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What to see in Amsterdam, the Venice of the North

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During our on-the-road trip to Netherlands, we spent a few days visiting the city of Amsterdam, one of the most popular destinations in Europe.

Known as the Venice of the North because of the 100 canals and 600 bridges that criss-cross it, Amsterdam offers a variety of interesting attractions: from the renowned museums to the open-air markets and the red light district.

And again, the traditional architecture of the buildings, the picturesque canals and the slow pace of life, despite being a large metropolis, bewitched us irretrievably.

We found in Amsterdam, as in the whole of Holland, a city that is welcoming and hospitable to tourists.

The ideal destination for both couples and families with children.

Let’s find out what to see in Amsterdam, and all the most important information to organise a visit.

What to see in Amsterdam

How to get to the centre of Amsterdam from the airport

Schiphol Airport is located 18 kilometres from the centre of Amsterdam.

The best way to get to Amsterdam from the airport is to take the Amsterdam Airport Express Bus (Connexxion line 397), which offers a cheap, fast and direct connection (€11.75).

If, on the other hand, you are staying near Amsterdam’s train station, you can take the train from Schiphol Airport, the journey time of which is 20 minutes.

Another option would be to take a taxi , but count at least 40-60€ for the ride.

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Getting around Amsterdam

The most interesting attractions are all close to each other.

But if you prefer to use public transport, you can buy a ticket that offers unlimited travel on all trams, buses, ferries and metro in Amsterdam (9,00€).

▶ For more detailed information and to buy your ticket – click here.

Amsterdam City Pass

If you prefer a single ticket that combines entrance to museums with transport on public transport, you can buy the Amsterdam City Pass, which saves you a lot of money.

It includes:

  • admission to Amsterdam’s major museums and attractions
  • unlimited use of Amsterdam GVB public transport (bus, tram and metro)
  • 1 canal cruise
  • bicycle rental for 24 hours
  • discounts for attractions, concerts, theatres, rentals, restaurants
  • admission to attractions in Zaanse Schans
  • admission to the main museums in Haarlem
  • ferry ride from Volendam to Marken
  • admission to the Zuiderzee Museum
  • admission to the museums of Muiden, Naarden and Laren

▶ For more detailed information and to buy the Amsterdam City Pass – click here.

What to see in Amsterdam

What to see in Amsterdam
What to see in Amsterdam

One of the best ways to get to know the city is to take an unhurried walk through its neighbourhoods and along its canals.

Amsterdam is easy to visit on foot and with buggies.

A visit to the historic Dam Square, the heart of the city, surrounded by historical buildings such as the Royal Palace and the Niuwe Kerk, is not to be missed.

Just a stone’s throw from the square, we recommend the Rob Wigboldus Fishmonger where you can eat raw fish (herring, eel, salmon) on its own or in a sandwich.

Open daily 8am-5pm, few seats inside.

Madame Tussauds

On the corner of Dam Square is Madame Tussauds, which has a unique collection of wax statues dedicated to famous people of the present and the past.

Among others, Barack Obama, Picasso, David Beckham, Lady Gaga, George Clooney, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa.

The wax museum is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00.

Count approximately one hour for the visit.

▶ You can buy your entrance ticket, with free cancellation, HERE.

What to see in Amsterdam: Bloemenmarket

Bloemenmarket

A visit to the characteristic flower market (Bloemenmarket) is a must.

All the flowers are displayed on floating stalls along the Singel canal.

You can buy various souvenirs including tulip bulbs of all colours to plant in the ground when you return home.

The opening hours of the Bloemenmarket are: Monday to Saturday 09:00-17:30, Sunday 11:00-17:30.

For a quick street food, near the Bloemenmarket you can find Frens Haringhandel, a fish market open daily from 11am to 5pm, where you can try the house speciality of herring.

The taste is not for every palate so, just in case, you can also find fried cod.

For fans of antiques, Waterlooplein is home to the largest flea market.

Canal cruise

what to see in amsterdam

To see Amsterdam from a different perspective, the Canal Cruise is a must!

From the boat, you can admire the canal buildings dating back to the 17th century, the old merchants’ houses from the Golden Age and the charming bridges.

The audio guide is in 19 languages and earphones are provided free of charge.

There are different types (classic, evening or aperitif cruise).

For the simple 1-hour cruise, prices start from 15.00€.

▶ For more detailed information on Cruises – click here.

Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam offers a wide range of cultural activities to suit the tastes of the whole family.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of paintings by the famous Dutch painter.

The museum’s opening hours are 9am-6pm daily.

We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance to skip the long queues at the entrance.

▶ To buy a skip-the-line ticket for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – click here.

What to see in Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

The largest museum in the Netherlands is the Rijksmuseum, which has the largest collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings and a good collection of Asian art.

The opening hours of the museum are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

▶ To buy a priority ticket for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – click here.

The Museumplein, the large square where the Rijksmuseum is located, is home to other special museums such as the MOCO Museum, dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

The hours of the Moco Museum are 9am to 9pm Friday to Sunday, 9am to 7pm the rest of the days.

Scheepvaartmuseum Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) is the largest museum in the world dedicated to the history of shipping in the Netherlands, from antiquity to the present day.

Very similar to our Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa.

▶ To buy a priority ticket for the Amsterdam Maritime Museumclick here.

The Jordaan and Anne Frank’s House

jordaan

The Jordaan is probably the most famous neighbourhood in Amsterdam, with its restaurants, bars and meeting places for young people.

But also because it is here that Anne Frank’s house-museum is located, in which the Jewish girl hid during World War II.

Also here, the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt spent the last years of his life.

The special feature of the Joordan are its characteristic three-storey houses with inner courtyards (hofjes), built in the Golden Age to provide safe housing for widows and elderly women.

Today, some of these courtyards host open-air concerts accessible to all in the summertime.

For those who want to taste hummus and falafel dishes, we recommend d&a hummus bistro, which is truly excellent.

Open every day except Tuesdays.

What to see in Amsterdam: Anne Frank House

You can buy the entrance ticket to the Anne Frank House exclusively on the official website.

As it is one of the most visited museums in Amsterdam, the advice is to buy your ticket in good time.

Opening hours are as follows: 1 April to 31 October 9am to 10pm, 1 November to 31 March 9am to 7pm, Saturdays until 9pm. 25 and 31 December 9:00-17:00, 1 January 12:00-22:00.

For the visit, count about one hour.

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For a wonderful apple pie, we recommend Winkel 43, located just a few minutes’ walk from the Anne Frank House-Museum.

what to see in amsterdam

Amsterdam with children

Vondelpark

If you’re visiting Amsterdam with children, it might be useful to know that the Vondelpark, the city’s green lung, has a playground dedicated to the little ones.

Access is free and there are lawns and paths for walking and cycling.

What to see in Amsterdam with children: Nemo

One of the must-see museums in Amsterdam with children is definitely NEMO.

Nemo is an interactive science and technology museum housed in a boat-shaped building.

Inside, there are plenty of activities where children can experiment and learn while having fun.

Nemo’s opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:30.

▶ To buy a ticket for the Nemo in Amsterdam – click here.

Van Gogh Museum

If you go to the Van Gogh Museum with children, remember to pick up a booklet at the information desk to organise a treasure hunt among the painter’s works.

At the end of the trail, a prize will be awarded.

▶ To purchase a skip-the-line ticket for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – click here.

Excursions around Amsterdam

marken

Just a few kilometres from Amsterdam, there are some truly delightful fishing villages nestled in the Dutch countryside.

We are talking about the WaterlandGo to the full article.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in visiting windmills, those of Zaanse Schans and kinderdijk are the most characteristic. Click on the links if you want to learn more.

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Finally, if you go during the tulip blossoming period, a visit to the Keukenhof park in Lisse is a must – Go to full article.

Do you need travel insurance? As a reader of BimbeinViaggio, you are entitled to a 5% discount.

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