We drew the Google Map of all attractions and tours, we did in Amsterdam. So you can easily read and navigate through the text while planning your trip to Amsterdam. You can turn on and off the map’s layers to easily find places of your interest.
Things To Do In Amsterdam
There is no right or wrong order of visiting attractions in Amsterdam. We started from Amsterdam Central Station since our bus from the hotel had a final stop there.
1 – Amsterdam Central Station
Amsterdam’s central railway station (Amsterdam Centraal in Dutch) is the most central point of Amsterdam and is in the heart of the historic old town. Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers was a designer of this building, and 1889 was the opening year. The city’s largest depot, built in the Gothic-Renaissance style, includes shops & restaurants.
Our next stop on the journey to the Netherlands was De Haar Castle (Kasteel de Haar in Dutch) near Utrecht. This castle is another notable work of Pierre Cuypers and his son.
2 – Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Opposite the railway station is a late 19th-century Roman Catholic Basilica of Saint Nicholas dedicated to the city’s patron saint of seafarers. The entrance is free of charge to this beautiful exterior and interior basilica.
We took a blue metro line from Central Station to Vijzelgracht station (Zuid direction) and intended to visit Rijksmuseum. However, we stumbled upon the first built Heineken Brewery.
3 – Heineken Brewery Experience
Since we were with a small kid, we skipped the tour and saved it for another visit to Amsterdam. If you are a beer lover, then you will not omit it. Cheers!
Therefore we continued our ten minutes walk to Rijksmuseum.
4 – Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, located in Amsterdam. It tells the story of 800 years of Dutch history and features Dutch arts and history. The museum has over 1.5km of galleries and is among the world’s finest art museums. In addition to its permanent collection, the Rijksmuseum also organizes several exhibitions per year from its collection, and with international loans
The architect of the Rijksmuseum was again Pierre Cuypers. So we were blessed to see many of his masterpieces (Amsterdam Central Station and De Haar Castle near Utrecht).
Around the museum are a famous “I Amsterdam” tourist sign, a small water pool, a park, and two other museums Stedelijk & Van Gogh.
Our son found The “I Amsterdam” sign and the park entertaining and inspiring. So we stayed and played around a bit.
5 – Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern and contemporary art, design, and applied arts with the appearance of a large bathtub. It was founded in 1874 by a group of private citizens in Amsterdam. The museum has modern and contemporary art collections, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, applied artworks, and new media.
6 – Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum maintains the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s works, with 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by the artist.
7 – Vondelpark
Vondelpark is a public urban park with a playground, ponds, and an open-air theater in Amsterdam-Zuid. The park was opened to the public in 1865 as a horseback riding and strolling park named Nieuwe Park, but it was renamed Vondelpark in 1867 after some enthusiasts placed a statue of Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel there.
Another park and another “I Amsterdam” sign, so the conclusion is another playground and entertainment for our son.
8 – Anne Frank House
The Diary of Anne Frank was a mandatory lecture in our high school days. It wasn’t easy to read the diary because Anne and her family had a horrible WWII destiny. The Anne Frank House is a museum now but was a secret shelter for her and her family. She was hiding in the Secret Annex for over two years and wrote her diary. The only family member that survived the holocaust was her father Otto. It is really a world-one-of-a-kind place to visit.
“Love is wise, hatred is foolish.” – Bertrand Russell
9 – Westerkerk Church
The Westerkerk is a Protestant church. It is the largest Protestant church in Holland. The church was built between 1619 and 1631 and features an impressive 85-meter-high tower with a carillon of 50 bells and an organ.
10 – Begijnhof
The Begijnhof is a historic courtyard. The site features historic buildings, mostly private dwellings, and two churches: the Catholic Houten Huys and the English Reformed Church. Despite being located in the busy medieval center of Amsterdam, it is a haven of peace and tranquility.
11 – Nemo Science Museum
NEMO Science Museum is a science center located in the Oosterdokseiland neighborhood. The museum building is remarkably turquoise in color on the waterfront. Its shape resembles a boat over the IJ tunnel and offers five floors of exciting interactive science exhibits, hands-on activities, experiments & shows. The upper deck (fifth floor) has a restaurant, a cafeteria, and a playground for children.
12 – Magere Brug
Magere Brug, known as the Skinny Bridge, is a wooden bascule bridge over the Amstel River. It connects the river banks at Kerkstraat between Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht Streets. The bridge is a popular tourist attraction and one of the most picturesque bridges in Amsterdam. According to legend, the two sisters lived on opposite sides of the canal and wanted to see each other more often. Therefore they built this bridge.
Today is a bridge for pedestrians & cyclists, and it has an automatic system to open the middle section for the river traffic to pass by many times daily.
13 – A Bascule Bridge
A Bascule Bridge is across a canal near Nieuwe Herengracht Street and near the Magere Brug (five minutes walk). We were lucky to see the lifting mechanism still functional and managed the water traffic.
14 – Prinsengracht canal
Prinsengracht is a 3.2-km-long canal and known as ‘Prince’s Canal’. The canal is home to some of the city’s most notable buildings, including historic canal houses. It is the third and outermost of the three main canals of Amsterdam, forming the outer ring. The canal got a name after the Prince of Orange. The historic churches, museums, and hidden cafes flank the canal. Many consider it the most beautiful canal in Amsterdam.
One of the historic churches along the Prinsengracht Canal is the Westerkerk near the Anne Frank House which dominates the skyline along the canal.
15 – Bridge of 15 Bridges – Reguliersgracht with the Herengracht
Bridge of 15 Bridges is a bridge that offers a view of 15 bridges in the central canal belt. The bridge is at the crossing of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht Street. You can see six arched bridges in a row when you look down Reguliersgracht Street with your back against the Thorbeckeplein statue and tree line.
However, there is some confusion about the number of bridges you can see from this spot. We took photos from the bridge level and the water level while on our cruise tour. You should be lined up only under specific circumstances to see all the bridges perfectly. Anyway, this is a popular spot among tourists and locals alike.
16 – Weteringschans Street Villas
You can see these beautiful villa buildings from the bridge in front of the Rijksmuseum. Maybe an even more beautiful view is from the water level on the canal cruise boat tour. Some of the villas are eclectic architectural styles. The beautiful towers, tinny turrets, stylish balconies, and artistic ornament around windows and on walls edges were a few design elements that caught our eye’s attention.
17 – Cruise Amsterdam’s Canals
Canal rings crisscross Amsterdam, so no surprise that many boats of different sizes are on them. Some are for living, fun, or transportation. But the most attractive are those used as tourist cruise ships. These cruise ships are in different colors green, blue, orange, white, etc. Most of them are packed with curious tourists interested to see beautiful Amsterdam from the water level perspective.
Interestingly, all are so low that they can go under the bridges.
Please don’t forget that we drew a dedicated layer on our Google Map just for Amsterdam Canals Cruise. Just follow the red line and attractions marked down the path.
A – Weteringschans Street Villas
We already mentioned the villas in Weteringschans Street (near Rijksmuseum), but now we show one from the water level perspective. The architectural styles are eye-catching and hardly unnoticeable.
B – Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American
Just around the corner is another nice-looking building overlooking the canal. The day is beautiful, we are slowly cruising in the boat, and the mesmerizing buildings pop with every turn. We couldn’t ask for more.
C – Turn Right Into Leidsegracht Street Canal
The boat turns right into Leidsegracht Street Canal. The architecture turns to the typical Dutch building styles we expected. Narrow high buildings are on both sides of the canal.
D – Turn Right Into Herengracht Street at Three Arch Bridge
So far, we passed under one arch bridge. But now, it was a turn to drive under Three Arch Bridge. That is the sign we are entering the “highway” canal at Herengracht Street.
E – Bridge of 15 Bridges – Reguliersgracht with the Herengracht
Finally, we arrived at the spot where Fifteen Bridges were visible. Here is the water level perspective under the bridges. We mentioned it, but as a reminder, it is at the crossing of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht Street
F – Magere Brug
The cruise boat drove into the Amstel River at the Bascule Bridge, but we could see Magere Brug or “Skinny” Bridge in the distance.
G – A Bascule Bridge
The cruise was another chance to pass by the Bascule Bridge, as we had walked by just the day before.
H – National Opera & Ballet
So many things immediately to see as we drove in the Amstel River. The Skinny Bridge is on our right, and Bascule Bridge is in front of us. As the boat turned to the left, it revealed the National Opera and Ballet building in front of us.
I – Montelbaanstoren Tower
After the National Opera and Ballet, the boat left the Amstel River and turned right into the Zwanenburgwal Street canal. Several minutes later, we had a chance to admire the Montelbaanstoren Tower on our left-hand side.
J – The National Maritime Museum
As we came closer to our final destination, more and more attractions were around us. On our right-hand side, in the distance, we could see the National Maritime Museum.
K – NEMO Science Museum
A few moments later, on the right-hand side, we saw again but this time from the water level, a turquoise green building of NEMO Science Museum.
L – Amsterdam Central Station
As we saw Amsterdam Central Station at our sight, we knew this was the final call. It was a time, to sum up our thoughts and impressions about this cruise journey.
M – Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Before leaving the boat, we could turn back to see the Basilica of Saint Nicholas again.
18 – Biking in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is known for being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with over 515km of dedicated cycle lanes. Biking is an easy, efficient, and safe way to get around the city. Visitors can rent bikes from various rental shops throughout Amsterdam.
In the beginning, it was amusing to see so many bicyclists, but very soon, we figured out that bicyclists rule the traffic and the streets in Amsterdam.
Some don’t follow traffic laws and aren’t aware of other cyclists and pedestrians while biking in Amsterdam. So it was very stressful at some points, and we were looking into the sky expecting those bicyclists will fall from the sky on us.
19 – Flower Market
The Bloemenmarkt Flower Market in Amsterdam is the only floating flower market in the world. It was established in 1862 and is on Singel Canal, at the heart of the city’s UNESCO-listed Canal Ring. The market uses a permanent floating structure and is primarily a place to buy souvenirs and flower bulbs rather than fresh flowers. Visitors can find a variety of flowers, plants, and seeds for sale, as well as other typical Dutch souvenirs such as wooden shoes (clogs or klompen in Dutch) and Dutch cheese.
20 – COPA Football Flagship Store
COPA is a fantastic football retro and new collections store. If you are a football fan, you must stop here and check it out. Here you can buy retro shirts or jackets from even non-anymore existing countries like DDR, SSSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Zair, etc. I bought a shirt and jacket, a 1974 retro Yugoslavia shirt and a 1982 retro jacket.
Amsterdam – Future Wishlist
We continue to research Amsterdam, so we have new attractions for our future visits to Amsterdam.
21 – Johan Cruijff ArenA – Ajax Footbal Stadium
We would love to visit this stadium and watch our favorite player. He is the captain of the Ajax team at the moment Dusan Tadic.
If there is one nation that deserves to win the World Cup, that is The Netherlands for sure.
22 – Brouwerij ‘t IJ Windmill – Molen De Gooyer
Since we have already visited Zaanse Schans Windmills, we have had enough visits to windmills and were not in the mood to see another one. But, we might give the windmill visit a chance in future Amsterdam visits.
23 – Blowcarters at IJmuiderslag Beach
Sand sailing or yachting is very popular in The Netherlands. So many blow-carters come to this beach to have a lot of fun.
24 – Keukenhof Castle & Garden
Keukenhof is not just a castle. It is one of the most beautiful tulip gardens in the world (at least in the photos). We would love to visit it during the eight-week-long tulip season in spring, from the last week of March to the middle of May. In the “Best time to visit Amsterdam” section, we have an aerial photo of the tulip garden in high season. The colors are fantastic.
25 – Day Trip To Haarlem – Catholic Basilica Sint Bavo
We would love to visit the historical city of Haarlem just 20 kilometers from Amsterdam on our next trip to The Netherlands.
Places Nearby Amsterdam
There are many attractive places near Amsterdam perfectly suitable for day trips. We picked two of them and never regretted the choices. Both are very different from each other and from Amsterdam as well.
We drew a Google Map of all places we visited on our The Netherlands: Epic 10 Days for Perfect Itinerary Road Trip with Maps. So you can easily navigate to the below-suggested locations.
26 – Discover the Charming Villages of Volendam and Marken: A Day Trip from Amsterdam
Volendam and Marken are two picturesque villages 20 km (12.4 mi) and 20 minutes drive north-east, and both spots are perfect for a day trip from Amsterdam. The villages are known for colorful wooden houses, drawbridges, and picturesque corners.
27 – A Picture Perfect Day Trip to the Zaanse Schans Windmills from Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans is a windmill park 20 km (12.4 mi) and 20 minutes drive north of Amsterdam that features 13 windmills, half of which are fully functional and open for visits at least part of the year. During the 17th century, more than 600 windmills were constructed around Zaanse Schans, creating the first industrial zone in Holland.
A Picture Perfect Day Trip to the Kinderdijk Windmills from Rotterdam
Kinderdijk is not close to the two above-mentioned attractions, but since Kinderdijk Windmills are similar to Zaanse Schans but with different functionality, it is worth mentioning and visiting.
De Haar Castle: An Extravagant and Fairytale Vision of the Medieval
On our road trip through The Netherlands and Europe after Amsterdam, we visited De Haar Castle.
De Haar Castle is the largest castle in the Netherlands, just outside Utrecht and a half-hour drive from Amsterdam. The castle was rebuilt in the 19th century. Its walls hide the extravagant history and flamboyant lifestyle of the castle’s owners, especially in the 1950s.
Rotterdam: 22 Spectacular Reasons to Visit the Netherlands’ Second City
Rotterdam is Europe’s largest seaport and the second-largest city in the Netherlands. It was our next stop on our road journey through Holland with Kinderdijk Windmills close by.
Be Amazed By The Visit To The Maze Of Canals At Giethoorn Village
We came to Amsterdam from a visit to Giethoorn. Although 1h and 20 minutes and 120 km (74.5 mi) from Amsterdam, it is a unique village that we must mention. Giethoorn is a picturesque village due to its waterways, canals, and beautiful thatched farms built on small peat islands connected by over 170 small wooden bridges. We took a boat trip on the canals to see the sights.
Getting Around in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a huge transport network and vast means of transportation both to commute to/from the city or transfer within the city.
The best option is to download GVB (GVB reis app in Dutch). In the app, you can choose 1 hour, daily, or group tickets based on your needs. Scan the bar code against the bar code reader at a metro gate. There are also Tourist ticket options but they are more expensive.
Amsterdam has five metro routes (50 – green, 51 – orange, 52 – blue, 53 – red, and 54 – yellow). Amsterdam Central Station (Amsterdam Centraal in Dutch) is the main hub and most of the routes cross it.
There are many lines and many terminate at Central Station.
On our first visit to Amsterdam, we used bus line 391 from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandam and our hotel. It was really nice to see Amsterdam’s suburbs by bus, although it took some time to travel.
Interestingly enough our visit was just before the start of the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil. All squares were covered in orange balloons and decorations making everything a carnival atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the generation of de Jong, Kuyt, Robben, Sneider, van Persie, and others was stopped by Argentina in the semi-finals by the penalty shoot-out.
We have never seen more bicycles in any other city in Europe than in Amsterdam, They are literally everywhere. In the beginning, it was interesting and kind of fun seeing them riding throughout the city. However, later was stressful since many of them do not follow any rules and do not have respect for pedestrians.
By Foot (Pedestrians)
We walked most of the time and it was ok but it would be even more pleasant if there are not so many bicycles that don’t respect pedestrians at all.
IJ Ferries connects across the IJ river from the Central Station to the north (lines F1-F9 except F8). These ferries are only accessible to pedestrians, cyclists (mopeds included), and disability vehicles.
There are North Sea Canal ferries that transport cars, motorcycles, lorries, etc.
By Boat (Canal Cruise)
Amsterdam is a city on rivers and canals so much of the life, fun, and transport is happening on the boats. Taking a canal cruise is a must in Amsterdam
|Kids 4-13 years||$8.80||€ 8||£7.00|
|Adults 14+ years||$17.60||€ 16||£14.00|
* Take these prices as estimates.
The train is a great option for transport from Airport Schiphol to the city center. Trains are a good option to travel to other Dutch cities and towns, plus connections with neighboring countries Belgium, Germany, and further to France.
If driving by car the best option is to use one of many P+R (Park and Ride) options on the outskirts of the city.
If you plan to drive throughout the Netherlands, it is important to mention that in The Netherlands there are ecological rules to drive with a restricted speed limit. The daytime (06:00-19:00 h) speed limit has been restricted to 100 km/h (62 mph) while the general speed limit on motorways is 130 km/h (80 mph).
Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe. It is 9 kilometers (5.6 mi) southwest of the Amsterdam Center. We remember arriving at the airport (on our first visit) it took the airplane “forever” to taxi to the gate.
Train and bus are the affordable and convenient transport options to reach the Amsterdam Center. After leaving the gate just follow the signs to Schiphol Plaza and you are on the right track.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam?
On our first visit to Amsterdam, we stayed in B&B Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam not far away from Windmills at Zaanse Schans. B&B Hotel is a small-budget option with an acceptable breakfast option and clean rooms. We took bus number 391 to Amsterdam Central railway station and had a chance to see many suburban areas of the city.
During our second visit to Amsterdam, we were on a road trip through the Netherlands, so we had accommodation outside of Amsterdam. It was a cute thatch roof bungalow near Ermelo.
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Amsterdam’s Restaurants and Cafes you have to see!
In the high-end department store De Bijenkorf, we found a charming restaurant with dishes from all over the world, excellent service, and most importantly affordable prices. We returned every afternoon for a nice dinner.
We couldn’t resist the fast food at Vlaamse Friteshuis and tasted the best fries in the city with offers of a variety of sauces to accompany the fries. They are thicker than the *normal* French Fries and were invented in the northern part of Belgium. The Dutch like them, so we did too. Especially, with a lot of toppings such as mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, curry, or peanut sauce.
We also recommend tasting typical Dutch fast food called Kibbeling, fried fish pieces with fries, salad, and sauces.
And if you want something sweet you can taste Stroopwafel which consists of two thin waffle-like wafers with a sweet filling and a cup of coffee or tea. However, we admit Belgium waffles are much better. We also make waffles in Norway which are different and better than the Dutch, sorry Netherlands.
Best time to visit Amsterdam
Amsterdam welcomes visitors all-year-around. The best time to visit Amsterdam is generally between April and May or September and November. During these months, there are fewer tourists, and the weather is mild. The high season is in June, July, and August.
Most Dutch families take a vacation during the Dutch summer school holiday (between mid-July to the end of August), and it is the peak season.
Our first visit to Amsterdam, was at the beginning of June, just before the football World Cup in Brazil began in 2014. Holland is truly a football nation. The whole building blocks, neighborhoods, and markets were in orange colors and Dutch flags. It was a carnival atmosphere watching the games.
The second visit was mid of July, with nice sunny weather.
In April, the Tulip Festival takes place, which showcases the blooming of tulips, the national flower of The Netherlands.
King’s Day (27th of April)
King’s Day (27th of April) is officially the national celebration of the birthday of King Willem Alexander. Enjoy the world’s biggest street party of the year with live music, DJs, parties, and street markets throughout the city. Don’t forget to wear something orange!
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Costs of traveling in Amsterdam
We created an estimated budget that will help you to have finances in control.
USD ($) – Budget
- Hotel: $44 - $165 per night
- Hostel: $15 - $60 per night
- Price per meal: $9.9 - $25
- Activities: $9.9 - $35.2 per day
- Transport: $9.9 - $29.7 per day
- Gas: $2.27 per liter
- Coffee: $2.98 - $5.8 cup
- Beer: $7.15 (0.5L)
EUR (€) – Budget
- Hotel: € 40 - € 150 per night
- Hostel: € 13.5 - € 55 per night
- Price per meal: € 9 - € 23.7
- Activities: € 9 - € 32 per day
- Transport: € 9 - € 27 per day
- Gas: € 2.06 per liter
- Coffee: € 2.70 - € 5.20 cup
- Beer: € 6.5 (0.5L)
GBP (£) – Budget
- Hotel: £35.4 - £132 per night
- Hostel: £12 - £48.65 per night
- Price per meal: £8 - £21
- Activities: £8 - £28.3 per day
- Transport: £8 - £23.88 per day
- Gas: £1.82 per liter
- Coffee: £2.4 - £4.6 cup
- Beer: £5.75 (0.5L)
We made a Google Map so you can follow our 10 days on The Netherlands Epic Road Trip.
We wish you an epic trip!