Ah, if it isn’t my favorite city in the entire world. Whenever we make it to Europe we always end up in beautiful Amsterdam. We may or may not have plans to move our entire lives there one day and live out our dream. After visiting a handful of times I have decided to put together my top 10 things to do in Amsterdam that you just can’t miss! Whether you have 1 day or 1 week here, there are a couple of specific things you must see!
Anne Frank House –
First things first, the Anne Frank House of course. This is definitely my number one recommendation when getting the chance to visit Amsterdam. Getting to see the Secret Annex where Anne Frank and her family hid out for over two years is a chilling experience. You get to walk the house (which has been restored over the years) and see all the different rooms like the kitchen, the secret back door where they smuggled in food and resources to live on, and even Anne and Margot’s bedroom! The tour is self-guided but you get a headset to listen in when you feel like it. We spent at least an hour in here strolling around and listening to the stories. Some of the recordings are in personal voices like Otto Frank, which makes for a very different experience than just seeing things with your eyes. Tickets can only be purchased in advance online and they sell out very quickly so plan ahead for this one! Click here to buy your tickets to the Anne Frank House
Location: Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Van Gogh Museum –
A must-see for art lovers. Some of his works of art look like children’s drawings and the other half are magnificent. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or you can wait in line and hope to get tickets. I would recommend just buying them in advance and planning your day around your visit. Be prepared to stand in line to drop off any big purses/backpacks, as they won’t let you in with them. Be respectful, & try to resist the urge to take pictures. Click here to plan your trip to the Van Gogh Museum.
Location: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherland
Heineken Experience –
A fun way to spend time and possibly escape the rain. This is a self-guided tour through the brewery itself and teaches you all about the process of making Heineken. Smell the fresh hops and watch as it ferments in front of your eyes! You can spend as long as you’d like and at the end, you receive two complimentary Heineken’s plus a stunning rooftop view of Amsterdam! Purchase your tickets in advance here, or in person. The lines and crowds are not nearly as intense for this.
Location: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Experience the Red Light District –
The Red Light District might catch you by surprise if you’re unfamiliar with it. However, it’s important to note that there are multiple nightclubs, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and smoke shops in the area worth stopping at too! The Red Light District is a very unique experience and is something I would recommend to everyone seeing Amsterdam for the first time!
Take a Canal Cruise –
Whether traveling solo, with a friend, or with a partner a canal cruise is a great way to see all of the different districts in Amsterdam! There are a variety of different cruises you can choose from. We chose the Lovers Canal Cruise, which was a basic option with no extravagant dinner or drinks. You can choose this option though! Many companies will offer a dinner cruise or a drink cruise, some are more party-oriented than others. The cruise we were on gave us an optional headset to listen to facts about where we were, and what we were looking at and kept us entertained while we floated along the river. This was a very romantic experience for us with the sunset and some drinks. My favorite thing about canal tours though is that it provides an opportunity for you to see so many different parts of the city all in one go! They do a great job of touring the best neighborhoods and making sure to point out all the interesting landmarks! Click here to plan your canal cruise now!
Visit the Tulip Fields –
This one is a little more tricky to plan as the Tulip season in Amsterdam starts in February/March and ends in May. You can find Tulips in the city year-round obviously, but seeing them out in their natural habitat is hard to do unless you planning on being in Amsterdam during these months! We were visiting in mid-May and just caught the end of the displays! Some Tulips were rotting others were thriving, but what we really missed out on was seeing the open fields of Tulips before they were picked! If you plan accordingly you can time it just right to see miles of tulips fields in full bloom. If you end up hitting the end of the season like us or just aren’t up for adventuring out to the open fields, you can visit Keukenhof Gardens which is a beautiful park outside of the city that has multiple displays of tulips, snacks, and souvenir shops to visit! Click here to plan your trip to Keukenhof Gardens now!
Location: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands
Rent Bikes & Explore –
Okay, I’m going to start this one by saying BEWARE! You are basically a car and you have a lane, stay in it. If I were heading to Amsterdam for the first time I would probably rent bikes and ride them outside of the city center to start and get a feel for what life is like on a bike out there. Once you feel comfortable navigating your way around the other bikes, cars, and pedestrians I would then say it’s safe to head to the city center on one. It can be a little hectic so just be aware of your surroundings, listen for bells honking at you from behind, and take it slow!
Enjoy Vondelpark –
This beauty is just a walk away from the Van Gogh Museum and brings some wildlife back into the city. The park is huge and makes for a nice lunch spot or you can ride a bike through it. We found ourselves just taking a nice stroll after our visit to the museum to decompress! Click here to see it on a map!
Head to the Coast –
Believe it or not, just a short train ride away from the busy city lies the beautiful sea in the town of Zandvoort. James and I actually stayed in this part of the Netherlands the first time we went together and we fell in love! The neighborhoods were so cute and there were Dutch Warmblood horses being ridden down the street. Do you see why we’re moving? This part of the Netherlands is probably best to visit in the Summer as the weather can be iffy during other months, but definitely worth a day trip to check it out! We found a nice restaurant right on the water with our own private booth to sit and drink wine at. Check out the sunset we caught below. Click here to see Zandvoort on a map!
I hope that these things help with your stay in the Netherlands! It truly is my favorite place in the world and these are just a few of the epic things you can do when visiting! Comment below to let me know your favorite thing to do in Amsterdam!