If there is any other city in Europe quite as alluring as Amsterdam then I’d love to hear about it. Amsterdam has all the charm of a small town with all the benefits of a large city. So if you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. We have listed all of the iconic things you must see and do in our complete Amsterdam bucket list.
A complete Amsterdam Bucket List
1. Eat Frites
The origin of fries has long been contested but one thing is for sure, the Dutch do frites really well. Frites in Amsterdam come in a few different ways, however you can’t miss the opportunity to try the traditional dutch way: topped with peanut satay, mayonnaise and onions. Visit Vlaams friteshuis vleminckx for the best in town.
2. Cruise the Canals
Nothing could be more iconic than to cruise the canals of Amsterdam, which is undeniably what has made this city so famous. The canals create a real homely vibe to the city and despite its size (and continued growth) the charm of Amsterdam rings true.
3. Visit the Anne Frank House
A visit to the Anne Frank House is an absolute must for first tine visitors to Amsterdam. The museum is informative and touching – a strong reminder that in order to change history, we need to understand it.
4. Meander the streets of Jordaan
Arguably the best neighbourhood in Amsterdam and full of charming boutiques, Jordaan is a great area to spend a few hours on foot. The cafes and boutiques come and go but the charm of this neighbourhood remains the same.
5. Make a Visit to Helias Frogg
Of all the beautiful stores and boutiques in Amsterdam, none caught my eye more than Helias Fogg, a playful take on Around the World in 80 days. This store is full of beautiful travel trinkets – compasses, world globes, maps and beautiful gifts to take home.
Read more: 12 cool stores to visit in Amsterdam
6. Explore the Rijksmuseum
If you go to just one museum in Amsterdam, make it the Rijksmuseum. The exterior of the building is just as impressive as the collections inside and the library is really something else.
7. Visit the Van Gogh Museum
For Van Gogh fans, there really is no way you can come to Amsterdam without stopping in at the museum which hold’s the largest number of his works.
8. Keep an Eye out for Invader
One of Europe’s most famed street artists, Invader, has made his mark on Amsterdam. Whilst in Amsterdam I only managed to find one of his works but my sources tell me there are more!
9. Try a Stroopwafel
I can’t believe it took me three visits to Amsterdam to finally try a Stroopwafel. These delicious treats consist of two wafers sandwiched around caramel sauce and are as delicous as they look. Try Van Wonderen for a stroopwafel covered in your choice of decorations!
10. Visit the Flower Market
Located on the edge of a canal, the flower market is enjoyable throughout the year but especially more so in tulip season.
11. Try the Best Cookies in Amsterdam
There is no denying Van Stapele Koekmakerij have the best cookies in Amsterdam and I’ll bet no local will contest me on this! These delicious cookies are baked fresh all day and best enjoyed warm.
12. Go Thrifting
Amsterdam is a real mecca for vintage lovers and thrift savvy shoppers. Episode is the most central choice, however there are some great alternatives on the fringe of the city.
13. Visit the MOCA Museum
The newest museum on the scene, MOCA is home to a curated selection of works by contemporary, modern and street artists. You can expect to see the likes of Andy Warhol and Banksy on permanent display, with additional exhibitions on offer depending on the time you visit.
14. Ride a bike through the city for the day
Do as the locals do and hop on two wheels to make your way around the city for the day. Just don’t run anyone over and stick to the bike lanes (trust me, it happens!)
15. Walk the Canals
Still one of the most enjoyable things to do in Amsterdam is to walk at leisure through the canals. Be sure to watch our for cyclists passing by, they show no mercy for the tourists!
16. Check in our Check Out the Pulitzer Hotel
Amsterdam has endless options for luxury boutique hotels, however the Pulitzer has got to be one of the top choices. This beautiful design hotel is located on the fringe of Amsterdam’s famous 9 straats, a conglomerate of shopping streets in the centre of the city.
17. Visit a Concept Store
If you’re visiting Amsterdam for a few days or more, you might wish to stumble upon some more local stores. Jordaan is a great area to find concept stores although you can’t go wrong by visiting Hutspot.
Read more: The Best Bookstores in Amsterdam
18. Try a walking tour of the city
When you’re travelling for a longer stint in Europe, there’s no better word than “free” to grab your attention. There are free Amsterdam city walking tours daily if you’d like to get a better history of the city with a local (which is often an expat but hey).
19. Try the Bar Scene
Do as the locals do and meander the local bar scene in Amsterdam. Sure, “cafes” are a must try whilst in the city that lets you smoke, but the bar scene is just as fun to peruse. My favourite is the lobby bar at the Andaz Amsterdam on Prinsengracht.
20. Go Shopping on the 9 Streets
Last but not least, be sure to make your way over to the 9 streets to pop in and out of local boutiques, concept stores, cafes and more!
Read more: Your Guide to Shopping the 9 Streets in Amsterdam
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Mia, I know what you mean! It is such a beautiful city and completely steals your heart. I haven’t done a day trip yet but definitely on my agenda for next time!
I went to Amsterdam for the first time in 2017 and I LOVED it!! What a beautiful city!
I did most of the things in your list on this post but one thing I would definitely suggest adding is a day trip from Amsterdam to see the windmills and cheese farms! I did this and it was so amazing to come back with a newfound knowledge and taste of the traditional Dutch ways of life :)