Visit the Anne Frank House to see her actual diary and to learn more about her tragic life. Roam the streets, taking in gabled rooftops and tiny crammed alleyways where the homes are barely 10-feet wide. Visit the Van Gogh Museum, and the famous Rijksmuseum, where you’ll see works from famous artists like Monet and Rembrandt. Did you know that Amsterdam does great street food? You absolutely have to try raw herring – it’s a Dutch delicacy, and you’ll find fish stalls all over town! There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam.
Places to Visit in Amsterdam
- Anne Frank House
- Van Gogh Museum
- Flower Market
- Jordaan District
Unique Things to See and Do in Amsterdam
- Take a boat ride on the canals
- Try street food (especially herring)
- Hit up one of Amsterdam’s many bars
- See the art galleries in the Jordaan district
- Shop vintage goods at the Waterlooplein flea market
Other than the city spirit, Amsterdam’s beauty is brought to you by its famous architecture. Whether you’re interested in seeing the canal houses or the windmills, learning about Amsterdam architecture is a great way of understanding the city’s culture and history.
Did you know that Amsterdam was once all wooden medieval houses? After the fires in 1421 and 1452 when most of the city burned down, everything in Amsterdam was rebuilt in brickwork. Timber is actually illegal now, but you can see two original wooden houses at Begijnhof 34 and Zeedijk 1. Begijnhof 34 is also the oldest house in Amsterdam.
If you’re wondering about Amsterdam’s incredibly narrow houses, it’s because houses were once taxed on frontage. Therefore, people built long, narrow houses. Singel 7 is one of the narrowest houses in the world.
When it comes to canal homes, many are now turned into museums, offices, and hotels. Amsterdam’s Canal District is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can simply wander this area and find some hidden museums.
The Dutch are wonderful at taking outdated buildings and turning them into something beautiful. The Royal Palace on Dam Square is the city’s most famous repurposed building, and was first a town hall. Now it’s a museum of sorts, showing what it was like to live there during Louis Napoleon’s time.
Finally, windmills were a vital part of Dutch life for centuries, and were used things like milling grains or draining the lowlands. There are more than 10,000 windmills in Netherlands, and eight of those are in Amsterdam.
Getting around Amsterdam
What’s Amsterdam’s favourite mode of transportation? The bicycle! Amsterdam is groomed perfectly for cyclists, and practically everyone has a bike. It’s safe and easy to do.
Otherwise, the public transit system includes a subway, buses, trams, ferries, and trains. You can pick up a city card to give you unlimited access to all transport systems for up to 72 hours (you can find these at most tourist offices). There are also coach buses available. Otherwise, get out on foot! Amsterdam is flat and easy to walk around, albeit sometimes confusing with its maze of canals.
Best time of year to travel to Amsterdam
Anytime is a good time to visit Amsterdam. You’ll find the Dutch remarkably resilient – even if it’s raining and there’s an outdoor concert scheduled to happen, you can bet it’ll go ahead anyway. Most people come between April to September, for the longer days and warmer temperatures. But come between October and March, and everything will be much cheaper.
Ready to plan your visit to Amsterdam? Check out these popular guides and trips.