Are you planning your first trip to Amsterdam? If so, there are some amazing sights to see, places to eat and things to do that you might not yet be aware of. You’re in the perfect place to discover the things that you might have missed. Amsterdam is a beautiful tourist location, but there are a few things that may not be pointed out if you’re with a tour group or if you’re visiting friends or family. Here are 10 things that you absolutely must do, if you’re a first time visitor to Amsterdam if you truly want to make the most of it.
1. Go on a Canal Cruise
For a fun and exciting touring excursion, a canal cruise will allow you to glide through the waterways and get a totally different perspective of the city. Its much like a sightseeing bus, but you see the views from a different angle and it’s a faster way to see more because you won’t be stuck in stop and go traffic. You can book your canal cruise or stop by station for one of the more informal hop on and off rides. You’ll learn your way around the city and the tour will take you right by interesting landmarks.
2. Visit the Anne Frank Museum
Amsterdam is the home of the Anne Frank Museum which is the home where Anne and her family kept themselves hidden from the Nazis during a good portion of World War II. The museum has been renovated to appear as it would have during the era when Anne and her family lived there under the Nazi occupation of the region. The tour is a moving experience that offers an overview of the mistreatment of persons of Jewish descent during the horrific era when human rights were practically non-existent for some. If you’ve read, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the tour will have special meaning to you. If you haven’t, you’ll be inspired to go out and get a copy.
3. Sample the Dutch Desserts for a flavor of the cuisine
When in Amsterdam, you must try their amazing deserts there are a variety of different cafes and places to eat in the capital city of the Netherlands. We recommend trying their stroopwafels. These are best described as two thin cinnamon waffles that have a layer of caramel syrup in between. You can allso pick them up at a supermarket, but they’re best when they’re fresh and enjoyed with a cup of fresh coffee or tee. If you’re vegan, Ekoplaza is a great store to find the perfect versions. Their Appel beignets, and Oliebollen are also treats that you must at least take a taste of.
4. Stop by the Van Gogh Musuem
You’ll kick yourself later if you don’t visit the Van Gogh Museum when you’re in Amsterdam. It offers a variety of paintings and sketches from the famous artist. In addition, you’ll find hand written letters from the artist himself, penned to his friends and family. The museum is a multi-story building that contains some of his personal possessions and it gives visitors a look into the private life of the artist with some interesting facts and observations. You’ll also find rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. There are also paintings and works of art from some of Van Gogh’s close friends and associates, such as Monet, and others.
5. Go to Church
A must see for all first timers in Amsterdam is West Church, also called Westerkerk. This is a famous church with a rich history of royal weddings and other important events. While visiting here, you can view the tomb of Rembrandt, and enjoy the Gothic and Renaissance features of the architecture.
6. Visit Rijksmuseum
This historical site is a museum that was founded in 1809. If you’re a book lover you’ll really enjoy their library that contains more than 35,000 books. In addition, within the 250 rooms of the museum, there is an astoundingly large collection of antiquities and artwork pieces that are said to number around seven million, collected over a few hundred years.
7. Walk through the markets
You can plan to spend an entire day or even more walking through the markets in Amsterdam. You never know what you’re going to find to bring home as a souvenir of your trip. There are specialty food shops, cafes, and specialty shops that offer a variety of books, art, housewares, clothing and assorted gift items.
8. See the floating flower market
Bloemenmarkt is a special flower market that offers a large selection of flowers, vegetables and other plants. You can also find souvenirs here that you can take home with you, that make amazing gifts for the plant lovers in your life. While you’re out in the area, don’t forget to check out Waterlooplein Market. It’s a giant flea market where you’re apt to find something you’ll want to take home with you.
9. Go shopping in the Nine Streets
The Nine Streets is an area that features multiple rows of boutiques, shops, gift stores and more. It’s the premiere shopping area in Amsterdam. The Nine Streets is the area where the three major canals cross on the southwest edge of the larger canal ring in Amsterdam. You’ll easily be able to find a plethora of handmade items.
10. Visit the Rembrandt House Museum
This unique museum is housed in the home that Rembrandt and his wife lived in for a period of time. It has a unique ambiance because it is in this location that the famed artist actually painted some of his most famous works. The house is open for tours and you can find out more about the history of Rembrandt here.