Amsterdam is an easy city to walk particularly if you stay in a central location as I did at the Hoxton on the Herengragcht Canal in the picturesque neighbourhood of Negen Straatjes. From there you can walk to all major tourist sites as well as stroll the canal pathways taking in the pretty flower be decked bridges and tiny squares.
Head north along the Herengracht canal and take time to look skywards at the tall canal buildings, many of them a couple of hundred years old with intricate carvings and unusual gables. These were the homes of rich merchants in their hey day. Every building appears to be very different to the next one. In most areas the newer buildings have been built to fit in with their older neighbours. At the end of the Herengracht turn right towards the Central Station just to take the view of the building and a look towards the city as this is the view many will first see when arriving.
Retrace steps back to Herengraght and zig zag across this area where there are three other major canals, Singel, Keizergracht and Prisongracht as this is one of the prettiest districts. This neighbourhood is Jordaan and on the junction of Prisengracht and Browsergracht you have a pretty market (Noorder – Markt) selling flowers, vegetables and other goods. This seems to be mainly frequented by locals.
Time for a refreshment stop then try Cafe de Nieuwe Lele which is on a quiet crossroads on the street of the same name and again take time to look upwards and you will see the hooks on the buildings used to pulley up furniture and other deliveries in these tall houses.
On the Prisengracht you will also find the House Boat Museum where you can get a feel of what life is like on the water and whether you could cope in a confined area with the rest of your family!
Leaving the Negen Straatjes neighbourhood look out for sign posts towards the museum district. Even if you have no interest in the great artists the building and the gardens are worth a stroll through, it’s a busy area compared to the canal districts but again easy to navigate.
Within the museumkwartier is the House of Bols where you are invited to enjoy a cocktail and genever experience, your ticket will show you how the liquor is made and then you can order a bespoke cocktail to suit your taste.
Retrace your steps back to the Herengracht for restaurants and bars.
From the Herengracht walk west towards the Dam Square, this area is very touristy with clog shops, cafes, cheese shops and horse carriages. It is hard to avoid the red light district but further west is Nieuw Markt district, a pretty cafe edged canal and also Oude Shans where a great place to stop and barge watch is Sluyswacht or people watch on the bridge at Cafe Tis Fris.
Continue west along the main thorough fare of Jodenbreester looking for signs of De Planate, you will be walking through the Jewish Quarter and this will lead to parkland and the Dutch Resistance Museum, worth a stop to learn about how people lived in this area during WW2.
As you walk down Entrepotdok you will be able to see the giraffes from the zoo on the other side of the canal. As you reach the busy roads at Sarphatistraat you will see a windmill now a bar and eating area. Retrace your steps back to the Jewish quarter and head east via the Waterlooplein district crossing here back to the Herengracht.
If time before you go home, Vondelpark is worth visit.