Things to do in Amsterdam

Things to do in Amsterdam

When I was in Amsterdam, I tried to really make the most of the short time I had there to cram in as much as I possibly could. As I was by myself, I could work entirely off my own itinerary, meaning I saw everything and more whilst I was there. I bought a 24 hour Iamsterdam city card for 57 euros and that included a lot of attractions plus transports around the city – I ordered it online then picked it up in the airport. Here’s a run down of the attractions I visited and what I thought.

Day One:

Iamsterdam Sign
Yep, it’s a sign. When I went, it was fairly early on and snowing lightly so it wasn’t that busy. It’s free to see and is in the middle of the Museumplein, in front of the Rijksmuseum. Whilst it’s not actually that exciting, it’s good for a holiday snap and it’s near a whole load of other museums.

Van Gogh Museum
If you’re an arty person then I’d definitely recommend heading here as it’s a great insight into both his life and work, plus a lot of his more famous paintings are kept here. If, like me, you’re not an arty person, you may wander around not having a clue what’s going on and recognising the odd piece here and there. I’ll be honest, I went in because it was included in my pass and it was starting to snow outside.

The Diamond Museum
Though this is a smaller museum, I’d recommend going if you have the Iamsterdam card as it’s included for free. Whilst there isn’t a tour or anything, there are short films, lots of information about how diamonds are formed, mined and made into jewellery, plus there are lots of diamonds on display, including jewellery/crowns owned by royalty.

I wasn’t actually planning on going to this but I ended up being just around the corner and decided to go in. This is discounted with the city card and includes two drinks at the end. This tour is fairly interactive – though you’re not in a set group, you end up almost sticking with the same people as you move from room to room and different staff members talk to you as you go round. The tour definitely gets better towards the end once you’ve done all of the beer making process bit as there’s a ton of interactive stuff, including a simulator and a beer tasting.

Blue Boat Canal Tour
Again, this is included in the pass and it starts right outside the Heineken Experience. This was a great way to see more of Amsterdam, though the tour is recorded and you listen to it with headphones, rather than having a live speaker. I’m really glad I did this as it meant I learnt a lot more about Amsterdam’s history and I took it in more so than I would have done just walking around a museum.

Flower Market
I must admit, I was a little disappointed by this as I’d expected an absolutely massive market, full of fresh flowers, but in reality it was quite small and primarily stalls selling bulbs rather than actual flowers. It’s worth a browse if you happen to be in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back.

Though I was in two minds about going, I did think that as Amsterdam is known for it’s Red Light District and Coffeeshops, I should at least experience one of them – and I wasn’t about to start smashing the spacecakes any time soon. A lot of my friends had told me what to expect so I wasn’t shocked to see women in shop windows, though I found it a bit uncomfortable as I was by myself and didn’t have anyone to laugh it off with. (And not surprisingly, I wasn't about to get my camera out to snap a blog photo for this one).

Day Two:

This was the most heart-breaking experience though it was the reason I booked my tickets (tickets can be booked online for a time slot and are 9.50 euro). Anne’s story is known around the world and it’s something I studied as a child, but seeing the house, the annexe and her diaries put it all into a very harsh context. I would definitely recommend going to the house as whilst it is very sad (take tissues, you’ll need them), it’s so important that her story is remembered as a factual account, not something that will over the years become a dystopian myth. Being immersed in her world was terrifying as the reality is that her situation came out of a man coming into power fuelled by hate and discrimination.

This was the last attraction I went to when I was in Amsterdam and much like the Heineken experience, there’s the information covering history and distilling of Bols liqueurs and then you get onto the more interactive bit. The highlight for me was going into a room which made you use all of your senses to really experience the spirit – you do a shot and then stand in a room with strobe lights, a vibrating and shaking floor and really loud music. Needless to say, you walk out feeling absolutely smashed as it really goes to your head and they even film it for you.

That’s everything I got up to in Amsterdam, have you been?


  1. Ooooooh this is making me so excited for my trip in May! x
    Sophie Cliff

  2. I've just recently been to Amsterdam too! I loved the Heineken Experience and it was so good! :) Also I agree about the Anne Frank House, it's so hard hitting and I definitely welled up a few times!

    Looks like you had a great trip :)

    Tania x
    teabee | UK Lifestyle, Beauty & Travel Blog

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing time and packed a lot into your trip! I have been to Amsterdam befoe, and would like to go again. It's a great little city.

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

  4. This actually makes me want to revise so much.
    Great post Lizi. Definitely adding it back onto my wish list, along with all these places.
    I visited around 2002, but did nothing! lol So much regret!