Even if Amsterdam has no Eiffel Tower and is not a metropolis of millions, there are interesting attractions and places to see on every corner. Whether it's a walk, shopping in the hip Jordaan district or tours of world-renowned museums, it's hard not to miss anything in Amsterdam. Discover these top 10 sights!
1. Red light district Amsterdam
In most cities the red light district would probably not appear on the first pages of the travel guide. It's different in Amsterdam. De Wallen is the most famous Red light district of the world - with many sights. This is at least not primarily due to the lightly dressed women who wait for customers behind shop windows. While in most cities the prostitution industry is located away from the tourist stream, here in Amsterdam a colourful scene district has established itself. Bars, shops and sights like the Oude Kerk or Amsterdam's Chinatown can be found in De Wallen. Especially in the evening hours there is a lot going on here.
2. NDSM shipyard
On the old NDSM shipyard, a new cultural centre of the young and hip scene has been created just outside the city centre. Artists' meeting point, studio, party location, flea market, restaurant and hipster club. The Amsterdam Insider Tip is currently developing into one of the top attractions for young people in Amsterdam, but is still more of an insider tip in Amsterdam. The journey takes place with the ferry! It leaves every 30 minutes and it's free. Guides today also offer guided tours & walks over the NDSM terrain.
3. Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House
The Museumsplein is home to the country's most important museums. Besides the visit to the Van Gogh Museum the Rijksmuseum with works by Dutch painters such as Rembrandt or Vermeer lures tourists from all over the world. The queue here can become unbearably long. The same applies to the Anne Frank House. Please reserve your tickets in advance! By the way, visiting one of the many museums is one of the most popular activities in Amsterdam, besides the red light tours.
The city's hip showcase district is one of the most popular addresses for Amsterdam tourists. Shop on the Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk shopping streets, stroll along the romantic canals or enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in one of the many stylish cafés.
5. Heineken Experience
At the Heineken Experience also less culture-interested people will get their money's worth. Here you can look behind the scenes of the Dutch brewery. See the production process in a 4D cinema and enjoy the popular Heineken beer at a tasting. This is included in the entrance fee and will taste even better after the tour. It is recommended to order tickets in advance to avoid long waiting times.
The Rembrandthuis - the house of the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn - gives an impression of the life and work of the world-famous artist. If you want to see his work of art, the Rijksmuseum is a better place to find it. But here life in Amsterdam in the 17th century comes alive.
7. Markets in Amsterdam
Daily, weekly and flea markets have history in Amsterdam. The Albert Cuyp market (open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm) is considered the largest street market in Europe. Here you can find food, clothes and jewellery. Classic flea markets are the Waterloopleinmarkt in the city centre and the Noordermarkt in Jordaan. Both are also open daily from Monday to Saturday.
One of Amsterdam's most famous sights is without doubt the Dam, which is the city's central meeting point. The most famous square in the country is lined with three important buildings. Royal palace, the gothic Nieuwe Kerk and the national monument commemorating the victims of the Nazi occupation. Especially in summer, the square serves as a popular meeting place and offers space for numerous activities.
The Vondelpark is the perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle of the pulsating big city. In summer, half of Amsterdam meets in the green oasis. The Vondelpark invites you to do sports or relax - for example in one of the adjacent cafés. There is no lack of activities for the whole family here in good weather.
10. Shopping in the Negen Stratjes
In the Negen Stratjes (Nine Streets) you will find everything the shopping heart desires. The large chains are more likely to be found on the main shopping street Kalverstraat. But you will still discover secret corners and mainly individual vintage and design shops, boutiques, art studios but also cosy bars and cafés.
Travel tips for Amsterdam
How to get from the airport to the city?
The fastest and easiest way to get from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station is by train. A ticket from the national railway company NS costs 4.20 euros and takes you from Schiphol Airport to the city centre in less than 20 minutes. For the same price, buses go directly to the centre of Amsterdam. However, the airport transfer by bus takes a little longer. An alternative is the private transfer by car or minibus.
Sightseeing in one day
If you are planning a short trip and want to experience as much of Amsterdam as possible in one day, you can dive into the city on tours directly from the Central Station. Explore Amsterdam from the water. Canal tours start not far from Amsterdam Centraal. At the Westerdok you can also rent a boat yourself. Past houseboats and under many bridges, the tours lead past some of the city's sights. These include the Westerkerk Cathedral, the Anne Frank House or the narrowest house in Amsterdam. The narrow water channels make the cityscape unmistakable. The canal belt is an integral part of Amsterdam - and since 2010 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since most boats are covered, canal tours are attractive in bad weather and rain in Amsterdam and are one of the most popular activities.
How many days in Amsterdam?
How many days you want to spend in Amsterdam depends of course on your budget and your time. A short trip can be worthwhile to experience the one perfect day in Amsterdam. On a city tour or a boat trip across the canals, Amsterdam can be discovered in one day. To really get to know the atmosphere of the city and all its sights and attractions, you should plan three days in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam on your own
Amsterdam is Europe's bicycle capital - what more natural way to explore the city than to swing onto a two-wheeler and ride along on it. Finding bicycle rentals is no problem in the city. Guided bicycle tours are a great way to explore the city. Or how about exploring the canals on your own? Even without a driving licence you can rent boats and drive them independently. With the I Amsterdam City Card use public transport free of charge. You enjoy free admission to the Rembrandthaus and Van Gogh Museum and save real money on bicycle or boat rentals and many other activities. Many top attractions such as Heineken Experience and Madame Tussauds offer a 25% discount. Perfect for a tour alone through the capital of the Netherlands.
Good and cheap food in Amsterdam
French fries special, frikandel or bitter bale - all this is Amsterdam and is offered on every corner. But Amsterdam can do much more than that in culinary terms. It is home to the best Indonesian restaurants in Europe and in Chinatown you can enjoy real Chinese cuisine. A reliable tip for all those who want to eat cheaply in the not always very cheap metropolis: the "Eetcafés" offer simple Dutch cuisine at reasonable prices.
Sights for young people
In comparison with other European metropolises, Amsterdam cannot boast with great individual landmarks and sights. Nevertheless, there is no lack of attractions and activities, especially for young people. The higlight is the city! Simply in the evening in the western Canal Belt or the red-light district and drift through the bars and cafés. Heineken Experience and the Ice Bar Amsterdam are one of the most popular attractions among young people. How about a boat tour including a burger and beer across the canals?