I have been to Amsterdam twice now and every time I have come back home, I have immediately searched for plane tickets to go back. Amsterdam is relatively compact for a capital city and can be covered in a couple of days. From canal walks to a colorful flower markets and world class museums, Amsterdam packs a punch. This post covers 12 things to do in Amsterdam with something for everyone!
First up on this 12 things to do in Amsterdam list is the Bloemenmarkt. The Bloemenmarkt is a floating flower market in Amsterdam that sell flowers, bulbs, and souvenirs. It’s colorful and busy and worth a quick gander.
2. Visit Anne Frank
If I had to pick one thing and one thing only to do in Amsterdam, Anne Frank house would be my number 1 choice. For a little over 2 years, Anne Frank, her father Otto and the rest of their family lived in this house in a hidden annex away from the Nazis. The doorway to the annex was concealed behind a moveable bookcase constructed especially for this purpose. It was here that Anne Frank wrote in her diary, which became a memoir and an important piece of history, read by many throughout the world even today . Walking through this house was an extremely emotional experience.
Tickets sell out fast and months in advance for Anne Frank house. Tickets are usually released every first Tuesday of the month, for the following month, while a small portion can be bought day of but don’t really bank on it. You purchase a ticket for a specific time slot and have to be there at that time.
See HERE for more information.
3. Visit the Van Gogh Museum
The Dutch do museums really well! The Van Gogh museum is a great example of this! In fact, it’s the most visited museum in the Netherlands. This museum houses the works of art by Vincent Van Gogh and contains the largest collection of artwork by Van Gogh in the world. The museum does a wonderful job of walking people through Van Gogh’s life and paintings. I highly recommend this museum if you like art, especially that of Van Gogh.
Tickets are best purchased in advance and online. See HERE for the official website.
4. Visit the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands dedicated to Dutch art and history. This museum is huge and you can easily spend 2-3 hours here. It addition to housing over 8000 piece of Dutch artifacts, it is also famous for containing artwork by Rembrandt.
Check it out HERE
5. Relax at Vondelpark
Vondelpark is a big green space in Amsterdam where locals come to relax or catch some rays. Swing by before or after visiting the Van Gogh museum or the Rijksmuseum as Vondelpark is close by.
6. Wander Around the Canals
I really love all the sights and sounds around the canals of Amsterdam. Especially the flower pots that hang from the bridges, the colorful bicycles and the long narrow homes! I often find myself browsing through Dutch real estate websites that sell or rent them. Although narrow from the outside, these homes stretch further back and are stunning inside. I would love to live in one of these homes one day!
Also don’t forget to step out at night. Some of the canals and bridges are lit up and it’s really beautiful.
7. Take a Boat Ride
Taking a boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam is a great way to explore the city. You can take a tour during the day, at sunset, or in the evening. Some of these cruises even come with snacks and drinks included in the ticket. Most usually last 1-2 hours but you can find longer cruises if that’s what you’re looking for too. Subsequently, you can also hire a boat and do a tour yourself. Amsterdam is a little chilly even in the summer so make sure you grab a sweater or jacket before you go.
8. Walk Around the Red Light District
The Netherlands is open about things that are considered illegal in other parts of the world. A walk around the Red Light District gives you some great insight and perspective in to how this works in the Netherlands and is really a unique experience. The one thing I noticed about the red light district is how safe it was. As a solo female traveler I never once felt unsafe even at night. There’s also a lot of resturants and bars around this area as well.
9.Taste Some Uniquely Dutch Desserts
Stroopwaffles are a round and thin almost cookie like wafers. There’s usually two of these in one stroopwaffles and they are held together by a caramel syrup.
Poffertjes are small, round and fluffy pancakes served with powdered sugar.
10. Basilica of Saint Nicholas
You probably will see this imposing structure as you make your way in or out of Amsterdam Centraal station. This Roman Catholic church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, who is also the patron saint of the city of Amsterdam. The church was built at the end of the nineteenth century, when Roman Catholics were allowed to profess their faith in public again after three centuries of prohibition.
11. Dam Square and the Royal Palace
Dam Square is the biggest public square in Amsterdam. It’s also just in front of the Royal Palace. Swing by for a quick visit if you are passing by.
12. Go on a Day Trip
Amsterdam is a great base for day trips. Perhaps the easiest of these is to Zaanse Schans which is right outside the city.
Here are some of the other places.
- The Hague
- Marken, Volendam & Edam
- Burge – This one is actually in Belgium but not an impossible trip if you start early in the day
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