How to plan a trip to Amsterdam

Joshua Berida

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How to plan a trip to Amsterdam

CANAL TOUR. Amsterdam’s picturesque canals. Photo by Joshua Berida

The Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum are some of the places you can visit!

Amsterdam has an eclectic mix of attractions that are wholesome (and not so wholesome), world class museums (Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum), parks, and quaint neighborhoods. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants and cafes if you simply want to chill for the day. You’ll have plenty to see and do whether you’re staying in Amsterdam for a few days or longer.

Getting a visa

You’ll need a Schengen visa to enter the Netherlands. Some of the basic requirements for a visa application include:

  • Valid passport
  • Photo (35x45mm)
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation confirmation
  • Application form
  • Proof of occupation or business registration
  • Proof of funds (bank certificate, credit card statements, bank statements, etc.)

Check this link to learn more about the requirements and application process.

Get into Amsterdam

Schiphol Airport is your gateway to the Netherlands. You can also drive to the country, take the bus, or board a train from another European city. It’s convenient to visit not just Amsterdam but other places in the Netherlands once you’re in Europe. If you’re looking for flights, you can check out for schedules and prices. Book a flight as early as possible to get a good deal.

Get out of Schiphol Airport

If you’re arriving by plane, it’s easy and convenient to get out of the airport. You can take the train to the city after you arrive.

Architecture, Building, City
Act like a tourist and take photos with the Royal Palace as your background. Photo by Joshua Berida
Getting around Amsterdam

It’s easy to get around Amsterdam. One of the most popular ways to explore the city is to rent a bike. Rentals cost around €10+++ depending on how long you’ll use the bike. It’s free to walk everywhere but time consuming.

However, Amsterdam has lovely neighborhoods you’d want to visit at a leisurely pace. You can also take the metro to get to places.

City, Urban, Neighborhood
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city even for a few minutes at Begijnhof. Photo by Joshua Berida
Itinerary and places to visit

Amsterdam has excellent museums, quaint neighborhoods, and different kinds of fun (the city has a famous/infamous red-light district) for all types of visitors.

Spend a few days checking out the highlights. You can then extend your stay if you want to do some day trips.

This itinerary assumes you start with one full day.

Day 1

Start your day with a trip to one of the most popular museums in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum. If you’re an art connoisseur, you’ll need more than a day to see the art collection in this museum.

Check out the collections at the Rijksmuseum. Photo by Joshua Berida

However, for everyone else half a day is enough to see some of the highlights such as Johannes Vermeer’s Milkmaid, Van Gogh’s Self-portrait, Pierre Cuypers’ Great Hall, and Rembrandt’s Night Watch, just to name a few. The museum dates back to the late 18th century. It’s home to millions of historical and cultural artifacts collected over the centuries. It also contains thousands of paintings, manuscripts, and books.

Grass, Plant, Architecture
The Van Gogh Museum is home to paintings, drawings, and letters from the artist. Photo by Joshua Berida

After the museum, make your way to one of Amsterdam’s picturesque neighborhoods, Jordaan. The area has a mix of residences, places to eat, boutiques, and markets. You can also just take a leisurely stroll around the lovely neighborhood and then grab something to eat. A short distance from the Anne Frank House is a recognizable city landmark, Westerkerk or West Church. The latter dates back to the 17th century and has an attention-grabbing tower that’s more than 80 meters high.

Your next stop is the bustling Dam Square, where you’ll find the centuries-old Royal Palace. The Royal Palace has a classical appearance with elaborate furnishings in its apartments and interior. Dam Square is one of the busiest places in the city with peaceful protesters and demonstrations taking place, locals coming and going, and tourists being tourists taking photos of and with everything.

City, Metropolis, Urban
Dam Square. Photo by Joshua Berida

If you have the time and the interest, you can also visit the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum while you’re here.

The last stop for the day is Oude Kerk or Old Church, one of the oldest structures in the city. There have been additions to the church over the years, but it has remained the same.

Arch, Architecture, Gothic Arch
Oude Kerk is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. Photo by Joshua Berida

Not too far from the church is Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district. The area has shops and cafes that sell marijuana, peep shows, bars, restaurants, and legalized prostitution. It’s a popular destination simply because taboos aren’t taboos here.

Day 2

After breakfast, make your way to the Anne Frank House. This museum is one of the most popular destinations in the city. This was the house where the Frank family hid in during World War II, and where Anne wrote her now famous diary.

The administrators of the museum kept the house as it was during when the Franks hid in it. It serves as a reminder of the tragedies that took place during the Nazi regime.

I recommend buying tickets as soon as they’re available, you can purchase one here.

It’s a good day out in Amsterdam. Photo by Joshua Berida

A short walk from the Anne Frank House is a quiet spot in the city, Begijnhof. This quaint, tranquil spot used to be the residence of devout Catholic women. Take a few photos and head on out. Your next stop is the Van Gogh Museum, a top city attraction that is all about the tortured but brilliant painter, Vincent van Gogh. The museum is home to the largest collection of the artist’s paintings and artifacts. The whole visit takes a few hours.

Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. You can buy tickets here.

After the Van Gogh Museum, head on over to Vondelpark. This huge and popular park is the perfect spot to take leisurely strolls after hours of sightseeing. Take a break at one of the cafes or better yet have your own picnic.

Take a leisurely stroll around Amsterdam. Photo by Joshua Berida

Day 3
I often try to allocate a day where I don’t do much sightseeing and just walk around the city or hang out at a café. You can consider doing the same during your third day in Amsterdam before returning to the Philippines or going to your next destination in Europe.

You can visit more attractions if you want, these include:

  • National Maritime Museum
  • Amsterdam Museum
  • NEMO Science Museum
  • Rembrandt House Museum
Amsterdam’s picturesque canals. Photo by Joshua Berida
How much will you spend?

A budget of around P18,000 for three days covers a bed in a hostel dorm, budget meals, one or two paid attractions a day, and lots of walking and use of public transportation. This doesn’t include shopping and flights.

Amsterdam is an expensive city to explore but worth the money. It’s possible to spend more or less depending on your interest in museums and art galleries, and your preferred accommodation and restaurants.

Arch, Architecture, Gothic Arch
One of Amsterdam’s centuries-old churches. Photo by Joshua Berida
Budget and travel tips
  1. Eating out for lunch is cheaper than dining out for dinner.
  2. Consider visiting during the weekdays. Accommodation tends to be cheaper compared to weekends.
  3. Book your tickets to popular museums such as the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, and Van Gogh Museum in advance (as soon as they’re available) because it’s almost impossible to get tickets
    on the same day.
  4. Walking is your most budget-friendly way of getting around the city. Amsterdam is small and most attractions are concentrated around the historic center. Most of the time, you won’t need to rent a bike or take the metro.
  5. Consider getting an I Amsterdam city card if you plan to visit plenty of paid attractions. This includes discounts, free use of the metro, a canal cruise, and bike rental, just to name a few.
  6. While walking around the red-light district, do not take pictures of the sex workers. There are signs explicitly prohibiting this.


Joshua Berida is a writer who loves to travel. He blogs at

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