I wasn’t sure what to expect with our visit to Amsterdam, Netherlands but walked away feeling that it was a neat city to visit and explore in, although I can’t recommend going their for the food 😉 We didn’t find any food that was amazing or would require a repeat tasting. After conferring with friends I found that we were not alone. I wanted to tackle Amsterdam in one day and we were able to successfully do so. We’re not museum people so you won’t find those on our list. Amsterdam is about 3 hours 50 mins from Spangdahlem, and 4 hours 50 mins from Ramstein.
Our one day in Amsterdam Itinerary:
Sara’s Pancake House
Anne Frank House
Linner at Kantjil (LINK PP)
Canal Boat Tour
Plus general sightseeing of the city & people watching throughout the day.
As you may know from my How to Plan a Family Trip to the Netherlands on a Budget post we used a P&R to get into the city. We parked our car in the garage and took a tram into the city. It was a whole €8 for the day of parking and €6,40 to use the public transport to the city and back for a family of 4. Not too shabby.
We chose to get off at the stop by the Rijksmuseum museum to see the Amsterdam sign and because it was a short walk to the Heineken Experience. At the Amsterdam sign Mr. B whipped out his selfie stick to take a selfie of us. Some Amsterdam teens walked over and were laughing at us like we were crazy, our kids then pretended that they had no idea who we were, it was hysterical!
After our amusing Amsterdam sign pics we walked 10 mins to the Heineken Experience. This is actually a family friendly event. On the way we stopped and bought the adult tickets at the Cobra restaurant near the Amsterdam sign because they were €2 cheaper each. We had to get the kid ones at the Heniken Experience but Bea who is 11 was free. So it was €16 per adult at the off site location (compared to the €18 at the place) and Bub’s was €12,50 for a total of €48,50 for the 4 of us. Each person gets a armband for 2 drinks, Pepsi for kids and non-drinkers. More info in an upcoming post.
After the Heineken experience we walked 20 mins to Sara’s Pancake House which is by the church near Anne Frank’s house. We had pre-purchased our tickets online thankfully as the line as all the way to the back of the church. Everyone had been raving about the pancakes in Amsterdam and Sara’s House so we tried it out. Sadly we were disappointed. We dropped €42,85 and left hungry. The pancakes were OK but nothing to write home about. No tap water served but you can buy a liter for €6 and share. So I’d say unless you just HAVE to eat here you can easily skip it. It’s a 3 min walk from the Anne Frank house.
We then walked down to take some photos in front of the Anne Frank house while we waited for our time. We went in 15 mins early and they they allowed us to enter without waiting. We walked in the 2nd door (one with no line) and had not wait to start the self-guided tour. The tour does get crowded and go slow in some areas because people stop to watch the videos, so plan on at least 1 hour to get through. I’ll have more info including how to get tickets online even after they are sold out in a separate post. Also know backpacks have to be worn on the front of your body. Strollers need to be parked in the lobby. There are also several sets of steep stairs to climb.
Then we walked over to see Dam Square on the way to the Canal Boat tour. It was super crowded around 3 pm but when we went back by around 7 pm it was nice & quite so if you want to see it with less people go later in the evening. It was nothing super exciting but was noted in the Rick Steve’s book so we made a quick pass by.
We stopped at Kantjil for some Indonesian food it was recommended in the Panther Paws. At 3:30 it was not crowded and they serve the lunch specials until 4:30 pm. It was or first Indonesian food and we did not really enjoy it. The price difference between lunch & dinner is hefty, and for lunch we dropped €64!
The kids got the choose your own bowl but all the stuff came all mixed up in the bowl with sauce all over it, Bub was less than trilled and did not like/eat it. I tried it and it wasn’t that great. Heavy on the coconut flavoring and sauces and I guess we’re just not fans of that. Mr. B & I got a rice table and it was OK but I wouldn’t go back. So if your not sure if you like Indonesian food this might not be the spot for you. We can now say we’ve tried and can cross that off our list.
Next stop was the Rondvaart Kooij Canal boat tour, I’d read about it in the Rick Steve’s book. It was €38 for 3 adults (Bub counted as an adult) and 1 kid. There is a toilet on the boat which is nice because it’s an hour round trip canal tour. Before you leave the dock someone comes on to sell drinks and snacks if so desired. The audio guide (no headphones required) explains the sites in 4 different languages.
While I thought it was a unique way to see the city, the kids used the time to nap, and even Mr. B snoozed for a few, LOL. I loved hearing about the leaning houses and the furniture pulleys on the homes.
Then we headed back to the Heineken Experience to take the free canal tour with them to their store but didn’t want to wait the 45 mins so we just walked the15 mins to the store instead. At the store you get a free mini glass, 1 per person. Free bathrooms here as well. The store staff was super friendly and even helped us with where to get on the tram to get back to the P+R. It’s also near Rembrandt plaza which has some neat statues.
Overall we thought Amsterdam was a great city! We loved the canals and the skinny and often leaning houses. The bikers were fascinating, especially the ones with the large wooden boxes on the front often filled with kids and/or pets, one lady had 4 dogs in hers! We felt safe, which was great. The public transport was great to & from the P+R but we loved that the city was walkable and we didn’t need it to see the sights. The food we found to be lacking, if we went back we’d stick to trying the street vendors instead of the restaurants.
Expenses for 1 Day in Amsterdam for a family of 4 (2 adults, & 14 & 11 years):
Parking at P+R for day €8/$9
Public transport round trip (5) €6.40/$7
Amsterdam sign – Free
Heineken Experience – €48,50
Anne Frank House – €29/$32
Dam Square – Free
Rondvaart Kooij Canal Boat tour – €38/$42
Heineken store – Free to visit
Breakfast Free at Bed & Breakfast
Pancakes at Sara’s Pancake House €42,85/$48
Linner at Kantjil €64/$71
Grocery store for sodas/snacks/water €7/$8
Pizza late night snack at B&B €18/$20
Have you visited these places in Amsterdam? Any tips or experiences to share?