Top 10 Things to see and do in Amsterdam

There’s a never ending choice of things to do in Amsterdam in any weather – therefore whether or not you’re visiting for the weekend or for a period of time, here’s your essential listing of the best Amsterdam attractions and experiences within the ‘Venice of the North’.

1. Move your bike


Image credit: earthporm 

Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life - made easier by the city’s unbeatable network of cycle routes and landscape. Amsterdam comes out on top in lists of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, and there’s no better way to explore the city, canals and attractions than by the cycling. Cycling in Amsterdam is safe, pleasurable and exhilarating - therefore be part of the locals and move your bike.

2. Take a canal cruise


Image Credit: Lindbergh Tour and Travel

Created in the seventeenth century to save the sea bay, Amsterdam ’s UNESCO protected canal belt is the illustration picture-postcard vision of Amsterdam, and an incredibly pretty sight by both day and night - once the bridges are lit up by fairy lights and the whole area takes on a magic feel. Floating on the canals by guided boat tour could be a good way to get under the fabric of the town, and you’ll learn lots of fascinating facts along the way –like why the tilting homes on the canals are called ‘dancing houses’. There are many various canal cruises to decide on from, from hop-on-hop-off look tours to atmospherically candlelit evening time cruises with food and wine.

3. Try herring from a herring cart


Image Credit: Eating Amsterdam Tours

Raw herring might sound a bit chilling to the uninitiated but each visitor  to Amsterdam should  give it a go. You’ll spot haringhandels (herring carts) serving up Dutch specialty all over the town - ask for a ‘broodje haring’to get the fish served in a very small sandwich with pickles and onions. The best time to try raw herring is between May and July once the herring is alleged to be at its sweetest.

4. Hit the outlets around the 9 Streets


Image Credit: Expedia.com via Europes Calling

While many shoppers head straight to the busy chain-store mecca of Kalverstraat, those within the grasp get their retail therapy at de Negen Straatjes also called “The 9 Streets”; a charming warren of cobblestoned roads that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat. Here you’ll realize over two hundred retailers, together with a fine choice of independent boutiques and vintage outlets selling everything from designer clothes to handmade cosmetics. 

5. Taste a beer at a windmill


Image Credit: The Honeymoon Continues

The eight remaining windmills in Amsterdam await you to taste a beer. It is the most simplest to visit being de Gooyer within the Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Islands) neighborhood. And this isn’t simply any windmill – for under the sails of this putting landmark is Brouwerij ‘Tij; an award winning artisan brewery with a large drinking terrace and 30-minute guided tasting tours. The distillery produces a variety of organic standard and seasonal ales - together with the9-11 ‘Columbus’ amber ale; guaranteed to place the wind in your sails. 

6. Absorb some culture in Museumplein


Image Credit: The other fork in the road

Museumplein is the cultural heart of Amsterdam. Having been restored to a world class standard, the leafed nineteenth century district of Oud Zuid is an art lover utopia and the open square between the buildings pulses with activity all day; with outdoor exhibitions, markets and a large paddling pool to dip your toes into warmer days. In the winter months, the square transforms with a massive outdoor ice-skating rink. 

7. Hang around with the previous Masters at the Rijksmuseum


Image Credit: jhna.org

Thanks to a stunning renovation that value 375 million euros and ten years, Amsterdam’s biggest museum is currently a world-beating cultural center and suitable home to thousands of masterpieces together with Rembrandt’s greatest work – The night watch. With over 8,000 items to visualize, together with permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, you may simply find yourself spending a whole day here. 
8. Get lost in the pretentious Jordaan


Image Credit: mipaseoporelmundo.com

Often cited as Amsterdam’s most charming neighborhood, wandering into the Jordaan appears like stepping back in time. Originally a social class area, the Jordaan’s slender streets and quaint buildings currently conjure one of Amsterdam’s most fascinating quarters, dotted with independent art galleries, antiques outlets, curtilage gardens, bars and restaurants. Ditch the map and lose yourself in the labyrinth of slender lanes that sprawl eastward from Prinsengracht canal called the nine Streets; one of Amsterdam's most rewarding shopping experiences. 

9. Discover Amsterdam’s Parklife


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With over thirty parks to choose from, you’ll never be in need of a picnic spot in Amsterdam. More than just leafed escapes from the urban hustle, parks are at the center of Amsterdam culture – and each time the sun rears its head you’ll see locals bunting and heading down to their nearest garden. The forty seven acre Vondel Park is the largest; an outdoor theatre, 3 bars and restaurants and a variety of different attractions. 


10. Visit Anne Frank House


Image Credit: timesofisrael.com

Reflect on the atrocities committed against the Jewish people throughout World War II at the Prinsengracht house where writer Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for 2 years after feeling maltreatment in Germany. The front of the home is now a stimulating museum but the rear annex has been preserved to convey a concept of what life was like for Anne and the families she hid with. Waiting times are typically lengthy; therefore visit early within the morning or book on-line beforehand to beat the queues. 

Find out more destinations on Netherlands Tourism

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