A Quick Guide to Amsterdam: 9 Great To-Do’s!

A Quick Guide to Amsterdam: 9 Great To-Do’s!



One of the most photographed and loved cities in Europe, Amsterdam has it all. Architecture, culture, food, you could spend weeks exploring the city. For those that don’t have that kind of vacation time, here are 9 quick and easy items for your Amsterdam to-do list:

1 | Explore the Jordaan District.

Noted for its architecture and beautiful canals, spend at least a few hours wandering the area (like I did), picturing life as a resident in one of the gorgeous row houses. In fact, go ahead and book your accommodations here. The convenient location and charm will make a delightful base during your visit.


2 | Saddle up.

Biking is the notorious mode of transit in Amsterdam with 600k+ bikes in the city limits. The team at Mike’s Bike Tours provide a super fun and informative tour on wheels. We chose the ‘Countryside’ tour and loved getting out of the hustle and bustle to the lovely polder land along the Amstel River. Our tour included a stop at a cheese farm that also made traditional Dutch clogs, bingo!Amsterdam_Bike-22_NetherlandsAmsterdam_Bike-15_NetherlandsAmsterdam_Bike-7_Netherlands

3 | You know her, you love her, so you’ve just got to go to the Anne Frank House & Museum.

Her story is beyond moving so you can only imagine that walking in her footsteps is an experience all its own. Note: This is Amsterdam’s #1 tourist attraction so if you’d like to go, buy tickets online in advance or arrive an hour before opening.


4 | Taste your way through Amsterdam on a Hungry Birds Food Tour.

Oh boy, you’re in for SUCH a treat. One of the most savory AND sweet tours I’ve ever participated in. Explore the city with the friendly Hungry Birds guides and see it through the eyes of a local. Arrive HUNGRY and prepare yourself for everything from stroopwaffels (my favorite) to raw herring! Check out my experience here.


5 | Amsterdam has perhaps the best collection of art museums in the world.

I adored my visit to the Van Gogh Museum while the neighboring Rijksmuseum is considered to have one of the best art galleries in the world. If you’re an art enthusiast, do both, for me it’s Van Gogh that has my heart. Be sure to dedicate a few hours for lounging on Museumplein too!


6 | See what the fuss is all about.

Strolling the Red Light District after dark is certainly an experience. Some things to think about as you walk: the STD rate within the profession is the same as any other, also be aware that these woman ‘rent’ the rooms themselves, paying more for prime locations, less for undesirable locations – just like any business. My advice: don’t get too wrapped up in this scene. For the most part the Red Light District is incredibly touristy, filled with gawking male teenagers.


7 | Join Boaty Rentals for a self-guided cruise on the canals!

We savored the freedom, the breeze, and the bottles of wine we brought with us.


8 | Amsterdam knows cheese.

Join the folks at Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room for a fantastic cheese tasting complete with incredibly generous wine pairings. The experience is a fun classroom-style setup with lots to learn and taste. We absolutely loved it!


9 | Head to the Amsterdam Main Library for stunning views of the cityscape.

Take the elevator up to the 10th floor to access the rooftop terrace and cafe for a spectacular sweeping sight of Amsterdam!



P.S. If you thought this city guide was helpful then check out my guides for PragueVenice, Berlin & Paris!

  • I visited Amsterdam in the cold months, so I’d love to go back and enjoy more of these outdoorsy activities like bike riding!

  • Definitely! I was there last Thanksgiving and still loved it despite the brisk (using the term loosely) weather! 😀

  • These are some great tips! I am in Amsterdam regularly, but I think your guide offers the perfect balance between well known sights and perky unknown hotspots!

  • Love that you include the Jordaan in your tips! Your suggestions are really good, they give a well-rounded visit of the city 🙂 My biggest gripe is people who tell me about their wicked awesome tript o Amsterdam but who never left the green and red light districts!
    Also to add: the floating flower market on Singel is really lovely for those who want to bring bulbs back – or who just want to admire the vast variety! And for those who love food, the brand new Foodhallen is excellent not only for deliciousness but also for people watching :p
    Ok and one last one because I can’t contain my excitement: the old South of Amsterdam is like real estate porn. Seriously. Those houses are just BEAUTIFUL – plus so closely situated to Vondelpark (should you be lucky with the weather!)

  • I have to go back….if only for the cheese tasting!! Great guide chica!

  • Oh my goodness, such a helpful post. I love Amsterdam. I wish I’d known about the library tip last time I was there. I always tell people to eat at an Indonesian restaurant too. My fave was Kantjil & de Tijger.

  • Unfortunately the only time I went to Amsterdam was on a school trip so I didn’t get to do a lot of the cool stuff on your list. I did however have the privilege of going to the Anne Frank House & it was one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had. Great post! 🙂

  • So excited for our trip to Amsterdam this Spring, saving this helpful post for when we start planning!

  • I wish you had included the 9 streets (De Negen Straatjes), I know they’re mostly shopping related but there are some really cool cafes around and they look so quaint 🙂 They were my favourite area in Amsterdam. xx

  • I love this and couldn’t agree more on all except the food tour… and only because you went to Febo! I hate the food there! But I bet the rest was super good ;).

  • Great tips, Margo! If only I’d read this before visiting Amsterdam! lol. I did do most of the things you mention but I would have loved to take a cruise on the canals or a food tour around the city – maybe next time! 🙂

  • Yeah, next time definitely check them out! By the way, I read about your troubles in Paris, glad it’s all sorted out now. Welcome back! 🙂

  • Haha, fair enough. Febo was a bit too greasy for me but all the other stops were so delicious.

    Yay for next Thursday!

  • I’ve actually never heard to this area. Thanks so much for the suggestion, I’ll definitely check it out next time I’m there! 😀

  • Oh fun! Can’t wait to see pictures from your trip!

    By the way, I was chatting with my Father-in-law today and he absolutely loved your Iceland post. 😀

  • Thanks Angasa, I really like how you worded that, “the privilege of going to the Anne Frank House”. It really is a privilege isn’t it? What an amazing and inspiring little lady.

  • Thanks, dear! Do you take the train down from London? I bet that’s so much fun. So, next time I’m there I’ll definitely get to those restaurants. I absolutely love Indonesian food. 🙂

  • Thanks, lovey! 😀 So, cheese tasting next time, right?

  • Ohh I love-love all these suggestions! I heard about the floating flower market but never got to see it firsthand. People-watching and eating are two of my favorite activities so Foodhallen during my next visit is a must. Thanks so much dear!

  • Thanks so much Esther! As a frequent visitor to Amsterdam I really appreciate your nod of approval on this! 😀

  • Great tips! We tried the Eating Amsterdam food tour on our visit, though I’d love to try the Hungry Birds tour as well.

    I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award, by the way. 🙂


  • Great tips! We tried the Eating Amsterdam food tour on our visit, though I’d love to try the Hungry Birds tour as well.

    I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award, by the way. 🙂


  • Eek I know! I’m excited!

  • Hello! Just found your blog via Travelling Hopefully (hello below!), where we were both nominated for a Liebster. It’s been years since I went to Amsterdam, but your guide is fab and your photos are beautiful – I’m wondering if it’s not high time I went back! Greetings from Wiesbaden 🙂

  • I’ve done 4 out of 5 things on this list so it gives me some great ideas for the future! x

  • I do love Amsterdam, I really hoping to take a trip there again (soon!), maybe I can sneak a trip for my birthday in November hehe

  • Awe glad he enjoyed it!

  • Love the way you summarize the places to visit! It makes it very easy to follow! If you have still time to visit Rotterdam, here some ideas: http://bit.ly/MidoriAllRotterdam