Also called the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is one of those cities everyone has on their bucket list, and with good reason. It has an incredible history, intricate canals that make for amazing nights with loved ones, and a distinct flavor that can only be had there.
Whether you’re looking for its world-class museums or because of the incredible architecture, here are ten places that you should check out on your visit to this vibrant city.
- The Canal Belt
If you’re searching for one of the best ways to explore Amsterdam, both past and present, a visit to the Canal Belt is the way to go. The winding waterways, picturesque houseboats (that can be rented), and quaint bridges offer an incredible way to explore the city by boat or walking.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Canal Belt is a must-visit for any historians and cultural buffs. Additionally, it’s surrounded by beautiful 17th-century buildings—many of which now house museums, galleries, and shops—making it a hub of cultural and commercial activity in the city.
One of Amsterdam’s most prominent museums—the Rijksmuseum, is a treasure trove of Dutch art and history, making it a must-visit for any aesthete. The museum showcases an extensive collection of masterpieces by famous Dutch artists, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, and many others. Visitors can see iconic works such as Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “Milkmaid.”
The museum’s collection also covers the full spectrum of Dutch history, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century—offering a comprehensive look at the country’s rich cultural heritage. The Rijksmuseum is housed in a grand building with a beautiful interior, making it an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
- Anne Frank House
This is a must-visit for tourists in Amsterdam because it’s a sobering reminder of the city’s role in the Holocaust and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. The house has been preserved as a museum and is a powerful memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Visitors can tour the tiny secret annex where Anne wrote her famous diary. It provides a personal glimpse into the fear, hope, and courage of those who lived in hiding during the war.
The museum also features interactive exhibits and historical materials that help to contextualize the Frank family’s story within the more extensive history of the Holocaust. The Anne Frank House is a profoundly moving and educational experience—reminding visitors of the importance of tolerance, human rights, and the fight against hatred and discrimination.
- Dam Square
A historic public square in the center of Amsterdam—Dam Square is considered the city’s heart. The square surrounds historic buildings and landmarks. Various street performers and vendors make it easy to grab a meal and continue exploring. Similar to many places in the city, Dam square has played a role in many significant events and gatherings, including:
This makes it a must-visit for easy relaxation and people-watching.
Additionally, the square is home to several popular tourist attractions, such as the Madame Tussauds wax museum and The Nieuwe Kerk—a Gothic-style church— worth visiting for its beautiful interior and stained-glass windows.
- Van Gogh Museum
A once-in-a-lifetime chance to fully immerse yourself in the life of one of the world’s most famous artists—the Van Gogh Museum—is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture. It’s dedicated to the life and works of the famous Dutch post-impressionist painter—Vincent van Gogh.
Visitors can see an extensive collection of Van Gogh’s paintings, including some of his most famous works, such as:
- The Potato Eaters
- The Starry Night
The museum also has interactive displays, audio guides, and educational materials that help visitors understand the context of van Gogh’s paintings and the influences that shaped his artistic style.
- Albert Cuyp Market
Located in Amsterdam’s South, the Albert Cuyp is Amsterdams’ oldest daily market, perfect for travelers of all ages. What began as a way for the locals to get their food locally grew into a place where tourists could experience Dutch culture firsthand.
Additionally, the market is conveniently located in the De Pijp neighborhood, near several other popular tourist attractions, including the Heineken Experience, the Museum Quarter, and the Rijksmuseum.
A peaceful oasis in the city’s heart, the park features rolling hills, lush gardens, tranquil ponds, and scenic pathways, making it an ideal place for a leisurely walk, a picnic, or a bike ride.
The park is also home to Open Air Theatre, the Artists’ Pavilion, and the famous Vondel park fountain. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape to wind down after a long of exploring or a place to enjoy outdoor concerts and festivals—the Vondelpark is a must-visit.
- The Jordaan
This charming and picturesque neighborhood in Amsterdam is known for its narrow streets, canals, and historic architecture.
The neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the authentic Amsterdam atmosphere and get away from the events of the city center. Jordaan is filled with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants and is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening exploring.
The neighborhood is also home to several historic markets, such as the Noordermarkt and the Lindengracht market—great places to pick up souvenirs and local delicacies. Visitors can also stroll along the picturesque canals, admire the historic buildings, and relax in one of the many park benches or cafes that line the waterways.
- The Hortus Botanicus
The Hortus Botanicus was established in 1638 and is considered one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens in the city’s heart.
Spanning over 6 hectares and containing thousands of species of plants from around the world—including rare and exotic species—the garden is a haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Some of the gardens’ highlights include:
- A Palm and butterfly house
- A historic Orangery
- An extensive collection of medicinal plants
- Royal Palace Amsterdam
One of the best ways to experience Dutch Baroque architecture is by visiting the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Built in the 17th century to serve as the city hall in the 17th century and later as a residence for the Dutch monarchs—the Royal Palace today serves as a venue for state occasions and is open to the public.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is the chance to see the Changing of the Guard service, which takes place at noon every day. This ceremony involves a procession of guards dressed in traditional uniforms, marching to the palace to raise the national flag and perform a guard mounting ceremony.
Whether interested in art, history, or just soaking up the local culture, Amsterdam has something for everyone. So, ensure to add these ten must-visit places to your itinerary.»10 Places You Should Definitely Explore When Visiting Amsterdam«