NETHERLANDS – An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

Whether you are in Amsterdam for business or leisure this city walk is a must do for everyone to get a good impression of the city. The walk can easily be done in a day if you do not visit all the museums on the route. The walk stretches from the central station towards the museum quarter. It’s a starter walk for first timers with places not to miss. I did the walk in a day after a great night sleep at Mayer Manor private mansion (review), an apartment with a touch of time.

Amsterdam city walk – morning

From my private mansion the Mayer Manor I walked towards the Dam Square to see the national monument and visit the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam was built in the mid-17th century. The outside is made of sandstone and the interiors mainly from marbles. As the rest of Amsterdam it’s built on wooden pillars because of the wet underground. It was for a long time the biggest governmental building in Europe. After the golden age it fell for a short time in the hands of the French but in 1813 it was once again the seat of the Dutch monarch. Today it is one of the three places in the Netherlands where the monarchs have official events.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

When the royal family is not using the palace for official purposes it is open for visitors which can see the magnificent hall and all the rooms around it. Take the audio tour which takes an hour to learn about the usage of each room. In front of the palace is the Dam Square with the national monument but do note that in previous days it was the Amstel river flowing here. The street which runs from the main station to the Dam Square and further was the Amstel River when the palace was built. Now walk towards the area behind the palace or towards the central station and wander a bit around the canals and enjoy the views.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

After you get tired and are ready for lunch head to the Port van Cleve. This restaurant serves steaks which are numbered since ages. Every 10th steak gets a bottle of wine; which number did you get? If you like beer then try the local brewed beer called ‘t IJ. The building itself is also interesting as it’s the birthplace of the Heineken beer brewery.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

Amsterdam city walk – afternoon

When you have finished lunch walk towards the Begijnhof (Beguinage) of Amsterdam. This inner court dates back to the middle ages. It’s very famous because it is the location of the oldest original wooden house in Amsterdam which dates back to the early 16th century. The other houses you can see are more modern but all are traditional Amsterdam tall houses.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

I continued my walk towards the Rembrandt Square which is named after the famous painter Rembrandt who lived nearby. The square, in the middle ages, was at the border of the town. When the city expanded it became a meeting place for farmers from outside of town to trade their products. Today you can go on the photo together with the statues of Rembrandt and have a drink in one of the many bars around the square.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

After I finished my beer with some traditional Dutch bitterballen (just order them!) I continued my Amsterdam city walk towards the museum quarter. The museum quarter is home to the three most important museums in Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk museum and the van Gogh museum. You will also find the most exclusive shopping street, the P.C. Hooftstraat, in this area. I continued this way because I had a business dinner in Café Loetje, famous around the world for their spicy Bali steaks.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

In case you want to visit the museums and have more time I would suggest not walking to Café Loetje this same day but going to one of their more central outlets. The steak is the same everywhere, but it might be more time efficient to go to a central place. You can easily spend a full day or more around the museum quarter alone if you visit the museums.

NETHERLANDS - An Amsterdam city walk for first-timers

The Amsterdam city walk I did is a way to get a good impression of Amsterdam if you are there for the first time. There is of course a lot more to see and I will share with you more experiences in another article later. For now, enjoy Amsterdam and if you tour the Netherlands read more here.

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Further reading

Sometimes it’s impossible to cover every single place of interest, activities, food, and others that might be relevant. In the below list you find a list of relevant links with further information about Amsterdam which I have carefully curated. These will help plan your trip even better.

  • Amsterdam city is good for two days maximum three but then you must get out. Check these best day trips from Amsterdam to see what you can do more. There is a lot to explore around Amsterdam or even an hour away. The Netherlands is small.

Gallery Amsterdam city walk

Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.