48 Hours In… Amsterdam

There’s something special about Amsterdam in the autumn. As the trees lining the ancient canals turn rich shades of red and gold and the sprawling Vondelpark transforms into a spectacular sea of colours, the city takes on the new season in style.

Amsterdam Houses

DAY ONE

MORNING WALKING TOUR

Step into the heart of the autumnal action with a crisp walking tour of the city. Free guided tours start from 10am at the National Monument in Dam Square. Along the crunchy, leaf-laden route, you’ll pass the Anne Frank House, the smallest house in Amsterdam, the world’s first Stock Exchange, the Royal Palace, the Red Light District, and many more of the city’s landmarks. Book your tour here.

BRUNCH WITH A VIEW

When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to rooftop restaurant Blue Amsterdam on the third floor of the Kalvertoren shopping centre for a scrumptious brunch and fantastic 360-views of the city. Check out the menu here. After brunch pay a visit to the incredible Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s famous flower market, just across the canal.

Gallery of Honour. Photo: Erik Smits
Gallery of Honour at Rijksmuseum. Photo: Erik Smits

MUST-VISIT MUSEUMS

Amsterdam is an art lover’s nirvana. Spend the afternoon at the Museumplein in the Old South neighbourhood, home to three of the city’s most impressive museums.

Dazzling Dutch masterpieces like Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid await in the Rijksmuseum’s four floors of galleries. Avoid the queues and pre-book tickets here.

Across the square you’ll find the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s leading contemporary art museum. There you’ll find works by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and more of the world’s leading modern artists. Book your tickets in advance here.

Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is an essential stop on any visit to Amsterdam. If you’ve only got time for one museum, this is the one to choose. Cleverly laid-out to tell the story of Van Gogh’s life, his influences and tragic demise, the museum is a celebration the city’s most beloved modern artist. You’ll be treated to an explosion of colourful canvasses, calm scenes of nature, and, of course, self-portraits like no other. Get your ticket here.

Broewerij ‘t IJ Brewery and Windmill

A WINDMILL AND A BREWERY

Admiring all that artwork is thirsty work. Escape the city centre for an evening visit to Broewerij ‘t IJ, one of Amsterdam’s leading microbreweries. Hop on tram 10 and get off at the windmill, or an Uber should get you there for approximately €12. Formerly an eighteenth-century bathhouse, the brewery sits at the base of Holland’s largest wooden windmill. Take a short tour, then grab a table and sample the seasonal brews and tasty local delicacies against the backdrop of an iconic Dutch landmark. It doesn’t get much better than that. Find out more here.

 

Eggs Benedict

DAY TWO

BEST FOR BREAKFAST

Stop in at Greenwoods Singel for top-class eggs Benedict, homemade cakes, pies and great coffee. The pretty canal-side tea room serves breakfast all day – ask for the window seat so you can watch the world cycle by.

CANAL CRUISE

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a boat tour of city’s intricate maze of Golden Age canals. There are dozens of cruise options to choose from, so pick the one that works best for you.

Festival of Lights
Festival of Lights

Planning a visit in December? The Amsterdam Light Festival, a festival of light, art and water will see more than 40 artworks by artists from all over the world, including renowned artist Ai Wewei, illuminate the canals. For the best views of the unique installations, take the special Water Colour Route cruise by Amsterdam Canal Cruises, where a live guide will tell you about the art and the artist behind them. Book here.

HIDDEN GEMS IN OUD-WEST

See a different side of the city in the Oud-West (Old West) neighbourhood. Don’t miss out on the bustling international food hall, Foodhallen. Highlights include Meneer Temaki for Japanese street food, Jabugo for Iberian ham and the G&T bar for gin fans. When you’ve completed your tour of the Foodhallen, get a fix of the best caffeine in the city in the nearby espresso bar Lot Sixty One.

Nine Little Streets
Nine Little Streets

EXPERIENCE GEZELLIG

Autumn is the best time of year to experience gezellig, the Dutch take on the Danish ‘hygge’ concept of ‘feeling cosy.’ Amsterdam’s brown cafés, the traditional Dutch pubs, are the best places to get a taste of gezellig. Round off your city break with a cosy evening in one the local watering holes and enjoy a key part of Amsterdam’s culture. Café Hoppe at Spui, Café de Dokter in the Nine Streets neighbourhood and Café Chris in the Jordaan neighbourhood are three of the best.

HOW TO GET THERE: Choose from a range daily flights from Dublin or Cork to Amsterdam.