The Dutch capital is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Beautiful canals, world-class museums, parks, restaurants, famous coffeeshops, lively bars and clubs and many more await you in this diverse, vibrant city. With the help of our insider's guide, find out what to see and do in Amsterdam.
Rent a bike and explore the city
Bikes are the dominant transportation vehicles here, with more than 880,000 bicycles in the area. Amsterdam has been ranked as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, so getting around the town is very easy with all the cycle routes. It is the best way to explore the city's streets and canals, and feel the magical charm of this whimsical town. Also, you'll get to explore a lot more sights on a bike than on foot.
Go museum-hopping in the Museum Quarter
Museumplein is home to some of the most famous museums in the world. Here you'll find some of the world's most important historic and artistic treasures, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. Admire Van Gogh's famous sunflower paintings or Rembrandt's famous The Night Watch.
Chill out in Vondelpark
The largest park in the city is loved by both locals and tourists. Here you can find people in the park at all hours, relaxing on the grass, working out or just taking a nice walk. It has lots of cafes and terraces as well as lots of greenspace, ideal for picnics. It's the perfect place to escape the city's crowds and relax a bit!
Visit the infamous Red Light District
One of the main tourist attractions, the Red Light district, is a true kingdom of vice. Almost every tourist that comes to the city comes here, if only just to satisfy their curiosity. The scantily clad women in the windows can be a bit of a shock for those unaccustomed to them. But don't even think of taking pictures here as it's strictly forbidden! Expect lots of sex shops, sex museums and peep shows all around, But actually the district has more to offer, even if it may not be apparent at first. It has a lot of cultural attractions that aren't necessarily related to the sex industry, like for instance the oldest church in Amsterdam.
Take a canal cruise
A great way to see more of Amsterdam's city center and not get tired from all that walking is to go on a canal cruise. The canal belt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and presents the picture-postcard vision of Amsterdam. You can choose from a variety of canal cruises, such as day tours, hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tours, and romantic nighttime cruises with dinner included.
Sample Amsterdam's most notorious herb
Don't confuse cafes for coffeeshops in Amsterdam! A coffeeshop in Amsterdam refers to establishments where you can legally sample the city's weed. You must be over 18 to enter, so don't forget your ID. Whether you're an experienced consumer or just an occasional dabbler, be careful with the amount you ingest. Here, the marijuana might be a bit stronger than elsewhere.
Buy tulips at the floating Flower Market
The Bloemenmarkt is the only floating market in Amsterdam and one of most colorful places in the city. Here you can buy vibrant fresh flowers, especially tulips, which are the symbol of Holland. Choose from tulips of any color to house plants, or seeds and gardening tools!
Visit the Zaanse Schans
Take the train form Amsterdam Central Station and ride for only 17 minutes to visit this magical place where you can see typical Dutch windmills. Traditional houses from the 18th and 19th century and impressive windmills that are still active can be found here. Visit the cheese factory and taste some of the best Dutch cheese, eat homemade pancakes and waffles or just have a picnic on the grass!
Visit the Anne Frank House
Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who chronicled her time in hiding during the Nazi occupation, lived in this house where now you can find a biographical museum dedicated to her. Learn more about history of the Frank family and about persecution and discrimination across the globe. The place is a bit small, and it can get crowded and the lines can be long as it's one of the most popular museums in the city. Make sure to come early in the morning or book a ticket online.