There’s a layer cake of history to unearth in Amsterdam. This city is a masterclass in 17th-century architecture, with pastel-coloured gabled houses, cute canals and romantic passageways hinting to its Golden Age heritage. It’s a truly photogenic destination.
As well as its ample history, there’s an endless list of things to do in Amsterdam. Cutting-edge museums, new-age attractions and vibrant districts create a city that hums with life.
With so much on offer, we’ve compiled a guide of the top things to do in Amsterdam to help you plan your trip, whether you’re in the city for one day or five.
- Van Gogh Museum
- Anne Frank House
- Heineken Experience
- Dam Square
- Rembrandt House
- Royal Palace
- Canal trip
1. Van Gogh Museum
Dedicated to the great Dutch master, the Van Gogh Museum is one of Amsterdam’s top attractions. Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters and Irises are among the pieces you can gaze at among the halls. While most venture here to admire the enormous range of works on display, there’s also the chance to learn more about Van Gogh’s life through a collection of his letters.
2. Anne Frank House
Visiting Anne Frank House is a moving and poignant experience. Set along the Prinsengracht canal, this museum allows you to enter the property where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II. Here, you can see the secret annexe, study her original red diary and watch films about the family and the Holocaust.
This huge national museum is the pride of Amsterdam, home to one of the best collections of art in the world. More than 8,000 pieces grace the walls and span 800 years of history.
In the Gallery of Honour, study works from native artists including Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. Other exhibits feature antique dolls’ houses and pottery. However, Dutch painter Rembrandt's The Night Watch is one of the top highlights on a trip to the Rijksmuseum.
Take a detour to this genteel district. Romance is in the air in Jordaan, with its labyrinth of cobbled streets, independent boutiques, cute bridges and towering townhouses. Once a workers’ quarter, it’s reinvented itself as the hottest spot in the city.
Strolling the scenic streets is one of the best things to do in this part of Amsterdam. Duck into one of the many breakfast spots for coffee and pancakes, meander around the markets and swing by the intriguing Tulip Museum.
More magic can be found in Vondelpark. When the sun is shining or snow is falling, this leafy expanse is the place to be. Its gates first swung open in the 19th century and since then, the park has been a sanctuary of relaxation.
Amble past flower beds in full bloom, enjoy a picnic on the grass lawn or watch a performance at the open-air theatre. Cafés and restaurants are also hidden among the trees, along with a number of children’s playgrounds.
6. Heineken Experience
Of all Amsterdam’s tourist attractions, this one will surpass your expectations. Housed in an old factory, the Heineken Experience is a haven for beers lovers.
Learn about the brewery company’s history when you take the interactive tour. This glimpse behind the scenes involves multimedia exhibits, a 4D adventure and the chance to enjoy two chilled pints at the bar.
7. Dam Square
The beating heart of Amsterdam can be found at Dam Square. Come here and you’ll find yourself in the spot where the capital was founded back in the 13th century. Today, it’s largely filled with tourists (and pigeons) who flock here to admire the architecture, enjoy street performances or people-watch from the pavement cafés.
8. Rembrandt House
Enjoy another culture fix at Rembrandt House in the city centre. As the name implies, this museum is dedicated to the Dutch painter Rembrandt, one of the great masters to come out of the Golden Age.
He lived and worked in this historic house during the 17th century for 20 years. Head inside the original property, as well as a modern annexe, to experience the rooms where Rembrandt created some of his most famous pieces.
9. Royal Palace
For a regal taste of the country, head to the Royal Palace – one of the Dutch crown’s three residences. This lavish building started life as a town hall in the 17th century, before Napoleon transformed it into a palace with flamboyant flair.
Marble floors, gleaming chandeliers, gigantic paintings – the palace, as you’d expect, drips with opulence. Follow the audio guide to get a detailed insight into its history.
10. Canal trip
Earn a different perspective of the city from its famous UNESCO-protected canal network. There are plenty of Amsterdam sightseeing boat tours that cruise around the waterways every day. Sit back, listen to the guide’s stories of the city and soak up the postcard-perfect architecture on show.
There are so many things to do in Amsterdam – this list only scratches the surface. Book a trip to the Dutch capital with Jet2CityBreaks to experience all of this and more.
Posted: 10th Apr 2019.