Explore scenic canals, visit world-class museums, or enjoy glorious gardens on shore in Amsterdam
The Must-See List
It’s easy to explore the top sights of Amsterdam on your own, as the city is perfectly suited to exploration on foot or by bike (as the locals do). Of course, you may find yourself back on the water for a cruise of the canals, one of the best ways to see the city’s iconic waterways and picturesque bridges. Amsterdam is full of fabulous museums – among the best are the Rijksmuseum, home to famous paintings such as “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt, and the Van Gogh Museum, housing some of the remarkable artist’s most famous works as well as pieces by his contemporaries. The Anne Frank House is another poignant attraction, where visitors line up every day to visit the small rooms that hid 13-year-old Anne Frank. The famous Red Light District is often a draw for visitors, though the “adult” atmosphere isn’t for everyone.
More Memorable Sights
The Royal Palace – built in the 17th century and transformed into a palace in the 19th century – is open to the public and close to the National Monument, also worth seeing. The Oude Kerk is the city’s oldest church, a beautiful structure dating back to the 13th century. The Floating Flower Market on the Singel Canal is lovely to behold, with freshly cut flowers on display all year. Those willing to travel a bit farther on their excursion should visit Keukenhof Gardens, the 79-acre park famous for its blooming tulips (at their best in spring).
While you can find most of the world’s cuisines in Amsterdam, you should be sure to try a few of the local dishes. Grab a paper cone of French fries (the best are called vlaamse frites, or Flemish fries), which are served with mayonnaise, peanut butter sauce, and other condiments. Dutch pancakes, or pannenkoeken, with bacon, cheese, apples, and other ingredients, are a meal worth enjoying. A few great restaurants for Dutch cuisine include d’Vijff Vlieghen, serving modern fare in an artistic space; Haesje Claes, dishing out classic specialties; and the Pancake Bakery, for the best Dutch pancakes in town.