Amsterdam is the most populated and capital city of the Netherlands. The city is well-known for its beautiful canals, its canal houses, tulips, museums, nightlife, and rich history.
Furthermore, Amsterdam is also the capital of bikes! Everywhere you look, you will see bikes. Moreover, in the 17th century, the city grew and flourished, and the majority of the city and its famous architecture were built during this time.
Millions of people go to Amsterdam every year and it’s definitely an amazing city to visit. I live in Amsterdam, so I can tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful city.
In this travel guide, you will find all information that you’ll need for a trip to Amsterdam, including the best things to do, the best restaurants, the best way to get around in the city, and more!
Best Things To Do In Amsterdam
There are many amazing things to do in Amsterdam, so if you’re in the city, you definitely won’t get bored. Here, you will find the best things to do in Amsterdam that you really shouldn’t miss out on when you’re in the city!
A Cruise Through The Canals
One of the most fun things to do in Amsterdam is to enjoy a cruise through the beautiful canals. Since Amsterdam is famous for its canals, it’s a great experience to actually sail through them and see Amsterdam from the canals.
Furthermore, when you’re having a canal cruise you will learn some interesting information about the city while sailing by the most important sights. Therefore, this isn’t only a very fun experience, but it’s also very educational!
There are several canal cruise operators in Amsterdam. For example, one of the canal cruise operators is Lovers. Their boats are very comfortable and there’s an audio guide in several languages, which is very convenient. Another canal cruise operator is Stromma, their canal cruises are really fun as well!
The Rijksmuseum is one of the best museums in the Netherlands and also one of the best museums in the world. It is located in Museum Square where several other museums are located.
The collection in the museum consists of about one million objects of which about 8,000 are always on display. Furthermore, part of the collection comprises of masterpieces by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, and many other famous Dutch artists. Also, there is a beautiful art history library inside the same building where many old books are located.
Van Gogh Museum
Another great activity to do in Amsterdam is to visit the Van Gogh Museum. At this museum, you will find many works by Vincent van Gogh, as the whole museum is dedicated to him.
There are more than 600 drawings and paintings made by Van Gogh here, including the famous sunflowers and the potato eaters.
The largest park in Amsterdam is called Vondelpark. This park is located in the center of Amsterdam and it has around 10 million visitors per year.
Furthermore, there’s a theatre and there are several restaurants in Vondelpark. In 1876, the park opened with the name ‘’the new park’’. However, there was a statue of Joost van den Vondel placed, after which people called the park Vondel’s park. Nowadays, the official name is Vondelpark.
There are many cycling paths around the park and there are also many grass fields, this park is a great place to relax.
Since the park is located in the center of Amsterdam, it’s always easy to combine going to the park with other parts of the city. For example, from here it is only a 2-minute walk to Leidseplein where you’ll find many clubs and bars.
Stroll Along The Canals Of Amsterdam
The canals are so typical for Amsterdam and therefore it’s great to see them in real life. You can stroll along the canals which is a very fun thing to do.
There are more than 100 kilometers of canals in the city, and when it’s dark outside, the canals look very romantic. The canals were dug during the 17th century and form a half-circle around the city center. There are three main canals: the Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht.
Also, the canals are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to the canals, Amsterdam is sometimes called the Venice of the North!
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is another well-known sight in Amsterdam.
It is the house where Anne Frank lived during the second world war. She became well known because of her diary that she wrote while hiding from the Nazis together with her family in hidden rooms in the back of the building.
She didn’t survive the war, but her diary was later published.
Nowadays you can walk inside the house and see exactly where the family hid while learning about Anne Frank, the family of Anne Frank and her diary. After the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, this is the most visited museum in the Netherlands with more than a million visitors per year.
Rent A Bike
Once you arrive in Amsterdam, you will immediately notice that there are many bikes. In fact, there are almost a million bikes in Amsterdam!
People that live in Amsterdam use their bike for everything. If you want to experience the city like a local, it might be a great idea to rent a bike yourself.
Besides being a very fun activity, it’s also a convenient way to travel through the city. There are many companies where you can rent a bike from or you can book a biking tour around the city.
You can also rent a tandem, a tandem is a bike for two people. However, be careful, because if you’re not used to a bike, a tandem might be hard to use.
Rent A Boat
Another thing that you should do when you’re in Amsterdam is to rent a boat. There are many types of boats you can rent, including motorboats or pedal boats.
This is really one of the most fun activities to do in Amsterdam in my opinion. Especially during the summer when the sun is shining, because Amsterdam looks even more beautiful from the canals.
Since there are so many canals going everywhere, renting a boat is also a great way to explore the city.
For more fun things to do, be sure to read our top 12 budget activities in Amsterdam guide!
How To Get Around The City
Since the center of Amsterdam isn’t very large, it’s really doable to walk through the center without using another type of transportation. However, there are many other possibilities for transportation in Amsterdam to get everywhere even faster.
Amsterdam has an extensive network of public transportation including buses, metros, trams, trains, and ferries. Depending on where you are in the city, one of them is more convenient to use than the other one.
If you want to know what’s the fastest route, you can visit 9292. On the website, you can use your own location as a departure place and you can easily choose where you want to go. Since everything is so close to each other, most of the time you won’t have to transfer.
Tickets can be bought at all metro stations, train stations, on some trams, and bus stops. However, it might be a good idea to buy your own public transport card, the Amsterdam Travel Ticket or a GVB Multi-day ticket.
Most people have a public transport card (OV-Chipkaart) which is rechargeable and valid for all public transport options. Depending on how much you want to use public transport in Amsterdam you can choose the most affordable option for you.
You can also rent a bike to move around the city. At most train stations you can rent a public transport bike, but you can also rent bikes at many bike-rental companies in the city.
This is probably the fastest way to travel through Amsterdam.
Where To Stay In Amsterdam
There are many amazing hotels in Amsterdam where you can stay. If you are looking for the best neighborhoods to stay in Amsterdam, I recommend the city center and De Pijp.
The city center is the place where you will probably spend most of your time during your trip to Amsterdam because it’s the place where most famous sights are located. Therefore, it is very convenient to also stay here. It is a very busy area, making it really fun.
Also, it’s amazing to walk out of your hotel and immediately be surrounded by the historical houses of Amsterdam. Furthermore, there are many hotels located in the city center, so there are enough places to choose from. The city center is also very close to Amsterdam Central Station.
If you want to stay in a quieter place and you don’t want to be bothered by noise during the night, it might be better to stay in another area. The city center is also the most expensive place to stay.
De Pijp is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Here you will find many trendy places where you can eat and drink.
It is located just south of the city center and it’s easily accessible from the city center by tram or metro. However, since Amsterdam is rather small, you can also walk to the city center from here.
In this area, you will also find the Albert Cuypmarket, which is a market stretching along the street. It is the largest outdoor market in the Netherlands and it is there for six days a week. At this market, you can also taste many Dutch treats, such as stroopwafels and poffertjes.
The Best Restaurants In Amsterdam
If you’re going to Amsterdam, I’m sure you will enjoy the amazing restaurants there. Since there are many restaurants in the city, there will always be something for your liking.
Here some of the best restaurants in Amsterdam:
Want to experience the taste of traditional Dutch pancakes? Then you should really go to Pancakes Amsterdam!
Here you can choose from many toppings or you can just eat them plain. There is so much to choose from, both savory and sweet – you can have a pancake with only sugar, or you can have one with pesto sauce.
Furthermore, Pancakes Amsterdam has many restaurants spread over the city, making it very easy to go here after you explored the city.
Not interested in the traditional Dutch pancakes? Pancakes Amsterdam also serves American Pancakes as well as traditional Dutch poffertjes, the latter one you should also try. They also serve vegan Dutch pancakes.
The Vegan Junk Food Bar
The Vegan Junk Food Bar has a truly unique concept. When they created the restaurant they wanted to make a place where both vegans and non-vegan people would enjoy the food together.
They also wanted to create plant-based junk food of great quality, texture, and taste. Also, the experience you have in the restaurant matters a lot to them.
The food tastes amazing and the whole atmosphere of the restaurant is great as well. The Vegan Junk Food Bar has several locations in the Netherlands, and they are now expanding internationally as well.
If you want to experience something new and tasty, then I would really recommend going here!
SUMO is a sushi and grill restaurant with many locations throughout Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The restaurant adapts the concept “All you can eat”, where you pay a fixed price (for the food, not for drinks) and you can eat as many as you like.
This is really a great concept, and the food is very good as well.
At De Pizzabakkers (literally The Pizza Bakers) you can find the best pizza in Amsterdam.
When the founders created the restaurant they were looking for good pizza in Amsterdam, but couldn’t find one that satisfied their wants, so they created their own restaurant together with their best friends. A year later they opened their second restaurant, and nowadays they have 9 restaurants in Amsterdam and many others in other cities in the Netherlands.
If you are looking for good Italian Pizza made in a wood-fired oven with fresh ingredients, then you should definitely head to De Pizzabakkers.
The Avocado Show
If you like Avocado, then the Avocado Show is the restaurant for you. There are so many tasty and unique dishes with avocados here, it is almost too difficult to decide which one you want to eat.
Also, besides the great taste, their dishes look beautiful, and are really made for Instagram! If you really like the dishes, and you want to take the food with you, you can also buy their cookbook in which you can find all their recipes.
They have many locations in Amsterdam, so an Avocado Show is always near you.
Maoz is the place to go to if you want to have a quick meal that is really tasty and not that expensive. You can have a falafel sandwich here that you can fill as much as you like with vegetables, salads, and sauces.
In addition to a sandwich you can have fries, eggplant, and hummus as well. There are also other options to choose from, depending on the location that you visit.
There are several locations in the City Center of Amsterdam, which is really convenient.
Ellis Gourmet Burger
At Ellis Gourmet Burger you can have one of the best burgers in Amsterdam. They use ingredients of the highest quality and they continuously improve their recipes to further improve their burgers every day.
The mission of the restaurant is to reintroduce the quality-burger from the United States in Europe and the burgers are really delicious! With 3 locations in Amsterdam, it is very easy to have an amazing burger wherever you like.
Also, if you are vegan or vegetarian, then you have several options to choose from here as well.
The Best Place To Hangout In The Evening With The Best Bars
The best place to go to in Amsterdam for nightlife is definitely Leidseplein. Here you can find many clubs, bars, restaurants, and other venues.
Every club or bar is unique, so you have a lot to choose from! Also, there are many public transportation options to get to and from Leidseplein (including night buses), which is really convenient.
Another great place to go for nightlife is Rembrandtplein. Here, you can also find many great bars and clubs.
Since these two places are very close to each other, you can easily visit both Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein in one night.
General Tips And Advice
If you are going to Amsterdam I’m sure you will have an amazing time, since it is a great city. Even though the official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, almost everyone speaks English as well, so that’s very convenient.
If you have enough time, don’t forget to visit other cities in the Netherlands too! You can go to Haarlem, Delft, or Zaanse Schans.
Also, if you ever need groceries, there is always an Albert Heijn Supermarket, which is the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, near you.
We hope that this article has helped inspire you to visit Amsterdam. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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