europe travel

4 Days in Amsterdam

I know, I know. It’s been far too long since I updated y’all on what I’m up to. Oops. Somehow, I ended up in Europe again this year, because my best friend, Destiney, called me a few months ago and told me she was going to Amsterdam. This destination was on my study abroad list, but I never got to visit while living in Barcelona.

Once I decided I was going with her, I ended up booking a flight to Paris, and train tickets to Belgium and the Netherlands. Now, I’m in my hotel room in the 15th Arrondissement having been to 4 countries in the past 2 weeks. Whew!

Now that I’ve updated you a little bit, I’ll get on with this post.

Picture it: canals, bikes everywhere, colorful houses jammed together in rows, and the slight stench of coffee shops. Amsterdam.

This was a long-anticipated destination for me, from all the movies I’d seen about it and the beauty of its photos. In this itinerary for 4 days in Amsterdam, I feature some bomb vegan spots, museums that are definitely worth your buck (or Euro?), and everything else that made my experience there magical. Read on, friends!

train to Amsterdam Centraal

I entered the Netherlands by train from Belgium, so I booked myself a ticket all the way to Amsterdam Centraal. Destiney and I chose to stay in a boat on Oosterdok, just a 15-minute walk from the Centraal station. Be sure to keep your train ticket, because you must scan it in order to leave Amsterdam Centraal.

Once I exited the turnstiles, I sat next to a restaurant with a beautiful view of the sea and waited on my friend. I truly felt I’d arrived in that moment, because of the view from the train station alone!

Flowers in focus with houses in the background

where to stay // Amsterdam Hotelboat

The most stressful aspect of planning this trip was finding the right place to stay for our budget. Finding accommodation in Amsterdam can certainly put your wallet to the test! Amsterdam Hotelboat was a Hail Mary, honestly. We had no clue what to do, since we’d searched everywhere and nothing was working for us. This place was a godsend!

In total, we enjoyed our stay here. Keep in mind that the individual rooms are teeny-tiny, and bathrooms are shared. Breakfast is included, so that was another plus! The bathrooms were very clean throughout our 4-night stay, and the beds were comfortable. I do recommend this place, as long as you pack light and you’re willing to share a small space for a few nights. Also, bring earplugs. I kept the pair that came in the amenity kit from my red eye, and they helped me sleep so much. Tight quarters = thin walls!

Amsterdam Hotelboat on the water

day 1 // Van Gogh Museum

If you’re into art at all, then you probably know Vincent Van Gogh was a world-famous Dutch painter. His iconic The Starry Night has been displayed in the permanent collection of the Modern Museum of Art since the 1940s. However, the largest collection of his work is displayed in Amsterdam, at the Van Gogh Museum.

Tickets cost 17 euros, so they’re not exactly cheap. However, I found that this museum was well worth my money and my time. My favorite aspect of my visit was the opportunity to see works of Van Gogh that I had never seen nor heard of before, and these were the pieces I enjoyed the most. He certainly had an eye for landscapes!

Van Gogh Museum pamphlet with museum building in background

day 2 // explore on foot

Usually, I research local transportation options and use Google Maps to navigate those while traveling. But, for these few days in Amsterdam, Destiney and I walked everywhere. I’m not exaggerating. We did not take an Uber, taxi, metro, bus, or train anywhere except to leave the city for our flight to Berlin. I loved every second.

There’s something about walking when you travel. It serves as exercise, since you and I already know you’re eating your weight in local delicacies. It’s free transportation. And, it’s a way to see areas of the city you may not have expected. We stumbled upon so many adorable boutiques, cafés, and book stores by simply walking instead of paying for metro tickets. 1000% worth it!

Amsterdam is a pretty small city, especially when compared to Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, and London. It’s the perfect place to bring a pair of running shoes, and walk for miles!

Heineken Experience

Before I left the States, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the Heineken Experience or not. Sure, I enjoy tasting beer from different countries. But, it wasn’t at the top of my list to visit the Heineken Brewery. I was wrong. This was so informative, so fun, and such a great value! You can either buy tickets online for 18 euros, or 21 euros at the door. The line went pretty quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait long.

If you’re a beer drinker at all, you must get tickets and go to the Heineken Experience. It includes a tour of how the beer is made, the history of the company, and three glasses of the product itself. Proost!

Glass of Heineken in front of red star

day 3 // Anne Frank House

This was not only the aspect of my time in Amsterdam that I anticipated the most, but was the best time I spent while I was there.

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl from Germany whose family moved to the Netherlands when Hitler’s regime was rising, only to be forced into hiding at the height of the Holocaust. She and her family were discovered and sent to concentration camps by Nazis towards the end of World War II, and Anne was murdered in Auschwitz a few short months before the Axis powers fell.

She wrote a diary chronicling her time in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam. Her story is not only powerful, but was the first personal account I read about the Holocaust as a seventh grader in the United States.

During my museum visit, I got to walk through a timeline of her life up to the years in the Secret Annex, and I also got to walk through the Secret Annex itself. At only 9 euros, this museum is incredibly important to visit and should be on your Amsterdam itinerary. It also includes a free audio guide. Just be sure to book your tickets very far in advance. I reserved ours about a month before our visit, and some time slots were already sold out. After my visit, I can promise you that you do not want to miss this.

Anne Frank House
Because there are no photos allowed inside the museum (and for good reason), I’ll share what I wrote in the guest book.

day 4 // take the ferry to north Amsterdam

Before I arrived, Destiney spent two nights in Amsterdam at a hostel north of the main area of the city. You can take a free ferry to get from Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Noord. When she suggested we get away from the crowds and head for this area, I was 100% down.

I’m so glad we did! I really enjoyed our relaxing time here. We headed to Café Keppler for a soya cappuccino. If you’re ever in Amsterdam Noord, I highly recommend this place. The interior is so cute and relaxing, and their cappuccino was so yummy. Be sure to bring cash!

Once it was time to eat some lunch, we headed back for Centraal and got some delicious Jamacian-Japanese fusion from Terrazen Centre. We each got the Vegan Plate, with brown rice, veggies, a salad, and vegan chicken. It. Was. Incredible. Check this place out!

. . .

These four days in Amsterdam were just what I needed to recharge, allow my creative juices to flow, and keep writing. This beautiful, magical city was on my extensive list of places to visit, and it more than delivered. When you go, be sure to book Anne Frank House tickets, see the Van Gogh Museum, ride the ferry to Amsterdam Noord, and walk until you run into something completely unexpected. The experience of a lifetime awaits you!

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amsterdam houses and canal boats
text: 4 days in amsterdam

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