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How to Tackle Amsterdam as a First Timer

How to Tackle Amsterdam as a First Timer

With cultural landmarks, vast canals, and liberal coffeeshops to explore, it can be tricky to know where to start in Amsterdam. From money-saving cruises to must-try cuisine, here are our top tips for checking off the Dutch capital’s highlights—especially for first-timers.

Skip the Line at Must-See Museums

Amsterdam’s top museums are known for both their cultural content and long lines. Book skip-the-line entry in advance to spend less time queueing and more time admiring the work of Dutch masters in the Rijksmuseum or masterpieces by the Netherlands’ favorite son at the Van Gogh Museum.

Cruise on Canals

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a ride on its canals, which comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hop-on hop-off boats save you money on city transport and provide prime views of the Skinny Bridge, Old Church, and more, while lunch or dinner cruises offer a more intimate experience on the romantic waterways.

Bike Like a Local

Saddle up and set off on a bike excursion to experience one of the world’s most cycling-crazy cities like a local. Follow a safe network of bike-friendly paths to cruise along canals, glide through Vondelpark, or head deeper into the suburban countryside, gaining an intimate glimpse of Dutch life along the way.

Discover Dutch Delicacies

While visiting the home of raw herring and decriminalized cannabis, every first-timer should immerse themselves in the city’s culture and cuisine. Join a tasting tour to sample a range of specialities, or opt to visit coffee shops with a guide for deeper insight into the country’s liberal legislation.

Sightsee in the Zaanse Schans

If you only have time for one day trip, the Zaanse Schans is a must. Near enough to the city to be ticked off in half a day, the historic neighborhood is known for its centuries-old windmills, traditional workshops, and tulip-filled fields.

Visit the Jewish Quarter and Anne Frank House

Learn about Jewish culture in Amsterdam and the city’s tragic wartime history on a tour of must-see monuments including the Jewish Historical Museum and National Holocaust Memorial, or vist the Anne Frank House, the canalside lodging where the teenage diarist spent her last years in hiding under Nazi occupation.

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10 Tours and Activities | All Amsterdam Tours

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Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam

Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam

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See Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken on a full-day windmill tour departing from Amsterdam. Visit a cheese factory to sample local dairy products, admire a classic line-up of authentic windmills, and watch a shoemaker fashion wooden clogs using traditional methods. Hear commentary from your audio guide during the coach journey, and enjoy guided tours in each picturesque village.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$38.00
From
$38.00
Taking safety measures

Jewish Quarter Anne Frank Small-Group Walking Tour in Amsterdam

Jewish Quarter Anne Frank Small-Group Walking Tour in Amsterdam

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Discover Amsterdam’s WWII history and follow in the footsteps of Anne Frank on this walking tour of the Jewish Quarter. See the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the Auschwitz Monument; learn about events such as the February Strike and Winter of Hunger, and end the tour outside the Anne Frank House (entrance not included).
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.53
From
$34.53
Taking safety measures

Blue Boat Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise

Blue Boat Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise

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Lap up Amsterdam’s beautiful canals by night on a candlelight cruise. Board a comfortable boat, settle into the all-glass cabin in the glow of candlelight and enjoy the scenery as you cruise the UNESCO World Heritage site canals. Pass by floodlit landmarks such as the Westerkerk and Anne Frank House, and savor the twinkling lights and silhouettes of the canal bridges, merchants’ houses and churches. As you cruise, hear about the city’s history from the onboard commentary, and enjoy refreshments from the bar, including one complimentary drink.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$23.63
From
$23.63
Taking safety measures

Skip-the-line Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam Private Guided Tour

Skip-the-line Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam Private Guided Tour

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Bypass the lines at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and admire van Gogh’s works with your very own private guide. Gain priority access and explore the highlights of the museum, home to the world’s biggest Vincent van Gogh art collection. Let your guide introduce you to sublime masterpieces such as ‘Sunflowers,’ learn the significance of some lesser-known paintings, and see pieces by artists who influenced his style, such as Gauguin and Monet. A perfect introduction to the museum and the great artist’s life and work.
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  • 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$122.02
Price varies by group size
From
$122.02
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Skip-the-line Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Guided Museum Tour - Private Tour

Skip-the-line Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Guided Museum Tour - Private Tour

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Get acquainted with the artistic masterworks inside Amsterdam's iconic Rijksmuseum on this guided tour that includes skip-the-line access. Sail past long lines outside of the museum with your priority-access pass and begin discovering the magnificent oeuvres displayed within. Delve into the history of Holland’s artistic heritage with your expert guide and see collections by world-famous painters like Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Rembrandt during your enriching tour.  
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  • 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$122.02
Price varies by group size
From
$122.02
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Amsterdam Countryside Bike Tour Including Cheese Tasting and Clog Demonstration

Amsterdam Countryside Bike Tour Including Cheese Tasting and Clog Demonstration

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Cycle away from the urban noise and disappear into the countryside on this guided bike tour from Amsterdam. Visit a historical windmill, a farmhouse and factory, where you’ll sample Dutch cheese and watch how wooden clogs are made. This leisurely ride takes you along the Amstel River, past country villages and verdant fields dotted with cows. Learn about rural Dutch traditions and history, and wrap up your tour exploring Amsterdam’s parks including Vondelpark, Amsterdamse Bos and Beatrixpark.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$50.89
From
$50.89

Amsterdam Small Group Food Tour

Amsterdam Small Group Food Tour

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Visit Amsterdam's culinary hot spots on this 2.5-hour food and walking tour. Alongside your guide and small group, limited to just 12 foodies, travel around town to taste popular local dishes such as salty fries and fresh herring. Sample pungent artisan cheeses, and throw back a house spirit at a 17th-century distillery. Along the way, gain insight into Amsterdam’s gastronomic roots and the historic Dutch spice trade.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$67.25
From
$67.25
Taking safety measures

Amsterdam Alternative Culture Walking Tour with Local Food Sampling

Amsterdam Alternative Culture Walking Tour with Local Food Sampling

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Get a flavor of Amsterdam’s famous coffee-shop culture on a walking tour with a local guide. Stroll through Amsterdam's narrow lanes and squares and dip two bohemian coffee shops to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, savor delicious local snacks (own expense), and learn about the history and cannabis culture in the city. Upgrade to include more coffee shops, food tastings, and neighborhoods.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$28.86
From
$28.86

Hop-On Hop-Off Amsterdam Canal Sightseeing Cruise

Hop-On Hop-Off Amsterdam Canal Sightseeing Cruise

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With the hop-on hop-off boat day pass, enjoy an easy overview of Amsterdam at a pace that suits you. Step aboard boats that operate along Amsterdam's canals and travel along the route that passes highlights like the Anne Frank House and the Heineken Experience. While on board, listen to engaging commentary on the city and sights you see along the way. Choose between a 24- or 48-hour pass, and get on and off as often as you like.
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.29
From
$30.29

Vondelpark Guided Bike Tour in Amsterdam

Vondelpark Guided Bike Tour in Amsterdam

star-4.5
The most appropriate way to explore one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities is by bicycle, so don’t miss out on this bike tour of Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Completely free of traffic, this beautiful park is the ideal place to discover by bike: feast your senses on rose gardens, winding canals, contemporary sculptures, and an open-air theater, and then refresh with tea or coffee after your tour. This family-friendly tour is limited to 15 people, to ensure you receive personalized attention from your guide.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$27.26
From
$27.26
Taking safety measures