Things to do in Amsterdam: Attractions and places to visit

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Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and not only one of the most exciting metropolises in Europe with numerous shopping opportunities and a lively nightlife. Amsterdam is also known for its wide range of museums and many other highlights.

The city is crossed by a large network of canals, which are a major influence on the image of Amsterdam. A canal trip is one of the most beautiful experiences in the Dutch capital.

Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Tourist took pictures in Amsterdam (Mike Bonitz)  []  CC BY-ND 
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2013-08-07 08-09 Amsterdam 103 Nieuwmarkt (Allie_Caulfield)  []  CC BY 
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2013-08-07 08-09 Amsterdam 011 Nieuwe Hoogstraat (Allie_Caulfield)  []  CC BY 
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1. canal trip

A canal trip in the “Venice of the North” is definitely one of the most beautiful experiences. During this tour you get to know the city and especially the impressive Dutch architecture from the water. Boat trips are offered at every corner; after all, the city’s canal network consists of about 100 canals.

Both day and night tours are offered; the prices for such a canal trip start from about 15 Euro. Especially popular are the so-called hop-on-hop-off boat tours, where you can get off at the most popular sights of the city.

2. Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is undoubtedly one of the most important sights in Amsterdam. Inside you will find exhibitions on art, crafts and history. More than 8,000 exhibits will be on display, including Rembrandt’s famous “Night’s Watch”.

Even if you are not a regular visitor to the museum, you will be thrilled by the Rijksmuseum. The day ticket, which is available at a price of 17,50 Euro, should be ordered in advance on the internet in order to avoid the sometimes quite long queues.

3. Anne Frank House

Anne Frank’s house is located on the famous Prinsengracht. Here she wrote her diaries during the Second World War, which everyone knows by now. If you are a bit interested in history, you should definitely visit this house.

In the Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank once hid from the Jews, you can visit a permanent exhibition on the subject of the persecution of the Jews. Also in front of this tourist attraction of Amsterdam the queues are usually quite long. It is therefore advisable to visit the museum early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

4. Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh is one of the founders of modern painting like hardly any other painter. At the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam you can admire the largest collection of van Gogh’s works; the collection comprises more than 200 paintings and about 500 drawings. “Sunflowers” and “Potato Eaters” are two of van Gogh’s most famous works.

By the way: it is worthwhile to combine a visit to the Van Gogh Museum with a visit to the Rijksmuseum, as both sights are not far away from each other. Children under the age of 18 visit the museum free of charge. If you book your admission ticket online, you will not only save yourself queuing in line, but you will also often receive attractive discounts.

5. gondola park

In the middle of the city of Amsterdam there is an extensive park, which invites to walks. The green oasis covers 47 hectares and offers plenty of space to relax and unwind. The Vondelpark is popular with locals as well as tourists for an extended picnic. There is also an open air stage in the park where concerts and other events take place regularly.

In the park you will also find a lovingly arranged rosarium and numerous gastronomic facilities. Especially popular is the “Blaue Teehaus”, where snacks are served at moderate prices. For the little visitors there is a worthwhile water playground. All in all, the Vondelpark is an excellent destination to recover from a strenuous sightseeing tour.

6. Amsterdam red light district

The red light district of Amsterdam is a special and quite unusual sight not only because of the open prostitution. You can also stroll through the winding streets and discover typical Dutch architecture from the 14th century. The red light district called De Wallen is not far away from the main station; from here, one cannot miss it at all. The red light district is not only worth a visit for sex-hungry people, on the contrary.

Couples also like to watch the hustle and bustle. The best time to visit the quarter is after 11 pm, because only then does De Wallen really come to life. However, it is essential to observe a few rules of conduct. Especially when photographing, be careful, because not all ladies want to be photographed. By the way, those who do not dare to venture into the quarter alone can also book a guided tour.

7. Chinatown

As befits a world metropolis, Amsterdam also has a Chinese quarter. In Chinatown you can not only taste Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisine, but also marvel at the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. Chinatown is quite easy to find in Amsterdam’s city centre, as it is located between the Nieuwmarkt and the red light district Le Wallen.

If you want to immerse yourself in a foreign culture in the middle of Amsterdam, you shouldn’t miss this legendary district. Those who can should plan a visit to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year, which takes place every year in February. Then marvel at dragon dances, fireworks and magnificent parades.

8. The most beautiful district Jordaan

Jordaan is the most authentic quarter of the Dutch capital. This is where all the clichés really come together. You will find colourful houseboats and picturesque canals as well as well-kept canal houses. In short: the Jordaan district offers a lot of fantastic postcard motifs, which is why it is one of the most photographed sightseeings in Amsterdam.

In addition, there are two well-known shopping streets, Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk. A visit to Kaashuis, where you can take part in a cheese tasting, should also be on the agenda. You can also take care of your physical well-being; be sure to plan a visit to one of the coffeehouses.

9. A’DAM Lookout

Would you like to take a look at Amsterdam from above? Then the A’DAM Lookout viewing platform is the right place for you. Located in the Noord district, this eye-catching tower was for a long time the headquarters of the Shell Group. An elevator takes you up to the 20th floor in just 22 seconds.

Here, one can not only enjoy a fantastic view, but also dine in the restaurant “Moon”. Very brave people use the swing with which one can swing over the edge of the skyscraper. This is Europe’s highest swing called “Over the edge”.

10. royal palace

In the heart of Amsterdam’s city centre you will find the Royal Palace, which is located on the no less spectacular Dam forecourt. This is also one of the main tourist attractions of the city. Correspondingly many carnies and snack bars can be found here.

You can also visit Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. If the palace itself is not occupied by the Royal Family, you can of course explore the interiors during a guided tour. Please note, however, that the palace is closed on Mondays.

More things to do and activities for your Amsterdam holiday

Best time to visit Amsterdam

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Amsterdam:

May, June, July, August, September, and October

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Amsterdam.

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