Amsterdam is a spider-web of a city, where bucolic canals, charming footbridges and cobbled side-streets offer surprises on every mid-17th century corner.

Around one corner, the stepped gable façade of a merchant’s house; around another, a Michelin-starred restaurant; next you’re gazing at the work of the troubled geniuses of the Dutch Golden Age – Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Fitting it all into a weekend can be tricky, but it’s certainly possible. For a quick guide to get your planning started, here are my top 6 Amsterdam must-dos. Enjoy.

 My 6 Amsterdam must-dos


Weekend in Amsterdam - Pin for Later

1. Soak it up – by hiring a bike

A bike is a rusty ‘n’ trusty fundamental in Amsterdam; it’s cheap, it’s green, it’s how all Amsterdammers get around, royalty and riff-raff alike. It’s egalitarianism on wheels, for hire all year round. You’ll find places to rent a bike all around the city.

My favourites are: Canal Bike and Yellow Bike

Girl on Bike in Amsterdam

2. Lay your head – where Rembrandt laid his

Jordaan: This former poverty-pit and final home of the bankrupt Rembrandt, is today the epicenter of Amsterdam’s independent art scene. A romantic haven of crooked streets, boutique shops, bountiful galleries and canal-house hotels.

Need a play to stay? Budget Places

Westertoren Jordaan Amsterdam

3. Sights taste better – with a canal view

Amsterdam by open-topped boat is a wind-in-your-hair must. Especially exploring the mighty 400-year-old Canal Ring – recently added to the UNESCO world heritage list. If that doesn’t float your boat, the remarkable canal-side mansion house museums will.

For an instant trip: Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Tourist boat on canal in Amsterdam

4. A classic evening – starts with art-house cinema

The EYE Film Institute Netherlands is a film buff’s mecca, just 3 minutes’ free ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station. This mothership of cinema regularly plays host to screenings, shows, and festivals. If it’s on, it’s inside.

Discover what’s on: EYE

Eye Cinema Amsterdam from the outside

5. Drink to you – in a famous hang-out

For a thick slice of intellectual hubbub, try Café Welling. Much-loved hangout of Holland’s literary crowd, this ‘bruine café’ has the traditional dark-wood paneling and tobacco-stained walls you’d expect. Open weekdays and weekends.

Where is it? Café Welling

Woman in bar in Amsterdam

6. Eat like a king – where the food is a masterpiece

They say no one comes to Amsterdam to eat. Clearly they haven’t eaten at Restaurant Greetje. Here, inelegant cuisine is out, whilst old-fashioned local classics are in your mouth and entirely devoured, quicker than you can say ‘Dutch masterpiece’.

Book your spotRestaurant Greetje

Steak Sandwich Close-up

Take you there?

Eurostar go direct to Amsterdam from

London St. Pancras International from just £99

What top tips do you have for a short trip to Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments below.

Claire Robinson | Head Weekender
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Claire Robinson | Head Weekender

Founder at Weekend Candy
Claire Robinson is an award-winning freelance writer with a lust for weekend travel. Whether it’s in the UK or Europe, you’ll find her checking out the sweetest places to stay and the best things do to on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Over the last year, Claire’s zipped to a host of different spots in the UK and Europe, bringing back colourful, evocative and energetic tales of where to go and what to see for those wishing to do the same. She’s founder of Weekend Candy – The Weekend Inspiration Blog.
Claire Robinson | Head Weekender
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