Are you traveling to Amsterdam? These top 10 things to do in Amsterdam will be so useful for planning your trip.
Amsterdam might be best known for its red-light district and liberal drug policies, but it offers so much more.
The capital of the Netherlands offers an extensive canal system, impressive museums, and a busting bicycle culture. Its close proximity to many other European cities make it a great choice for a weekend getaway.
Many international KLM flights route through Amsterdam and so why not layover a few days and explore this great city.
Top 10 Things to Do in Amsterdam
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While you could spend days wandering Amsterdam and exploring the canals and quaint neighborhoods and streets, make sure you hit up these 10 great things to do in Amsterdam.
You can’t visit Amsterdam with out checking it out and satisfying your curiosity.
Make sure you wander off the main streets and into the laneways to see what you came for – girls behind glass storefronts and jaw dropping sex shows.
Even with Amsterdam’s reputation, it is a bit shocking, but probably something you want to check off your bucket list. Watch out for pickpockets and don’t take photos of the prostitutes.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House & Museum is the building and annex where Anne wrote her famous diary while her family was in hiding.
This is a sobering place to visit with photographs and memorabilia telling the story of the Frank family’s escape from Germany and time in hiding. There are very long queues for entry, so make sure you purchase your tickets online before your trip.
Since you are in the area, spent some time exploring the Jordaan neighborhood, an artsy area that is one of the prettiest areas in all of Amsterdam. Stop at a café or restaurant for lunch in the Jordaan or if visiting on a Saturday, check out the market.
Stay on a Houseboat
Amsterdam’s canals and high property values have led many people to choose to live on houseboats on the canals.
The original bohemians that lived on the canals have now been replaced by trendy residents that pay a lot for the privilege of living on the canals. Instead of staying in a hotel on your visit, rent a canal houseboat for a unique and memorable stay.
These modern houseboats are as large and luxurious as a small apartment. There is something special about eating your breakfast and gazing out at the boats going by on the canal.
Do a Canal Tour
What better way to see Amsterdam’s grand buildings and neighborhoods then on a canal tour?
These economical tours on lovingly refurbished canal boats will take you through the major canals and smaller ones.
The accompanying audio guides will teach you everything you need to know about the City’s history and beginnings including lots of interesting facts.
Rent Bikes in the Bike Capital of the World
You will be impressed with the number of bicycles you see in Amsterdam and to see the city like a local, rent a bike and tour around.
There are designated bike lanes making this a great activity for travelers of all ages.
The Dutch bike casually and you will be impressed with the various styles of bikes although you will be left wondering why the Dutch have not adopted the use of helmets.
While you may not want to experience rush hour on a bike yourself, make sure you at least watch this to truly appreciate the magnitude of the bike culture in Amsterdam.
Relax in Vondelpark
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s largest park and a quiet oasis in the bustling City and one of the most romantic places in Amsterdam.
When you need a break, and are craving some green space, this is a great place to head. Indulge in coffee or lunch at the park’s café or bring your own picnic and settle in to watch the people and ducks.
Van Gogh Museum
There are many wonderful museums to choose from in Amsterdam, but most visitors will want to include the Van Gogh Museum on their itinerary.
Here you will find hundreds of paintings and drawings in Van Gogh’s famous impressionist style.
Some of these attractions in Amsterdam are included in the iAMsterdam city card, so if you are looking to do all of them, maybe it is worth it for you to buy it.
Browse the Flower Market
When you think of the Dutch, you probably think of tulips and the famous Flower Market is a great place to visit.
Not only is it the world’s only floating flower market, the amazing scents and colours are a treat to the senses. You can even purchase some bulbs or seeds to take back to your own country.
Sample some Dutch Sweets
As you wander the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam, stop and sample some of the sweet treats that your smell will direct you to.
Dutch pancakes are renowned; don’t discount these as just a breakfast meal. Savoury pancakes with delicious toppings make a great meal any time of day.
Stroopwafles are another must-try. They are in fact more of a cookie and consist of thin waffle cookies glued together with a sticky caramel syrup.
Daytrip to Zaanse Schans Open Air Museum
Since you are in the Netherlands, you want to make sure you visit a windmill, a Dutch icon. And while you are at it, you probably should also see those wooden clogs in real life.
You can do both of these things and more on a trip to Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum where you can tour working windmills, see how (and why) they make wooden clogs and learn more about early Dutch life in this industrial region.
To get to Zaanse Schans, take a 20-minute train from the City and walk following the signs for 10 minutes to the site.
Do you have more days to spend in Amsterdam? Check our these day trips by train.
Hope you found these 10 things to do in Amsterdam helpful. Don’t discount Amsterdam based on its reputation. I arrived with modest expectations of the City, but was really impressed with what is has to offer.
Dawn Nicholson loves traveling and blogging about her adventures traveling and living overseas with her three kids at 5 Lost Together. She has visited over 50 countries and believes strongly in traveling now with kids by whatever means possible – backpacking, sailing or living as expats overseas.