Best Places to Visit in Amsterdam: Guide for Your Upcoming Trip
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is renowned as one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Europe. Despite loads of visitors coming to the city day by day, “Venice of the North” never seems to be a crowded city.
Whenever mentioning Amsterdam, people can immediately sketch in their heads a port city with historical heritages along with botanical gardens all surrounded by an intricate canal system.
Besides this wonderful land, you should also visit Prague, one of the best cities to visit in Czech Republic. Both Amsterdam and Prague are renowned for having an impressive collection of museums.
So, if you are an individual who is keen on being lost in the aesthetically refreshing atmosphere of this city, keep scrolling to explore the most ideal places to visit in Amsterdam.
Van Gogh Museum
This unique structure is where hundreds of Van Gogh’s masterpieces are housed. Photo by Frans Ruiter on Unsplash
Van Gogh Museum is one of Amsterdam’s top attractions. Whether you are a fan of Van Gogh or not, this museum will be a great experience on your trip to Amsterdam.
The museum consists of two buildings with geometric forms, allowing as much natural light to come into the exhibition area as possible. This creates a brilliant space for visitors to admire the artworks and simultaneously enjoy the fresh atmosphere. You’ll surely find some privacy in the museum, even though it is one of the most crowded museums in the world.
This museum houses the world’s largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh. It has more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 750 letters drawn and written by this famous artist.
Things to do
At Van Gogh Museum, not only will you have the opportunity to witness his world-class artwork, such as “Starry Night” or “The Bedroom,” but you will also get a deeper look into the turmoil of this artist through his letters. Moreover, there are also cocktail bars and DJ concerts to maximise your experience at Van Gogh Museum.
The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00 or 18:00. During high seasons, the opening hours are lengthened to 22:00. If you want to behold Van Gogh’s striking artworks and learn more about them at the same time, there is a guided tour in English and Dutch.
It is also one of the best destinations to go on Christmas in Europe, so if you’re still wondering where to spend the end of the year, you’d better check out Van Gogh Museum!
Anne Frank Huis
The hidden entrance to the annexe of Anne Frank House, an important biographical museum. Photo on annefrank.org
As mentioned above, Amsterdam is a mixture of modern, refreshing sections with old, historical sites. Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank House) is one of the finest places to see in Amsterdam if you are fond of exploring the sombre side of this city.
Originally, this was the house where a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years during World War II. About 15 years after the war ended, the house was turned into a museum in 1960.
Being the only one who returned from the Auschwitz concentration camp, Anne’s father - Otto Frank decided to publish his daughter’s diary. It is currently a part of the exhibition in the museum.
Anne Frank Huis is not only evidence of Anne’s family life in particular, but it is also a reflection of the persecution of the Jews in general.
Things to do
Coming to Anne Frank Huis, you can observe the story of Anne Frank and her family through the photos, quotes, videos and original items. There are different sections - the main house, the secret annexe where Frank’s family used to live, the diary section, etc.
Visitors can also choose the audio tour (which is available in nine languages) for a more profound understanding of the displays at the museum. There is also a cafe and a museum shop where you can buy plenty of things, e.g. The Diary of Anne Frank, the museum catalogue, podcasts, and other publications. One thing to notice is that both the cafe and the shop only receive payment by bank transfer or credit card.
As the museum visitors witness the horrors of World War II, there is an age recommendation. Children with a minimum age of 10 are allowed to go to Anne Frank Huis, though parents (or their guardians) can judge if their children can handle such a serious subject.
The beautiful Rijkmuseum’s facade welcomes many visitors every day. Photo by Frans Ruiter on Unsplash
Rijksmuseum is a national museum of the Netherlands in which 80 galleries and 8,000 objects dedicated to the Dutch Golden Age are on display. Some of the most profound gems include Night Watch by Rembrandt, Vermeer's The Milkmaid and Woman Reading a Letter.
The museum's opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:00 daily with an entry fee of 20 Euro for adults, and free entry for 18 and under visitors. However, if you want to visit this Amsterdam tourist spot, you should book in advance because only those who have purchased a Friend pass can come to Rijksmuseum without making a reservation.
Things to do
With a massive amount of artwork and artefacts, it might be a little overwhelming for any visitors coming to the museum to see all the collections at once. Therefore, you should have a quick review of the museum’s internal organisation - specifically how each section in the museum is allocated so you can pick out what to see first.
Here’s a tip: go through each section one by one. Some must-see sections are the Night Watch Gallery, the Gallery of Honour, the Middle Age and Renaissance, and many others that depict and symbolise typical art styles of different time periods. Visitors can also pay a visit to the newly-built Asian Pavilion where objects exhibited vary from paintings and ceramics, to jewellery, statues, etc.
Going to a museum doesn’t mean you have to be indoors throughout your visit. At Rijksmuseum, you can take a walk to the Rijksmuseum Gardens and breathe in some fresh air.
Another plus of Rijksmuseum is its Michelin-starred restaurant, RIJKS. Coming to the restaurant, you’ll taste the flavours throughout the history of Dutch cuisine with culinary masterpieces, created by executive chef Joris Bijdendijk. All in all, if you’re a fan of Middle Age Art, this museum is a must-see in Amsterdam.
Vondelpark park has many airy roads for people to exercise in/ Photo by Hung Tran on Unsplash
Vondelpark, known as the lung of Amsterdam, is the largest park within the city. At the age of more than 150, Vondelpark has to go through reconstruction and renovation every 30 years. As it is originally built in a muddy area, this renovation work would prevent the whole park from being covered by water.
Vondelpark is a great option for you if you are a traveller who is fond of being embraced by mother nature, or just simply want to have a walk around and get some fresh air. The park is open 24 hours daily throughout the whole year, and entry is free.
Things to do
When we talk about parks, people are likely to visualise in their heads a place full of old people doing exercises, or just simply a boring place full of trees and bushes.
Vondelpark is anything but that. It offers visitors a wide range of activities to enjoy. One typical event is Openluchttheater - the open-air theatre that hosts plays, standup comedy or musical concerts from May to September annually.
Even though there isn’t an entry fee to the theatre, we recommend you make a reservation via their website before going due to the popularity of some performances.
The sculptures allocated around the park make Vondelpark one of the best Amsterdam sights to see. These include the monument of the Dutch poet Vondel (whom the park was named after), the abstract sculpture “Fish” by Picasso, and many others.
There is also the rose garden in the heart of the park, in which there is a blaze of colours of every kind of rose. Visitors who first come to the park can follow the signs to reach the garden easily.
Park Goers can also take part in other casual activities such as hiking and riding bikes (which you can rent) when coming to Vondelpark.
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
A visitor enjoying the gallery inside the Stedelijk museum. Photo by Liam McGarry on Unsplash
Amsterdam is famous for its various museums, and Stedelijk Museum is one of the most prominent ones. It is the home to some of the best artworks from the 19th to the 21st centuries. It is one of the most ideal places to go in Amsterdam for good reasons.
Although the Stedelijk Museum might not be spacious, the quality of the artworks exhibited is out of this world. If you are into modern and contemporary art, chances are that you’re going to love this destination.
Things to do
Visiting Stedelijk Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to witness striking collections from world-class artists. There are more than 90,000 items presented in the museum, including masterpieces from Pablo Picasso, Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. What’s more, you can also purchase souvenirs such as art books or sculptures in the shop located inside the museum.
The museum is open from 10:00 to 18:00 daily, with an entry ticket of 20 Euros per adult, and free for 18 and under. To avoid a long queue of waiting, it's recommended that you book your ticket online via the museum’s website. A visit to this museum usually comes with an audio-guided tour, but you can maximise your experience here by choosing a private tour where a historian accompanies you throughout the exhibition visit.
One of the luxurious areas in Hermitage Amsterdam. Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash
Hermitage Amsterdam, located on the banks of the Amstel river, is a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is also a cultural education centre dedicated to the history and culture of Russia. Therefore, there is no doubt that this is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.
Things to do
Despite not being a distinction of Amsterdam, this museum offers its visitors an interesting approach to Russia with the canal cruise tour. You can visit its website and check out for more information about the canal tour.
It’d be such a pity if you visit the Hermitage without checking out the 17th-century Group Portraits exhibition. The exhibition includes thirty stunning monuments from Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Museum, which are the “siblings” of the famous Rembrandt’s “Night Watch.”
Due to the short opening hours of the museum, 10:00 to 17:00, you should plan your visit here ahead so you don’t miss your chance to experience this unique structure in Amsterdam.
A typical flower shop in Bloemenmarkt. Photo by Ari Dinar on Unsplash
Tired of museums and indoor space? Then let’s check out the next must-see destination in our exploration of Amsterdam - Bloemenmarkt. This is the only floating flower market in the world.
It is undeniable that Amsterdam is the utopia of tulips. If you are visiting Amsterdam in spring, you’re blessed with the blooming season of tulips. There’s the Keukenhof Gardens with hundreds of different types of tulips, and here’s the Bloemenmarkt - the one-of-a-kind floating flower market for you to stop by if sightseeing those stunning tulips aren’t just enough.
Things to do
Going to the market doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to purchase something - even though it would be amazing if you find yourself a flower bulb or a pack of tulip seeds. Here at Bloemenmarkt, you can just walk by the flower shops and blend into the crowded atmosphere of the market.
One thing you should be aware of when buying flower bulbs or seeds from the market is the export regulations. To be more specific, you should make sure that the products you are purchasing are packaged and pre-approved; otherwise, there are chances that your goods will be withheld at the airport.
Apart from flower shops, Bloemenmarkt also offers souvenirs such as wooden tulips, keychains, postcards, etc. if you want to buy something for your family and friends back home.
The opening hours of the market are 9:30 to 17:30 from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, the market is open from 11:00.
Street market lovers will be absolutely delighted with the Albert Cuypmarkt, as it is one of the topmost places to visit in Amsterdam if you want to experience Amsterdam's distinctive sense of humour and relaxed environment.
Taking its name from the 17th-century painter Albert Cuyp, the market has been open for over a century to locals, students, tourists, and explorers. It’s situated on the street of the same name in De Pijp, Amsterdam’s bohemian Latin Quarter.
De Pijp is Amsterdam's liveliest neighbourhood. It is where you can find ethnic stores, cafés, Middle Eastern eateries, English gardens, and cosy pubs. The Badcuyp jazz club is another popular culture hub.
A typical day in Albert Cuypmarkt. Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash
Here you can find a bargain for whatever you’re craving, whether it’s fresh ingredients or fantastic street food. The Albert Cuyp market’s 260 kiosks, which are closed on Sundays, make this hotspot the biggest and most well-known outdoor market in the Netherlands, and one of the richest outdoor experiences in Europe.
Things to do
Also known by locals as ‘the Cuyp’, the market has stalls offering all kinds of goods from shoes and clothing to fresh veggies and fish, making for hours of enjoyable shopping and exploring.
You can also find traditional Dutch delicacies like the world-renowned stroopwafels, poffertjes (little Dutch pancakes), or raw herring sandwiches. After that, try something even more exotic, like some Vietnamese spring rolls or kebabs.
The famous Heineken brewery in Amsterdam. Photo by Rikin Katyal on Unsplash
Heineken Experience is an interactive tour for visitors to explore the birthplace of Heineken. The tour includes a journey to Heineken brewery, in which the tourists will have opportunities to learn about the brewery and the process of making a Heineken. To people who are into breweries, this is absolutely one of the most popular Amsterdam places to visit.
Things to do
Visitors who take part in Heineken Experience will be taken to the brewery where Heineken beer is brewed and bottled. The highlights of the visit are the company’s history, the brewing process, and the tasting room. Not to mention the most exciting activity during the journey - experiencing how to brew a Heineken on your own.
You can choose either of the two package tours - a self-guided tour or a guided tour. The latter is twice as expensive as the former. So if you rather explore everything by yourself than be accompanied by a tour guide, the self-guided package is more suitable.
However, please do notice that the tour includes tasting and making beer activities. Therefore, it might not be appropriate for travellers who are under the legal drinking age.
People enjoying the afternoon by the banks of the Jordan river. Photo by Lara Puscas on Unsplash
Jordaan actually stems from “Jarden” - a French word for garden (while some people claim that it was named after the Jordan river as many of the Jews immigrated to Amsterdam and lived here).
Having such a dreamy name, Jordaan District turns out to be a living area for the poor. Back in the Middle Age, many people were smashed together in small houses without proper water supplies and sewerage.
However, through the years of development, Jordaan has become a destination that you must see in Amsterdam for its original shops, restaurants and stunning houses.
Things to do
As Jordaan District is still a living space for many people, the activities here - especially sightseeing - are actually quite limited in order not to disturb the civilians.
However, if you want to have a closer look at the quaint houses in the district, feel free to wander around the area. There are also many gift shops and markets to purchase something for yourself.
Spend some of your time looking around and you may find hidden ‘treasures’ such as an old pot, chocolate, or tasty cheese. Witnessing the beauty of the buildings or visiting the markets to purchase some treasures that cannot be found anywhere else can be a pleasant experience unlike any other.
A glance at the spooky gate of Amsterdam Dungeon. Photo by Ank Kumar on Wikipedia
Amsterdam Dungeon is a go-to attraction for any visitors who are keen on spooky mysterious things. The concept of the dungeon is thrilling as you will role-play as a “sinner” and experience the darkest sides of Dutch history. Having plenty of visitors going to the dungeon every day, this is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.
Things to do
Amsterdam Dungeon has a variety of activities for its visitors to explore the flow of 500 years in Dutch history, ranging from interactive shows, live acts, and most interestingly the Inquisition Court. It is a crazy trip for the bravest only!
The dungeon opens daily with a different schedule for each day. Therefore, it would be more convenient for visitors to double-check on the homepage to see the accurate opening hours. There are also distinguished ticket packages with detailed descriptions on their website.
Giant windmills are a common sight in Zaanse Schans. Photo by Rudolf-Peter Bakker on Unsplash
Located to the North of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans might be the most stunning landmill that you could ever see in the Netherlands. You can easily reckon it from afar with the giant windmills. Having these as the main attractions, Zaanse Schans easily becomes one of the top places to visit in Amsterdam for any travellers.
Things to do
What makes Zaanse Schans one of the best attractions in Amsterdam isn’t just the windmills, but also the wooden houses, the bakeries, the museums, etc.
Visiting this area, you’ll be squeezed into the peaceful atmosphere, the buttery smell of fresh biscuits, and the warm welcome from the local people.
However, please do notice that even though Zaanse Schans is a popular tourist attraction with millions of people coming every day, it is a residential area.
The opening hours of the area are generally 9:00 to 17:00, from Monday to Sunday. However, some attractions here may be unavailable at certain times, so you should check their website beforehand.
Moreover, it is also more convenient for you to check out the deals of ticket packages on their website before paying a visit because there are plenty of those that you may not find anywhere else.
Many people love Dam Square for its lively atmosphere. Photo on Holland.com
One of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam is Dam Square. Located in the middle of Amsterdam, Dam Square is known as the heart of the city. It is one of the most famous public areas in Amsterdam, attracting both locals and visitors alike. It wouldn’t take much of your time to explore the entire square, but it’s surely a pity not to land your steps here on your trip around Amsterdam.
In the past, it was the witness of political events such as parades or protests. Nowadays, it is the area where many musical performances are held, bringing its visitors an enjoyable experience of listening to and watching these music shows.
Things to do
Here at Dam Square, visitors can wander around and see the old buildings, chill out at the surrounding coffee shops, visit the museums nearby, etc. Remember to check out the famous National Monument and the Royal Palace (which will be closely reviewed below).
As mentioned above, Dam Square is a public space so you can pay a visit at any time you want, with free entry of course. However, we recommend you spend your time here at noon when you can enjoy the fresh air and the hippie music to your fullest.
Amsterdam Royal Palace
Situated on the West side of Dam Square is the majestic Royal Palace. Photo by 3DVisu on Unsplash
It is undeniable that the enormous Royal Palace is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam. It is one of the three palaces in the Netherlands that is still in use by the Royal Family.
Things to do
Visitors are welcome to explore the inside of the Palace. It offers the most prestigious monuments - including sculptures, paintings and galleries - that will certainly amaze you.
The palace is closed on state visits, royal events and other special occasions. Therefore, you check the opening schedule before visiting the palace.
The tickets are available online via the palace’s website or physically via the ticket box. There are different offers of touring and pricing depending on your age and your purpose. Make sure that you check the prices online in order to have the best experience here at the Royal Palace!
Hard Rock Cafe
The humble view of the Hard Rock Cafe’s entrance. Photo by Inja Pavlić on Unsplash
Even though you may guess what Hard Rock Cafe is about based on its name, this Amsterdam gem doesn’t just offer food and beverages. Hard Rock would be the perfect place for any rock n roll lovers to blend themselves in this genre’s history with authentic features from the legendary Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix. Because of this dedication to music, Hard Rock Cafe has made itself to be one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.
Things to do
At Hard Rock Cafe, you can enjoy classic American food and tasty beverages at the cocktail bar. However, because of the popularity of the cafe, the seats are limited so you should squeeze your chances to be on the waiting list.
Also, the menu is extended for groups with 8 or more people, so make sure to contact the Reservation to have more choices on your meal at Hard Rock Cafe. Bookings are available via their website, but do notice that there won’t be a refund if you cancel your reservation.
The historical beauty of Oude Kerk from afar. Photo by Jonas Schöne on Unsplash
Oude Kerk is known as the oldest building in Amsterdam, and also the newest art institution in the city. It is devoted to displaying artworks of a mediaeval church with the mission to inspire a new approach to old and modern art. Even if art isn’t your cup of tea, Oude Kerk is still one of the finest places to visit in Amsterdam that you shouldn’t miss.
Things to do
In Oude Kerk, there are permanent exhibitions with time and space themes for its visitors to see. There are also many other artworks related to humans, architecture and our surrounding world.
Depending on the time or special occasions, there will be different exhibitions and displays which are all available on its website. Therefore, if you’re bored with the permanent exhibitions, check out Oude Kerk’s homepage to see what’s up and make your reservation!
Glow-in-the-dark Mini Golf
The golf area with pirates theme and neon lights. Photo on glowgolf.nl
Though Glow-in-the-dark Mini golf is one of the new trends for people finding something fun to do in Amsterdam, it has quickly marked its position as one of the greatest places to see in Amsterdam for any traveller. This is definitely the most unique experience you would ever have in Amsterdam. Glow-in-the-dark Mini golf is a playground for golf players to try scoring a hole in a completely different world.
Things to do
Visitors going into Golf-in-the-dark will enjoy a 45-minute game of golf in a pirates theme with neon lights and exciting effects during the round.
Whether you are a professional or a beginner, this will be a fun and thrilling experience, especially when you play against your family members or friends.
You can book your entry tickets online, with the advantage of cancellation up to 24 hours before the starting time with a full refund.
All in all, Cabinzero has introduced some of the best places to go in Amsterdam. We hope that our article will be a handful guide for any traveller when they get to explore this unique, atmospheric port city.
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