Visiting Amsterdam? You’ll definitely want to know the top things to do in Amsterdam to guarantee a memorable visit.
Besides the stereotypical fame of Amsterdam, the capital is filled with interesting tourist attractions that can keep you entertained for weeks.
To begin a great visit, make sure you have a place to stay. The last thing you want is trying to find your way around the city at 12am after public transport has almost completely stopped. If you’re looking for something relatively cheap and close to Central Station, go for the budget friendly Park Hotel . If you don’t mind spending some cash and want something a bit classier, try the Eden Hotel. And if you’re on a business trip, you should be sorted out beforehand.
Once you’ve got a place to stay, you can delve five of the best sightseeing things to do in Amsterdam—whether you’re there for a day, a week, or months, pick something listed here and you’ll have a story to tell for years to come!
Dive into Amsterdam’s Historical Past
Visiting the many famous museums in Amsterdam can dominate your whole trip. Be selective and plan ahead. This recommendation is for you curious historical fanatics!
Start at the Historisch Museum, or recently called the Amsterdam Museum, to experience the city’s evolution over eight centuries. It ranges in items from the Middle ages up to the present day. You can spend a whole day in here if you like; exploring unique displays such as the playable carillon—an environmentally-friendly car from back in the 60’s. The Amsterdam Museum is filled with paintings, archaeological items and models, and photographs that will fill up your camera’s memory in no time.
After that, head over to Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic)—a canal house, church, and museum that dates all the way back to the 17th century! It’s located right in the centre of Amsterdam. If you get the chance, this is certainly the church to visit. It became a museum in the late 1800’s, making it one of Amsterdam’s oldest museums.
I’m sure you’ve exhausted your legs by now, but I recommend that you gather energy and finish it off with the Joods Historisch Museum. This museum is dedicated to displaying Amsterdam’s Jewish history, culture and religion opened in the early 1900’s. It has historical paintings and artifacts that explore Jewish traditions and customs. Definitely one you can’t miss!
Where to Get a Jaw-dropping View of Amsterdam’s Canals
A total of 165 canals connect the lands of the capital to make it the beautiful city that it is. Spend a summer day exploring the maze of canals throughout Amsterdam. You’ll find small shops, cafés and galleries on the pockets of land that the canals create. The canals also have a historical touch dating back to their creation in the 17th century.
Within the Canal Belt, you’ll find Singel—a medieval city of Amsterdam. The canal runs from around Central Station to Muntplein square. Another notable canal is Herengracht, or Lord’s Canal, which is one of the major canals located right in the centre of Amsterdam. It’s named after city leaders in the 16th and 17th century. You’ll find wide mansions, gardens, and coach houses on Herengracht. Finish off your canal tour by visiting Prinsengracht. It is the longest of the main canals in the city and is named after the Prince of Orange. The Prinsengracht is home to many attractive buildings including the Noorderkerk (North Church), the Noordermarkt (Northern Market), Anne Frank House, and the Westerkert (Western Church). The Western Church is Amsterdam’s tallest church, so if you enjoyed Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder earlier, you’ll love this!
Cycling Around Amsterdam
Cycling is the main method of commuting for locals in Amsterdam. Through busy evening weekdays, some residents don’t have any other choice—rush hour can get pretty intense. I recommend that you hire bikes beforehand so everything is ready. Almost all roads have bike lanes marked out for cyclists. But keep in mind—there are certain laws you have to be weary of; use bike lights at night and have reflectors on your wheels.
You can also order ‘a hail’ or order a ‘bicycle cab’. These are a type of rickshaw costing one euro per minute for each person—children under 2 and pets do not get charged. Hopping onto a bicycle cab is a good opportunity to sit back and relax as you slowly admire the history of Amsterdam.
Picnics and Parks
If the sun is shining bright over Amsterdam, head over to Vondelpark. The public park seems like endless green space located in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid. Originally called Nieuwe Park in the mid-1800’s, the park generates around 10 million visitors annually and is home to an open air theatre and a playground. Why not try some authentic Dutch food and cafés over a blanket on a warm summer day? If you’re on holiday with a family, then Vondelpark is a place you can’t miss!
Explore Amsterdam’s Ethnicity
Venture into the flea markets to see the true multi-ethnic environment that combines in Amsterdam. The Albert Cuypmarkt is one of the more known street markets in Amsterdam. It’s located on the Albert Cuypstraat around Oud-Zuid. If you take my advice and go to Vondelpark, the Albert Cuypmarkt is right around the corner. You’ll find literally everything here with the product ranging from traditional vegetables, fruit, and fish to clothing and electronics. The multi-culture aspect of this market combines items from Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish, and Moroccan origins.
About the Author: Sohaib is an avid fan of travel and writes for Hotel Club, a world leading global accommodation website providing resources for over 141 countries including hotels in Amsterdam.