Amsterdam Travel Guide: Must-See Amsterdam Attractions

Monday, September 14, 2020

 Amsterdam is one of the most popular city-break destinations in the whole of Europe. As the Netherlands' capital, it's rich in culture and charm, and there are endless museums, canals, and cafes to enjoy. Amsterdam is the perfect destination for a couple's first getaway. With so much to do, you'll need around a week to fit in all of these fun things. If you're thinking of visiting Amsterdam, here are all the exciting things you should include on your itinerary. 

Relax On A River Cruise

The River Cruise is one of the first things you should do on a trip to Amsterdam. What better way to get acquainted with this beautiful city than cruising through the canals on a river cruise? There are lots of different cruises to choose from, and you can choose a day-time or evening cruise. Some cruises even offer a lunch or evening meal onboard, if that's something you'd be interested in. Dining onboard your cruise is more expensive than others, so make sure you've bought extra Euros! 

I'd recommend the hour-long Lovers Cruise, which cost us just under 20 euros. It was the perfect introduction to the new city we were exploring. They provide you with lots of information about Amsterdam and the city's history, which is a bonus.

Explore The Anne Frank House

Perhaps the most famous attractions in Amsterdam is Anne Frank's House, my next recommendation. It's such a surreal experience because it literally looks like a movie set, but you have to continuously remind yourself that people actually hid here during the war. You really get a sense of how cramped and scary it must've been for all 8 people hiding in the tiny annexe. They had to stay quiet throughout the daytime to ensure that the workers in the warehouse below couldn't hear them. Certain individuals even risked their lives just to smuggle food in for the people who were in hiding.

If you're looking for a more historical experience on your travels, Anne Frank's house would be a great place to visit. Make sure you're respectful while you're there. Otherwise, it's one of the must-see experiences, especially if you're interested in history and the war. 

Take A Selfie With The "I Amsterdam" Sign

The I Amsterdam sign is one of the most popular photo spots in the whole of the city. The I Amsterdam sign is made from gorgeous red and white letters which stand around 2 meters tall. Like taking a picture with Mickey at Disney World, you need to make time for this photo opportunity on your trip. 

The I Amsterdam sign used to be located in the city centre but in recent years has moved to Schipol airport. This decision was made by the city council. The sign was attracting so much attention from all the selfie-takers, that they moved it to try to stop the over-crowding it was causing. We actually thought it had completely gone when we first went looking for it. However, it was a pleasant surprise before catching our flight home to find it right outside the airport.

Try the famous waffles and pancakes

You can't visit the Netherlands and not try their special waffles, known as stroopwafel. A stroopwafel is two thin waffles stuck together with sweet syrup, and I would highly recommend trying them. Amsterdam's streets have countless stores and cafes displaying the most gorgeous sweet treats to try, and an array of pancake houses. Some of the best places to eat pancakes and waffles are:

  • Chicks Love Donuts
  • The Pancake Boat
  • MOAK Pancakes
  • Carousel Pancake House
  • Sweetella
  • Wally's Waffles

Get Saucy In Red Light District

Located in the city centre, you should visit the medieval neighbourhood of De Wallen, also known as the Red Light District. This area can get particularly busy after the sun goes down, as it is famous for its sex shops, strip clubs, and prostitutes. There was a lot that we didn't know about when it comes to this particular industry. Seeing as the Red Light District is one of Amsterdam's most famous attractions, it seemed only fitting to stop by.

If you're around in the daytime and are looking to learn a bit more about the history of this area, you can check out the Prostitute Museum and the Sex Museum. Strangely enough, we actually thought the Prostitute museum, Red Light Secrets, was such very interesting. I'd recommend going to see it, especially if you like your trips to be a bit more educational.  

Stroll Around The Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam is full of museums, many of which are world-famous and a must-do for anyone visiting. For an extensive look into the history and art of the Netherlands, you'll have to stop by the Rijksmuseum. Not only is it a gorgeous building, but it's also packed with incredible paintings and sculptures. While you're there, also consider visiting the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum which are very close by. Museums are great ways to explore the city and learn about the heritage that created the Amsterdam we know today. Make sure you don't pass up on the opportunity to visit one on your travels!

Hire Bikes And Explore The City

One thing I didn't know about Amsterdam until recently was that there are almost as many inhabitants as there are bicycles in the city. After visiting Amsterdam, this statistic doesn't exactly surprise me. Riding bicycles is a very common way of getting around in this city, for both tourists and locals. One thing I will say is you need to be very vigilant of both cycling and walking around. There are bikes everywhere, and the last thing we want is an accident to happen!

If you're a little more active or want to explore the city on wheels, I'd highly recommend hiring a bike. There are lots of places that offer rental bikes, or you could bring your own. Bikes are a fun and romantic way to travel and make for great photo opportunities! 

Visit Dam Square

Before you leave, make sure you check out Dam Square while you're in Amsterdam. You'll often find lots of street performers to watch and people taking photos in front of the National Monument. Visitors can also admire the Royal Palace and the New Church. Dam Square is right in the heart of the city. It was constructed back in 1270 on the River Amsterdam, which is actually how Amsterdam got its name! It's a lovely way to end your trip and get in last-minute photos. It's very pretty, so it would make a lovely last photo for your album! 

Well there you have it, my top things to see and do when visiting Amsterdam. This list barely scratches the surface as Amsterdam is packed with amazing attractions and sites. I hope this has given you a few ideas to add to your Amsterdam bucket list. Amsterdam is big, gorgeous and ready to be explored, so make sure you visit it at some point in your life. What things would you like to add to the list? I'd love to know your top Amsterdam attractions!

About The Guest Writer

Em is a 20-something uni graduate from Kent in the UK, who shares all sorts of travel, lifestyle, and well-being content on her blog 'Em Going Places'. If you'd like to show her some love and support, make sure you follow her social media and catch up on her latest blog posts! I also wrote a blog post about London for Em, so make sure you read that too. 

You Might Also Like


  1. Loveee this! I’m actually going to Amsterdam in November (hopefully!) so will definitely be keeping this list handy!

  2. Amsterdam is on my bucket list. I was hoping to go this year but with everything that's been going on, I've put it off for now. I'd love to see the Anne Frank House for myself one day.

  3. I love Amsterdam so much! I've done most of these things and would 100% recommend them all too - especially the pancake places, river cruises and Anne Frank's house xx

  4. Amsterdam has been on my bucket list for such a long time. I've heard the best things about it. :)

  5. I've ALWAYS wanted to go to Amsterdam so this was a particularly great read for me!! Thank you!

  6. My best friend in high school had just moved from Amsterdam and I have wanted to go ever since. Haven't made it yet, but you definitely reignited my desire to go there.

  7. Such a beautiful post - I'm pretty keen to visit Amsterdam - I feel like everyone's been apart from me haha. Would love to visit Anne Frank's house. Hopefully I can go someday!
    Carrie xx

  8. Thanks for sharing, I have been to Amsterdam when I was a child, I would like to return and visit again at some point in the future :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes