There’s no doubting Amsterdam is one of THE best cities to visit in Europe – from the expansive and picturesque Vondelpark, its beautiful canals, the signature Dutch Architecture, to the artistic heritage of Amsterdam at the Van Gogh Museum, there really is a piece of Amsterdam that you’ll no doubt enjoy, love and want to come back to the city to explore again.

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Amsterdam has a reputation for being a fun city (justifiably so as we’ve gotten to experience first hand 😉 ) but there’s so much more to Amsterdam than amazing Dutch beers, interesting nightlife and more Stroopwafels than you can shake a stick at! After visiting Amsterdam multiple times and a trip already booked to go back, we’ve put together 12 Dutch experiences you should definitely have when you visit (reliably verified by our Dutch friends as being visitor-must dos). 🙂

12 Dutch Experiences Every Visitor Should Have In Amsterdam

 

1.) Watch a glorious sunset at Pllek!This Is Where To Go For The Best Sunsets In Amsterdam! (4)

This Is Where To Go For The Best Sunsets In Amsterdam! (3)

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You’ve got to give it to Amsterdam – it’s got some pretty epic places to enjoy a sunset over the canals! One place that you should include is Pllek, which is easily reached from the city centre by the free commuter ferry that criss-crosses the canal. Take a visit here an hour before sunset and enjoy those views with a cold Dutch brew!

Top tip: Head into Pllek early if you want a seat inside, the venue fills up fast due to its popularity with locals. Read more about why you should visit Pllek here.

 

2.) Stay on a houseboat rather than a hotel!

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Amsterdam’s most famous feature is, without a doubt, its canals! With literally hundreds of little waterways, this city is the perfect place to stay onboard your very own houseboat! We had the opportunity to stay onboard this amazing boat whilst filming our commercial for AirBnB and STA Travel. See our ‘Behind the scenes’ footage and the video here!

Top tip: There are loads of house boat options that suit most budgets, with quite a few being cheaper than a hotel room. See more about the specific house boat above right here!

 

3.) Discover (and climb) art at Rijksmuseum 
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Rijksmuseum is filled with some of the world’s best pieces of art. Take a wander through its historic corridors and discover its priceless artefacts!

Top tip: Rijksmuseum is only a few steps away from the art installation I-Am-Sterdam! A perfect place to practice your climbing skills 😉 See what other stops you should check out on a short visit to Amsterdam here!

 

4.) Discover some artisan roasters! 
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They’re right, it was better than mine!

Amsterdam has a rich heritage of excellent coffee houses that’ll leave you with a caffeine buzz for days! Bakers & Roasters create some really great coffee that locals and visitors love!

Top tip: Queues can be long, so arrive just outside of peak lunch times

 

5.) Get on your bike! 

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How can you visit Amsterdam without riding a bike! There are literally hundreds of opportunities to rent a bicycle for as little as an hour! Take to the streets and discover the city on wheels.

Top tip: A brilliant way to explore the key sights of Amsterdam is on a cycling tour!

 

6.) Discover the tranquility of the city canals

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Yup, those canals are hella famous (as we keep saying over and over again) and with very good reason, they’re actually quite picturesque and a huge part of the city’s history! Take a wander (or ride) around the waterways and discover a unique perspective of this really pretty city.

Top tip: Seeing the canals just after sunrise is a brilliant way to get a more tranquil look at the city!

 

7.) Shop thrifty! 
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Amsterdam has a whole plethora of vintage and second-hand shops just waiting for the bargain hunter in you! Discover the eclectic style and sensibilities of some of the best stores, like those at Marbles Vintage. Just don’t leave with a diamond embellished cowboy jacket…. or actually, do leave with on! That’s all part of the fun really – you never know what you’ll end up with here.

Top tip: If you’re looking for a vintage bargain, also look to head to one of the cities famous markets that run on most weekends.

 

8.) Discover the deliciousness of an open air market! 

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Need some delicious waffles? Looking for a pug-style plant pot? Fancy some chai tea from a caravan? Amsterdam’s got you covered. Take a wander around one of the cities best open air markets and gorge on some of the freshest food in town (pug planter in tow, of course). 😉

Top tip: Head to Waterlooplein Flea Market for the very best curiosities you can find!

 

9.) Drink plentifully at a Dutch micro-brewery! 
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Drink up at Brouwerij Troost! This micro-brewery actually produces all their beers on site. Take a peruse and a sip (or two) in this unique little spot in the city.

Top tip: Ask to try a little beer before committing to a full pint!

 

10.) Rent a boat! 

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My Winter Cafe Recommendation For Amsterdam (13)

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You’d be surprised how inexpensive renting a boat can actually be in Amsterdam, especially if there are 4 or more of you going! Hire a boat for an hour, take a picnic and enjoy your very personal tour of the city. See more about boat rental here and how to learn to navigate the canals!

Top tip: Pool your budget together with your friends to enjoy this beautiful experience, it can work out cheaper than you all paying for an individual ticket on a much bigger tour boat.

 

11.) See a Dutch windmill! 
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Windmills area big deal in the Netherlands! Head to one of the city’s most famous – De Gooyer and discover a little more about the city’s heritage.

Top tip: There are surprisingly few windmills left in the city, so plan your visit to one to coincide with other sights you want to see.

 

12.) Chill out at Hannekes Boom
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Embrace the chilled out Dutch charm of  Amsterdam at the local’s haunt of Hannekes Boom, a cafe, bar and restaurant which is complete with big comfy sofas, a log fire and hot chocolates to die for!

Top tip: It’s a great and rather inexpensive place to eat so it’s a perfect place to pop into around lunch time! See more of their delicious food and drinks here.


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  • Also…eat all the pommes frites!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yes! So true! Lots and lots of Pommes frites! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • It’s really time that we visit Amsterdam. In the vacation we will visit the Scheepvaartmuseum and maybe Artis. Amsterdam remains a beautiful city.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’ll love it Anneke – it’s such a wonderful place to explore! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I’m hoping to visit Amsterdam this summer, I will defo try and tick these all of my list!

    Tenz

    http://www.shesabouthatlife.com

    xxx

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! Let us know what you think. Don’t forget about that epic summer sunset! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Diana Maria

    That houseboat looks amazing, that would be such a wonderful time! All of your photos are so beautiful and make me want to visit Amsterdam again- such a lovely place 🙂

    My Lovelier Days

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Diana! We had such a lovely time in the city – it really was a special place to explore… especially on that houseboat! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • It must have been so cool to go down the canals in your own boat:)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It was such a lovely experience Tanja – we loved every second… though, we need to brush up on our steering skills! Haha!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Linda | travellersoftheworld

    Ik live in the Netherlands, just one hour from Amsterdam by train and i haven’t done a lot of things. Almost nothing from this really nice list! I love to read about Amsterdam, i defentily going to visit it soon! When you are in holland you really need to try a Kroket, drop and stroopwafel. And theres a lot more then Amsterdam. I really like Maastricht and near to Amsterdam Haarlem is really nice to.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Linda! Kroket… yes! We need to explore so much more. We’re heading back to Amsterdam in a few months, we might need to visit then! 🙂

      Thanks so much for the tips! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Ahhh, I just love everything about Amsterdam! Can’t wait to get back soon. One of my favorite things is also exploring nearby towns/villages to Amsterdam because they are all so quaint and adorable. xo

    • HandLuggageOnly

      They really are aren’t they Jordan! So glad you love the city as much as we do!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I’ve recently returned from Amsterdam and I absolutely adore everything about the Dutch Capital. Thanks for the suggestions for future return-trips – my friends and I would probably end up stuck if we ever rented a boat, but it’d be so much fun

    remindersofthechangingtime.blogspot.co.uk

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Haha! We were lucky that we didn’t get stuck… our steering skills have a lot to be desired!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Few weeks ago I was in Amsterdam and it was my first time. It was really a pleasant trip and I had so much fun in and out of the city. There’s sufficient things to do in the city and for anyone that wanted to go out of the city, there’s a lot to do too. Great balance =)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      So glad you liked your time in the city! It’s a special place isn’t it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Holly

    Love this post! A few things have definitely been added to my list for my trip 🙂 I was looking for a micro-brewery to take the other half too so thank you!

    Holly at http://www.ldnmuse.com xx

    • HandLuggageOnly

      The micro brewery is great! If you ask really nicely, they might even allow your other half to pull his own pints! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Amsterdam is up there on my list of places to visit – I might be going later this year! Never thought to stay on a houseboat but it definitely sounds like a unique experience!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Oh yeh! It really is a great experience to try Rachel – especially with a group of friends too… just make sure one of them is good at sailing! Haha!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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