The Ten Best Things To See In Amsterdam
An intoxicating concoction of world-class museums, rich artistic heritage, the notorious Red Light District and charming waterways, the ‘Venice of the North’ makes for an exciting holiday with a difference. Spark your inspiration to go, with our list of ten best things to explore in Amsterdam.
Containing the country’s largest collection of art from the 15th century to now, the lavish Rijksmuseum is where you’ll find Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ and ‘Vermeer’s Kitchen Maid’. It’s recently undergone a 10-year renovation and we think it falls under the ‘not to be missed’ attractions category.
2. Canal Cruise
For a romantic adventure, explore the waterways by boat. Highlighted by quaint bridges, the canals, which keep the sea at bay, wind past historic districts and funky cafes, through a canopy of shady trees. Go on dusk to see the lights twinkling on the water and don’t forget to take your camera!
3. Anne Frank House
Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl, hid with her family in this canal-side house during the second world war, after fleeing Germany. If you’ve read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, this is a fascinating glimpse at the annexe they lived in. There’s also an exhibition about the persecution of the Jews and very long queues, so get your ticket before-hand to jump them.
4. Van Gogh Museum
One of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum displays the world’s largest collection of the famous artist’s creations. The collection highlights include ‘Sunflowers’, ‘The Cottage’, ‘Almond Blossom’, ‘Self-portrait with a Straw Hat’ and ‘The Bedroom’.
5. Bike Tours
The bike culture in Amsterdam can seem a bit crazy, just by the sheer volume of bikes and bikers everywhere! This is one of the best ways to cruise around the canals and visit all the main sites. There’s an abundance of bike tours available and you can also explore the city surrounds in an eco-friendly way!
6. Red Light District
The infamous Red Light District is a flamboyant display of cheesy sex shops, a community of prostitutes and gawking tourists. It’s the oldest part of the city and you can indulge in the haze-filled coffee shops, vibrant bars and mind-boggling museums. One word of warning, don’t get your camera out, as you may find it confiscated.
7. Historic Churches
History lovers are in for a treat on an exploration of Amsterdam’s grand churches. The oldest is Oude Kerk for traditional architecture, but you can also visit the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Buddhist Temple, for a completely different look at spiritual life in Amsterdam.
8. The Flower Market
With colourful flowers displayed on floating barges on The Singel canal, this historic market is open every day of the week. Traditional Dutch tulips are only one of the amazing array of flowers you can buy and it’s also a fantastic area to find souvenir shops.
9. The Jordaan District
The Jordaan district was originally home to the working class and emigrants, beginning in the 17th century. It also attracted struggling artists at the time, including Joost van den Vondel and Rembrandt. Now, you’ll find modern galleries, art festivals, markets and a wonderful vibe filling the picturesque streets.
10. Vondel Park
When you need to chill out after a long day of sight-seeing, visit Vondel Park, which is the largest green space in Amsterdam. You can also see sculptures and festivals, especially in summer time, when the locals hit the park for picnics, drinking and fun in the sun.
Featured image source: (c) istock/thinkstock