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5 days in Amsterdam

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Vancouver, Canada
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5 days in Amsterdam

We are a couple in our early 30’s. We will be spending 4 nights in Amsterdam in late May before we fly out to Turkey. This is our first visit to Amsterdam. We are not museum people. We do not like our days too crammed. We do not like a set itinerary and like to venture off and do what our hearts desire in the moment. We love to walk and explore cities. We are not partiers but enjoy having good food/drinks/coffee at restaurants/lounges and cafes.

Although we never stick to it, we like to have a rough itinerary in terms of what attractions are close to each other and should be done at the same time/day. Here is what I came up with so far:

Day 1 (We arrive around 1:00pm)

Explore area around hotel (Vondelpark)

Walk around and have dinner in Leiden Square in the evening.

Day 2:

Anne Frank House

Explore Jordaan neighbourhood

Dam Square

Begihnhof

Red Light District

Day 3:

Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat

Canal Cruise (possibly)

Day 4:

Explore Haarlem

Keukenhof in Lisse

Day 5:

Central Library

Possibly rent bikes

Is there anything else that we’re missed which is a must? Any comments on our so called itinerary?

Weed, California
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1. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

I would put the canal cruise in your first day Of activities, great perspective of the city's layout

Nottingham, United...
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2. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Keukenhof Gardens closes 20 May but May is too late to see the tulips anyway.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Thanks Jefferson - we will plan to do the cruise on the first day.

Thanks bevhicklin - I just realized this when I checked their website today. Too bad. I was looking forward to it.

I'm sure we can easily fill up our days with our wandering and exploring the city. But if you can think of any other must do's, please let me know!

Thank you!

Nottingham, United...
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4. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

I am not a museum person either but Anne Frank House I definitely would have put on your itinerary. It just totally fascinated me when I went there but it is extremely busy so book your tickets beforehand.

Amsterdam has a lot to offer just strolling around but it is nice too to get out of the City for a while so here are a few suggestions from me.

Take the train to Utrecht or Delft which are well worth your time and very easy to get to.

As it is late May then hopefully you should get some decent weather so catch a bus to Volendam then move on by Ferry to Marken.

All of these places you can find in a good Guide book.

Maryland
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5. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Good move on moving that canal cruise to the first day.

Even if you are not a smoker-toker Amsterdam has something you will not see anywhere else in the world.

I would stop into an Amsterdam coffeeshop and at least have a juice or coffee. They are friendly places and as long as you are buying something to eat or drink you will be more than welcome.

Think of it as stories you can tell the folks back home

Amsterdam
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6. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

I'd make SURE to do the canal cruise on day 1 or 2. Boating along the canals is one of the coziest ways to see this city. I think everyone who visits here should walk, cycle and take a canal tour. You get 3 entirely different views of the city, with different experiences. This is a cycling city so bike rentals are easily doable and cheap. I'd recommend avoiding the touristy canal boats and instead I'd rent my own boat from a company called "boaty". You don't really need to know how to drive a boat to rent one. These are environmentally friendly, slow, simple boats with an on & off switch, and a forward & backward lever. On these particular boats (see www.boaty.nl for photos), you can bring your own food & drinks onboard, and there's a little map that'll help you get around. You rent them for a 4 hour period. EVERYONE who we've taken out on these boats has a great time, as it's completely relaxed and is a very different way to see a city.

I'd recommend renting the boats on a weekday and not a weekend if possible. There are less boats on the canals on weekdays, and thus, much more relaxing to drive them around and explore.

Also, little details, but I'd recommend bringing a rain jacket with a hood. It rains frequently in Amsterdam, so it's always good to be prepared just in case.

Amsterdam
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7. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

A few more thoughts:

For dinners, I'd personally recommend avoiding the area you call "leiden square" (think you mean the square near leidsestraat). It is extremely touristy and rather inauthentic. There are so many GREAT restaurants in this city that are just a stroll off the beaten path. See my reviews for a couple of ideas. Or send me a message if you want thoughts on specific places you're thinking about.

Jordaan is great. Dam square is touristy.

Definitely take long walks along the major canals (herengracht, keizersgracht, prinsengracht, brouwersgracht) for a super cozy, classic Amsterdam feeling.

coulby newham
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8. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Wow, some really useful information there. I'm coming out in a few weeks and staying for 6 months so I'll be like a tourist for a while. Sounds great!

I've been to the Ann Frank Museum before, I'm not into museums either and I thought it was great. I'll definitely be taking a second look with my new hubby!

Maryland
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9. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Yes and like information everywhere it can be at odds with other info.

For me I would always take a commercial canal boat tour. And that is the common info given by folks here. And most of us suggest doing it on the first day------after a long over night flight when you are the most tired.

For a first time visitor renting a boat for personal use would come after the regular tour if at all.

And the popular squares or pleins are popular for a reason. They are not places to avoid. Although people who live in Amsterdam year around just might.

But that is the great thing about the Internet. You can get lots of advice then you can make up your own mind.

Edited: 11:13 am, January 22, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: 5 days in Amsterdam

Thank you all for your great feedback! Your comments are truly invaluable!!

We are not fond of tours and touristy things and love to enjoy a city from a locals perspective. However, given that it is our first time in the city, we will certainly be checking out the touristy spots even if it is just for a quick visit.

I was not very enthusiastic about the canal tour because as mentioned, I do not enjoy tours. However, given that everyone is recommending it, we may just have to make it happen on the first day.

Any other suggestions, please let us know!