What to do in Amsterdam

Windmills at Zaanse Schans

In 2018 we visited Amsterdam twice, first as a four-day stopover to break up the long flight to Tanzania, and later on our Great Rivers of Europe river cruise. We found no shortage of things to do and see. Here are a few of our suggestions.


Amsterdam is a great city for walking. Just make sure you look both ways for bicycles before you step off the sidewalk, because they won’t stop for you. Within a relatively small central area you can see many sights and attractions, including:

  • the Rembrandt monument behind 18 or so life-size statues representing his famous Night Watch painting;
  • the Flower Market with thousands of tulip bulbs and other flowers for sale;
  • beautiful canal scenes;
  • the National Opera and Ballet Theater;
  • numerous restaurants and bars of every variety.

Canal Boats & Buses

Tour the city on a Hop-on, Hop-off bus and/or canal boat. We chose a 48-hour bus and canal boat ticket on City Sightseeing because of its bus schedule and two separate canal routes (during the summer). You can use either bus or boat to get from place to place in the city, or just sit back and relax for the full circuit to see and learn about places of interest.


  • Visit the Rijksmuseum, with its 8,000 works spanning 800 years of Dutch art including many Rembrandts, Vermeers, and Van Goghs.
  • Visit the Van Gogh Museum to learn about the fascinating life of Vincent and see around 4,000 paintings by Van Gogh and his peers. Be sure to rent the headphones.
  • Visit the Anne Frank House, but be sure to book at least a month in advance, or up to two months ahead for the peak summer months.


Bicyble (or walk) through the expansive Vondelpark with its many ponds, bicycling and walking trails. There are several bicycle rental shops nearby, with A-Bike having the highest ratings.


Take a tour of working windmills, a clog museum, and cheese-making at Zaanse Schans village in the nearby town of Zaandam.

Zaanse Schans windmills

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