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Amsterdam and Brussels in 7 Days

Guest post by infrequenttraveler

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1: Amsterdam

  • Westerpark
  • Mossel & Gin

Our flight got into Amsterdam at 4:30 PM. We took the train into town and stayed at an apartment in Amsterdam West. It’s a very active area with lots of bars and restaurants.

We walked to Westerpark, which has a large strip of beer gardens and restaurants among the green space. Had dinner an excellent dinner at Mossel and Gin (both the mussels and gin were great) and called it a night.

Day 2: Amsterdam

  • Pancakes Amsterdam Negen Straatjes
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Bulls and Dogs
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Vondelpark

Started the day at Pancakes Amsterdam for breakfast. There are several locations and you could eat there for any meal of the day.

The Van Gosh Museum was very interesting, especially if you’re a big impressionist fan. We had tickets and tour for 11:30 AM booked ahead of time.

Bulls and Dogs – best hot dog in the city, get a milkshake, too.

We bought tickets to Rijksmuseum in advance, too, but those could be used at any time. The place had everything: art, design, history, traveling exhibits. Model ships, beautiful grounds.

Both museums were definitely worth visiting and are very close to each other (5 minute walk). Vondelpark is right there, too – scenic, lots of walking paths and fountains.

Day 3: Amsterdam

  • Anne Frank Huis
  • Westertoren
  • Restaurant Jun
  • Oude Kerk
  • De Wallen

We had an 8:30 AM tour booked in advance for the Anne Frank House. Just like the other museums, this is a must-visit.

Westertoren is the tallest bell tower in the city and very close to the Anne Frank House. There’s a small fee for guided tour up the tower – wasn’t on the itinerary but recommended by a local. Must-see.

The same guy that suggested the clock tower recommended ordering an Indonesian rice table for dinner. Restaurant Jun was right nearby and an awesome experience. They keep bringing you different kinds of rice – so much food and all of it was good.

After dinner we went to the central/touristy area (25 min walk). First we went by  Oude Kerk, which is Amsterdam’s oldest building (translates to “Old Church”). Right by a canal and very picturesque – a must-see.

De Wallen is the famous red-light district – had to see it. It’s in the most touristy part, though, so very crowded. Went to a show – exactly what you imagine it would be.

Day 4: Amsterdam

  • Het Funen
  • Brouwerij ‘t IJ
  • Dakterras HOPP
  • Huize Frankendael / restaurant Merkelbach

We ventured to the east side of the city and visited Het Funen first. It’s another park in an industrial area and then we went to Brouwerij’t IJ for lunch. It’s a brewery with a windwill, nice beer garden with good views. Very local area, not touristy.

Next we went to  Dakterras Hopp, which is a rooftop beer garden in the middle of high-end housing. Excellent way to spend the afternoon on a beautiful day.

Nearby was Huize Frankendael for dinner – a mansion turned restaurant in the middle of a park.

Day 5: Brussels

  • The Brussels Journey – Beer and Chocolate Tours
  • Grand Place
  • Hotel Agora Brussels Grand Place

We took a train to Brussels (just under 2 hours) for an overnight side-trip, which was worth it. We had booked a beer and chocolate tour that took up the afternoon (3 – 7:30) and had lots of great food and drinks.

Grand Place is gorgeous both in the day and when lit up at night. At night it becomes a teenage hangout spot so it was packed with the high schoolers of Brussels. Not obnoxious teenagers, so it was enjoyable and fun to people watch.

Day 6: Royal Puppet Theater Toone

Brussels is a very easy city to walk around – there are small alleys all over the place that lead to the most interesting bars, very nondescript. One of the bars we visited was an old marionette theater with a very interesting history – lots of fun to sit and talk to people. We wandered through the streets until our 2 PM train back to Amsterdam.

Day 7: De Hallen Amsterdam

Spent the morning at De Hallen, which is a food hall with local shops and vendor stations. Reminiscent of downtown markets in the US. Our flight out left in the afternoon.

Additional thoughts

One thing we learned what that you shouldn’t be afraid to rent a bike. When you first get there, you see tons of bike traffic and it can be a little intimidating since everyone seems to know what they’re doing. Our first day we did on foot, which is enjoyable, but you get to see less. Because of the canals, it takes much longer on foot. The next day we got bikes and it was absolutely worth it – the city is built for bike traffic.

Every week there’s something going on outdoors – there was an kids sports convention while we were there.

Spend some time walking down the canals, the architecture is very unique.

Parks are all over the place and worthwhile, ride your bike and then walk around and enjoy.

As for Dutch cuisine – the locals we talked to claim they have no true cuisine. We heard everything from “Indonesian food is typical Dutch food” to “French food is typical Dutch food.”

Pay for the line-cutting services to save time – they’re worth it.

Traveled in June 2019

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