Amsterdam’s unfortunate reputation as a stag do and partygoer central where ‘anything goes’ is an injustice to the cultural attractions, landmarks and sites in the Dutch capital.
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most diverse, varied destinations that with new regeneration projects have made it more popular than ever before. From traditional Dutch-lined streets to more unconventional spots, Amsterdam has plenty to offer. The city has many tricks up its sleeve which reward those who dare to venture away from the more conventional tourist hotspots.
Here are our top things to do in Amsterdam:
Hop on a bike
Amsterdam and bikes go hand in hand. There are multi-level parking garages dedicated to bikes and you’ll find them locked to every possible place throughout the city. Just about everyone cycles here and the flat streets make it comfortable even to a biking novice.
As such, a trip to Amsterdam is complete without exploring on two wheels, so pop into one of the many bike rental shops. As we always recommend, do as the locals do!
Amsterdam’s Jordaan district is simply beautiful. We recommend you take a few hours, or a whole day out of your schedule if possible to explore this district. Narrow cobblestone streets with flower-lined canals give way to charming quaint shops and trendy cafés and restaurants. This is the best place to immerse yourself in the Dutch way of life.
If you happen to visit on a Saturday you will experience the Lindengracht Market where you can mix in with locals who do their fresh fruits and vegetable shopping.
Amsterdam is home to hundreds of different art galleries and museums. Really. There’s everything from the museum of fluorescent art to a museum devoted to cats – you won’t struggle to find something you’re interested in! However, the ‘big three’ museums that we advise you visit are: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum
The Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s most famous museums so if you’re only going to one, make it the Rijksmuseum. The grand collection includes iconic art and artefacts that showcase more than 800 years of Dutch and global history. There is work by artists including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and countless more.
The Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit due to it housing the largest collection of pieces by Vincent van Gogh in the world. The permanent collection of the museum includes 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 700 letters.
The Stedelijk Museum is the place where everyone can discover and experience modern art and contemporary visual art and design.
Anne Frank House
The only unique factor on the exterior of this unassuming canal house is the large snaking queue outside. Within the four walls, however, is a look into the most poignant stories from modern history.
Visitors can explore the secret annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis for years with her family, whilst writing her famous diary. It’s impossible to leave to house unmoved by the powerful tour.
Book your tickets in advance to avoid the long queues.
Canal boat tour
A canal boat tour might sound like a touristy cliché activity on a city break but alongside bikes, this is a great way to explore. Built for defence and transport in the 17th century, Amsterdam has 165 canals, more than Venice and any other Dutch city!
Each canal holds so much history and a canal tour will give you a new perspective of Amsterdam. There are many tour operators to choose from with many departing from Centraal.
Vondelpark offers a relaxed green escape from the city. The park has vast open spaces with lakes and wooded trails. Locals come here to run, cycle around or just unwind. There are cafes and restaurants as well as indoor and outdoor activities. If you time your trip right, you might catch a performance in the famous open-air theatre!
Ferries to Amsterdam Noord run for free every few minutes from behind Centraal Station, and this unique area is well worth the short ride across the river. This long-neglected area has been reinvigorated into perhaps the city’s trendiest. Cutting-edge architecture full of street art and exciting food and drink spots, make this a perfect day trip.
Pilek, in particular, is a restaurant in the Noord that we recommend you visit. The restaurant and bar built using shipping containers has a relaxed beach ambience and an amazing view of Amsterdam.
Book an Amsterdam city break
If Amsterdam is next on your list of city breaks, get in touch with Millington Travel. Our Europe travel experts will be able to organise your flights and accommodation to suit your requirements. Find your nearest Leicestershire branch here.