Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is the city of bikes and canals, also known as the Venice of the North, the city with tilted and narrow houses, coffee shops, red lights, easy going atmosphere and delicious cheeses. It’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer, and here are 25 things you should absolutely check out.
Here are 25 things you should experience in your trip to Amsterdam. We’ve shared a handy google maps with all of the 25 locations and more!
1. Walk around The Royal Palace and Dam square
If you want a taste of the vibrant atmosphere this is the place to start, the Royal Palace which is located at Dam’s square. The 17th century structure is made of white stone and turned gray over the years due to weather changes. Don’t forget to look up at the top of the structure and see it’s icon, Atlas. On the other side of the square you can see the National Monument which was built in 1956.
2. Kalverstraat – Begijnhof
Walk down the Kalverstraat, the busiest shopping street in Amsterdam and look for a passage leading towards Begijnhof. It will lead you to a beautiful and peaceful garden, surrounded by small town houses. Known as a home to Beguines, a Catholic order for unmarried women, who cared for others. It is also known as the location of the oldest house in Amsterdam which dates from the year 1465, with the house number 34.
Psssst! Don’t forget to keep quiet, there are still single women living in the houses.
3. The canal cruise
One of the ways to see Amsterdam is by taking a canal cruise. And yes, you need to explore those 165 canals, 1753 bridges and see Boathouses, where some people live and where you can also stay, just have a look at AirBNB! You can book a private tour, rent a pedalo or go on a big canal cruise. The tours are well worth the money.
4. Cheese, cheese, cheese – visit the cheese company
Netherlands is known for their cheese, the most typical one being Gouda. The spectrum doesn’t end there though, there is a large number of cheeses you can try like goat cheese, Boerenkaas, Maasdamer, ect. Visit one of the cheese companies stores, where you can try and explore a variety of delicious styles which will tingle your taste buds. Yummy! You can buy them in neat quantities packaged to fit for your suitcase.
5. The smallest house
The tinnie tinny house is located in the old city centre, was built in 1738, is only 2.02 meters wide and 5 meters deep. Walk inside and find a shop on the ground floor and the smallest tearoom on the first floor. You can’t believe how much you can store in such a small place.
6. The Red light district
One of the Amsterdams most known areas is the Red light district where barely anything is left to imagination. Walk through it during the day and night, so you can experience the different vibes of the district. Are you a bit uncomfortable with the scenery? Visit one of the many coffee shops first!
7. Anne Frank’s House
To get a perspective on how dreadful the 2nd World War was, visit Anne Frank’s House. The museum takes you through the exhibition where Anne and her family were hiding in for two years during the war, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and really worth taking the time for.
8. Hop on a bike
It’s a must! The city is made for it. You can rent a bike or you can go on a guided bike tour through the city.
Soak in the sun and get away from the city rumble in this beautiful park by walking or bicycling through it. It’s a nice place to eat your on-the-go lunch.
85 meters (279 feet) high makes it the tallest church in Amsterdam. You can enjoy the view from the top, the admission to the Tower is 7€ and the church is free.
11. Oude Kerk
Originally built as a Catholic is now a Protestant church. It has a 75 meter (246 feet) tower that leans 2 meters from its vertical. For 7€ you get a guided tour of the tower which includes neat history and church architecture lessons, in depth view of all the antique bells which used to ring and a stunning view of the city.
12. Cannabis – Coffee shops
The Netherlands has a tolerant policy about soft drugs, so if you are a fan of cannabis or want to try it, this is the place to do it. There are coffee shops all around the city, roughly 200 of them, where you can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and some good weed.
13. Jordan area
From a working class neighborhood to one of the most expensive neighborhoods. Be sure to take a walk through this beautiful area.
14. Tulip flower market
Tulips are the national flower. The flower market has a lot of neat gifts you can bring back, anything from standard fridge magnets to tulips in a can, a perfect gift for your mom.
15. Rembrandt square
It’s named after the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, mostly known for the painting Night Watch. He owned a house near the square from 1639 to 1656. His statue in the middle of the square, in the centre of all other statues.
16. Leidseplein – Nightlife
Leidseplein is one of the centers of Amsterdam’s nightlife. You can find everything from live music, bars, nightclubs and theatre there, the street is buzzing in the night. Go and check it out!
17. Beer bar Arendsnest
For beer lovers, especially craft beer lovers, this is the place to be. A nice cosy atmosphere, friendly bartenders, around 52 beers on tap and 100 bottled beers. What more do you want?
18. Windmill De Gooyer
The largest wooden mill in the Netherlands is located practically in the middle of the city. It was built around 1725 and is registered as a National Monument. If you have time to visit it and are thirsty, you have good beer at Brouwerij ‘t IJ next door.
19. Museumplein – Iamsterdam sing
Located between three major museums – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh and Stedelijk Museum. You can’t travel to Amsterdam and not take a selfie with the sign! If this museums are not your cup of tea, explore the location of the sign and it surroundings, you’ll find some interesting places like the gardens and the walk-in fountain.
20. Vang Gogh Museum
The name says it all. It’s the museum for art lovers, where you can explore the largest collection of Vang Gogh’s work.
A national museum dedicated to dutch history and art. Here you can find Rembrandt’s, Frans Hal’s and Johannes Vermeer’s masterpieces and a lot more.
22. Top views of Amsterdam
If you want to see Amsterdam from above, here are some great viewing points:
- Amsterdam library – Wow! It’s big and amazing! Take the elevator to the top floor and enjoy the view from the balcony.
- Nemo science center – A nice place to rest a bit and enjoy the view.
- Oude Kerk
23. Try some local food, your tummy will be happy
- Bitterballen – fried meatballs served with mustard
- Stroopwafel – waffle with syrup or honey
- Raw herring – raw fish, served with pickles and onions
- Hagelslag – a sandwich made with sprinkles…
24. And don’t forget to try some local drinks
- Jenever – is a traditional Dutch alcoholic drink, the taste is similar to whisky or gin. Go to Wynand Fockink for a tasting where the distillery and bar date back to the 17.century. A really great atmosphere and friendly bartenders make it worth your visit.
- Local lagers such as Heineken and Amstel
- For a cold experience visit the Icecold bar, 3 drinks are included in the price
- Heineken experience – you’ll learn how they make bear, how to drink beer and much more.
25. Zaanse Schans – half a day trip
If you have a half a day to spare and want to get out of the city, take a trip to Zaanse Schans. A half hour bus ride will take you to the beautiful Windmills, where the clogs are made. Visit at least one of Windmills to enjoy the beautiful view of the surroundings. Also visit the cheese and the clogs museum, they’re free. In the clogs museum, you’ll witness first hand how they’re made.
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