The capital of the Netherlands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. People have all different reasons to go there, but many of them associate the city with mainly one thing – lots of fun! If you can, plan at least 3 days for your stay since the place has a lot to offer. To give you some idea about what you should really not miss in this fascinating and diverse city, check out our recommendations on the 8 best things to do in Amsterdam!
1. Canal Trip
Amsterdam was constructed in a very unique manner and lots of water canals connect the different parts of the city. It can be a very good idea to start your trip with a “Gracht Tour” and take a boat that gives you an experience on the waters while learning about Amsterdam’s history and its different corners. After this, you might feel more confident and knowledgeable when walking around. There are operators who even offer drinks and food on the trip and it is often actually worth the money.
2. Get a Bike
Statistics sometimes say that Amsterdam has more bicycles than people and in fact you will find hundreds of bikes in each
street. Everyone is riding them everywhere and especially as a tourist it can be a great way to explore the city quickly and more like a local. Biking is definitely one of the best things to do in Amsterdam but beware of the other cyclists who are quite ruthless!
3. Oude Kerk
Not far from the central station you will find Oude Kerk, aka the Old Church. It certainly belongs to the top sights in Amsterdam but the odd thing is that it is surrounded by brothels since it is located in the Red Light District – probably you won’t be able to see that anywhere else.
4. Coffee Shops
One of the things that make Amsterdam special among all other European capitals is the fact that the consumption of Cannabis is legal in the Netherlands. While you can just enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at these shops, many visitors are really surprised when they see people smoking publicly. Just make sure that you abide by the law and do not import illegal substances to other countries.
The Bloemenmarkt, or flower market, is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam since it has a very long history reaching back to the 19th century and is floating on the waters. If you need some new colors at home, you might want to take one of the famous tulip flowers with you that reminds you of your trip to the Netherlands!
6. Pancake Houses
Within Europe, Amsterdam has one of the highest densities of pancake houses. At almost every corner you will find some place where you can enjoy all kinds of variations from bacon, mushroom and cheese pancakes to sweeter ones with icecream and berries. The quality of the places varies, and for the top spots you might have to queue up for 30 minutes. However, it is really worth it and one of the best things to do in Amsterdam!
7. Red Light District
You may already have asked yourself when we would mention the Red Light District – one of the most iconic areas of the city. With museums, shops and bars fully dedicated to sexual content you will find crowds of people walking between windows behind which half-naked women are dancing. Mostly, people just have some drinks and snacks at one of the good bars here and in general the atmosphere is very vivid and friendly.
If you want to educate yourself during your trip, the national museum or “Rijksmuseum” is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. Covering history of arts of the last centuries, mostly from Dutch painters, the museum provides an extensive insight into local culture and also features photographs, model ships and other exhibits. If you have a spare day and like museums, you might want to check out this place!