7 Things to Do, See & Eat in Amsterdam

Planning a weekend city break in Amsterdam and wondering what to see? You can pack quite a lot in 48 hours. There are loads of things to do in this city, so to help you on your way, these are my seven pearls of wisdom on things to see and do, and where to eat in Amsterdam.

♥ Restaurant Van Puffelen

This really is a great insider recommendation. It’s an amazing little bistro-restaurant serving delicious, wholesome food. The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable. Plus, it has some tasty vegetarian and pescetarian options. It has a distinct French feel, though remains very much a Dutch restaurant.

Dress up and head here for dinner. By about 10pm the small bar in the room next door is the place to be for a few drinks. Just make sure you stick to beer or wine unless you want to run out of money before 10.30pm.

Definitely book ahead, otherwise you probably won’t get a table. Find out more here.

♥ Heineken Experience

Before you write this one off, hear me out. I’d take a glass of Prosecco over a pint of beer any day, but when in Amsterdam it’d be foolish to dismiss a tour of this famed brewery that calls The Netherlands home.

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It’s super modern and sleek; full of innovative and interactive stations for you to ever forget that you’re not that keen on beer (or to revel in the fact that you really do love it!). From pull-out photo frame sets to the chance to create your own Dutch music video it really is a good laugh. The chance to become a bottle of beer on the ‘ride’ near the end of the tour is also surprisingly fun. The Heineken samplers at the end of the experience somehow taste even better than the ones you’ve tried at home – chilled to perfection. Your ticket also entitles you to a short canal boat tour afterwards.

Tickets cost around €18. You’ll find more info here.

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♥ Canal Boat Tour

Even though you can get a free boat tour with your Heineken Experience ticket it’s worth buying your own ticket for a full tour. Amsterdam is famed for its many canals that snake round and through the city. They’re beautifully iconic, so it’s worth seeing the city from a different perspective.

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You’ll be given a set of headphones to listen to the guided tour (available in loads of different languages, even including pirate!). However, if you’re not really into history and facts just sit back and relax, well for the most part. Some of the points where the narrow canals meet and fork create some interesting manoeuvres!

I’d recommend the tour just opposite the Heineken Experience. Tickets cost around €18.

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♥ Bluespoon Restaurant

This place counts as a ‘see’ and a ‘do’. The decor is contemporary and exciting, and will have your eyes darting all over the place. The open plan kitchen showcases the talents of the amazing chefs and let’s just say that ‘doing’ is all about eating. Eating the freshly cooked breads, the artistic nibbles and the piece d resistance, the delicious desserts.

Book ahead to avoid disappointment and allow a good few hours. You can read the full write-up here.

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♥ Party with the Locals

The tourists stay in the city centre, but those in the know (that’s you) head in the other direction to drink with the locals. Small bars overspill with handsome and gorgeous Dutchies. The Netherlands is home to the tallest people and nearly everyone seems to look like a model. They squeeze into the bars and those that can’t manage to find a space, linger outside drinking and chatting away. It’s a friendly, buzzing side to the city.

Head to Cafe Gollem from 9pm onwards and you’ll soon see loads of cute spots nearby.

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♥ Hop on a Bike

Everyone in Amsterdam owns a bike. How they ever find their bike in the mountain of knocked over bicycles I’m not sure, but they own one. It’s like Oxford multiplied by five hundred thousand. Be a local for a few hours and hire your own one to explore all the winding lanes.

When you’re ready for a little pause, take a walk along to the only floating flower market in the world, Bloemenmarkt. You’ll find beautiful bulbs to take home, as well as impressive blooms and iconic tulips.

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♥ Red Light District

Sex is always going to sell and that seems to be the case in terms of Amsterdam. You’ll see crowds heading from the station over to the area, laughing and jeering and the sights to come. You could easily go to the city and avoid this small part of Amsterdam, but although it’s a little risqué it’s worth a sneaky peak.

From afar you’d never know what was going on. Like most of the city, it’s a pretty cobbled grid made up of tall, old buildings leaning into one another, alongside the canal. However, the closer you get the more you’ll realise the difference. Naked (or near enough) ladies, men and all the in-between stand in the windows trying to entice customers. They’ll wink, wave – whatever you like them to do. It’s sad and funny in equal measures. Avoid the Sex Museum (it’s pretty naff) and the tacky sex shops, but spare an hour to do a bit of window shopping!

With ridiculously cheap flights from the UK to The Netherlands (thank you easyJet and Ryanair), as well as more than affordable stylish crash pads (thank you Hotel V Fredericksplein), you really have no excuse not to visit.

Have you been to Amsterdam or is it somewhere you’d like to visit? Do you have any recommendations to add to this list?

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Comments (21)

  • […] team it with a visit to Amsterdam, even if you only have a weekend to play with. Click to read my seven recommended things to see and do in Amsterdam or this page if you need a bit more help planning your trip, and of course, feel free to ask any […]

  • […] much as Amsterdam is a fab city (you can find my recommendations here), this time it’s all about exploring a little further afield. I’ll be checking out the city of […]

  • Josh 4 years ago Reply

    of course, the Heineken Experience :-) wont mind a glass of Prosecco either
    Chillin’ in charming and thrilling Amsterdam

    Yes to both!

  • […] so things slowed down a little. However, following a recent trip I did manage to share my top seven things to do and see in Amsterdam. Do you have any tips or recommendations to add to it? I also dedicated a #SundayServed post to […]

  • Natalia 5 years ago Reply

    Thanks for the tips-can’t wait to go back to Amsterdam and actually go on a boat ride! Your pics look incredible!

    -Natalia
    glitterandpassport.blogspot.com

    You’re very welcome and thanks SO much! :) I hope you get to visit soon x

  • Great round up! I must admit it’s more the canals, flowers and sights that have appealed to me more about Amsterdam (never been before) but there is something strangely intriguing about visiting the Red Light district that this city is so famed for! I’d be so unsubtle though, just staring around nosily :-D

    Thanks, Shikha!

    It’s really hard to look at near naked people at night, let alone in broad day light! As soon as they saw me I couldn’t help but look the other way!

  • Jodie Young 5 years ago Reply

    What a great list – I think the canal boat ride and renting a bike were two of my favourites when I went to Amsterdam last year. If you got back Trust Cafe is definitely one for a visit!

    Thanks for the recommendation, Jodie. Will definitely look that up next time :)

  • Cycling in Amsterdam (in the city and out in the country, too) was so amazing! I felt like I fitted right in – once I’d got the hang of riding a bike in traffic of course :)

    Oooh I’d love to explore out in the country too. I bet you got some amazing photos.

    Haha, yep, it takes me a little while to remember how to ride a bike too!

  • A Lady in London 5 years ago Reply

    Good tips! I loved renting a bike and cycling through the city. It made me feel like a local!

    Thanks, Julie! I love cycling in a new city too. It’s such an easy and cheap way to explore.

  • A nice list of alternative suggestions – I went to Amsterdam quite a few years ago and would love to return to the Rijskmuseum

    Thanks, Suze. The flights are so easy and cheap from the UK so I’m sure you’ll get to head back soon :)

  • Dannielle Lily 5 years ago Reply

    Just got back from a trip to Amsterdam – it’s such a unique place! I’ll definitely do the canal boat tour next time.

    Isn’t it just?! Yeah, the canal boat is a really good way to see the city from a different perspective – plus, it’s less effort than cycling!

  • jaklien 5 years ago Reply

    You know, some of these I have actually never done. And I am an ex-Amsterdammer… :-)

    When you live somewhere it’s easy to see it in a different way to those who visit for a short while. Perhaps you should try some of them on your next return visit… :)

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