There aren’t many cities that can boast having 17th century buildings, world class museums, picture perfect parks and canals, 400km of cycling paths, amazing restaurants and a diverse range of boutique shops and cool bars. But this is Amsterdam, and it’s why so many visitors flock here throughout the year to enjoy everything this unique European city has to offer.
We have collated some must-see attractions and must-do experiences, including some fun winter activities. Amsterdam can be enjoyed in all seasons, so always look up what’s on when you are in town so you can take full advantage of your time here.
Bloemenmarkt (Floating Flower Market)
Just one of the many symbols of The Netherlands is the tulip, and you can find these bright beauties in one of Amsterdam’s most vibrant attractions – the Bloemenmarkt.
Tulips of every colour are on offer, alongside an array of other fresh flowers and house plants. If you’re visiting in winter, there will also be a variety of festive trees and decorations on sale, as well as local cheese and souvenirs.
Van Gogh Museum
One of the most visited attractions in Amsterdam is the Van Gogh Museum. It houses an impressive 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters by Vincent van Gogh.
Excellently laid out, you are taken on a journey through Vincent’s life and works, and in addition, other artists who have been inspired by Van Gogh exhibit their work here too. To avoid the long queues that occur sometimes, pre-book your tickets online.
9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes)
Located within the canal belt are 9 quaint streets bursting with charm for you to explore. Boutique shops, cool eateries and vintage treasures await.
This area will give you a true taste of Amsterdam and where the locals love to hang out.
Anne Frank House
A must see museum for your visit to Amsterdam. Even if you haven’t read the book, the story of a young Jewish girl and her family hiding in this residence during World War II is a fascinating piece of history.
See real pages from Anne Frank’s diary on display, and be amazed at what this family endured in their time here. Book your tickets online in advance to avoid long waiting times.
Hire a bike
Riding a bike in Amsterdam is a way of life, and the city is practically made for cyclists with its flat terrain and well defined bike paths. The stats will tell you there are more bicycles than people in the city, and you’ll quickly discover that this is true.
You’ll find many bicycle hire companies around the city, so why not see Amsterdam by bike, a slightly quicker way to get around than on foot. Whilst its very safe, remember to always be courteous to your fellow cyclists, watch where you’re going, wear a helmet, look out for other traffic and make sure your travel insurance* is up-to-date, just in case.
The grandest museum in Amsterdam, its home to one of the world’s most famous paintings, The Night Watch, a large oil on canvas painted by Rembrandt in 1642.
You’ll find Delftware, ancient artefacts, Asian art and sculptures among its collections. The building itself opened in 1885 and has undergone several restorations and renovations to make it the world class museum it is today.
To avoid lengthy crowds and queues, book your tickets online in advance, get there early, and consider downloading the phone app that provides commentary on some of the more popular pieces of art.
De Pijp and Albert Cuypmarket
The Pijp area is home to a melting pot of cultures and culinary delights including Thai, Pakistani, Spanish, Moroccan and Indian cuisine. It’s also a hotspot for arty types, cool bars and quirky shops.
The largest attraction in the area is the Albert Cuypmarkt, a large street market open 6 days a week, selling a variety of handmade goods and yummy food.
One of the busiest, but thankfully one of the biggest parks in Amsterdam so you won’t feel overcrowded, even on a sunny day. Take advantage of the small cafes and eateries, where you can indulge in some people-watching.
If you want to see more, hire a bike or skates, and visit the Nederlands Filmmuseum, the Picasso sculpture and the rose garden located in the park.
From mid-November, the Museumplein transforms into a large ice rink for some skating fun. Soak in the festive atmosphere rink side at the Brasserie, a wooden chalet offering Dutch delights such as Cheesefondue and pancakes. You’ll also find market stalls, a wide variety of fun games on the ice and ice sculpting workshops.
View the beautiful city of Amsterdam on a canal cruise. Get to see the city from a slightly different perspective, learn about the houses that line the streets or just relax with a candlelit dinner!
Cruise the Emperor’s Canal (Keizersgracht)
This wide canal is lined with interesting house boats and many picturesque bridges adorned with beautiful flowers.
Hop On Hop Off Canal Bus
The Canal Bus is a peaceful way to get around the most famous canals and see the city sites as well. There are four routes to choose from, that make numerous stops at some of the biggest attractions.
Night Cruise with Dinner
Indulge in dinner and drinks, and take in the twinkling bridge lights as you cruise around Amsterdam by candlelight.
Beer drinker or not, the Heineken experience is very well put together and includes some beer tasters at the end.
Watch how Heineken is made, play the interactive games along the way, and have a go on the ride. VIP tours are also available which includes creating your own beer label and enjoying the rooftop bar with views overlooking Amsterdam.
Zaanse Schans Windmills
For a short trip north of Amsterdam (a 15-minute train ride from Central Station and 10-minute walk) you can experience the old Holland in Zaanse Schans, a town untouched by development with windmills, traditional houses and lush green fields lined with canals.
Alternatively, take a half day tour and in addition to the above, visit the quaint coastal town of Volendam and see old fashioned cheese making, and watch a clog being made in Marken. You’ll have the added benefit of hearing commentary about the history and culture of the areas you are visiting.
Regardless of your interests, Amsterdam is a great European city that has something to offer everyone!