To many people Amsterdam is simply the Red Light District and the coffee shops. I was looking for something a little more budget friendly. The city of Amsterdam offers much more besides its illicit scene. The I amsterdam City Card allows visitors to take full advantage of the city’s museums, tourist attractions and public transit for budget-conscious travelers on a tourist mission.
I had three days to discover Amsterdam with the 72hr I amsterdam City Card. Here was my itinerary:
Start your day at the Amsterdam’s most prestigious museum: Rijksmuseum. Use the I amsterdam City Card to take the metro or tram to the museum’s doorstep. Arrive early for a great shot of the I amsterdam sign.
I amsterdam City Card gives you a 10% discount for entry to the Rijksmuseum. After your visit, or if you prefer to move on without seeing the interior of the museum, head north towards the city centre (the most direct route is using Vijzelgracht) towards Singel for the flower market: Bloemenmarkt.
Browse the beautiful tulips, tulip bulbs and flower seeds. If you see one you fancy, you can even have them shipped to your home!
For lunch, find Restaurant Blue for a 360° view of the city. Show the I amsterdam City Card for a 10% discount.
Walk south to visit the Kattenkabinet. The cat museum of Amsterdam. I am a crazy cat lady, so this stop was a must for me. If cats aren’t your thing, visit the Willet-Holthuysen Museum to tour a beautifully restored canal house from the 1800’s.
Make your way to the Plantage neighbourhood: a large mostly residential green-space area in the city. Start at the Artis Zoo where you have free unlimited access to the park. Walk around the green spaces to discover beautiful gardens and amazing landscaping.
The Dutch Resistance Museum is across the street. An exhibit detailing Dutch life before, during and after the German occupation during the Second World War. This is a great museum for history lovers with information available English and Dutch.
Eat lunch at Amstelhoeck: a short 15 minute walk towards the Waterlooplein metro stop and the National Opera and Ballet house. Sit on the terrace for a fantastic view of the Amstel canal. Bonus: free wifi and a discount with the I amsterdam City Card!
On your way to Neuwenkerk and Oude Kerk in the afternoon, stop by the Rembrandt House Museum. It’s a cute house with red shutters – you can’t miss it! From there, it’s not a far walk and it’s a great way to see the city and watch the cyclists!
Take a canal cruise in the evening – you deserve a break from all that walking! The view from the water level provides a different perspective of the city and it’s many canals. I was fascinated by the expert way the locals navigate the canals and their boat. Canals and boat travel is such an integral part of their life.
Day 3 is perfect to get out of the city and see the countryside. Step back in time to a simpler era on a day trip to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills. The boat ride ticket is reduced, but you have free entry to all four windmills in Zaanse Schans with the I amsterdam City Card. Seeing how the mills were used to make flour and oil, and saw logs is a really neat experience. The best part is the view from the platform below the windmill blades. You have 5 hours to explore the area which I highly recommend.
The card is activated the moment you use it at an attraction or on the metro. With the handy city card, you get:
- a small map
- a list of all free or discounted museums, restaurants and tourist attractions
- free use of the city transit (make sure you’re going through the turnstile for the metro, not the train)
- a free copy of A-Mag
All of this was possible with the help of I amsterdam. All opinions are my own and all photos are property of Amanda Holmes.