As a family who loves to travel we often take short weekend trips, both in the UK and in Europe. We are pretty good a cramming a weeks worth of sightseeing into just one or two days.
During one trip to The Netherlands and Belgium we managed to visit Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam in just 36 hours! I thought I’d share with you how we spent 8 hours in Amsterdam with kids. There is no way to see it all but we really loved our day in the stunning Dutch capital. We travelled from the airport into the city so I will start from that point. This would make a good stopover itinerary as well.
Table of Contents
One Day Amsterdam Itinerary with Kids (8 hours)
Getting to the city (1st Hour)
If you need to drop bags off at Schipol Airport there are handy luggage lockers available. At around €7 for 24 hours it’s cheap and handy for your whirlwind tour on Amsterdam. I recommend using the lockers near the main plaza, they are easy to access when returning to the airport. There is also a luggage depot available.
Schipol Airport is around 14km from the city centre. You can take a taxi or an uber but that will set you back €25-30. The best way to get to the action is on the train. The trains conveniently run directly underneath the airport and are super easy to use. A single journey is around €5.40 each way. Trains depart from Platforms 1 and 2, the journey takes just 20 minutes to Amsterdam Central.
Grab a boat (2nd and 3rd Hour)
As you leave Amsterdam Central you are greeted by views of the iconic and beautiful canals. There are a fair few options for exploring the canals, we recommend the hop on hop off service. Little people will love the sights and sounds of the canals and all the life on the edge. You can do the full circuit which takes around and hour and a half or you can hop off at points around the city to explore sights such as Museum Square (where you’ll find the Rijkmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum) and Anne Frank’s House.
Hit the city (4th Hour)
It’s just a 5 minute walk from the station to heart of the city. Amsterdam is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cities I have ever visited. Just spending an hour exploring the canals, getting lost in the alleys and cobbled streets and visiting quirky shops is a great way to introduce kids to the Dutch life. Wandering is our favourite thing to do in a new city. Beware of the cyclists though (no really!).
Eat Pancakes! (5th Hour)
You simply can not spent any time in Amsterdam (particularly with small people) without being enticed by the smell of freshly cooked pancakes or pannenkoeken. It’s pretty much mandatory to eat your body weight in pancakes when in Amsterdam. There are so many pancake houses and cafés including the famous Pancake Bakery, you definitely won’t be short of choice. There is even a Pancake Boat!
The Pannenkoekenboot is a 75 minute river cruise that is basically a 75 minute unlimited pancake free for all. We didn’t do this but I couldn’t not tell you about it. Oh and the waffles are pretty awesome in Amsterdam as well.
Dam Square and Madame Tussauds (6th and 7th Hour)
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the famous Dam Square. This lively bustling square is home to the stunning neoclassical Royal Palace as well as the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), National Monument and Madame Tussauds. Culture, history, architecture and the Avengers (it all makes sense below). There just happened to be a travelling fair in the square when we visited.
Madame Tussauds Amsterdam has an impressive collection of wax works including a fantastic selection of Avenger characters. Pose with famous film stars and take a selfie with your favourite pop star. The museum is bound to keep you busy for a couple of hours.
Amsterdam is a very family friendly city. There are so many great things for families including the amazing Vondelpark, Artis Zoo, Anne Frank’s House and NEMO the largest science museum in the Netherlands.
I hope you have found this blog helpful for planning your visit to Amsterdam, even if it is just a whistle stop tour.
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