In April of 2019, I headed for my first time to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I went for a three-day trip to this country that was new to me. My head was spinning trying to narrow down my list to the best adventures in Amsterdam. To help me plan my trip to Amsterdam, I asked all my travel blogging friends for their recommendations for the best things to do in Amsterdam and the best day trips from Amsterdam. I wanted to share my findings with my readers too! Now that I am back, you can also read about what I did with my long weekend in Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
Cool Things to See in Amsterdam: Points of Interest
The Jordaan from Shobha at Just Go Places
Stay in a Houseboat from Euro Travel Coach
For a unique stay in Amsterdam, you can’t beat a houseboat rental! Houseboats first became popular in Amsterdam following the second world war as an answer to the housing shortage – some people simply built a house on top of a pontoon raft, while others converted old metal ships. Today, you can still find nearly 2,500 houseboats dotting the canals, many of which have been completely refurbished and decked out with creature comforts. You’ll find several of them available for short-term rental via Airbnb, HomeAway, and other sites. One particularly nice option is The Bambooboat. This floating home has room for up to six guests, two full bathrooms, a compact but efficient kitchen, and a lovely outdoor space where you can enjoy views of the Old Harbor. Han, the proud owner, will make sure that you have everything you need for a great stay including slippers, coffee, guidebooks, fresh tulips, and instructions for all the appliances. If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s as distinctive as Amsterdam itself, The Bambooboat certainly fits the bill.
The Anne Frank House from Roxanna of Gypsy with a Day Job
Upon entry there is a museum with detailed historical information about WWII and the Nazi regime terror through the Netherlands, and upon the Jewish community. Then the tour moves into rooms that maintained business through the war, that enabled the secrecy, and the small annex. Visitors receive a headset tour guide that is available in many languages, to take the tour at their own pace.
Tickets to the Anne Frank Huis can only be purchased online, and within very specific parameters. Groups are scheduled back to back, in 15 minute increments. We recommend scheduling an early morning tour.
Read more on Gypsy with a Day Job.
The Heineken Experience from Christine at And the Story Goes
Our Lord in the Attic Church From Kelly of Girl with a Passport
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a huge church person. I mean yes, many of these buildings are adorned with amazing stained glass, but seeing one crucifix after another can get kind of dull. I start to get this glazed over look on my face and begin to think about my next meal and not the church I’m visiting.
ButOns’ Lieve Heer op Solder (aka Our Lord in the Attic) is completely different and one of the coolest churches I’ve ever seen.
See, believe it or not, this church is actually hidden away in the attic of a 17th-century canal house (As a result of the Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands, Catholics could only practice their faith within the privacy of their own home)! Pretty amazing huh?
Plus, the whole house has been restored and transformed into a living museum where you can seamlessly walk back in time. As you enter this museum, you see exactly what 17th-century homes were like, and can better understand how the wealthy citizens in Amsterdam lived.
So if you find yourself in Amsterdam and are looking for something a little different to do, then check out this secret church in the attic. I promise, you won;t be sorry that you added it to your Amsterdam itinerary.
The Westerkerk Tower from Alina at The Happy Kid Blog
Westerkerk tower, built in 1638, is one of Amsterdam’s symbols. Belonging to the most important protestant church of the city, the 85m tower is the tallest building in Amsterdam and dominates the Old City.
Climb the Westerkerk tower to get the best Amsterdam panorama. It can be visited from April to October, except for Sundays, when the church hosts the religious service. The access is just in small guided tours. Make sure you are reasonably fit to reach the 40m wooden platform. You will need to climb a spiral staircase and then a few ladders. The stairs seem to be more and more steeper and narrower as you climb up. But all this workout will totally worth the incredible views.
Read more about Alina’s adventures in Amsterdam with a Toddler.
A Fall Visit to see the iAmsterdam Sign from Heather at Trimm Travels
Visit a coffee shop.
Day Trips From Amsterdam
Clara Marie Farm from LeAnna of Well Traveled Nebraskan
Volendam and Marken from Bruna of Maps ‘N Bags
Tiny wooden houses, raw herring, and traditional outfits: it can’t get more Dutch than this. The fisherman’s villages of Volendam and Marken are the sweetest places to visit near Holland’s capital. These villages are actually divided by water but you can easily cross it by boat, which is usually included in a day trip tour from Amsterdam.
While there, stroll down the main street so you can get a little more feeling of the place.
In Volendam, don’t miss the cheese and clogs factory. Highly touristy but without a doubt a fun (and tasty) attraction. In Marken, look for the Marker Museum to learn about the story of the village. Also, rent a bike to explore the narrow streets of Marken and to reach the House of Marken, of better saying, the lighthouse. You can’t come very close to it because it’s private terrain, but I promise the ride will be very pleasant as well as the view.
And since you’re in a fisherman’s village, try raw herring with onions, a traditional Dutch snack that tastes better than it looks. This is a day trip you won’t want to miss!
Read on for Bruna’s Top 13 Things to do in Amsterdam.
Chasing Windmills in Kinderkijk from Constance of The Adventures of a Panda Bear
Kinderdijk was one of the most scenic places in the Netherlands to get a glimpse of some beautiful windmills. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 and includes a total of 19 windmills. It’s location in the Dutch countryside makes it more unique and amazing, you get to see several of windmills in a row!
One of the most Dutch things you can do there is rent a bike and explore the cycling trails. If biking doesn’t strike your fancy, you can also walk along the paths and visit a couple of the windmills that are now museums. A boat tour is also offered to make it easier for pedestrians, there is a hop-on, hop-off boat tour that stops along the main row of Nederwaard windmills. There is also a longer boat tour that goes around the entire Kinderdijk area, this boat trip takes 30 minutes.
Kinderdijk is located a few hours away from Amsterdam by train and bus, but visiting Kinderdijk is the perfect day trip from Amsterdam. Its beauty is well worth the trek via public transportation!
I am very excited to be planning my trip to Amsterdam for April 2019! I chose to go in April to get a chance to see some tulips. Now that I have all my friend’s advice, I am excited to put my plans on paper. I am deciding between staying on a houseboat or a canal-side hotel. (Here is one that looked interesting on Hotels.com) Stay tuned to see how my trip goes and good luck planning your trip to Amsterdam.