31 Epic Things to Do in Amsterdam (Perfect First Time Visit)


Things to Do in Amsterdam: The 30 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)

You want to visit Amsterdam during your next trip?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 31 best things to do in Amsterdam, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.

The famous Red Light District, the Rijksmuseum, the Royal Palace, the best coffee shops… I will tell your everything you need to know for an amazing stay!

In addition to my list of things to do and activities, I will also give you optimized itineraries to visit Amsterdam in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even 1 week!) as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Amsterdam? Where to stay?

1. Dam Square

Let’s start this guide of Amsterdam with Dam Square, the historical center of the city located in the old town.

It’s also where the first dam was built on River Amstel, hence its name.

Dam Square (also known simply as ‘Dam’) is today the meeting point of all Amsterdam’s most vibrant streets and shopping areas.

On Dam Square, you can see:

  • The National Monument, a column of white stones dedicated to victims of the Second World War
  • Amsterdam’s Royal Palace (I tell you more about it a bit below)
  • The Nieuwe Kerk or “New Church”: construction of this Gothic style church started in 1408. The Nieuwe Kerk has been the place of investiture of many Dutch monarchs, and today hosts exhibitions.
  • Madame Tussauds museum
  • The NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: a luxurious 5* hotel with views over the square.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re visiting Amsterdam, you should purchase the I Amsterdam City Card.

This City Card includes free entry to over 70 of Amsterdam’s museums and tourist attractions such as the Rijksmuseum and the A’DAM Lookout.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to public transport, plus a canal cruise!

When booking, you can opt for a validity duration between 1 and 5 days.

You can see all the attractions and activities included and buy the City Card Amsterdam by clicking on the green button below:

If you don’t want to buy the city pass, you can also buy your fast track tickets for each tourist attraction separately. I’ll give you all the links to book your tickets throughout this article.

place du Dam Amsterdam
Dam Square, in Amsterdam

2. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam or “Paleis op de Dam” is located on Dam Square.

Built in the 17th century, it was initially used as a Town Hall before serving as a royal residence from the 19th century.

At that time, it was the largest administrative building in Europe and the city’s inhabitants were so proud of it that they nicknamed it “the eighth wonder of the world”.

Today, the palace is used by the royal family during official visits.

The rest of the time, you can visit its interior and discover the different rooms featuring numerous paintings, sculptures and period furniture.

You should buy your fast track tickets + audio guide for the Palace of Amsterdam in advance. It’s not more expensive, and it will make you save a lot of time!

You need to book your tickets by clicking on the green button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

A good way of making sure you don’t miss out on any of Amsterdam’s tourist sites (apart from reading this article!) is to opt for a private tour with a local guide.

Lasting between 2 and 6 hours and available in English, your private tour can be fully tailored to your wishes.

You need to book your guided tour of Amsterdam by clicking here:

Palais royal d'Amsterdam
Amsterdam Royal Palace – Things to do in Amsterdam

3. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

What’s the best thing to do in Amsterdam if you’re interested in art?

Visiting the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands!

You’ll be part of the 2 million visitors who flock here each year to see the biggest collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.

The Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s best-known museums and houses many masterpieces. Among the most famous are:

  • The Milkmaid by Vermeer
  • The Night Watch by Rembrandt
  • Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat by Van Gogh.

If you don’t have much time, the finest canvases by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt are grouped together in the Gallery of Honour on the second floor.

The museum is open every day of the year from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Entrance to the Rijksmuseum is included in the I Amsterdam City Card.

If you don’t have that City Pass, you should buy your fast track tickets for the Rijksmuseum in advance by clicking on the button below. It’s the best way to avoid waiting!

And if you want to learn everything about the works exhibited, you should opt for this guided tour of the Rijksmuseum in English:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Even if you don’t want to visit the Rijksmuseum, you should still go there to admire the museum’s magnificent architecture.

If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam in winter, make the most of it by renting skates and enjoying the ice rink in front of the museum!

Rijksmuseum – Visit Amsterdam

4. Amsterdam’s Red Light District

The Red Light District is another place you shouldn’t miss during your trip to Amsterdam, though in quite a different vein!

This unique area is one of the city’s most popular among tourists. Red Light district is the place where you will see the famous window brothels, from behind which prostitutes attract their clients.

In Amsterdam, the world’s oldest profession is completely legal, and these women are required to pay their taxes just like any other worker. Don’t think about taking photos of the windows though: it’s not allowed.

A great way to discover Red Light District and learn more about Amsterdam’s liberal attitudes towards drugs and sex work is to opt for a guided tour in English:

Other types of visit can also be arranged. Click on the orange links for more information and to book:

red light district Amsterdam
Red light district, in Amsterdam

5. The coffee shops

Together with Red Light District, coffee shops became a symbol of the city.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not the place to go to enjoy a coffee (even if they do serve it), but to smoke marijuana!

In Amsterdam, it’s allowed here as long as it stays within the coffee shop walls. Smoking in the street, for example, is very much frowned upon.

And if you’re not keen on smoking, you can also consume cannabis in many other ways: tea, water pipes, cakes or lollipops.

If you plan to go to a coffee shop while you’re in Amsterdam, here are some tips:

  • It’s forbidden to smoke tobacco
  • They don’t serve alcohol
  • The use of hard drugs is not permitted
  • You will not be admitted if you are under-age
  • Look carefully at the dosages: you should ask first, because the doses may be more concentrated than in other countries.

To learn more about the history of cannabis and to visit coffee shops with a guide, you should book this 2-hour tour:

coffee shop Amsterdam
Coffee shop – Amsterdam

6. Amsterdam canal cruise

If there is just one activity you really have to do in Amsterdam, it’s for sure the canal cruise!

Amsterdam canals are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Going on a boat trip in Amsterdam is one of the best ways to see the city’s architecture, the magnificent traditional buildings and some of the historic monuments.

And don’t forget that if you have the I Amsterdam City Card, you’re entitled to a free cruise!

There are several types of cruise to choose from with different durations, boat sizes and departure points.

I’ve picked out a few of the most popular (simply click on the orange links to see the details and to book):

Croisière canaux Amsterdam
Canal cruise, Amsterdam

7. Visiting Amsterdam by bike

Visiting Amsterdam by bike is a great way to explore the city.

This form of transport is king here: many Dutch people get around by bike, and there are cycle lanes everywhere. If you’re on foot by the way, you need to look out for bikes as much as you do for cars!

The best way to explore the city is thus to join a guided tour of Amsterdam by bike.

The GetYourGuide Original tour is especially awesome: during this 3-hour small group guided tour in English, you’ll have the chance to explore the main points of interest in Amsterdam, as well as some very traditional spots off the beaten track.

And as always with GetYourGuide Originals, if you are not fully satisfied of your tour, you will get a full refund!

To book your Amsterdam by bike tour, simply click on the button below:

You can also rent bicycles in Amsterdam by clicking here.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You’re going to Amsterdam?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

And that’s even worse in the large European capitals 😅.

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Tens of thousands of people will be visiting Amsterdam on the same dates as you, so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Amsterdam.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Amsterdam, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam velo
Visit Amsterdam by bike

8. Anne Frank House

A visit to Amsterdam also means discovering a darker part of the city’s history.

For that, you should visit Anne Frank house.

Anne Frank is famous for her personal diary telling the story of the Frank family who hid in this house to escape the Jews’ persecution during the Second World War.

Today, the house had been turned into a museum, where you can wander through the different rooms containing extracts from Anne Frank’s diary, photos, and objects.

Note that entrance tickets for Anne Frank House can only be purchased online via the official website by clicking here.

80% of the tickets are made available online 2 months in advance, and the rest are released in tranches from 9.00 am each day.

Since the house is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions, tickets go very quickly and it’s best to book in advance.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to find out more about Anne Frank, you should take the really interesting guided tour in English.

Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of the Jewish Quarter and tell you stories about Anne Frank’s life at that time.

This guided tour is so good that it’s certified GetYourGuide Originals, which means you get a full refund if you’re not completely satisfied!

It needs to be booked by clicking on the link below:

maison d'Anne Franck Amsterdam
Anne Frank house – A place to visit in Amsterdam

9. Jordaan district

The Jordaan is a must-see neighbourhood in Amsterdam.

This very picturesque part of Amsterdam was built in the 17th century to house craftsmen and workers.

Here are the best things to see in Jordaan neighbourhood:

  • The Prinsengracht, the canal to the east
  • The numerous typical red brick houses
  • The vintage shops
  • Anne Frank House, which I have just told you about
  • Noordermarkt market
  • The brown cafés which take their name from the walls blackened by cigarette smoke and their wooden interiors. These are a great place to get a beer and enjoy the really lively ambience.
  • Westerkerk, the largest Protestant church in the Netherlands, with panoramic views over the whole neighbourhood from the bell tower. Entrance to the church is free but there’s a charge to visit the bell tower.

If you want to visit Jordaan district with a guide, you should book one the 2 activities below:

quartier Jordaan Westerkerk
Jordaan district / Westerkerk

10. Van Gogh Museum

Let’s continue your tour of Amsterdam with the Van Gogh Museum.

Like the Rijksmuseum, it’s located on Museumplein, Amsterdam’s Museum Square. It’s very popular, and welcomes millions of visitors each year.

As its name suggests, it’s dedicated to the famous Dutch artist and exhibits over 200 paintings as well as hundreds of his drawings and letters.

If you have bought the I Amsterdam City Card, entrance is free of charge (there’s even a separate fast entrance queue).

Without the pass, your only other option is to purchase a fast track ticket, otherwise you’ll have a long wait at the entrance.

You need to buy your ticket here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Not far from the museum is the Concertgebouw, a world-renowned concert hall with exceptional acoustics.

You can visit the Concertgebouw or even see a performance during your holiday in Amsterdam.

musée Van Gogh
Van Gogh museum – Amsterdam

11. Amsterdam Dungeon

Wondering what to do in Amsterdam, and wanna try something really unique?

You should go to the Amsterdam Dungeon!

Enter the torture chamber, witness a witch burning at the stake or watch a trial during the Spanish inquisition:

The dungeon offers you the chance to relive history through several shows performed by actors in period costume. You’ll of course be invited to join in and participate!

It’s very well done, and you will quickly get caught up in the slightly creepy and frightening atmosphere. Personally, I loved it!

The dungeon is one of Amsterdam’s must-see tourist attractions and there are sometimes queues of over an hour. So you should really purchase your tickets in advance by click on the button below:

The I Amsterdam City Card entitles you to a 25% discount on the entrance ticket to the dungeon.

Amsterdam Dungeon
Amsterdam Dungeon

12. Zuiderkerk church

Let’s continue your tour of Amsterdam with the Zuiderkerk church.

Built in the 17th century, this Renaissance style church is also known as “the Southern Church”.

You can’t visit the interior of the church (it’s currently undergoing renovation), but you can climb to the top of its bell tower to enjoy the view over the entire city. You must be accompanied by a guide, with tours departing every 30 minutes.


13. Begijnhof

Amsterdam’s Beguinage (Begijnhof in Dutch) is one of the oldest inner courtyards in the city.

The buildings around the Begijnhof were once inhabited by the Béguines, a community made up exclusively of women, the last of whom died in 1971.

The premises are today private homes so visitors are asked to avoid making noise, and of course not to cross the fences to respect the residents’ peace and quiet.

The Begijnhof is also home to one of the oldest houses in Amsterdam. Built in wood in 1528, it’s the last wooden house still standing.

Due to fires, this type of construction was later completely banned.

The passageway that leads to the Begijnhof is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.


14. The flower market/Bloemenmarkt

If you want to bring tulip bulbs back home (one of the traditional souvenirs of a stay in Amsterdam) you should head to the flower market.

Located on one of the city’s oldest canals, the Singel, you’ll find tulips in every possible colour here (freshly cut, as bulbs, and even wooden tulips), as well as other flower seeds and bulbs. The market is really lovely and colourful.

There, you will also find classic souvenirs such as magnets, keychains, postcards, or Dutch traditional items such as clogs. You’ll be spoilt for choice!

marché aux fleurs Amsterdam
Flower market – Amsterdam

15. A’ DAM Lookout

Like most modern big cities in the world, Amsterdam has its own panoramic observation deck: A’DAM Lookout.

You can ascend to the top for an unobstructed view over the whole city. The most fearless among you can also enjoy a very special attraction at the top of the tower: Europe’s highest swing – adrenaline rush guaranteed!

The tower also has a revolving panoramic restaurant.

To get to the A’DAM Lookout, which is located on the other side of the river, you need to take a free ferry from Amsterdam central station to Buiksloterweg.

Entry to the A’DAM Lookout is included in the City Card Amsterdam.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Right next to the A’DAM Lookout, you can also try out “THIS IS HOLLAND” activity.

This interactive experience allows you to fly over the Dutch landscape for around ten minutes. For a fully immersive experience, the seats move and you can even smell the tulip fields, for example.

The City Card offers a discount on THIS IS HOLLAND. Otherwise, you’ll need to book your tickets online by clicking here.

Adam Lookout
A’dam Lookout

16. Nieuwmarkt

The Nieuwmarkt is another famous square in Amsterdam. It’s located between Chinatown and the Red Light District.

In the centre of the square, you can see an old gateway to the city, the Waag, which looks like a small castle. Today, it has been converted into a café/restaurant.

Every morning, a traditional market is held on the square, and there is also a flea market on Sundays.

Nieuwmarkt Waag

17. Vondelpark

Where should you go in Amsterdam to enjoy a bit of greenery? (and no, I’m not talking about the Coffee Shops 😋)

Head to the Vondelpark, the city’s most famous and largest public park. It’s not far from the Van Gogh Museum.

The park covers almost 45 hectares and features bars, restaurants, and children playgrounds. You can explore the very well-maintained paths on foot or by bike.

At the edge of the park, you can also take a look at Vondelkerk church, a really nice example of neo-Gothic architecture. Unfortunately, you can’t visit the inside, as it has been converted into offices.

In the summer, there are free open-air music, dance and theatre shows.


18. The Skinny Bridge

The Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) is a bridge located in central Amsterdam.

I’ve got to admit that it doesn’t really have anything special at first sight, but it has its place in this list of top things to do in Amsterdam because of its history.

When it was built in 1670, it was so narrow that it was hard for 2 people to pass each other, hence its nickname the “Skinny Bridge”.

According to legend, it was first built to allow two sisters who each lived on a different side of the canal to see one another more often.

It was rebuilt in 1871 and then again in 1969 to allow more people to use it, and is today a traditional double leaf bascule bridge that opens to allow canal boats to pass through.

At night, it’s lit up with over 1.500 lights and becomes one of Amsterdam’s romantic hot-spots.

Voyage Tips - Anecdote

The bridge has been used as a set for several films, including a James Bond (“Diamonds are Forever”).

Magere Brug
Magere Brug

19. The Cheese Museum

Along with tulips, the coffee shops and windmills, the traditional image of the Netherlands includes cheese.

So a visit to the Cheese Museum is a must! It’s located close to Anne Frank House, on the other side of the canal.

The museum (free of charge) is quite small and is located in the basement of a cheese shop.

On the ground floor, they are mainly Gouda of every conceivable type (pesto, truffle, chilli…) and in all possible colours, which you can taste for free.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re a real food-lover, you might want to attend a cheese-tasting workshop during your visit to Amsterdam.

You’ll get to taste five cheeses made by Henri Willing who is known for his high-quality traditional cheeses, all served with local wines and beers.

Book your cheese-tasting in Amsterdam here.

musee du fromage
Amsterdam cheese museum

20. Albert Cuyp Market

Another good way to discover the local specialties in Amsterdam is to go to one of the food markets.

My favorite is Albert Cuyp Market, a local open-air market held from Monday to Saturday. The busiest Market in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in Europe takes place in De Pijp neighbourhood.

There are hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of cheeses, fruits and vegetables, fresh fish (if you’re feeling really brave, try the herring served with gherkins!).

You’ll also find flowers, clothing, souvenirs (a bit cheaper than elsewhere) and food stalls if you feel hungry.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You want to taste Dutch typical food while visiting the city?

The you should opt for the Amsterdam Food Walking Tour.

You will have a great time discovering the city with Mona, your guide, and trying several local specialties.

To book your Food Walking Tour in Amsterdam, simply click on the button below:

21. Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam, is located in Red Light District.

It was built around 1300 as a place of Catholic worship before being converted to the Reformed faith.

You can visit the interior of the church, but unfortunately it’s quite expensive (€15), and the church often hosts quite weird contemporary exhibitions which in my opinion don’t really fit the place and are not worth it.

So you should take a look at the exterior when you’re in Red Light District and go inside only if you have the I Amsterdam City Card, which gives you free entry.

Voyage Tips - Advice

A fun way to do some sightseeing in Amsterdam is to take a Segway trip.

During this 2-hour tour, your guide will show you some of the unmissable tourist sites, including the huge Museum Square, the Oude Kerk, and the canals, while entertaining you with stories and anecdotes about the city.

To book this Segway tour of Amsterdam, you need to click on the button below:

Oude Kerk Amsterdam
Oude Kerk Amsterdam

22. Other museums to visit in Amsterdam

Wondering about what to do in Amsterdam when it rains?

In addition to the 2 world-famous museums (the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum) I talked about, the city is home to several other interesting museums. The good news is that there’s something interesting for every taste and age!

Another great thing is that most of them are free if you’ve purchased the I Amsterdam City Card.

Of course, if you don’t have the City Card, you can also book your entrance tickets in advance by clicking on the name of each museum (in orange).

Here’s a list of the museums you can visit in Amsterdam:

Madam Tussauds Amsterdam
Madame Tussauds – Things to do in Amsterdam

23. Heineken Experience

Beer-lovers should definitely join the Heineken Experience in the capital of the Netherlands!

You will be welcomed to the former Heineken brewery, built in 1867, where you will learn about the history of the company as well as the process of making beer.

And the visit wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a pint!

Book your tickets for the Heineken Experience by clicking on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you prefer more elaborate drinks, you should rather opt for the House of Bols Experience.

Same idea as the Heineken, but here you’ll discover the liqueurs made by the oldest spirits brand in the world. A cocktail is included in the price.

To Book your tickets for the House of Bols Experience, you just need to click here!

Heineken Experience Amsterdam
Heineken Experience Amsterdam

24. Shopping in Amsterdam

Wondering where to go shopping in Amsterdam?

Easy: all over the city!

There are no big shopping centers in Amsterdam, but there’s a huge choice of stores around the pedestrian streets. You’ll find the usual names (Zara, H&M) as well as luxury boutiques.

For shopping, you should head to:

  • Nieuwedijk, a 1 km long pedestrian street
  • Kalverstraat for shoes, handbags and perfumes
  • P.C. Hooftstraat, near the Rijksmuseum and the Vondelpark, for Cartier, Vuitton, Chanel and other luxury brands
  • Nine Streets (De 9 Straatjes) with its original and vintage boutiques
  • The Magna Plaza behind Dam Square for designer clothes
  • De Bijenkorf, a department store selling fashion and decorative items.
Magna Plaza Amsterdam Shopping
Magna Plaza / Shopping in Amsterdam

The 6 best things to do near Amsterdam

Now that you know what to see in Amsterdam, let’s explore the area around the city.

From Amsterdam, you can go to many easily accessible places by bus, train or on an organized day trip.

Here are some of my favorite things to do and places to visit around Amsterdam:

25. Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is certainly the best-known attraction around Amsterdam!

The waterside windmills of Zaanse Schans really are the typical Netherlands postcard image. There, you will also find a shop selling cheese, clogs and souvenirs.

You can visit the different windmills (included with the City Card Amsterdam, otherwise it’s €5 per entry), and even enjoy a 25 minutes cruise around the windmills. It needs to be booked here.

There are also 2 museums:

  • Zaandam Time Museum dedicated to clock-making, a speciality of Zaandam
  • Zaans Museum, to learn more about the windmills.

To get to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam, you have 3 options:

1) Take bus no. 391 (leaves every 15 minutes) or 891 from central station. You can purchase your ticket by clicking here!

2) Take the train from central station (the journey takes 20 minutes and costs less than €5 one-way). Then, walk for about 15 minutes to get to the windmills.

3) Opt for an organized day trip that includes transport and a guide.

There are 3 main tours that include a visit to Zaanse Schans, with some small differences:

And the other 2 options:

Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans

26. The Waterland villages

Around Amsterdam, you should devote a day to visiting the Waterland villages.

To start exploring, simply purchase the “Waterlands Day Ticket” for 10€ from the automatic ticket machines at the central station. You can use it for all your bus journeys between Amsterdam and all the villages.

Before leaving, don’t forget to pass by the information centre at the station to get your map of the villages and bus lines.

Here’s the list of Waterland villages you should visit close to Amsterdam:

  • Broek in Waterland, a picturesque village famous for its wooden houses and its church ceiling painted with angels
  • Monninckendam where you can visit the Waterlands Museum and Saint Nicolas church
  • Marken: a pretty small island featuring a harbour and waterfront restaurants. From there, you can take the boat (the Marken Express) to Volendam (one-way for €8.75/free of charge with the City Card/journey time: 30 minutes). You can also return to Monnickendam by bus and go from there to Volendam.
  • Volendam: a very pretty village with lots of little shops and harbourside restaurants.
  • Edam: a traditional and picturesque village with some really beautiful houses, perfect to stroll around.
  • Purmerend: less traditional because this town is mainly a suburb of Amsterdam
  • Beemster: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its polder, a man-made stretch of land obtained by draining water. The Beemster lake was drained from the 17th century using 43 water mills – a true technical feat. You should also take a look at the square pyramid-roofed farmhouses.
Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit Waterland, you can also join an organized trip from Amsterdam.

Simply click on the orange link for more details and to book:


27. Keukenhof

It would be a real shame to leave Amsterdam and the Netherlands without going to see the tulips (depending on the time of year).

The most famous place to admire these colourful flowers is Keukenhof Park.

Note that the period for visiting is very limited, as the park is open only from mid-March to mid-May and millions of visitors come to see the tulips.

Even if it’s super touristy, the sight of these 7 million flowers is truly magnificent and you should really go there if you’re in Amsterdam in spring. Keukenhof is the biggest tulip garden in the world, and you won’t have the opportunity to see it everyday!

Keukenhof is open from Monday to Sunday from 8.00 am to 7.30 pm. To get there, you can take one of the following buses:

  • No. 852 from Amsterdam Europaplein
  • No 858 from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  • No. 859 from Hoofddorp railway station.

You really do need to book your fast track tickets for the park in advance, you will save a lot of time!

Voyage Tips - Advice

The best time of day to visit the Keukenhof and get the most stunning photos is before 10.00 am or after 4.00 pm.


28. Haarlem

Haarlem is another small town you shouldn’t miss near Amsterdam.

And I have to confess, I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful!

The town is really picturesque with beautiful brick houses and a very impressive huge church (€2.50 entrance fees)

For your walk around Haarlem, you should first pass by the tourist office located on the church square. There, you can purchase a town map (50 cents) and they will also suggest walks you can do in the city.

If you only do one walk, you should opt for “Monumental Haarlem” which allows you to discover all the must-see attractions (the small leaflet also costs 50 cents).

To get to Haarlem from Amsterdam, take the train and you’ll be there in just 15 minutes.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The I Amsterdam City Card includes entrance to Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum as well as a canal cruise in Harlem.

Haarlem, a nice place to visit around Amsterdam

29. Zandvoort

Want to discover the Netherlands’coast and spend a bit of time at the beach near Amsterdam?

You should thus head to Zandvoort.

It’s just a 30 minute train ride to get to this Dutch seaside resort where you’ll find kilometres of fine sandy beaches!

It’s a great place to spend a relaxed day and an excellent opportunity to try out one of the numerous the seaside restaurants.

Zandvoort plage
Zandvoort beach

30. Giethoorn

Another really nice place to visit in the Netherlands is the little Dutch village of Giethoorn, located about 1h30 drive from Amsterdam.

Often called the Venice of the North, this place is truly unique: there are no cars here, everyone gets around on foot, by bike or by small boat!

To explore Giethoorn, you should take a boat trip. It’s the best way to admire the thatched roof houses, bordered by large, well-maintained gardens full of flowers.

If you don’t have a car, your best bet to get there is to book a day trip from Amsterdam:


Things to do in Amsterdam with kids

To help you plan your family holiday in Amsterdam, here are a few more things you can do with kids:

How many days to visit Amsterdam?

There are so many places to visit and things to do in Amsterdam that the days will literally fly by, even though the city isn’t that big.

You should thus ideally plan at least 3 days to explore the city.

In order to help you make the most of your stay, I will now give you itineraries to visit Amsterdam in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more days.

Voyage Tips - Advice

I’ve kept mentioning it all the way though the article, but if you want to save time and money, don’t forget to purchase the I Amsterdam City Card. It’s clearly the best solution!

You can see all the places that are included, and buy the City Card Amsterdam, by clicking on the green button below:

1 day in Amsterdam

If you’ve decided to spend just a single day in Amsterdam, you have several options:

1) A walking tour of the city to see most of the sights from the outside.

My recommendation for you is to follow the itinerary below (starting from the very beautiful Amsterdam Centraal railway station):

2) Choose 1 or 2 of Amsterdam’s must-see museums:

3) If you don’t fancy walking but want to see Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions:

Amsterdam Centraal
Amsterdam Centraal

2 days in Amsterdam

If you’re planning to spend 2 days in Amsterdam, here is my suggested itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Walk along Nieuwendijk to Dam Square
  • Visit the Royal Palace of Amsterdam
  • Now you have a choice: experience the Amsterdam Dungeon or visit the Amsterdam Museum to learn about the city’s history
  • Walk through the inner courtyard of the Béguinage (Begijnhof)
  • Visit the flower market
  • Admire Zuiderkerk church and Nieuwmarkt square
  • Explore the Red Light District and its very special shop windows
  • Finish your tour with the Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t want to visit the Amsterdam Dungeon or the Amsterdam Museum, you can instead visit Body Worlds exhibition, Madame Tussauds or the Ripley’s museum. They are all located in the same area.

Day 2:

If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Amsterdam (or 2 days during the week!), you should read my detailed itinerary here: 2 days in Amsterdam.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Of course you might want to take a break in a coffee shop at some point in the day if you fancy it!


3 days in Amsterdam

You’ve got 3 in Amsterdam?

There’s still plenty for you to see in the capital! Follow the 2-day itinerary above, and on the 3rd day:

To plan your 72 hours in Amsterdam, you should read my detailed itinerary: 3 days in Amsterdam.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you have kids, you can spend the afternoon at the Artis zoo, visit Micropia or enjoy a round of mini golf in the dark – it’s all in the same area.

Amsterdam canals
What are the best things to do in Amsterdam?

4, 5 or more days in Amsterdam

If you’re wondering about what to do in Amsterdam in 4, 5 days, or even a week, you should take my 3-day itinerary and then devote one day to each of the excursion around Amsterdam below, depending on what you like best:

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can read my detailed 4-day itinerary in Amsterdam here: 4 days in Amsterdam.

And to plan a 5-day visit, you should read that article instead: 5 days in Amsterdam.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

Here’s my selection of the best places to stay in Amsterdam depending on your budget:

  • Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam: Youth hostel 400 metres from the Rijksmuseum and 10 minutes from the Vondelpark. Bed in a dormitory from 26€, including breakfast. Strong points: the location, the warm welcome, the atmosphere. An excellent choice if you’re looking for a cheap accommodation in Amsterdam!
  • Motel One Amsterdam: Located 2 km from the Rikjsuseum and the Albert Cuyp Market. Clean and well-decorated double room from 110€ per night, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: helpful staff, location 2 minutes from the metro, the good breakfast.
  • Jaz Amsterdam: Situated a 15-minute metro ride from the centre. Spacious and stylish room from 110€, breakfast 16.95€. Strong points: very friendly staff, good facilities, the fabulous breakfast.
  • Motel One Amsterdam-Waterlooplein: Situated close to the Zuiderkerk and a 15-minute walk from Dam Square. Modern room with comfortable bed from 154€, breakfast 11.50€. Strong points: close to the centre, delightful staff, good and varied breakfast. It’s my favourite for its excellent value for money in Amsterdam!
  • Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre: Located just a 10-minute walk from the railways station and the centre of Amsterdam. Spacious, modern and comfortable room, some with a river view, from 190€, breakfast 25€. Strong points: location, comfort, friendly staff, access to the sauna included. The best hotel for a high end stay in Amsterdam!
  • NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky: Located right on Dam Square, this luxury hotel offers rooms with a sleek and modern decor from 310€, breakfast included. Strong points: central location for exploring Amsterdam on foot, exceptional bed (so comfortable!), the excellent breakfast. Perfect for a romantic break in the heart of the city!
  • Hyatt Regency Amsterdam: 5* hotel situated 800 metres from the zoo. Bright and elegantly decorated rooms from 360€, breakfast 28€. Strong points: the staff are concerned to ensure the well-being of their guests, the decoration, the location, the excellent restaurant. The best hotel in Amsterdam for a luxury stay!

And if you prefer to rent a luxury apartment for your stay in Amsterdam, the Keizersgracht Suite 471 is the best address in the city!

Voyage Tips - Advice

If these hotels are full or don’t suit you, you should take a look at the traveler’s favorites by clicking here: The Best Hotels in Amsterdam.

Since I had a very early flight home on the morning of my departure, I also tried out the Ibis Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, located 10 minutes from the airport (free shuttle). And I was pleasantly surprised: the rooms are modern, comfortable, and you can’t hear the planes at all.

Where to eat in Amsterdam

  • Foodhallen: located between the Jordaan district and the Vondelpark. A food court with a trendy and warm atmosphere where everyone can taste the cuisines of the world. The biggest problem is what to choose because it’s all really good!
  • De Koperen Ketel: located 100 metres from the Rembrandtplein. Come to this small bistro decorated in typical Dutch style to taste delicious traditional cuisine. The ambience is warm, and the service impeccable. Reservation strongly recommended.
  • The Happy Bull: at Hoofddorpweg 9 (to the south of the Vondelpark). If you fancy a tasty burger made from high-quality ingredients and home-made chips, you should head here! The burgers are really hearty, and excellent. If you have any room left, don’t forget to try one of their milkshakes!
  • This isn’t really a specific place to go, but if you get a bit hungry during the day there are stands all over the city selling chips in a cone covered with a choice of sauces. You’ll soon see which are the most popular from the queues stretching several metres.
Voyage Tips - Advice
The Hard Rock Café is an institution in Amsterdam! You should really plan to eat there during your trip to the Netherlands.

The only problem is the long waiting line at the entrance

But that was before 😉.

Because yes, nowadays it’s possible to book your place in advance by paying for a menu. You will have the privilege to pass in front of all the other customers, with a big smile! (All those who haven’t read this travel tips from Voyage Tips and are standing in line! 😃)

Click on the following button to reserve your seat:

Getting to Amsterdam

By plane

In Amsterdam, there is one of the biggest international airport in Europe, so it’s super convenient!

Flights prices for Amsterdam vary enormously so it’s a good idea to compare them as soon as possible, which you can do by using our flight comparison in partnership with Skyscanner. You’ll have the assurance of getting the best fare.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To reach the city centre from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, you can take the train to the central station or bus 397 that goes to Museumplein. You should thus first check where your hotel is located.

You should book your ticket in advance for the train or bus from Schiphol to Amsterdam.

Book your return ticket for the airport by clicking on the button below:

By train

To view timetables, fares and book your tickets, click on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you need to rent a car during your stay in Amsterdam, you can easily check prices from all the rental agencies on Booking.com Cars website.

Hiring a boat in Amsterdam

If you want to rent a boat to spend a nice day on the canals while you’re staying in Amsterdam, you book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental.

So what are you waiting for to book your boat trip on the canals of Amsterdam? 😊

Tourist map of Amsterdam

To help you visualize the city a bit better, I’ve created a tourist map of Amsterdam for you, listing the places to visit that I’ve talked about in this top 30 things to do in Amsterdam. You can view the map legend by clicking on the button at the top left, the one with the small arrow.

And you, what do you plan to do in Amsterdam?

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling to the Netherlands? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about Amsterdam: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Amsterdam are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Amsterdam
Best places to visit in Amsterdam

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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