Visiting Amsterdam for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
With cultural landmarks, vast canals, and liberal coffeeshops to explore, it can be tricky to know where to start in Amsterdam. From money-saving cruises to must-try cuisine, here are the must-see sights and top experiences that are ideal for first-time visitors to the Dutch capital.
Skip the line at must-see museums
A top time-saving trick.
Amsterdam’s best museums are known for both their cultural content and long lines. Book skip-the-line entry in advance to spend less time queueing and more time admiring the work of Dutch masters in the Rijksmuseum or masterpieces by the Netherlands’ favorite son at the Van Gogh Museum.
Cruise on the canals
The quintessential Amsterdam experience.
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a ride on its canals, which comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hop-on hop-off boats save you money on city transport and provide prime views of the Skinny Bridge, Old Church, and more, while lunch or dinner cruises offer a more intimate experience on the romantic waterways.
Bike like a local
See more than you could on foot.
Saddle up and set off on a bike excursion to experience one of the world’s most cycle-happy cities like a local. Follow a safe network of bike-friendly paths to cruise along canals, glide through Vondelpark, or head deeper into the suburban countryside, gaining an intimate glimpse of Dutch life along the way.
Sightsee in the Zaanse Schans
Give tulips a "schans."
Discover Dutch delicacies
There's no better place to do so.
While visiting the home of raw herring and decriminalized cannabis, every first-timer should immerse themselves in the city’s culture and cuisine. Join a tasting tour to sample a range of specialities, or opt to visit coffeeshops with a guide for deeper insight into the country’s liberal legislation.
Visit the Jewish Quarter
And the Anne Frank House, of course.
Learn about Jewish culture in Amsterdam and the city’s wartime history on a tour of must-see monuments including the Jewish Historical Museum and National Holocaust Memorial, or vist the Anne Frank House, the canalside lodging where the teenage diarist spent her last years in hiding under Nazi occupation.
More ways to explore Amsterdam