Things To Do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is incredibly popular with people who spend their layover or a few days in the city. Therefore, it’s usually busy at the tourist attractions like the dancing houses of Damrak, Dam Square, and the Royal Palace. Pay a quick visit to these places and continue with the following things to do in Amsterdam.
The Moco Museum is home to modern and contemporary art from artists like Banksy and Kaws. With their digital art exhibition, they are making art even cooler and attracting a younger audience. An audio tour is built into the Moco app, so make sure to download this. (Book your tickets here)
3. Cruise Amsterdam’s canals
Cruise the canals of Amsterdam, go under the old bridges, and pass the beautiful houses. This might be the best way to see the city! Rent a boat in Amsterdam and enjoy the freedom of being on the water with friends. We recommend having a look at electric boats as these are quieter and greener.
Alternatively, join a canal cruise on a shared cruise boat. These have guides onboard explaining about the city and its history.
4. Hortus Botanicus – Botanical Gardens
One of the world’s oldest botanical gardens is located in the center of Amsterdam! Hortus Botanicus is an escape from the city, established in the 1600s for medicinal herbs, and now features a greenhouse, butterfly house, palm house, and stunning outdoor gardens.
The greenhouse with a metal canopy walkway is divided into three different zones with varying climatic conditions to simulate the subtropics, the desert, and the tropics.
The palm house is a super picturesque building housing centuries-old palms. Also, visit the cafe at the entrance for a drink or snack.
5. Amsterdam’s Restaurants and Cafes you have to see!
There are numerous incredible cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam. The following are our favorites, taking into account its look, unique location, and tasty food. Note that none of these places are located in the city center, but because of that, these spots are more unique.
Pllek (best thing to do in Amsterdam in summer)
Get your feet in the sand at the city beach of Pllek! A restaurant in Amsterdam North constructed from old shipping containers and decorated with mostly second-hand and recycled items. Their food is made from organic products, and they have vegan and vegetarian options available. The easiest way to get here is by ferry from Amsterdam Central Station. Open daily. (Location)
De Ceuvel Cafe
A creative hangout at a former shipyard; De Ceuvel Cafe is the spot to enjoy green, sustainably focused, tasty food and drinks on a terrace in the sun at the waterside. It is located in Amsterdam North, and the easiest way to get there is by using the metro. Closed on Mondays. (Location)
7. Biking in Amsterdam
The Netherlands is a cycling country. There are over 23 million bicycles, with 17 million inhabitants! Rent a bike in Amsterdam, as it makes exploring the city so much easier and a greater adventure. The Jordaan is the prettiest neighborhood and fantastic to cycle through!
Biking in Amsterdam does, however, come with a set of rules. For example, use the biking lanes, watch out for the tram tracks, always make room for others, and always lock your bike.
Bike Rental Shops in Amsterdam are:
- Black Bike – Offers bike models that locals would drive. Pick-up and drop-off at 13 locations.
- MacBike – cheapest option, least pretty bikes.
- Yellow Bike – bike rental and guided tours.
8. Vondelpark Amsterdam
Escape the hectic city life, as the locals do, by visiting Vondelpark. A large public park centrally located near Rijksmuseum. It is also the largest park in Amsterdam, and visiting Vondelpark is free! Take in the local life of people cycling, running, or skating through the park.
Visit typical Dutch villages like Marken, Broek in Waterland, and Volendam, each with beautiful wooden houses, narrow alleys, and drawbridges. Additionally, rent an electric boat at Teagarden Overleek to sail along the grassland with grazing cows and through authentic villages like Broek in Waterland.
Important to Remember
There are so many other things to do in Amsterdam that aren’t named in this travel guide. Therefore, we want to point out a few basic rules and common misconceptions.
- Smoking weed is legal, but only inside the coffee shops! Police will fine you for smoking weed in public.
- Do not take photos of the women in the Red Light District.
- Tulips are not located in Amsterdam. Visit tulips near Amsterdam at Lisse, Keukenhof, or the Noordoostpolder.
- Kingsday, a national holiday, is on the 27th of April (previously April 30).
Where to Stay in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam has a large selection of accommodations throughout the entire city. The Canal Belt is the most expensive area, with a hotel at an average price of 130 EUR per night. Apartments in Amsterdam (± 80 EUR a night) have been cut down in their number but are still an okay option.
Getting Around in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s city center is relatively small; however, it’s just a bit much to explore all on foot. Hence, locals cycle through the city! But luckily, it has great connectivity with public transport throughout the entire city as well.
By bicycle: Rent a bike in Amsterdam and get from A to B fast and easy. You can easily rent one in the city for about 10 – 15 EUR a day. Cycling is the quickest way to get around the city center.
By foot: Most distances in this Amsterdam travel guide are walkable. But taking a bus, tram or metro will be useful at some points. When crossing the streets, watch out for cyclists, as they have priority.
By public transport: The easiest way to get around is by using the bus, metro, and tram. GVB is a transport company, and they have good deals on day passes.
How to Get to Amsterdam
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is a hub connecting to other international destinations. The city of Amsterdam is a quick 15-minute train ride from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station.
Alternatively, you can also drive to Amsterdam and park on the outskirts of the city center. Depending on where you park, prices vary between 10 – 20 EUR for a day parking ticket.
Your Budget for Amsterdam
It is good to budget your trip to Amsterdam. It is slightly more expensive than other cities in the Netherlands, like Rotterdam. Plan to spend around 90 – 140 USD per day, with accommodation and restaurants as the largest expenses.
Best Time to Visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a great city to visit year-round. However, weather-wise, April to September has the most days of sunshine.
The best time to visit Amsterdam will be April and May, with rays of spring sunshine, temperatures between 10 – 20 degrees, and a city that isn’t too crowded with tourists.
Alternatively, winter from November to March can have beautiful days, too, and even the chance of the canals being frozen. Ice skating on the canals was a yearly returning event twenty years ago, but it has unfortunately become very rare due to climate change.