You’re in the center of Amsterdam and are ready to go out and explore. But you don’t know Dutch and have no idea where to start seeing the city. Thankfully, I’ve been in your exact same shoes and compiled some of the best Amsterdam tours to make your life a lot easier.
Most Popular Amsterdam Tours
A canal tour is a very fun way to explore Amsterdam. There are over 60 miles of canals in Amsterdam and are a very unique viewpoint from which to see the city. After all, Amsterdam is known for its canals. You might as well take advantage of it and hop on an canal tour! Amsterdam is extremely popular for its canal tours and there are a multitude of different ones that you can choose. Some canal tours are geared toward just seeing the city sites. Others include dinner or drinks. The city looks completely different during the day and at night so if your time and budget allows, definitely do two! Most of the canal cruises take around an hour, which gives you an ample amount of time to appreciate the sights and sounds of the city. There is even a cheese and wine tour if you really want to get in the Dutch spirit! Visit the iAmsterdam website to see some of the tours offered!
Amsterdam even has a Hop On Hop Off canal bus! Most other tourist cities around the world have Hop On Hop Off tours on buses, but Amsterdam has theirs on a canal boat. Heaven forbid Amsterdam does anything orthodox! It offers an extremely unique way to see the city. All you need to do is get on a boat and ride it to whatever stop you choose. Tickets come in 24 or 48-hour increments and can be purchased at a tourist information booth or online. The Hop On Hop Off tours also give you discounts at selected museums, attractions, and restaurants.
Beer-lovers can rejoice, because there is a perfect tour just for you! The Heineken Experience is a huge, interactive museum that teaches you all about the history of Heineken beer. It is one of Amsterdam’s most authentic attractions because Heineken used to be brewed in the building until 1988. The Heineken Brewery tour takes its guests on a one and a half hour high-tech adventure. Guests can sample Heineken and can even try their hand at pouring their own draft of beer. Tickets are available online and it is best to try and get them in advance because they sell out early.
If you’re fortunate enough to go to Amsterdam in the springtime it’s imperative that you visit the tulip fields. The Keukenhof is the best way to see lots of tulip fields and other dazzling flowers. It has over 7 million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths spread over 32 hectares just outside of Amsterdam. The garden is a quiet and calm piece of heaven if you are tired of the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam. I was fortunate enough to go to the Keukenhof a few years ago and loved it! If you’re lucky and get to be in Amsterdam during the Keukenhof, you definitely need to check it out. My tips and tricks about the Keukenhof can be found on one of my earlier posts.
A truly authentic way to explore Amsterdam is on the back of a bicycle. There are many different bicycle tour options to help you maximize your experience. Riding a bicycle on your own in Amsterdam can be a little bit overwhelming. Tour guides know that, so they take extra care to ensure that you have the best experience possible. Some of the best bicycle tour companies are Joy Ride Tours, We Bike Amsterdam, and Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam.
Unique Amsterdam Tours
Amsterdam is definitely known for its coffeeshop culture. These aren’t like regular coffee shops, however. The coffeeshops in Amsterdam sell marijuana and are one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Even if you don’t smoke marijuana, the coffeeshops are worth popping in to just to see what the culture is all about. For those of you who really want to gain a better understanding the cannabis culture, there are even walking tours! FunAmsterdam has a walking tour here that takes visitors to the best cannabis locations in the city. It is definitely a unique tour that you’ll be talking about for years!
A tour of the Red Light District is another tour that explores the stereotypical Amsterdam. The city is home to the world’s most famous red light district and the area draws tourists from around the world. Tours of the Red Light District are common, but the tours themselves are a bit unorthodox. Surprisingly, Amsterdam’s red light district is one of the safest areas in town. It can get a little bit seedy in the late night but even then, tourists abound. Multiple tour companies offer tours of the area. There is really no need for a guided tour around the red light district based on safety concerns. However, tours can be very helpful because the guides will inform you about the history and all the information you might want to know about the world’s oldest profession.
The Netherlands is well known for its delicious food, so why not soak up a delicious food tour while in Amsterdam? From high-class cuisine to quick street food, there is a food tour for you! Eating Amsterdam Tours has lots of different food tours that will satisfy everybody’s taste buds. These tours go into the Jordaan District and around the city. Or, you can even customize your very own tour. Regardless, you can never go wrong when food is involved on a tour!
Even though there is no shortage of things to do within the Amsterdam city limits, I highly recommend going out and experiencing some of the region around Amsterdam. I wrote a post about the coolest day trips from Amsterdam, which can be found here. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who think that the Netherlands consists of nothing but Amsterdam. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Amsterdam is just one beautiful part of the country and I think you should explore as much of it as possible. So go take a day tour outside of Amsterdam and see a smaller city, or even another large one. The Netherlands is such a small country that you can cover a lot of ground within a short amount of time.
Even though you could spend an eternity in Amsterdam and never get enough of the city, many tourists take day or half day trips to nearby cities. Zaanse Schans is one of the most popular places to go. It is a community full of quaint green houses and beautiful windmills. It’s truly the quintessential Dutch village. Some of these tours take you from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans and to additional villages, while others just stop at Zaanse Schans. These tours are fun ways to see the Dutch countryside and get a glimpse at the windmills and tulips that make the country famous!