In “Venice of the North” you will find lots of attractions and activities to have a great time. If you consider staying a few more days (the ideal period is 4-5 days), then we have a few extra options, like shopping at the Flower Market, a romantic cruise in the canals, visits to Amsterdam’s only mill and the Muiderslot Castle and many more. Attractions and activities in Amsterdam are so interesting that under no circumstances will you find yourselves wondering “What do we do now?”!
The 90 islets with the 165 canals are what compose this delightful city, which is often referred to as “Venice of the North”. You know that a walk around the numerous canals is a must! Taking this walk, you can learn lots about the people that live in houseboats, you will cross lots and lots of bridges, you will admire many tourist sites and have the chance to capture them from a different angle. As far as the cruise is concerned, there are boats that only cruise around the canals, while others go even further. Also, there are the simple cruises and the “luxurious” ones, accompanied by a meal and some wine. Finally, you can pick between a morning and a night cruise. We recommend that you choose the internal route, as all the romance is in the canals. Begin your cruise at dusk, so you can see everything under the sunlight, as well as when they are lit up at night. The 1-hour cruise is enough to get a “watery” taste of the city!
Notice: Pick a time that it is not raining! Otherwise you won’t manage to see anything from all the rain and blurry windows!
Suggested visit time: 1 hour
Open: Every day 10:00-21:00
Closed: December 25th-26th & January 1st
Cost: 14.5-16€ per person (for the one-hour canal ring cruise). Free with the Iamsterdam city card.
The know it all says: The canals sum up to 100kms in length!
Dam square, located in the center of Amsterdam is plain, humble and beautiful! The historically significant square is the meeting point for hundreds of people every day, reminding us of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz! From one side, it is graced by the Royal Palace’s imposing presence, while on the other side by the sculpture dedicated to the Dutch soldiers of WWII. In the surrounding area you can find lots of restaurants, cafés, clothing stores, the Madame Tussauds Museum (not better than London’s), the Peek & Cloppenburg and De Bijenkorf malls, as well as Nieuwe Kerk. Every now and then, lots of festivals and events take place, so it’s highly unlikely that you find it empty. It’s obviously more vigorous during the day, but is also worth visiting at night, as it gets more special in the way the buildings and the surrounding spots are “dressed” under the floodlights!
Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1 hour
The know it all says: The Palace’s 22,000m² are supported by 13,659 wooden poles!
Flowers, especially tulips, are one of Holland’s basic export products. That’s why you will find lots of outdoor and indoor flower markets, one of which holds the name as its trademark, as it is the most well-known. Its special characteristic is that parts of its shops are “inside” the central Singel canal, that’s why you will hear calling it the “floating market”. Inside the market you will find lots of flowers, bulbs, flowerpots, saplings and anything else you can imagine! The market used to be more popular in the past with crowds of people swarming every day of the week. Nowadays, it has lost a part of its quality and fame. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking a walk through it, if you have some time to spare. The best time to visit it is on weekends (especially if the weather is nice). Finally, you should know that it is one of the most inexpensive spots in town, from where you can buy Dutch tulips.
Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1 hour
Open: Monday-Saturday 09:00-17:30 & Sunday 11:00-17:30
The know it all says: Tulips can be found in a lot of colors, except blue! (If you happen to find blue ones, you should know they have been dyed.)
It is reasonable that when someone visits Amsterdam, they expect to find lots of windmills. However, as a contemporary metropolis, it could not host them in its center. Around it, though, there are quite a few, with De Gooyer being the most well-known and easily accessible. It is located in the north-east side of the city, close to the Artis ZOO and you can reach it either on foot (if you are at the zoo), by bike or the means of public transport. At its base, you will find two pubs that are truly worth your while (especially popular during the summer months), where you can quench your thirst, before getting back on exploring. It would be a shame to visit the land of the windmills and not manage to see at least one of them. Do not miss the chance to visit it and fill your album with wonderful photos!
Suggested visit time: 30 minutes-1 hour
Open: Always (the pubs close around 20:00)
The know it all says: It is the tallest wooden windmill in the entire Netherlands!
A visit to Amsterdam’s Zoo is a very nice choice, especially if you have children. It’s close to the city center (which is rare for a zoo) and access is easy, fast and can be achieved in many ways (by bike, tram, bus or on foot). The Artis Zoo houses a wide variety of animal species, birds, reptiles, fish, aquatic animals and insects. All species are placed in big, bright, clean spaces, so well-organized that we managed to see them all in 3-4 hours, without wandering around aimlessly. Of course, the Tip that we found helped us a lot in this! We suggest that you visit it on a weekday, because it’s packed on weekends and you won’t be able to enjoy it and take your photos. You should probably pass on a visit during the winter or if it’s raining, as a lot of animals stay inside (as is expected) and the sight is limited.
Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: November 1st-February 29th 09:00-17:00 & March 1st-October 31st 09:00-18:00. Saturdays in June-July-August 09:00-sundown!
Cost: 24€ for ages 10+, 20.5€ for children aged 3-9, free for children aged 0-2. Free with the Iamsterdam city card.
The know it all says: The Artis Zoo got its name after the Latin phrase “Natura Artis Magistra” that translates into “nature is the teacher of art”!
An impressive building of unique charm and architecture that has been a jewel in the city center for more than 130 years; the Central Train Station. Hundreds of trains are scheduled to pass through or begin their routes there for near or far destinations on a daily basis. On the inside, it is very big, modern, with shops that serve thousands of people. There is strong policing throughout the day, so it is safe, even in the late hours. Also, the station’s staff is very accommodating, kind and always at your service for any help. Outside the station, lots of buses, trams and metro lines begin their routes that can take you to any corner of the city. Across from it you will find the Iamsterdam Visitor booth, from which you can obtain the Iamsterdam card or just get some information about the city. We were a bit disappointed by the insufficient information provided by the automatic timetables and the dirtiness of the place, especially at the end of the day.
Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1 hour
The know it all says: The station is built on 8,067 wooden poles, forming three artificial islands, called Station Island (Stationseiland)!
If you would like to do something different in Amsterdam and are a fan of football, we suggest a visit to the Ajax Johan Cruijff Arena. A modern stadium for the old, historic team of Ajax, with 5 European trophies under its belt! From the outside, it is a splendid, luxurious structure and what leaves quite the impression is the Burgemeester Stramanweg Street that literally passes under the arena! It is also beautiful on the inside, clean, functional and accessible to all, with escalators, resting spots, modern changing rooms and a high quality football field. On the tour you will learn all about the team’s history and be impressed by the trophies, shirts, balls and the countless photographs that decorate the stadium! The tour guide is really polite and willing to answer to all the questions, giving useful information and letting you wander around the press room, the museum, the VIP seats and other spaces. Finally, at the ground floor you will find the boutique will lots of Ajax-related products and souvenirs.
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Every 45 minutes from 10.30 to 16.30, September-June. Every 20 minutes from 10.30 to 16.50, July-August.
Cost: 16.5€ for adults & 11€ for children. If you book your tickets Online online they cost 15€ for adults and 10€ for children. Free with the Iamsterdam city card.
The know it all says: The Ajax Arena is the first in Europe with a retractable roof!
In the city of Muiden, 15km outside of Amsterdam, stands the Muiderslot Castle. It is a square castle, built on water that looks like something out of a fairytale! You can access it only through one bridge, as it is surrounded by moats of water (and used to be home to crocodiles)! Once you get to the castle, you can learn about its history, see many of its rooms, admire the wonderful view from the top of the towers, wear costumes and transform into knights and princesses! Also, the interactive games will get you right in the mood of that era! The transportation from Amsterdam will cost you around 3€ and takes 20-25 minutes to get there. If you visit it on the summer schedule, pick a weekday to do so because it’s stuffed on weekends! Explore the entire castle and experience life in another era, even for a few hours. Don’t miss the chance to have an amazing, delicious breakfast at the bakery close to the castle!
Suggested visit time: 2-2.5 hours
Open: April 1st-October 31st, Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00 & weekends 12:00-17:00. November 1st-March 31st, weekends ONLY 12:00-17:00.
Cost: 15.5€/ages 11+, 9€/ages 4-11, free/ages 0-3. Free with the Iamsterdam city card.
The know it all says: Duke Floris V, who built the castle, was the one responsible for the first history book to be written in the Dutch language, titled Spieghel Historiael!
The oldest building in Amsterdam is “De Oude Kerk” (“The Old Church”), which is dated back to 1306! It is located in the heart of the city, close to the central Dam Square. The cost to get inside the church is extremely high, in our opinion. Its interior may be very imposing, due to its height and beautiful architecture, but it is pretty empty and cold. The only notable things worth seeing are the huge organ and the plaques on the church’s floor, under which are buried thousands of people! Moreover, there are some colorful stained glass windows that flood the half-empty church in mystique. What is definitely worth is taking a walk around the church and observe the contrast between the temple and the “unholiness” of the red lights and coffee shops in the area.
Suggested visit time: 50 minutes-1.5 hours
Open: Monday-Saturday 10:00-18:00 & Sunday 13:00-17:30
Cost: 12€/single ticket, free/ages Free with the Iamsterdam city card.
The know it all says: 10.000 people have been buried in the church, under 2,500 plaques! One of the people buried there is Rembrandt’s dear wife (plaque no.29). Know where you stand!
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