During our trip to Amsterdam, we only had three full days to explore the city. There was plenty to do and we hope to go back in the future. Here are seven things that I would suggest doing if you’re visiting Amsterdam:
Anne Frank Museum
This is a MUST visit museum in my opinion. If you can only do one thing in Amsterdam, do this! However, keep in mind, you’ll need to buy tickets ahead of time (2-3 months out) otherwise you could find yourself waiting in a 1 hour line. Buying your tickets ahead of time gives you a specific window that you can visit the museum.
I strongly suggest going as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Keep in mind this tour takes your through the exact same space where Anne Frank hid as a child. Therefore, it can get pretty cramped if there are a lot of people in the museum. We bought tickets for the first entry into the museum at 9:00am. It was wonderful to not have to deal with ridiculous crowds of people as we toured the museum.
Amsterdam Canal Cruise
The canals are definitely one of the highlights of Amsterdam. They carve through the city and help form its borders. Taking a canal cruise gives you a greater appreciation for the landscape that these canals create. You’ll also get some great photo opportunities. There are several different tour companies and most of them leave from around Amsterdam Central.
Van Gogh Museum
This museum highlights the highs and lows of Van Gogh’s life. The audio tour guides you throughout each level which display many of his marvelous paintings. Keep in mind not all of his paintings are displayed here (since they are in other famous museums across the world). However, you will get to see his famous sunflowers painting, many self-portraits, and much more.
Take a Walking Tour
There are a couple different free walking tours throughout Amsterdam. I would highly recommend the Sandemans New Europe Tour group. The tour guides on these tours earn money off of the tips you provide at the end of the tour. We usually tip anywhere from $15-25 depending on how good or friendly the tour guide was.
We didn’t actually have the opportunity to visit this museum during our short stay in Amsterdam. However, it was highly suggested by several people I know. This museum features several Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings. It can be a little bit crowded at times so be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time so you can skip the line. You’ll also find the famous “IAMSTERDAM” sign right outside the museum.
Our Lord in the Attic
This museum, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, was suggested by our tour guide on our free walking tour. It was one of the highlights of our trip and an unexpected one at that. This unique museum features a tour of a catholic church built on the top three floors of a canal house. It was built due to the fact that Catholicism was banned in the Netherlands in the 1600s. They were able to meet in secret at this hidden house church that could hold 200+ people.
Stroll through Vondelpark
This park sits just on the edge of what most consider to be downtown Amsterdam. Think NY Central Park, but smaller and much more walk-able. There are streams, lakes, and wonderful places to lounge around. It’s a beautiful park so be sure to take some time to stroll through it.
There is honestly so much to see and do in Amsterdam. It’s one of our favorite European cities that we’ve visited thus far! We definitely plan on visiting again soon. Be sure to read our more detailed trip report on Amsterdam here!