One can easily spend days discovering Amsterdam. Unfortunately, time is not always on our side when traveling. We’ve carefully crafted two thematic itineraries that allow for an enchanting look at Dutch masterpieces, tilting gabled architecture, UNESCO world canals, and beyond. In the company of a local expert, we'll spend 7 hours unpicking the cultural, historical, and artistic heart of Amsterdam. We’ll spend the majority of our day on our feet (it’s a highly walkable city), or floating down the canal (if we choose option A) with plenty of time for interesting conversations. Both itinerary options offer a fantastic day-dive into one of our favorite Dutch cities.
Itinerary A - Highlights - 9:00 am start
For those wanting to see it all—a combination of art, history, and the waterways.
Includes a short Amsterdam briefing, an early Rijksmuseum visit (skip-the-line), a historic city centre tour, and a private canal cruise. Local Dutch lunch (at own expense).
We’ll meet bright and early for our ‘Amsterdam in a Day’ tour, starting with our Rijksmuseum tour (with skip-the-line tickets). We will spend around 2 hours together discussing the major artworks of the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as some lesser-known artists. We’ll leave the museum with a foundational understanding of Dutch art history before learning more about the city itself. We'll pause for a short briefing on Amsterdam and the surrounding area (with relevant maps) before embarking on our comprehensive city introduction. This will involve discussing and visiting main sites such as Dam Square, the Red Light District, and the Royal Palace within Amsterdam's Old Town, among other stops. Our expert will paint a vivid image of this forward-thinking and artistic city, from the beauty of the canals to the quaint side of the bustling neighborhood, De Wallen. With a better orientation of the city, we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant or cafe. We’ll use this time to re-energize and discuss anything from gastronomy to taxation or housing prices in Amsterdam. After lunch, we will move to the best vantage point of Amsterdam: the water. Architectural details not visible from the sidewalk are suddenly easy to spot and life gets a little bit slower. We will spend around 1.5 hours cruising down the historic waterways in a luxurious saloon boat. As we sail past the historical buildings of this neighborhood, we’ll learn more about the origins of these grand canal houses and the role their owners played in Amsterdam’s prosperity. As we wrap up our time together, we’ll return to shore and get our bearings in the city again. We’ll leave one another with a greater understanding and perspective of the city from the land and the water.
Please write 'Option A' in your client notes at checkout and tick the 'Amsterdam in a Day Canal Boat Service' box. You do not need the 'Rembrandt House' Ticket.
Itinerary B - Dutch Golden Age - 9:00 am start
For the history and art buffs—a deep dive into 16th & 17th century Dutch Golden Age.
Includes a short Amsterdam briefing at hotel before a canal walking tour, Rembrandt’s House, and the Rijksmuseum (skip-the-line). Local Dutch lunch (at own expense).
We’ll meet bright and early for a short briefing on Amsterdam and the surrounding area (with relevant maps) before embarking on our ‘Amsterdam in a Day’ tour. We’ll begin with a dive into Amsterdam’s history on a condensed Dutch Golden Age tour. On foot, we will explore the canal belt, admire the architecture of the wonderfully preserved buildings, and come to grips geographically with the city. We’ll contemplate the evolution of this historical landscape, following the routes of former merchants who put Amsterdam on the economic map. We’ll look at the relationship between art, trade, and power in the 17th century and the development of the so-called Dutch Golden Age. Our visit will take us to the Rembrandt House Museum (Rembrandthuis), where we will continue to discuss this theme in the former home of this celebrated artist. We will see firsthand the architecture from the time period as well as the artist’s contributions to the Dutch Golden Age. Full on history, we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant or cafe. We’ll use this time to re-energize and discuss anything from gastronomy to taxation or housing prices in Amsterdam. After lunch, we will continue with our Rijksmuseum tour with skip-the-line tickets. We will spend around 2 hours together discussing the major artworks of the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as some lesser-known artists. We will end our tour surrounded by these masterpieces to allow for some further perusal of the collection if we wish.
Please write 'Option B' in your client notes at checkout and tick the 'Rembrandt House ticket' box. You do not need to select the 'Amsterdam in a Day Canal Boat Service'.
At the end of either itinerary, we will emerge with a deeper knowledge of how Amsterdam has evolved from a merchant stronghold to a predominant European cultural capital. We’ll have ventured across the city to sites and museums relevant to the historic, cultural, and artistic identity of the Dutch. Hopefully, our Amsterdam in a Day tour will set us up for the remainder of our travel in the Netherlands and beyond.
What happens if it's raining?
Our tours happen rain or shine. Our guides are great at adapting their route during changes of weather. Please bring an umbrella.
I would like to start at a different time. Is this possible?
The Rijksmuseum becomes very crowded throughout the day. We strongly recommend a 9:00 am start time, but we can certainly accommodate requests for other times.
I would like to book a car service. Is this possible?
It may be, but we don’t recommend it. Our proposed routes are easily walkable and Amsterdam’s city center is compact. Some areas of the city center are closed to car traffic, as well. If you do need a car service, please request this in your client notes at the time of booking and we will book this for you.
I’m interested in Option A. How long will we be on the boat for?
We will spend one hour on the boat.
Do we need to purchase our own museum tickets?
No. We will purchase tickets on your behalf and your expert guide will have the advance tickets ready for you. If you are planning on purchasing a museum pass or tickets on your own, please let us know in your client notes and we will remove these from your order.
What costs will I need to cover on the day?
You will need to cover the cost of lunch.
Will the restaurant be able to accommodate those with allergies or dietary restrictions?
We do our best to accommodate everyone. Let us know when you book if anyone in your party has allergies or dietary restrictions. We will do everything possible to find a suitable location.
I want to see sites that you don't include in Option A or Option B. What should I do?
Can I swap the Rijksmuseum for the Van Gogh Museum?
Yes. Just let us know in your client notes at the time of your booking and we can adjust the itinerary to include the Van Gogh Museum instead.
Why does this tour not include Anne Frank House?
Due to space limitations, we do not go inside Anne Frank House on any of our tours. Indeed, for this reason, the museum itself does not provide guided tours. Instead, they have an excellent self-guided exhibition which we highly recommend you explore independently. IMPORTANT: you should purchase timed tickets in advance to avoid potentially long queues. This can be done here
, as soon as possible (tickets sell out up to several months in advance). We recommend our Jews in Amsterdam tour
as precursor to Anne Frank House, to gather historic context.