Amsterdam is one of the few European cities that really does have it all. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway, family vacation or on a holiday with friends, there are things to do in Amsterdam for everybody. But that’s just the problem. With so much on offer, it can be hard deciding what to pack in and what to miss out. So, to make things easier, here’s a go-to list of the 12 best things to do in Amsterdam.
1. Take a canal ride
Amsterdam is famous for the network of waterways that criss-cross the city. Though these canals have long played a vital role in helping to fuel the local economy, they are now incredibly popular amongst tourists. It’s by far the easiest way to see the sights and experience the true beauty of Amsterdam. And you can always combine it with other great experiences, such as a tour of the Heineken museum.
2. Visit the IAMSTERDAM sign
Another iconic sight in Amsterdam is the IAMSTERDAM sign situated outside the Rijksmuseum in the heart of the city. It is incredibly popular amongst tourists of all ages and has become a customary photo opportunity for everyone passing by. Time to snap a selfie and upload to Instagram!
3. Explore the Anne Frank museum
The Anne Frank museum is the very house that Anne Frank lived in alongside her family in WW2. You can visit the secret rooms where she lived for so many long months, almost evading capture but sadly being caught not long before the end of the war. Just be sure to book tickets well in advance as this is by far one of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam.
4. Venture through the Red Light District
The Red Light District is one of the elements of Amsterdam that helps to make it so memorable and unique. Yes, prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, but you don’t have to pay to visit this famous area. Just try to be polite and not stare. If it’s really not your scene, then you can instead pass through in the day when fewer women work, but you can still see the famous red-lit windows.
5. Dare to blush in the Sex Museum
The Sex Museum in Amsterdam is another one of the novelty sights you may wish to visit only briefly. Just to see what it’s all about. It is largely just a walkthrough of pornography throughout the years and there are some novelty objects that will make you both laugh and blush. Certainly not one for the kids.
6. Head out for a night on the town
Amsterdam is a city that is also well renowned for the incredible nightlife on offer. Whether you’re into relaxing in a bar or hitting some clubs, Amsterdam has it all. Just by strolling through the centre of town, you’ll find something to take your fancy. But for something a little wilder, consider partaking in a bar crawl where guides take you from bar to bar and even get you some free drinks along the way.
7. Hire a bike
The other iconic way to get around Amsterdam, aside from its waterways, is by bike! In fact, when you’re there, you’ll see very few cars. Instead, hundreds of people going about their business by bicycle. So why not join in the fun? It’s a carefree and fun way to explore Amsterdam to the fullest.
8. Visit Artis Zoo
If the weather’s nice, then Artis Zoo is a great place to spend a few hours wandering around seeing some exotic animals. It is actually one of the oldest zoos in Europe and is situated near to the canalside in Oost. It houses an impressive array of animals, with everything from apes to giraffes. They have the world’s only microbe museum, as well as a planetarium and aquarium for you to explore.
9. Relax in Vondelpark
If the sun’s out and you fancy some fresh air, then Vondelpark is a wonderful place to go. It’s filled with open spaces and some much-needed peace and quiet away from the busy atmosphere of the city. Until recently, it was, in fact, the only park in the world where barbecuing, smoking weed and having sex was legal. You can still partake in the first two if you wish, but no longer the last.
10. Pick up a bargain at Albert Cuyp Markt
Regardless of whether you want to pick up some souvenirs or experience the lifestyle of local tradesmen, this is the place to go. They sell everything from fresh food to clothes. And much of the enjoyment can be found in watching locals barter and haggle over their purchases.
11. Unleash your inner child at De Ton Ton Club
One of the lesser-known top things to do in Amsterdam is the De Ton Ton Club. It’s an indoor centre filled with ball pools, video games and other childish delights. Best of all, it’s open to people of all ages. So it’s the perfect way to turn back the clock, let loose and release your inner child.
12. Marvel in the Van Gogh Museum
No Amsterdam sightseeing experience would be complete without a trip to the Van Gogh Museum. It is certainly one of the most famous things to see in Amsterdam, and rightly so. It houses the biggest collection of work from the artist anywhere in the world. As well as many more pieces from leading contemporary artists.
Now that you know exactly what to do in Amsterdam, it is best to plan well in advance and map out everything you wish to see. That way, you won’t miss anything! Also, be sure to sort out necessary travel insurance. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there. And if you’re over 50 or suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions, check out the specialist insurance product designed especially for you.