Delightful Things To Do In Amsterdam
What’s the city’s name that brings a wide, happy, and naughty smile to everyone’s face? You guessed it right – it’s AMSTERDAM! The largest city in the Netherlands most famous for its canals, world-renowned art museums , cannabis-stocked coffee shops, quiet boat rides, red-light district, and many other rewarding experiences. A trip to Amsterdam sums up into a well-trodden favourite and a deep dive into the wealth of wonders.
You will be spoilt for choice, and Europe’s most preserved whimsical city will leave you wondering about the things to do in Amsterdam. To ease your nerves, we’ve curated an extensive selection of this essential guide. From Amsterdam nightlife to Amsterdam museums, leading up to Amsterdam tourism on the whole, here’s how to slay a trip to Amsterdam and tick it right off your bucket list.
Best time to visit
A trip to Amsterdam is a great idea all year-round. However, you can enjoy the best temperature between May and August, which happens to be the peak tourist season. Here’s a glimpse into the monthly weather break-up so you can make your pick accordingly.
Peak Season: The most pleasant season lies between May to August, but it might just get chilly at night so carry that thin sweater along. Most importantly, it’s the bloom season where the spring Tulip Festival takes place in May, marking the city’s largest tourist attraction. While the tulips bloom, it’s a great time to explore Amsterdam on a cycle, and once June strikes, you can ride through Amsterdam’s popular summer festivals – Roots Festival and Open Garden Days. Naturally, the hotel rates and airfares are at their peak so try booking yourself in advance to save some money.
Off-Season: If you want to enjoy the best of Amsterdam with a lesser crowd and a happier pocket, choose the off-season when. Hotel rates are cheaper from March to April and September to November. The perks involve not missing out on the Amsterdam Film Week in November and the onset of spring n March. Get ready to witness Keukenhof, the most extensive flower garden in the world, in March.
Winter Wonderland: The coldest months of the year occur between December to February in Amsterdam. If you’re lucky, you will get to experience snow sometimes. So make sure to pack in all the trench coats, woollens, and mufflers. Layer up and fall in love with Amsterdam! Now that you are sorted about when to head here, here are some places that you must hit up on your trip here. Before you go, make sure to check out digibank Travel to help you plan your trip in one place. From insurance to booking tickets, digibank Travel has everything sorted for you.
1. The famous Canal Cruise
It sounds like a cliché route to take, but Amsterdam’s Canal cruise is an intrinsic part of the city’s escapades. Get ready to drown yourself in the most beautiful views straight out of the 17th century, including the merchant and patrician houses, multiple bridges, ancient churches and cute tiny houseboats. Once you pick which cruise you want to take, be rest assured to get mesmerised, whether it may be day or night in Amsterdam. There’s something for everyone’s taste, and you will feel spoilt for choice. For example, if you like a personal trip, there’s an hour-long guided cruise on a small vessel, or indulge yourself in sights like the Skinny Bridge and Golden Bend in lights on a 90-minute evening trip. From in-depth cruises to half-open boat trips, you can see every centimetre of the canal if you want to. Let alone enjoying the unlimited drinks, fancy dinners, and cocktail cruises that will not fail to impress.
The square of Museumkwartier is instilled with more culture than what the city dawns. From luxurious properties to lavish boutiques, not to forget Amsterdam’s most admired park at Vondelpark, all of this is well-cured and worth your time. However, the main goal is to indulge in a cluster of world-beating Amsterdam museums. Listing the epic ones here – The Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw, one of the world’s most renowned places to attend a classic concert. Special events, occasional as well as national celebrations, take place at the square. What more? It’s worth slipping and swaying like a penguin on the skating rink from November to February.
3. Ride your way through Amsterdam
Did you know that Amsterdam is the most cycle-friendly city in the world? Oh yes, this well-planned city has as many cycles as there are people in it. All the streets have dedicated lanes for bikes, so safe travels and smooth journeys are given in Amsterdam. Moreover, ferries allow you to carry your bike along while boarding, that too for free! Your bike designs will blend in and make you feel no less than a citizen in this art-infused city. Although, don’t forget to cross the tram tracks at an angle since it is easy to get caught in the grooves.
One of the first four canals in the centre of Amsterdam’s Canal belt is the Patrician’s Canal, also known as the Herengracht. Their expansion project for this is now UNESCO listed, and here’s where Amsterdam’s social elite built their remarkable cribs with a high sense of prestige that still prevails. Each building is a work of art, and it will be a visual delight. You will witness one of Amsterdam’s oldest residences, while some are considered the finest of all of Amsterdam’s Golden Age merchant’s houses. Meanwhile, the Classical terrace of the Cromhouthuizen deserves your full attention, and the most desirable location for the prestigious mayor was the Gouden Bocht (Golden Bend) after Leidsegracht which is now home to insurance companies and banks.
5. Jordaan District
Be it your 1st or 21st time in Amsterdam, you have to visit the epic maze of little streets filled-in canals bordered by the Singel. Jordaan was initially inhabited by Amsterdam’s working class and an international assembly of migrants, like Huguenots from France and Puritans from England. Until the 20th century, the Jordaan was strictly a neighbourhood and was transformed into a treasured shopping and Amsterdam nightlife district in the other half of the 20th century. Sip on some exotic coffee, explore the little lanes and hidden-away courtyards in Jordaan. Moreover, indulge in the speciality stores and galleries besides drowning yourself in the famous organic farmers’ market on Saturdays at Noordermarkt. Looking for designer stores and boutiques or even stylish bars? De Negen Straatjes (nine little streets) is your one-stop-shop for all things fun and luxury!
6. Red Light District
The world’s most talked-about Red Light District is situated at Oudezijds Achterburgwal, in the middle of a historic landscape with the swanky Gothic Oude Kerk and the busy Nieuwmarkt square. This area Is surreal and different as an experience because the brothels, sex shops, peep shows, and theatres cater to people’s urges. Simultaneously, they follow strict regulations, the whole area is under video surveillance, and there’s a non-negotiable code of conduct like ‘no photos’ in the Red Light District.
Besides, the sex workers have their union and stand up for each other in all ways possible. Overall, it’s a great environment, and the information centre helps you understand the rules better. The wider De Wallen area is highly recommended due to its eccentric galleries and shops, global restaurants, ancient houses, and the oldest canals in Amsterdam. Moreover, don’t forget to visit the Red Light Secrets museum, where you will hear the funniest, most moving, emotional, and real-life stories from the sex workers themselves.
Are you the type that immerses into the tranquillity of ponds? Amsterdam’s Voldenpark has a stirp of ponds, gorgeous lawns, and full-grown dense trees west of Museumplein. This park is known to be constantly sinking and requires renovation of every generation to avoid mishaps. Even the cabaret is a delight to experience at this park, from free live music performances to musicals and theatre-led acts. Especially from June to August, while they cost absolutely nothing to watch. This is why it gets fille do soon, and you should book a seat online regardless! The prettiest attraction involves the centralised rose garden at Vondelpark, which was planted more than 80 years ago and hailed more than 70 types of roses. You will also witness a sculpture by the legendary Pablo Picasso. You can easily spend another hour in the basement café called Vertigo which hones an outdoor terrace area to chill.
8. Heineken Experience
After Heineken shifted base to the modern facility on Amsterdam’s fringes in the 19th-century, this brewery building in the De Pijp district reopened as a museum to one of the world’s favourite pilsners. Imagine four floors of the Heineken Experience that enlightens you about its origin, and a student worked in sync with Gerard Adriaan Heineken to develop a special yeast. There are humungous copper vessels displayed as brewing artefacts to witness, as well as multimedia exhibits, an unimaginable 4D ride where you realise what it feels to be brewed and bottled. To top it all, they have a tasting bar.
The inner circle of the Singel is a canal that opens onto the IJ in the north, unlike its neighbours the Herengracht and Keizersgracht, Ein early days, these were only used to ship goods, but in the 16th and 17th centuries, the canal was developed, made more comprehensive, and now hosts plenty of holdovers from the Golden Age. Being the oldest part of the city, it doesn’t seem to look like it since it seems like the youngest and the poshest parts of the city with continuous rows of gabled canal houses. Look for some masterpieces like De Dolphijn at 140-142 and the Munttoren on the Muntplein, looming over the Bloemenmarkt. This belonged to one of the main gates back in the day in Amsterdam’s city wall.
10. Dam Square
Here’s where you will find the national monument – the Royal Palace. Dam Square is situated at the Amstel River’s crossroad, was dammed and Amsterdam’s central market in Medieval times. It has a dee and known history. The civil unrest or the student’s protest in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s, and Dam Square is the place where things have aggravated in the past. The last outbreak was a massacre on the square at the end of the Second World War. On a sweeter note, a funfair takes place on Dam Square for national occasions like Kings Day and around the build-up to Christmas.
11. Immerse in culture, films, and architecture
A trip to Amsterdam is incomplete without visiting its most iconic landmarks, the striking white EYE building launched in Spring 2012. An absolute mecca for film fans, the EYE Filmmuseum carries a permanent exhibition space that showcases contemporary exhibits, retrospective and a vast film library, a great restaurant bar with a terrace overlooking the water alongside a fabulous cinema. Don’t forget to use your I Amsterdam city card here as well!
12. Witness how Anne Frank lived
How can take a walk deep into the past where the history and the house reflect all the cruel acts committed against the Jewish community during World War II at the Prinsengracht house. Here’s where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years after escaping persecution in Germany. She’s a diarist, and her house is now a thought-provoking Ammuseum. The back annexe has been preserved to glimpse into Anne’s life and the families she hid with back in the day. Lengthy lines might turn you off, so visit early in the morning or book online in advance to beat the queues.
13. Attend world-famous concerts
Be it a private dive bar or a live music concert,Amsterdam has you covered in flamboyancy. Paradiso has hosted legendary performances like The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols situated in a converted church. They continue to host a phenomenal roster of international talent and global acts. You will witness impressive acoustics and a line-up of world-class orchestras besides an array of diverse and famous musicians. You will find a unique sight of acoustic excellence played by amazing artists over at the Roode Bioscoop, a 100-year-old former cinema. On the other hand, former bike storage spaces like De School’s basement are also used as underground nightclub and draw young music aficionados. The unique curation and eclectic live music program made them win a 24-hour license that the young blood enjoys!
14. Check out windmills, beaches, and the countryside
If your trip is not crunched with lesser days, plan a day trip to explore the various types of attractions surrounding the city of dreams. There’s a rich landscape of the gorgeous countryside lying a short hop from Amsterdam. It has beaches, windmills, and historic towns – all easily accessible from the city centre. Only 20 minutes away from Amsterdam Central by train, this serene and picturesque city of Haarlem is infused with culture and history, besides a wide selection of cafes, shops, and restaurants. IF you’r e abeach person, the beautifully gloden stretches of Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee will be your space of bliss and dunes. Enjoy plenty of watersports, picture-perfect views of windmills, green scapes, and winding canals. Want to indulge some more? Move towards the pastoral paradise of Zaanse Schans, which is nothing but Insatgrammable!
Travel tips while planning the trip
- I Amsterdam City Card – Get this card to travel through public transport and get free access to museums all over Amsterdam
- Don’t get in the way of bike riders and understand the cycle rules
- It can rain anytime in Amsterdam, stay ready
- No photography is allowed in the red light district
- Don’t buy any drugs from the streets. Got o coffee shops and get guided well.
- Buy the ‘Skip the line’ tickets during the peak season to enter museums and other tourist spots.
- Tip grandly in Amsterdam