Things to Do in Amsterdam: The 30 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
You want to visit Amsterdam during your next trip?
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 30 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?
- Things to Do in Amsterdam: The 30 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
- 1. Dam Square
- 2. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam
- 3. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
- 4. Amsterdam’s Red Light District
- 5. The coffee shops
- 6. Amsterdam canal cruise
- 7. Visiting Amsterdam by bike
- 8. Anne Frank House
- 9. Jordaan district
- 10. Van Gogh Museum
- 11. Amsterdam Dungeon
- 12. Zuiderkerk church
- 13. Begijnhof
- 14. The flower market/Bloemenmarkt
- 15. A’ DAM Lookout
- 16. Nieuwmarkt
- 17. Vondelpark
- 18. The Skinny Bridge
- 19. The Cheese Museum
- 20. Albert Cuyp Market
- 21. Oude Kerk
- 22. Other museums to visit in Amsterdam
- 23. Heineken Experience
- 24. Shopping in Amsterdam
- The 6 best things to do near Amsterdam
- Things to do in Amsterdam with kids
- How many days to visit Amsterdam?
- 1 day in Amsterdam
- 2 days in Amsterdam
- 3 days in Amsterdam
- 4, 5 or more days in Amsterdam
- Where to stay in Amsterdam
- Where to eat in Amsterdam
- Getting to Amsterdam
- Hiring a boat in Amsterdam
- Tourist map of Amsterdam
- You’re traveling to the Netherlands? These articles will help you !
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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):
- 75 minute cruise exploring the historic centre + audio guide
- 90 minute evening cruise to enjoy the city lights (great!)
- Luxury cruise with drinks and snacks included (fantastic!)
- 1 hour cruise with audio guide to admire the façades of the Dutch Golden Age houses
- 1 hour cruise in a semi-open electric canal boat another great cruise to enjoy the view.
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.
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.
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:
- Private 2-hour walking tour in English
- 3h30 guided gourmet tour in English, an amazing way to discover Dutch culinary traditions, with more than 10 tastings of local products!
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- NEMO: Amsterdam’s interactive and fun Science Museum
- The MOCO, dedicated to exhibiting works of contemporary and street art, including an exhibition dedicated to Banksy
- The Amsterdam Museum about the history of the city
- Rembrandt House Museum where the Dutch artist lived
- Stedelijk Museum, the museum of modern and contemporary art and design
- The National Maritime Museum of Amsterdam about the maritime history of the Netherlands
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a museum with countless curiosities
- Madame Tussauds, with wax replicas of famous people
- Amsterdam Diamond Museum
- Tropenmuseum, the museum of ethnography
- Body Worlds, the famous display of real human bodies preserved using the technique of plastination.
- STRAAT Museum dedicated to street art
- The Upside Down a very fun museum where you can take original photos
- Hash Marijuana & Hemp Museum, the museum of cannabis
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:
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.
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:
- A day trip with a visit to the windmills + 1 hour cruise + Volendam + Marken (2 Waterland villages I’ll tell you about in the next part). I think this is the best one! You need to Book it by clicking on the green button below:
And the other 2 options:
- A small group excursion of 3 hours with a guided tour/entry to the windmills/clog-making demonstration.
- Excursion to visit Edam + Volendam + Marken + Zaanse Schans + cheese-tasting.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo (get billets here): to see the giraffes, elephants, visit the planetarium, insectarium, aquarium and more. Free entry with the City Card Amsterdam.
- NEMO Science Museum which I already told you about under the museums section – The perfect museum for kids in Amsterdam!
- The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum
- The Lego shop located on Kalverstraat features amazing Lego reproductions and animations for kids
- Micropia, a museum dedicated to microbes and bacteria. Truly original and really well put together! It’s not far from the zoo.
- Madurodam, where you can see the main monuments of the Netherlands in miniature. A great family visit 1 hr 10 min drive from Amsterdam.
- A round of mini golf in the dark (get your tickets here) with sound and light effects.
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.
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):
- Damrak or the pedestrianized Nieuwendijk, 2 vibrant streets lined with shops
- Dam Square
- The Jordaan district
- The flower market
- The Red Light District
- Oude Kerk
2) Choose 1 or 2 of Amsterdam’s must-see museums:
- Follow the walk above until the flower market
- Reach Museumplein
- Visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum
- Take a stroll in Vondelpark or enjoy a canal cruise
3) If you don’t fancy walking but want to see Amsterdam’s main tourist attractions:
- Take the hop-on hop-off bus.
- Take a hop-on hop-off cruise. Same principle as the bus, but by boat.
2 days in Amsterdam
If you’re planning to spend 2 days in Amsterdam, here is my suggested itinerary:
- 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.
- Take a walk in Jordaan neighbourhood
- Have a look at the Cheese Museum
- Visit Anne Frank House (provided you’ve booked tickets in advance!)
- Head to the Museumplein
- Visit one or more of the museums located on this square: the Rijksmusem, Van Gogh Museum, MOCO or Stedelijk Museum.
- Take a stroll in Vondelpark
- End your day with a canal cruise.
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.
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:
- Start with the Albert Cuyp Market, the biggest market in the city
- Right next to it, try the Heineken Experience
- Cross over the Skinny Bridge
- In the afternoon, you can choose between:
- Visiting one or more of the museums you haven’t had time to see
- A guided bike tour for a different way to discover the city
- Amsterdam Coffee Shops and Red Light district walking tour
- End the afternoon by crossing the river by boat from the central station to get to the opposite bank:
- Experience THIS IS HOLLAND tourist attraction
- Go to the top of the A’DAM Lookout
- Experience THIS IS HOLLAND tourist attraction
To plan your 72 hours in Amsterdam, you should read my detailed itinerary: 3 days 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:
- Zaanse Schans in the morning + Haarlem in the afternoon
- Explore the villages of the Waterland
- Keukenhof, to see tulips (open between mid-March and mid-May only)
- Go to the beach at Zandvoort (in summer only – you can also combine this with a trip to Haarlem)
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!
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.
Getting to Amsterdam
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.
To view timetables, fares and book your tickets, click on the button below:
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?
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
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.