10 Unique Things to do in Amsterdam

Tips for a visit to Amsterdam Holland


Explore Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a fascinating city, with enough to do to fill several weekends' worth of city breaks. Here are just ten activities which you can try and pack into your visit.

10 Unique Things to do
amsterdam city centre

1. The Famous Coffee Shops

Let's get this one out of the way first. Amsterdam is of course famous for its many coffee shops serving a wide range of... erm, coffee of course. Whether you stick to coffee or something a little stronger, these cafes are a worldwide icon of Amsterdam and must be experienced at least once by any city visitor.

anne frank house

2. Anne Frank House

On a more sober note, this is the preserved house where Jewish teenager Anne Frank hid from the Nazis during WW2, keeping daily diaries before her capture and transfer to Auschwitz. Now renovated and restored as a museum, it serves as a haunting reminder of a dark past that wasn't really all that long ago.

van gogh cemetery

3. The Van Gogh Museum

This is an altogether brighter place to visit, an art museum dedicated to the Netherlands' favourite son Vincent van Gogh. The museum is in possession of over 200 van Gogh paintings, with the permanent display featuring such famous pieces as Sunflowers, Almond Blossoms, and several of his instantly recognizable self-portraits.

canal cruise amsterdam

4. Canal Cruises

Amsterdam is criss-crossed with canals, and especially in the old city, these make a great way to get around. Either choose a guided tour of the main sights, or for more flexibility buy a day or weekend ticket which lets you hop on and hop off a canal boat to explore wherever and however you wish.

red light district

5. Red Light District Tour

This is a part of Amsterdam that really comes alive at night. Famous the world over for its exotic sights, this is still very much a working area, but with typical Dutch openness its not seen as at all tawdry to take a guided tour that will make your eyes boggle.

bike tour

6. City Cycling Tour

For a more sedate kind of tour, why not follow the Dutch example and take to a cycle? Amsterdam is famous for its cycling locals, and for a small fee a guide will ride with you to see the main sights of the city.

windmill holland

7. Guided Countryside Tour

For a longer break outside the city, a full day touring the Amsterdam environs makes for a change of pace. Expect to see windmills, dykes and of course tulips, and the pretty fishing villages such as Volendam make a striking contrast to the modern bustle of the town.

alkmaar cheese market

8. Amsterdam Cheese Market

Amsterdam's Waagplein ('weighing square') has for centuries been the location for cheese producers to meet with cheese sellers to trade their wares. This continues to this day, with every Friday seeing the hugely popular spectacle of over 30 tonnes of cheese being traded with much fanfare and enthusiasm. If you want to know more about what you're seeing, knowledgeable guides are available.

heineken experience

9. The Heineken Experience

Heineken is one of the largest beer brewers in the world, and you can get a taste of their history with a tour of an old brewhouse of theirs, now converted into a visitor centre with exhibits and a beer tasting opportunity. It might not be the beer-drinkers' paradise of old, but it's still an Amsterdam Institution.

amsterdam xtracold icebar

10. Xtracold Icebar

And finally, staying on the subject of booze, this can legitimately claim to be the coolest bar in Amsterdam. Themed around a 16th century Dutch polar explorer, 60 tonnes of natural ice keep this bar below zero, and visitors are supplied with warm coats and mittens to fully enjoy the frozen vodkas and cocktails.