This listing of places to see in Amsterdam It will help you visit and get to know one of the most fascinating cities in Europe and the world. The city offers endless attractions such as canals and bridges, Baroque and Renaissance houses and buildings, museums, bikes, street vendors, shows, shops and much more that will delight all visitors.
Just as we said in our guide to traveling to Amsterdam (which we recommend reading to help you organize your trip), the city is a mosaic of streets that offers a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. The cultural diversity that is breathed through its streets, the halo of freedom and tolerance that is perceived in every corner of the city make Amsterdam a unique destination in the world that we encourage you to visit.
Below I indicate the highlights what to see in Amsterdam if you are going to travel on your own. If what you want is to take a guided tour to start getting to know the city, we recommend you join this FREE free tour of Amsterdam. It is highly recommended to do so because this way you will have a first contact with the city and at the end you will be able to revisit all those places that you have known but at your own pace.
1. Walk through the neighborhoods of Amsterdam
Walking through its neighborhoods was the main activity we did on our short four-day trip to Amsterdam. Without a doubt, it is the best way to marvel at its canals and bridges, to discover that cosmopolitan air that is breathed in every corner of the city, to contemplate the typical Dutch houses with pointed roofs, to get to know the main meeting points of the Dutch. , to locate hundreds of food restaurants from around the world, to find yourself immersed in an improvised fashion show in the heart of the city like this one…
2. Riding a bike, an activity to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam loves bicycles. Of all the activities we did in Amsterdam, one made me know that I was really in a unique city in the world. I was trapped in a sea of bikes and trams.
Bicycles are a sign of the city’s identity, which is why you can book this Amsterdam bike tour.
3. Dam Square, an essential place to see in Amsterdam
One of the main places what to see in Amsterdam It is Dam Square, the heart of the city. It is here where you can see the cosmopolitan atmosphere that I talk about in this post: people eating on the floor or a bench, playing an instrument or simply enjoying the good atmosphere and animation of the square…
In this square you will find the Liberation Monument (Bevrijdingsmonument), the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis), the old town hall (an example of Dutch classicism) and the new Protestant church (Nieuwe Kerk).
4. Floating flower market, another essential thing to see in Amsterdam
The floating flower market (Bloemenmarkt) is located next to the Singel canal and is another essential place what to see in Amsterdam. You may not even notice that the market is supported by barges moored in the canal.
Regardless of being an expensive place to buy flowers, it is an extraordinary place to visit for its variety of flowers, bonsais, bulbs, seeds… It is also a good place to buy that souvenir or gift that some may be waiting for when you return.
5. Rijksmuseum, another essential thing to see in Amsterdam
We couldn’t leave Amsterdam without visiting some of its museums. We decided to enter the Rijksmuseum, a gallery specialized in Dutch art from the 17th century and which has works by Rubens, Vermeer and Rembrandt among others. Without a doubt it is a must what to see in Amsterdam. The ticket cost us €14 (€22 in 2023).
You can hire this guided visit by the Riksmuseum.
6. I am Amsterdam
The city uses a play on words derived from English “I am Amsterdam” as a tourist motto. Some letters are phagocytized to finally obtain “I amsterdam”, or what is the same, “I am Amsterdam”.
With this motto you realize that feeling that invades the traveler who visits the Dutch capital and that makes you feel part of the city thanks to its cultural diversity, tolerance and freedom that it boasts.
7. Hermitage Museum, another place to see in Amsterdam
The museum Hermitage is another of the good places what to see in Amsterdam. It shows temporary exhibitions of pieces from the collection of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. During our stay in Amsterdam, works of impressionism were on display.
8. Van Gogh Museum, another essential thing to see in Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum is an art gallery that houses the collection of works by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. We did not enter due to lack of time. If you want a guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum you can reserve your place at this link.
9. Red light district, another essential thing to see in Amsterdam
The Red Light District o Red Light District (because of the color of the lights that illuminate the premises) is located in the historic center of Amsterdam and is the most famous prostitutes’ district in the world. The prostitutes are displayed in a legal manner and controlled by the authorities behind the showcases of the houses. In recent years it has become a tourist attraction where numerous groups of tourists accompanied by their guides can be seen. It is without a doubt a must what to see in Amsterdam.
The prostitutes pose and show off in their underwear behind the display cases. When they observe someone “curious” it is when they approach them or make some mischievous gesture to attract their attention and invite them to come inside. If you walk through the red light district and see the curtains drawn, it means that someone, at least two, “are working” inside.
On our 3 visits to the red light district the streets were very lively. On the two daytime visits, there were hundreds of tourists of both sexes and different ages (from one-year-old children to grandparents) who walked happily through its streets while contemplating the spectacle under a harmonious atmosphere. During the night visit we perceived a very different atmosphere. To the sex behind the shop windows was added the lustful atmosphere (and also, it must be said, not very respectful towards girls, of a significant part of the people, especially groups of boys) that was felt in the street as a consequence, perhaps, from the effects of alcohol.
Not only does the prostitution business exist in the streets of the red light district, but immersed there are striptease rooms, rooms with booths with porn DVDs, the erotic museum, sex shops, coffee shops and stores specializing in sado-masochism, condoms or lingerie. most erotic.
The red light district of Amsterdam is a visit that you cannot miss. In order to protect the privacy of the girls, it is prohibited to take photos or videos of them. The photo below is a fictitious montage close to reality made with Photoshop (I used 10 photographs downloaded from the Internet in which I distorted the faces).
10. Enter a coffee shop in Amsterdam
Coffee Shops are places for soft drug consumption. After the decriminalization of marijuana and cannabis in the 1970s, coffee shops abound in Amsterdam. Despite being distributed throughout the city, they are mainly concentrated in the nightlife areas, near the Central Station and in the Red Light District. Although it is said that since 2012 foreigners cannot consume marijuana in Dutch coffee shops, it is essential for us what to see in Amsterdam.
If you go to one of these places and you don’t have any skills on your hands, they can sell you the finished joint. In general, most coffee shops do not serve alcoholic beverages or food, but rather juices, coffee and tea. We, traveling with small children, decided not to enter any of these “exciting” places.
11. Sailing through the canals, an essential activity to do in Amsterdam
Navigating the canals and bridges of Amsterdam is (independent of walking through the neighborhoods) a good way to discover the scale and art of Amsterdam and to enjoy the city from a different perspective. Navigation takes place on a small cruise through the concentric canals arranged around the historic center.
Despite not being a saint of this type of tourist activities, I recognize that our decision to get on one of the boats of the dozens of companies that offer the service was a complete success. We contracted the trip with the company Rondvaart Koou. It cost us €9 for the trip of about two hours. From the boat you can enjoy good views of the network of canals and bridges, the boat houses and the typical facades of the city.
The visit, always guided, generally combines the English, French and Dutch languages. You must consult the routes in Spanish beforehand, as not all companies offer it. You can reserve your ticket at this link.
Amsterdam is one of the cities with the most green spaces in Europe. We visited Vondelpark, the largest lung (45 hectares) of Amsterdam. Judging by the high number of citizens who frequent it, Vondelpark is a leisure space highly appreciated by the inhabitants of Amsterdam, which is why it is one of our main recommendations what to see in Amsterdam.
During the walk through this pleasant park we saw hundreds of people resting next to one of its lakes, skating, cycling, walking, running, playing in the children’s areas with their children or simply enjoying a few beers in some of its bars.
I recommend a visit to Vondelpark. You can rest for a few hours on its huge patches of grass under the shade of its chestnut trees, poplars and cypresses or next to the lakes or ponds present, while you recreate yourself with the memory of the experiences and emotions you have experienced.
Map with the 12 main places to see in Amsterdam
In the following map you can see the places what to see in Amsterdam indicated in this post.
Where to sleep in Amsterdam
You can search for accommodation in Amsterdam at This isnlace.