Your Perfect Wellness-Focused Amsterdam Itinerary Guide
Thinking about taking a trip to Amsterdam? Here’s the only Amsterdam itinerary you’ll need for a health-focused 4 days in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is probably one of my top three cities in the world. It’s the perfect size and it’s full of things to do, great restaurants, cafes, and a lovely, friendly atmosphere. Transportation links are great and who can shake a head at the sustainable culture?
It’s a city made for both travelers visiting as well as locals and if it wasn’t for the cold and wet weather, I’d probably move there in a flash.
If you’re reading this then you’re probably thinking about visiting Amsterdam and I highly encourage you to! 4 days in Amsterdam is the perfect amount of time to see the city’s main attractions as well as go off the beaten track to discover the hidden cafes, charming canals and the best spots to relax in the beautiful city.
Keep reading for the best wellness-focused Amsterdam itinerary and spend 4 days in the capital of cool. We’ve got you covered for the best healthful restaurants and cafes to eat at, the best places to stay, and what to do in Amsterdam for the perfect city getaway in the Dutch capital.
*This ‘Amsterdam itinerary’ travel guide contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
Getting to Amsterdam
Getting to and around Amsterdam couldn’t be easier. The city is well connected to the rest of the Netherlands, Europe, and beyond by bus, train and plane.
By plane– If you’re coming in from further away you’ll probably arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, located just southwest of the city. From the airport, you can easily take a train to Amsterdam Centraal Station and beyond.
Trains are easy to locate, just follow the signs from arrivals to the train station and then take any train that goes to Amsterdam Centraal. The journey takes about 15 mins.
By Train – Trains link Amsterdam with most cities in the Netherlands such as Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. Thalys high-speed trains also connect Amsterdam with Paris, Brussels, and Antwerp and there are train links between German cities and Amsterdam Central Station, however, you might need to change quite a few times.
Your connections will really depend on your origin destination so it’s best to use a booking platform to help you work out all the options.
I use and highly recommend Omio, where you can check out the best train and bus connections to Amsterdam from your origin destination.
From London, you can also get to Amsterdam by Eurostar.
By Bus – Flixbus as well as a variety of local companies connect Amsterdam with many different European cities. Taking the bus can be much more direct and a better option for budget travelers. Again, it’s best to use Omio to check out all your bus options to Amsterdam.
Getting around Amsterdam is very straightforward. Most of the compact city center is walkable but you can also get around by renting a bicycle and cruising around with the locals.
Bicycle– You’ll see many places that rent bikes around the center of Amsterdam. One of the best options I found is Black Bikes which has many locations around the city. You can rent a city bike for 3 hours but it’s worth going for at least 24 hours. This is the best way to get around and cover more ground, especially if it’s a nice day.
Metro & Tram– Amsterdam has a great metro system that connects the suburbs to the city center. It’s perfect for when you’re exploring some neighborhoods a little further out. Stations are however quite limited in the center so it won’t really help you to get around the immediate center.
The other option is trams which traverse the city streets. I personally didn’t end up working them out as I found myself walking everywhere. One-hour tickets can be purchased on board the tram or, if you have an I Amsterdam City Card, you’ll be able to use the trams and all other public transportation in the city for free. The card also gives you free entry to many of the city’s sights as well so it’s well worth it.
If you plan to use a fair bit of public transportation, it’s probably a good idea to purchase a GVB Public Transport Ticket that lasts from 1-7 days. The ticket offers access to all public transportation.
Where to Stay
There are many places to stay in Amsterdam for the ultimate relaxation experience for all budgets. I’d highly recommend staying in the city center or as close as possible for convenience and ease. The trendy neighborhood of De Pijp is also a great option for where to stay in Amsterdam.
Here are the best places to stay in Amsterdam for a top-quality, wellness-focused stay.
Pestana Amsterdam Riverside – The ultimate, modern, wellness hotel in the neighborhood of De Pijp. Located in a former town hall, this hotel has splendid, luxury rooms and a wellness area with a relaxing pool, two saunas, and spa treatments. The perfect place to relax after a day of exploring. Check rates and availability here.
Ambassade Hotel – Located in the heart of De 9 Straatjes- my personal favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam, Ambassade is a modern luxury hotel in Amsterdam’s famous canal-facing gingerbread houses. The hotel has beautiful, luxurious rooms, a library bar where you can choose from over 5,000 books, a gym, and access to fourteen different types of massage in their wellness center. The perfect place to be in Amsterdam. Check rates and availability here.
The Hoxton – The perfect choice for those looking for a boutique stay in Amsterdam, this beautifully decorated hotel provides gets with a super stylish stay in Amsterdam. Rooms are modern and unique with retro touches, just make sure to grab one overlooking the beautiful canals. Check rates and availability here.
De L’Europe Amsterdam– For those looking to splash out a little, look no further than De L’Europe. Located in a converted Medieval fortress, this 5-star hotel is stunning for decor, facilities, and luxury. Classically designed suites with Carrara marble bathrooms, a top-notch wellness center with pool, spa, gym, and saunas, and an on-site 2 Michelin star French brasserie all make this option unbeatable. Check rates and availability here.
Where to Eat
There are countless, amazing restaurants and places to eat in Amsterdam and you will no doubt run out of time in the city before trying them all. When it comes to finding healthy food, Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Europe. You’ll find an abundance of juice bars, wellness-focused cafes, and contemporary restaurants around the city.
For plant-based travelers this is one of the best cities in the world for food options. Enjoy!
Meatless District – One of the best plant-based restaurants in the city, this is a sophisticated, modern eatery with outstanding food. Modern and hearty dishes with great flavor.
The Avocado Show – An Amsterdam classic, the avocado show is for avo-lovers. Great place for brunch during a morning of exploration around the city.
Buffet Van Odette – A beautiful cafe right on Prinsengracht, this is the perfect option for both lunch and dinner. Try any one of their tasty, modern dishes which celebrate vegetables and fresh ingredients. A must!
Clos – The best wine bar in the city, and the perfect, cozy place to relax in the evening. Choose from a selection of over 100 wines from around the world and pair them with some tasty nibbles.
Choux– A lovely, relaxed, restaurant, our meal here was outstanding. This Michelin Guide-approved restaurant has no menu but instead offers, a combination, vegetarian or vegan tasting menus that are beautifully presented and creative.
Momo– One of the best pan-Asian restaurants in Amsterdam- the food here is light, fresh and with seafood and vegetables as the focus. On the menu, you’ll find many different types of sushi, salads, and delicious vegetable dishes.
Kafenion– A hip specialty coffee shop and one of the best coffee spots in Jordaan.
Ree7 – A cute little cafe in Negen Straatjes- perfect for brunch, breakfast, or coffee.
Pluk– A flower-themed cafe with outdoor tables, a pretty setting, and the perfect place for a mid-morning coffee.
Juice Brothers– The place to satisfy your juice fix. They sell freshly pressed, natural juices, açai bowls, and coffee.
Chun Cafe– The most amazing spot in Amsterdam for coffee and matcha.
Top Tip: Coffee shops and cafes are not the same thing in Amsterdam. Cafes are for coffee and coffee shops are for smoking marijuana and consuming other soft drugs like mushrooms. They are mainly found around the Red Light District and you’ll be able to smell them before you see them. They aren’t allowed to serve alcohol, only tea, and soft drinks to consume with your cannabis.
Amsterdam Itinerary: Where to Shop
Cloud – Part gallery, part concept store, make sure to pop into Cloud when walking around this trendy neighborhood. Come here to grab a coffee, see some art and shop for home decor.
Skins Cosmetics – It’s easy to spree around the 9 Straatjes neighborhood and if you’re looking for skincare, make sure not to miss this gem. The perfect place to shop for clean skincare and discover some new brands too.
4 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary Overview
Amsterdam Itinerary Day 1– Damrak, Dam Sqaure, Prinsengracht & Keizersgracht, Anne Frank’s House Museum, Jordaan, De 9 Straatjes, Bloemenmarkt, Canal Cruise
Day 2 – Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, P.C Hooftstraat, Vondelpark, Bike Ride, W Hotel Rooftop Bar
Day 3 Amsterdam Itinerary– Hortus Botanicus Garden, Albert Cuyp Market, Wellness Afternoon, Oude Kirk & The Red Light District
Day 4 – Lisse, Zaanse Schans and/or Giethoorn
Find more about each of these in the itinerary below.
The Perfect 4 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
Day One- The Canals and Neighbourhoods
Start the first day of your Amsterdam itinerary by exploring the most famous aspect of the city; its canals. You’ll find canals pretty much everywhere you go in Amsterdam but some areas are prettier than others.
The main areas to head to on day one are Jordaan and De 9 Straatjes (Nine Streets) where you’ll be able to find dreamy canal streets, beautiful boutiques, and classy cafes. These were some of my favorite neighborhoods to visit in Amsterdam.
Start at Amsterdam Centraal Station and head to Damrak. You’ll soon come across the tour boats’ docks and in front of them- the famous, narrow canal houses known as the Damrak waterfront. The houses almost look like gingerbread houses that might topple over any minute. A mix of different shapes and sizes, these houses make for a picture-perfect postcard from Amsterdam.
Just across from the Damrak Waterfront you’ll find Beurspassage, a beautiful little green, mosaic passageway with a marine theme. The chandeliers here are also pretty impressive.
The rest of this neighborhood is just large shopping chains and nondescript restaurants so just keep walking down towards Dam Square.
Dam Square is Amsterdam’s main square. The open square contains many of Amsterdam’s most notable buildings so it’s worth wandering around for a while. Some of the main sights to take note of or even visit in Dam Square are:
- Royal Palace of Amsterdam– a historic building and the residence of the Dutch Royal family.
- Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)– a 15th Century, northern European Gothic cathedral just over from the Palace
- National Monument – a large, concrete monument to commemorate those that died during the second World War.
Prinsengracht & Keizersgracht
From Dam Square double back north a little to Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals- two of the most picturesque canals in this area.
They are the perfect place for a mid-morning stroll, admiring all the lovely cafes, and gingerbread-like houses that flank the canals. Take Prinsengracht all the way down to Anne Frank’s House.
Anne Frank’s House Museum
The Diary of Anne Frank is a world classic but also one of the most tragic stories of our time. When the Nazis invaded Holland, Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl, and her family left their home and went into hiding. They lived in a secret attic room of this office building for two years before they were discovered by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp. It was there were she passed away at the age of 16.
Her uncle published her memoirs and they became an international bestseller. The Anne Frank House Museum is the former house where Anne Frank and her family hid. Today you can visit the small space they lived in and see the house and learn more about the family and their story.
As the museum is tiny they don’t allow too many people in at once. Due to this, you’ll need to book tickets in advance and they sell out fast so make sure to do this before arriving in Amsterdam. You can buy tickets through the museum’s website.
If you’d like to know more about Anne Frank and her story, the Life of Anne Frank and World War II Walking Guided Tour might be of interest to you. You’ll also be able to learn more about the Jewish Quarter and Amsterdam throughout the Second World War.
One of the prettiest neighborhoods of Amsterdam, Jordaan is the perfect area to stroll through and take it all in slowly. Concentrated around Bloemgracht, an exceptionally pretty canal, you’ll find a crisscrossing network of small streets and bridges flanked by beautiful boutiques and cafes. The area is adorable and honestly, you could spend all afternoon here.
Don’t miss the impressive Westerkerk too, a 1600s church with an iconic spire. For the perfect photo spot with the church spire, head to Bloemstraat.
De 9 Straatjes (Nine Streets)
Featuring nine picture-perfect streets, crossing three gorgeous canals, this neighborhood is where I’d live forever if I had the chance. Incredibly trendy and chic, 9 Straatjes is where you’ll find some of the most perfect canal scenes, Instagrammable cafes, vintage stores, and pretty boutiques.
It’s the modern traveler’s dream so make sure to give yourself some time to really explore and uncover the beautiful neighborhood for yourself. Some of the highlights are:
- Matcha latte at Chun Cafe
- Vintage and Secondhand clothing stores in the area
- Boutiques from local Dutch designers
- Huis Marseille Museum of Photography
- Herengracht – a beautiful canal lined with stately homes.
It’s not quite a trip to the Netherlands without flowers and Bloemenmarkt is the city’s largest floating flower market. Florists have traded flowers on barges in this exact spot since 1862. Heading to the market you’ll be able to check out the beautiful flowers here in and amongst the greenhouses.
It’s worth noting that the market can vary a lot depending on the season you visit. Many of the tulips sold here are actually artificial, especially outside the tulip season when you just can’t get real tulips. You’ll find an array of other flowers here too that are ideal for brightening up your Amsterdam photos.
Cruise the Canals
Finish the day with an iconic cruise on Amsterdam’s canals. As the sun goes down on the city, why not cruise down the canals for a different viewpoint of the city? Many canal tour cruises also offer food and beverages for you to enjoy as you cruise the canals.
We prefer more intimate boat rides around the city like this smaller City Canal Cruise with Unlimited Drinks. You’ll be able to discover the hottest places in town from the water while cruising along, meeting new people, and enjoying the buzzy atmosphere. Make sure to book ahead here.
Amsterdam Itinerary Day Two- Culture & Nature
Visit the Museums: Rijksmuseum
Start day two of this 4 days in Amsterdam itinerary with a visit to the Netherlands’ most famous and most important museum. If there is one museum you opt for make sure it’s this one for its rich collection of art and historical artifacts in over 80 galleries.
The museum tells the history of the Netherlands through its art and artifacts and you’ll be able to see most of the Dutch masterpieces from the most famous period of Dutch art history, the Dutch Golden Age. Two of the most famous paintings to look out for here are Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’ and Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’.
As the Rijksmuseum is Amsterdam’s most popular museum, you can imagine how long the queues can get! This is why it’s really worth buying your entrance ticket online in advance. Buy skip-the-line entrance tickets in advance to not waste any precious time from your Amsterdam itinerary.
The Van Gogh Museum
Just down the road from the Rijksmuseum, you’ll discover the Van Gogh Museum, which, as the name might suggest, has the largest collection of works by the famous Dutch artist. You’ll see Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous work as well as other, more low-key paintings and drawings.
The Van Gogh Museum also contains many works by his Impressionist contemporaries too.
Again, grab your Van Gogh Museum entrance ticket online in advance here to avoid wasting time in queues.
If you prefer modern art, in the area you’ll also find the MOCO Museum and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam that’s full of contemporary art.
Not far from the museum sector is Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s most upscale shopping boutique area. Here you’ll find the major luxury brands as well as a few other interesting upscale, local brands. You’ll also find a Leica store nearby here too- great for those interested in photography.
You’re now just a stone’s throw away from Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest inner city park. Vondelpark is a lovely green space intersected by waterways and bike paths and is the perfect spot for a bike ride, a picnic, or just a rest in nature.
You’ll also find a handful of great restaurants and cafes in the park, De Vondeltuin is a great option for small plates and tapas and you can’t miss Proeflokaal ‘t Blauwe Theehuis, a microbrewery for craft beer in the park. If you prefer you can also plan and bring a picnic to really enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
The best time to visit Vondelpark for more than just a short walk, jog, or bike ride is in spring and summer.
If you’re staying nearby, Vondelpark is also a great place to go out for a morning jog.
Go on a bike ride
There’s no other city in the world that’s better than Amsterdam when it comes to exploring by bicycle, well, maybe also Copenhagen. Rent a bike and pedal around the pretty canals and waterways, Vondelpark, and beyond.
I’d highly suggest using your bicycle to go explore some neighborhoods a little further from the center like De Pijp for example, a wonderful and trendy neighborhood a little further from the center.
If you prefer to pedal around with purpose why not join a biking tour? This Guided Biking Tour around Central Amsterdam includes bike rental so you won’t need to worry about that. Otherwise, you can rent bikes from Black Bikes.
W Amsterdam for Sundowners
The rooftop of the W Amsterdam Hotel is one of the best spots for city views. To end the day why not come over to the rooftop bar, and grab a drink while seeing the sun set on the city?
It’s the perfect space to relax, have an excellent cocktail and reflect on the day.
Day Three- Relax
Hortus Botanicus Garden
Start your day at the beautiful Hortus Botanicus Garden, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. In the large area of gardens and greenhouses, you’ll get the chance to see over 4,000 different plant species from around the world.
Divided by different sections or environments, you’ll be able to walk around and discover many different flowers and plants.
In the butterfly greenhouse, you’ll be able to walk around amongst hundreds of free-flying butterflies. The tropics greenhouse is where you can discover the tropical rainforests of the world and both the desert and palm greenhouses also showcase the best plants of those environments.
The Hortus Botanicus cafe is also a really lovely place to grab a coffee and have a rest amongst nature after you’ve finished exploring.
Albert Cuyp Market
One of the best things to do in Amsterdam in the De Pijp area, Albert Cupt Market is an iconic street market that has been going for more than a hundred years. You’ll find a variety of different stands selling everything from local foods to flowers and plants.
There are also some great opportunities to try some typical Dutch foods like fries and stroopwafels. There are also many places to shop for clothing especially vintage.
After the market, I highly recommend exploring a bit more of the De Pijp area and perhaps having lunch here. The area is full of atmospheric streets, great cafes, and restaurants. It has a really lovely vibe.
Have a Wellness Afternoon
As this is a wellness-focused guide we couldn’t resist featuring an opportunity for rest and relaxation in this 4 days in Amsterdam itinerary. If you’re staying at the De L’Europe Hotel then head back to it and make the most of the Skins Institute– the hotel’s amazing spa. They offer a number of relaxing treatments including their signature facials and massage.
Another amazing wellness experience in Amsterdam is Renessence, a well-being center with a number of incredible services. Opt for cryotherapy, or ice bath therapy or if you aren’t one for the old, then the private Infrared Sauna is one of their top treatments.
They also have a number of wellbeing classes like yoga, IV infusions, reflexology, and massages. Check their website here for more on treatments and how to book.
Oude Kirk & The Red Light District
It’s difficult to write an Amsterdam itinerary and not mention it, the seedy Red Light District is one of the most famous districts in the city, attracting visitors far and wide. The area dates back to the 17th Century when sailors would come in looking for entertainment.
The red-light district today is full of red-lit windows where women advertise their services as well as coffee shops and bars.
You might get there and find that this place isn’t for you and that’s ok. Personally, I found it wasn’t my thing at all especially not when visiting Amsterdam solo.
Don’t leave too quickly, however, as just around the corner you’ll find Oude Kerk or Old Church. It’s one of Amsterdam’s largest and oldest churches, which dates back to the 13th Century. The church has noteworthy spires and even a church tower that you can climb up for brilliant views of the city.
Amsterdam Itinerary Day Four – Day Trip
Spend day 4 and the last day of this Amsterdam itinerary discovering some beautiful spots outside the city, yet reachable on a day trip. If you’ve dreamt of seeing more dreamy canal scenes, old wooden villages, and of course windmills then you’ll need to get out of Amsterdam.
Here are some of the best day trips from Amsterdam for your last day that’ll allow you to see a little more of the Netherlands.
Lisse is a small town southwest of Amsterdam home to the Netherlands’ tulips. Keukenhof Garden is the place to visit, the world’s largest spring garden which features perfectly manicured lawns, windmills, and of course, rows upon rows of colorful tulips.
After you visit Keukenhof Garden you can also visit the castle and then rent a bicycle to discover the outskirts of Lisse, where you’ll find more and more flower fields.
If you prefer to go in a tour and have all transportation and entry tickets prearranged for you, this Full Day Keukenhof tour is the one to look into.
Note that Lisse is only really worth visiting during the tulip season which is spring in Amsterdam. In fact, Keukenhof Garden is closed during other times of the year. To check the dates and the blooming times use their website here.
Not far from Amsterdam you’ll find the little town of Zaandam and in it, Zaanse Schans, a picture postcard Dutch village. The village originated in the 60s and 70s when a few houses and windmills were moved here. Over the years more was added until a somewhat open-air museum was formed.
Exploring Zaanse Schans you’ll be able to see what the traditional Dutch village looked like in the 18th and 19th Centuries. There are plenty of canals, windmills, and clogs as well as cheese shops, traditional bakeries, and other model businesses.
You can visit Zaanse Schans by yourself or book a guided day tour to Zaanse Schans here.
The perfect canal village, Giethoorn is one of the best day trips from Amsterdam. This mostly-car-free village is full of waterways, footpaths, and bicycle trails that connect all the cutest thatched roofed cottages together.
The obvious choice is to get around by boat where you can just slowly float around and watch traditional life go by. If you prefer to stay on dry land you can also rent a bicycle or go for a long and leisurely walk following the various pathways.
You can also learn about Giethoorn’s history at the Museum Giethoorn ’t Olde Maat Uus located just outside the village.
For the perfect tour that combines both Giethoorn and Zaanse Schans in one day click here.
Where to Do Wellness in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the perfect urban destination to relax and take things at your own pace. There are also some pretty great spas and wellness centers to choose from when it comes to having a little rest and relaxation time in your Amsterdam itinerary.
Renessence – the best urban wellness center in the city for facials, massages, and many other treatments like cryotherapy and infrared sauna.
Skins Institute at De L’Europe Hotel – One of the best in-hotel spas, this spot is amazing for a custom facial.
Sauna Deco– a historical spa with beautiful art deco architecture. Great places for massages and use of the sauna area.
Five City Spa– Massages, facials, and pedicures in the De Pijp area.
Akasha Spa at Conservatorium Hotel– Unbeatable treatments, sauna, and swimming pool.
Are you ready to discover Amsterdam with this 4 Days in Amsterdam itinerary? Let me know your comments and questions in the box, below, I’d love to hear from you.
Now more than ever, make sure not to leave home without travel insurance. For the last few years, I’ve been using Safetywing Nomad Insurance for all my individual trips and digital nomad lifestyle and there’s no better company for all my insurance needs. Cover starts from as little as $42 per month. Get your quote below now.
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
Related posts you might like:
FOUND THIS POST USEFUL? PIN IT AND SHARE