Today I’m thrilled to share with you all my Amsterdam travel guide. In it you will find tons of fun things to do in Amsterdam!
I was so excited to finally make it to Amsterdam – you may remember that Connor and I were supposed to go during a trip to London in March, but he got the flu so we had to cancel our plans. I’m almost happy it worked out that way though, as going in the summer was a wonderful time to be there! We had 3 full days which is plenty of time to see everything. Below you’ll find all of the fun things to do in Amsterdam!
WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM
There are SO many options in Amsterdam, from hotels, to hostels, to Airbnbs, you can easily find something for every budget. We chose to stay in an Airbnb just off the canals, and the location was perfect for walking around. I highly recommend staying somewhere central, because being able to walk everywhere made things so much easier. During our trip we learned that the best Airbnbs are actually the house boats! The canals are lined with hundreds of house boats, and apparently most of them are now Airbnbs. How cool would that be?! I definitely want to do that for my next trip.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
- My number one thing to do in Amsterdam is of course the Anne Frank House. I’ve been fascinated by her story since I learned about her in school (6th grade to be exact). The museum is incredibly well done – I had goosebumps the entire time. They have a free self-guided audio tour as you walk through the annex, which is very informative. At the end, you can see the original copies of her diaries. You MUST find the time to go here when in Amsterdam. Tickets sell out quickly, and must be purchased in advance. You can book tickets here.
- Go on a canal tour. The canal boat ride was one of the best afternoons of our trip. We went with Those Dam Boat Guys and literally laughed our asses off the entire time. Our guide was incredibly knowledgable, and very funny in the way she told stories. We were also encouraged to bring wine and snacks on board, which we of course took full advantage of. It’s such a great way to see and learn about the city – I can’t recommend it enough!
- Check out the Heineken Museum. Yes, this is an incredibly touristy spot. But hey, we ARE tourists! The museum itself wasn’t super thrilling, but at the end you walk through all of these really fun and interactive rooms with different actives, such as a virtual beer pouring contest. At the very end you wind up in a bar with 2 free drinks tickets! The bar area was SO much fun, and made the entire museum worth it.
- Walk through the Red Light District. There is absolutely nothing like this back in the states, so I was really curious to check it out. Originally we had wanted to do a guided tour but didn’t end up having time, so we just strolled through on our own. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it’s definitely worth checking out (I think it goes without saying that this is NOT for children!). It was crazy to see how normal it felt to the locals – it was just another night!
- Take a day trip to Gouda. Every Thursday during the spring and summer months they host a cheese festival, which is just as fantastic as it sounds. I came home with SO many unique and tasty cheeses (the truffled gouda was my favorite. SO GOOD.). It only takes an hour to get to, so you could easily make this a morning or afternoon trip.
WHERE TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM
- Winkel 43. They’re famous for their apple pie, and it 100% lives up to its reputation. It’s a must-try when in Amsterdam!
- Pancakes! Amsterdam. Dutch pancakes are a very popular dish in Amsterdam – they are best described as an open-faced crepe. You can have either sweet or savory, and this restaurant came highly recommended to us. They also have regular pancakes if you don’t want to try the Dutch version!
- Al Bàcaro. If you’re in the mood for Italian, you have to come here! It was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip. Everything we ordered was fantastic!
- Café Bern. We didn’t have time to eat here on our trip, but I had heard it’s the best fondue in town! I’m definitely making point to come back on our next trip.
BEST INSTAGRAM SPOTS IN AMSTERDAM
- Ree7. I’ve had this place bookmarked on Instagram for ages thanks to it’s incredibly Insta-worthy “Freak Shake” milkshakes. While they we’re a little too sweet for my taste, they really do make for an awesome pic!
- van Wonderen Stroopwafels. When in Amsterdam you have to try a Stroopwafel. It’s a classic dutch dessert consisting of two thin waffles with a caramel syrup filling. van Wonderen adds fun toppings as well, such as sprinkles and crushed M&M’s.
- Polaberry. If you love sweets, then this place is for you. They make beautiful and delicious chocolate covered strawberries. They even have a unicorn strawberry!
- Pluk Amsterdam. Sticking with the unicorn theme, they make an unicorn açaí bowl here. The inside is also very photogenic!
- Corner Bakery. Amsterdam seriously has so many photogenic cafes, it’s insane!! This place also has some crazy milkshakes, as well as tasty brunch and treats.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR AMSTERDAM
- Beware of bikers!! Seriously, you will get run over if you aren’t paying attention. Everyone bikes in Amsterdam, and most people are moving fast. Be extra careful when crossing the street and be sure to stay out of the bike paths.
- Always carry an umbrella. It would downpour one minute, and then the next thing you know it’s sunny. The rain was never in the forecast either, so it’s best to be prepared.
- Wear layers, especially if you’re traveling during the summer. In the mornings it was quite chilly, but by the afternoon it would really warm up. I carried a sweater with me everywhere.
- Be respectful. There are a lot of things that we aren’t used to in America, such as the Red Light District or the marijauna cafes. If you don’t agree with it, then just move on!
- We had no issues with language – nearly everyone spoke English and the menus would be printed in English as well. The most difficult part was at the train stations. There was never any English signage, so it could get confusing. We just asked when we found ourselves unsure of where we needed to go, and someone was always able to help.
I hope this guide helps you in planning your next trip to Amsterdam!