|Bridge guardian, Amsterdam|
Amsterdam must be one of the few major cities in the world where you run significant risk of being run over by a bicycle. Helmets? Fugettaboudit. You could always play it safe and duck into one of the city’s many excellent museums, cafes, or shops.
Or browse the tables at a flea market.
Or hunker down in a canal boat.
Or just be brave and walk – this is a great place to see on foot. Just bring comfy, sturdy shoes – and look both ways before crossing. For more ideas on planning your trip, check out our Suggested Itineraries in Amsterdam. We’ve listed some of the highlights below. You can also browse more photos of Amsterdam over on the Viator Flickr page.
Day 1: The heart of Old Amsterdam
With so much to see and do in Amsterdam, it’s often best to just point yourself toward a couple of major areas and wander the laneways and canals. A perfect starting point is Dam Square, the heart of the city. From here you’re in spitting distance of the 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), the stately Royal Palace, and hundreds of shops and cafes. From here, walk up to Centraal Station, cross over to Oosterdok, and take in the exhibits at the temporary relocated Stedelijk Museum.
Then head back towards the 14th-century Oude Kerk – which just happens to be in the middle of the ‘Wallen’, or Red Light District – so, hey, why not have a gander? (Unless you’re with kids – definitely not for kids.) Further south-southeast is Waterlooplein Market, a big daily flea market with clothes, souvenirs, and other bargains. The Rembrandthuis Museum is just around the corner.
Along the way you’ll pass plenty of cafes and pubs, so refreshment is readily available. There are several ways to get an overview of the city: You’ll cover a lot of territory in a coach sightseeing tour; alternatively, make like a local and ride a bicycle – try a self-guided tour of some of the city’s impressive old mansions. Then treat yourself at the end of the day with a candlelight cruise along the canals. The ‘I Amsterdam’ card gets you a canal boat tour and free admission into 24 of the main museums.
|‘Snert’ – a typical Dutch lunch in winter, mmmmm|
Day 2: Culture Vulturism
Day 2 is ‘Museum Day’. Several of them are conveniently clustered together in or near the Museumplein (‘Museum Square’), including the Rijksmuseum (which is showing a limited selection of its collection while undergoing renovations), and the Van Gogh Museum, which has an unparalleled collection of the Dutch painter’s work.
Day 3: Tiptoeing through the Tulips
If you happen to be in Amsterdam in the springtime, you might find yourself downwind from the flower fields at Keukenhof Gardens. The grounds here are stunning – you could easily spend the entire day here (note that the gardens are only open from March to May).
Other options farther afield include the fishing villages of Marken and Volendam, local cheese farms, windmills, and the famous blue pottery of Delft. Rotterdam, with its unique collection of modern architecture is another excellent day-trip option. So, too, is the miniature city of Madurodam.
This is just a sample of what we recommend; read our full-length Suggested Itineraries in Amsterdam, or check out our complete list of things to see and do in Amsterdam. Or go even farther afield, to neighbors Brussels and Germany.