The Perfect Weekend in Amsterdam
Collected by Melissa Adams , AFAR Local Expert
If you only have three days in Amsterdam, a walking tour, boat tour, museum-crawl, and evening concert are just a few of your activity options. Over three days, you can also experience Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District, get lost in the canal ring, chill out in Vondelpark and take a ferry to Amsterdam-Noord. Plus: get out of town and see picture-postcard Holland a short cycle-ride away, but worlds apart from bustling Amsterdam.
Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
One powerful and emotional experience in Amsterdam that shouldn’t be missed is a visit to the Anne Frank House. This home, where Anne Frank wrote in her diary while she, her family, and four others hid from the Nazis during World War II, has been...
Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beyond tulips, windmills, and weed, Amsterdam's global image is entwined with water. The Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) is made up of 165 fluid channels developed during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. In the ensuing years, the water network has...
Dam, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The central hub of downtown Amsterdam is Dam Square, and it’s been at the heart of the city’s history since the 13th century. Today, the open-air public space is ringed by shops and restaurants and packed with people, including street performers...
1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
Oudezijds Achterburgwal, 1012 Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's one of Amsterdam's prettiest districts, where swans glide on tree-shrouded canals and gabled mansions recall Holland's Golden Age: de Wallen, better known as the Red Light District (RLD). Since 2000, prostitutes have plied their trade here as...
Begijnhof 29, 1012 WT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Escape the bustle of the city by ducking into the quiet courtyard garden of Begijnhof. Located just a few minutes on foot from the Koningsplein and the Singel canal, this tranquil oasis dates back at least as far as the 14th century. Look among...
Amsterdam-Noord, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Once a place where convicts were hung, then a working class district for shipyard laborers, Amsterdam-Noord has evolved into a multicultural community with a creative vibe and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and cultural attractions. Officially...
IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Step inside the Eye Film Institute to discover an homage to international cinema replete with interactive displays and perched like an ivory spaceship ready for launch on the northern bank of the IJ River. The striking facility, accessible via a...
Enge Kerksteeg 3, 1012 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ever wondered how it feels to sit behind one of those curtained windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District (RLD)? Find out from women who've been there at the Prostitute Information Center (PIC), near the statue of Belle on Oudekerksplein engraved...
Hazenstraat, 1016 SR Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's a single street after Amsterdam's Negen Straats (Nine Streets), but Hazenstraat, the Tiende Straatje (Tenth Street), rates a ten in serious shoppers' books. Lined with boutiques, cafés and galleries, this cobbled strip in the Bohemian-chic...
Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The Bedroom, and The Potato...
Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at Stedelijk Museum. The modern art...
Kinkerstraat 1, 1053 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
You know what's annoying? Biking around Amsterdam on a bike that screams I'M A TOURIST. Here at Bike4U, you can get classic black Gazelles. Prices are good, child seats are available, and the Bulgarian guys who run the place are super nice. Note...
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 187K, 1012 EW Amsterdam, Netherlands
Did you know that Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon once kicked butt in Amsterdam's Dampkring coffeeshop in the Hollywood blockbuster Ocean's Twelve? Or that Amsterdam has a Jewish quarter with a museum that tells the story of the Jewish...
Prins Hendrikkade 33A, 1012 TM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Canals are an integral part of the Dutch landscape so it's only fitting you see them up close and personal, from a boat. Viewing Amsterdam by watercraft puts you level with Golden Age mansions, world-class monuments like the Anne Frank House and...
Zaanse Schans, 1509 Zaandam, Netherlands
On the banks of the river Zaan, time stopped three centuries ago at Zaanse Schans. In this recreation of a Dutch village in the 17th–18th centuries, stroll down streets lined with typical green wooden houses, manicured gardens and graceful...
Warmoesstraat, 1012 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ah, Warmoesstraat, Amsterdam's heart of darkness, the street that never sleeps. Well, maybe...between 5:00–8:00am, after the junkies leave and before tourists arrive.Set adjacent tode Wallen, the city's most famous Red Light District, this lively...
Leidsestraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's easy to have a love-hate relationship with Leidesplein (Leidse Square), a colorful if sometimes frenetic entertainment hub near Vondelpark, at Amsterdam's southern end. Accessible via trams 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10, the square is the stage for...
De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The red-light district in Amsterdam is a very busy place with an odd mix of life in one small neighborhood. In a peculiar way it’s very beautiful—there’s so much happening both visually and mentally it takes a bit to process it all as you wander...
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters...
Polonceaukade 23, 1014 DA Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its chill vibe, funky decor, warehouse-like interior and spacious terrace, Pacific Parc is a rock 'n' roll bistro with an edge. Situated in a former treatment plant at Westergasfabriek, the café-nightclub on Amsterdam's west side clearly...
Singel, 1012 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
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