based on the best-selling graphic memoir, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," by lesbian writer/cartoonist Alison Bechdel about her dysfunctional family and childhood in rural Pennsylvania in a funeral home run by her father, a closeted gay man who also taught English. …

Loading...