10 Best Day Trips In Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and is known for its artistic heritage, elaborate and picturesque canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades which are legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Amsterdam is a vibrant and charming destination that captivates visitors with its unique blend of history, culture, and progressive mindset. With its historic architecture, world-class museums, and laid-back atmosphere, Amsterdam offers a truly unforgettable experience.

As you wander through the city, you’ll be enchanted by the iconic canal belt, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tree-lined canals, adorned with beautiful bridges and narrow gabled houses, create a postcard-perfect setting. Exploring the city on foot, bicycle, or even by boat, allows you to fully appreciate the charm and beauty of Amsterdam’s waterways.

One of the highlights of Amsterdam is its cycling culture. With a well-developed network of bike paths and a bike-friendly infrastructure, cycling is not only a convenient way to get around but also an integral part of the local lifestyle. Renting a bike allows you to explore the city like a local, discovering hidden gems and enjoying the freedom to roam at your own pace. There are around 515km (320 miles) of dedicated cycle lanes and Amsterdam is routinely rated as the world’s 2nd most bike-friendly city.

The city is known for its rich cultural heritage, and its world-class museums are a testament to this. The Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, showcases the country’s artistic legacy. The Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, housing the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. The Anne Frank House provides a poignant glimpse into the life of Anne Frank during World War II, while the contemporary Stedelijk Museum showcases modern and contemporary art.

Amsterdam is also renowned for its vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods. The Jordaan district, with its narrow streets, quaint cafes, and trendy boutiques, exudes a bohemian atmosphere. The lively Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein squares are popular nightlife hubs, offering a plethora of bars, clubs, and live music venues. The multicultural De Pijp neighbourhood is known for its bustling Albert Cuyp Market, where you can sample local delicacies and browse a wide range of goods.

Amsterdam’s culinary scene is diverse and exciting, with an array of international cuisines and traditional Dutch delights to enjoyr. From savoury pancakes and herring sandwiches to Indonesian rijsttafel and Surinamese roti, the city offers a culinary journey for every taste.

Whether you’re admiring the historic architecture, cruising along the canals, exploring world-class museums, or simply enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of a sidewalk cafe, Amsterdam is a city that effortlessly combines old-world charm with a modern, progressive spirit. Its unique blend of history, culture, and relaxed vibe make it a truly remarkable destination that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.

So lets explore together the top 10 places to visit when you are in Amsterdam.

1. Anne Frank House

Total Time – 1 – 2 Hours

Hidden annex where Anne wrote her famous diary

Anne Frank House museum
Anne Frank House, Westermarkt, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Visiting the Anne Frank House is a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience that takes you back in time to the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II. Located on Prinsengracht canal, the museum provides a glimpse into the life of Anne Frank and the atrocities of the Holocaust.

As you enter the museum, you are transported to the era of the Nazi occupation. Walking through the rooms, you can see the authentic artifacts and personal belongings of Anne and her family. The atmosphere is solemn, and the exhibits offer a powerful narrative that chronicles the Franks’ two years in hiding.

The highlight of the visit is the hidden annex itself, where Anne wrote her famous diary. The small, cramped rooms serve as a poignant reminder of the challenges and fears faced by the occupants. The preserved rooms are empty but evoke a sense of the past, allowing visitors to reflect on the significance of Anne’s words.

The museum also provides valuable historical context through multimedia displays, photographs, and interviews. It offers insight into the broader Holocaust history, highlighting the impact of the persecution of Jews during that time. Throughout the visit, the museum emphasises the importance of tolerance, diversity, and human rights. It serves as a reminder of the consequences of hatred and the need for compassion and understanding in our world today.

While the experience can be emotionally challenging, it is also deeply educational and inspiring. Visitors leave with a renewed appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit and a commitment to preserving the memory of those who suffered during the Holocaust.

It is recommended to book tickets in advance, as the museum is a popular attraction. A visit to the Anne Frank House is a powerful and moving journey through history that leaves a lasting impression on all who have the privilege of stepping inside those hidden walls. It is a testament to the indomitable spirit of Anne Frank and a reminder of the importance of compassion, empathy, and the fight against discrimination and prejudice.

2. Jordaan District

Total Time – 4 – 5 Hours

Beautiful canals, tree-lined streets, and quaint houses

Noordermarkt, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Jordaan district in Amsterdam is a charming and picturesque neighbourhood that offers a unique experience for visitors. Here’s a description of what you can expect during a visit to the Jordaan district.

As you step into the Jordaan, you’ll immediately notice its narrow streets, historic buildings, and cozy atmosphere. The district is known for its beautiful canals, tree-lined streets, and quaint houses with colourful facades. It exudes a sense of old-world charm and tranquility, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

Wandering through the Jordaan, you’ll discover an abundance of art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafés. The district has a vibrant artistic scene, with numerous galleries showcasing contemporary and traditional works. You can immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring the galleries, browsing unique handcrafted items in the shops, and sipping a coffee at a traditional Dutch café.

The Jordaan is also home to several famous markets, such as the Noordermarkt and the Monday morning flea market on the Westerstraat. These markets offer a treasure trove of vintage finds, antiques, fresh produce, and local delicacies. It’s a great opportunity to engage with the local community and experience the lively atmosphere of the neighbourhood.

One of the highlights of the Jordaan is the Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II. In addition to its cultural offerings, the Jordaan is also known for its vibrant nightlife. The district is dotted with cozy bars, traditional Dutch pubs, and live music venues. It’s the perfect place to relax with a drink and enjoy the local ambiance.

Whether you’re strolling along the canals, exploring the shops and galleries, or immersing yourself in the history and culture, a visit to the Jordaan district promises a delightful and enriching experience. It’s a neighbourhood that encapsulates the essence of Amsterdam’s charm and provides a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage.

3. Van Gogh Museum

Total Time – 2 – 3 Hours

Guide you through the different periods of van Gogh’s life.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum, Museumplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an immersive and captivating experience that allows you to delve into the world of one of the most celebrated artists in history. With over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters by Vincent van Gogh, the museum offers a comprehensive collection that showcases his artistic journey and personal struggles.

Upon entering the museum, you are immediately struck by the vibrant and evocative works of art that adorn the walls. From iconic masterpieces like “Sunflowers” and “The Bedroom” to lesser-known gems, each painting tells a story and reflects van Gogh’s unique artistic style. The museum’s well-curated exhibitions guide you through the different periods of van Gogh’s life, providing insight into his artistic development and the challenges he faced.

As you explore the galleries, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about van Gogh’s influences, his relationships with other artists, and the historical context in which he worked. The museum’s informative displays and audio guides offer valuable commentary and interpretation, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the artist’s techniques, inspirations, and the emotions that infused his work.

In addition to the paintings, the museum houses a vast collection of van Gogh’s drawings and letters, providing a glimpse into his creative process and inner thoughts. These personal artifacts offer a unique perspective on van Gogh’s life and shed light on the struggles he faced, making the visit a truly immersive experience.

The Van Gogh Museum also offers temporary exhibitions that showcase works by other artists who were influenced by van Gogh, as well as educational programs and events for all ages. The museum’s gift shop is a treasure trove of art-related merchandise, including books, prints, and souvenirs inspired by van Gogh’s iconic artworks.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a fan of van Gogh’s work, or simply curious about the life and legacy of this extraordinary artist, a visit to the Van Gogh Museum is an enriching and inspiring experience. The museum’s dedication to preserving and sharing van Gogh’s artistic legacy ensures that his profound impact on the art world continues to resonate with visitors from around the globe.

4. Red Light District

Total Time – 3 – 4 Hours

The area comes alive after dark

Red Light District
Red Light District Amsterdam Centrum, Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A visit to Amsterdam’s Red Light District is a unique and intriguing experience that offers a glimpse into a part of the city’s history and culture. Known for its distinct red-lit windows and vibrant atmosphere, the district has become an iconic symbol of Amsterdam.

As you wander through the narrow streets of the Red Light District, you’ll encounter rows of windows with seductive displays of women. It’s important to approach this area with an open mind and respect for the women who work here, as they are engaging in legal and regulated work. The district is also home to a variety of bars, clubs, and shops, creating a lively and bustling atmosphere.

Beyond the infamous windows, the Red Light District has much more to offer. You’ll find a range of quirky shops, including tattoo parlors, coffee shops, and adult stores.

One of the unique aspects of the Red Light District is its vibrant nightlife. The area comes alive after dark, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants catering to different tastes. Whether you’re looking for a cozy pub, a trendy cocktail bar, or a lively dance floor, the district has options for every preference.

Exploring the Red Light District during the day offers a different perspective. You can visit the Red Light Secrets Museum, which provides an interactive and informative look into the world of prostitution and the history of the district. The museum offers a deeper understanding of the industry and the experiences of the women who work there.

While the Red Light District may be famous for its adult entertainment, it’s also a neighbourhood that has undergone significant gentrification and transformation. It’s a melting pot of cultures, with a diverse range of residents, businesses, and visitors. The district has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, attracting people from all walks of life.

Visiting the Red Light District is an opportunity to explore a unique and controversial aspect of Amsterdam’s culture. It’s a place where history, entertainment, and the everyday coexist, offering a fascinating blend of experiences. It’s important to approach the visit with an open mind, respect for the community, and an understanding of the context and regulations that govern this distinctive area of the city.

5. Dam Square

Total Time – 1 – 2 Hours

Most iconic and bustling locations in Amsterdam

Dam Square
Dam Square, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dam Square is one of the most iconic and bustling locations in Amsterdam, known for its historical significance and vibrant atmosphere. A visit to Dam Square offers a glimpse into the city’s rich past and vibrant present, making it a must-see destination for both locals and tourists.

As you approach Dam Square, you’ll be captivated by its grandeur. The square is surrounded by impressive landmarks, including the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and the National Monument. The architectural beauty and historical significance of these buildings create a sense of awe and wonder.

Walking through the square, you’ll find a bustling hub of activity. Street performers, artists, and musicians entertain passersby, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. The square is also a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike, with benches and open spaces where people can relax and soak in the energy of the city.

The Royal Palace is a major highlight of Dam Square. Formerly the city’s town hall, it now serves as a royal residence and is open to the public for tours. Inside, you’ll be amazed by its opulent decor and stunning architectural details.

Another notable feature of Dam Square is the National Monument, which stands as a symbol of remembrance for those who lost their lives during World War II. The monument is an important site for ceremonies and serves as a reminder of Amsterdam’s history and resilience.

Surrounding the square are numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants, where you can indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing drink. Whether you’re interested in high-end fashion, traditional Dutch treats, or international cuisine, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings.

In conclusion, a visit to Dam Square is an immersive experience that combines history, culture, and vibrant city life. It’s a place where the past meets the present, and where locals and visitors come together to appreciate the beauty and energy of Amsterdam.

6. Albert Cuyp Market

Total Time – 1 – 2 Hours

Indulge in traditional Dutch treats.

Market stalls in Albert Cuyp Market
Albert Cuypstraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A visit to the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam is a lively experience that immerses you in the city’s local culture and culinary delights. Stretching along Albert Cuypstraat in the trendy De Pijp neighbourhood, this bustling market is one of the largest and most popular street markets in the Netherlands.

As you approach the market, you’ll be greeted by a colourful array of stalls, creating a feast for the senses. The market offers a wide variety of goods, from fresh produce, flowers, and local delicacies to clothing, accessories, and household items. It’s a great place to browse, shop for unique souvenirs, or simply soak up the lively atmosphere.

One of the highlights of the Albert Cuyp Market is the diverse range of food stands and vendors. You can indulge in traditional Dutch treats like stroopwafels (syrup waffles) and haring (raw herring), or savour international cuisines including Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, and more. The aroma of freshly baked bread, sizzling street food, and aromatic spices fills the air, tempting your taste buds at every turn.

Besides the food and shopping, the Albert Cuyp Market also offers a chance to interact with the locals. The friendly vendors are always ready to share stories, recommendations, and a warm smile. It’s a great opportunity to engage in some friendly banter, practice your Dutch, and get a glimpse into the daily life of Amsterdam residents.

The market is also a hub of energy and entertainment. You may encounter street performers, musicians, and artists showcasing their talents, adding an extra dose of liveliness to the experience. Take a moment to sit at one of the outdoor cafés or benches scattered throughout the market, enjoy a coffee or a snack, and watch the world go by.

Whether you’re a foodie, a bargain hunter, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, a visit to the Albert Cuyp Market is a must-do in Amsterdam. It’s a place where tradition meets modernity, where locals and tourists come together, and where the vibrant spirit of the city truly comes alive.

It’s a place where time seems to fly by as you get caught up in the vibrant energy of the market. It’s worth noting that the Albert Cuyp Market is open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, with varying operating hours. It’s busiest during the morning and early afternoon, so if you prefer a less crowded experience, you may consider visiting during the later hours of the day.

7. Heineken Experience

Total Time – 2 – 3 Hours

Insights into the ingredients used.

Inside the Heineken Experience
Heineken Experience, Stadhouderskade, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A visit to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is an immersive and interactive journey into the world of one of the most renowned beer brands. This unique attraction offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history, brewing process, and cultural significance of Heineken beer.

As you enter the former Heineken brewery, you are greeted by a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The self-guided tour takes you through a series of interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and sensory experiences. You’ll discover the fascinating story of how Heineken evolved from a small brewery to a global brand, spanning over 150 years of brewing heritage.

One of the highlights of the experience is the chance to explore the original brewing facilities. You can walk through the old fermentation rooms, see the giant copper vats, and even learn how to pour the perfect pint of beer. The interactive displays provide insights into the ingredients used, the brewing process, and the quality control measures that ensure the distinctive taste of Heineken beer.

Throughout the tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with friendly staff members who are passionate about beer and eager to share their knowledge. They will be happy to answer any questions you have and provide additional information about the brand.

Of course, no visit to the Heineken Experience would be complete without a tasting. At the end of the tour, you’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing glass of Heineken beer in the atmospheric bar area. It’s a great chance to savor the flavours and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating this iconic Dutch beer.

Overall, the Heineken Experience offers a fun and informative outing for beer enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone curious about the world-famous Heineken brand. It’s a must-visit attraction in Amsterdam that provides a unique glimpse into the art and science of brewing, while also celebrating the rich cultural heritage associated with this iconic beer.

8. Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets)

Total Time – 3 – 4 Hours

It is like stepping into a vintage postcard of Amsterdam.

Negen Straatjes
Negen Straatjes, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Negen Straatjes, also known as the Nine Streets, is a charming neighbourhood in Amsterdam that is famous for its unique shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Spanning across nine narrow streets that run through the canal belt, this area offers a delightful mix of vintage stores, trendy boutiques, art galleries, and cozy eateries.

A visit to the Negen Straatjes is a must for those looking for a unique shopping experience. The streets are lined with a variety of shops, each with its own distinct style and character. Here, you can find vintage clothing stores, designer boutiques, handmade jewellery shops, and specialty stores selling everything from books to antiques. Strolling through the streets, you’ll be captivated by the charming facades and window displays that showcase the creativity and craftsmanship of the local businesses.

Aside from shopping, the Negen Straatjes is also a great place to indulge in delicious food and drinks. There are numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants scattered throughout the neighbourhood, offering a wide range of cuisines and culinary delights. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely brunch, a quick coffee break, or a relaxing dinner, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.

Beyond its shopping and dining scene, the Negen Straatjes also offers a glimpse into Amsterdam’s rich history. Many of the buildings in this area date back to the 17th century, and their architectural beauty is truly remarkable. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter picturesque canal views, quaint bridges, and hidden courtyards that add to the area’s charm and allure.

Visiting the Negen Straatjes is like stepping into a vintage postcard of Amsterdam. It’s a place where you can embrace the city’s creative spirit, discover unique treasures, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of one of Amsterdam’s most beloved neighbourhoods. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply a curious traveller, a visit to the Negen Straatjes promises a delightful and memorable experience.

9. Oude Kerk

Total Time – 3 – 4 Hours

Admire its stunning architecture and artistic treasures.

Photo of the Oude Kerk Church
Oude Kerk, Oudekerksplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, is a historic landmark in Amsterdam and is one of the city’s oldest buildings. A visit to this iconic church offers a glimpse into Amsterdam’s rich history and provides an opportunity to admire its stunning architecture and artistic treasures.

As you step inside the Oude Kerk, you’ll be struck by the grandeur of the Gothic-style architecture. The high vaulted ceilings, towering pillars, and intricate stained glass windows create an atmosphere of reverence and awe. The church’s interior is adorned with beautiful artwork and ornate decorations, reflecting its centuries-old significance as a place of worship.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Oude Kerk is exploring its remarkable collection of historical artifacts. The church houses a vast array of religious objects, including elaborate gold and silver chalices, intricately carved wooden altarpieces, and ancient religious texts. These artifacts provide a fascinating insight into the religious and cultural history of Amsterdam.

Another notable feature of the Oude Kerk is its impressive organ, which dates back to the 17th century. The organ is renowned for its intricate craftsmanship and melodious sound, and it is still used for regular organ concerts and recitals. If you’re lucky, you may have the opportunity to listen to the powerful and captivating music filling the church during one of these performances.

In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Oude Kerk is also a peaceful sanctuary amidst the bustling city. The church’s serene atmosphere and quiet corners provide a welcome respite from the busy streets of Amsterdam. You can take a moment to reflect, light a candle, or simply sit and soak in the tranquil ambiance.

Outside the church, you can explore the surrounding square, known as the Oudekerksplein. This lively square is lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and art galleries, creating a vibrant atmosphere that blends old-world charm with contemporary flair. It’s a great place to relax, people-watch, and enjoy the bustling energy of the city.

In conclusion, a visit to the Oude Kerk is a journey through time and a chance to experience the rich history and spiritual ambiance of Amsterdam. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a moment of peace and reflection, the Oude Kerk is a must-visit destination that will leave a lasting impression.

10. Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Total Time – 1 – 2 Hours

Delightful ambiance as you soak in the views

Image taken from a boat cruising down a canal in Amsterdam
Canals of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A canal cruise in Amsterdam is an enchanting way to explore the city and experience its unique charm. With its intricate network of canals, picturesque bridges, and stunning architecture, Amsterdam’s canal system is truly a sight to behold.

As you embark on a canal cruise, you’ll be greeted by the soothing rhythm of the water and the gentle swaying of the boat. The cruise takes you along the main canals, such as the Prinsengracht, Herengracht, and Keizersgracht, allowing you to admire the historic canal houses lining the shores. These elegant buildings, with their narrow facades and ornate gables, showcase the city’s rich architectural heritage.

The cruise also takes you past iconic landmarks like the Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk, and the Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug), offering unique perspectives and photo opportunities. Along the way, knowledgeable guides provide insightful commentary about Amsterdam’s history, culture, and landmarks, adding depth to your experience.

As you glide through the canals, you’ll witness the vibrant and diverse life of the city. From cyclists whizzing by to people enjoying a leisurely stroll along the canal paths, the energy of Amsterdam is palpable. You’ll also see the charming houseboats that dot the waterways, providing a glimpse into the unique lifestyle of those who call the canals their home.

Depending on the type of cruise you choose, you may also enjoy onboard amenities such as refreshments, snacks, or even a full dinner. Some cruises offer live music, creating a delightful ambiance as you soak in the views. The boats are comfortable and spacious, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable journey.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveller, a canal cruise in Amsterdam offers a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the city’s beauty from a unique perspective. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in its history, soak up the vibrant atmosphere, and create lasting memories of your time in this enchanting city.

Continent: Europe

Amsterdam, Europe, Holland