Amsterdam tourist attractions and sights
The main Amsterdam tourist attractions are museums. Visit our museums section for more on that topic. But of course there are other attractions too. The following sites and monuments should be of sightseeing interest and are an essential part of the Amsterdam experience.
We also have a page about less known attractions and activities. The recommendations are divided by season and you can find them on our what to do in Amsterdam page.
Amsterdam has a lot of cultural highlights that are in high demand. To avoid waiting lines we advice to buy your Amsterdam tickets in advance
A trip to Holland just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a windmill. Believe it or not, there are 8 stunning windmills in at the heart of the city just waiting to admired. Don't forget to take a camera for your sightseeng.
The number of canals have led this city to become known as “The Venice of the North”. And thus, Amsterdam tourism trip is not complete without a boat cruise on these well known attractions in Amsterdam. A canal tour can be both fascinating and relaxing by day and enchanting and romantic at night when many of the houses and bridges are illuminated. And if you like boats there is also a large upcoming event about historical sail ships called Amsterdam SAIL.
Several Dutch commercial brands like beer producers Heineken, liquor makers Bols, producers of traditional Dutch cheese Reypenaer and famous football club AFC Ajax have opened a special exhibit in Amsterdam combined with attractions. The idea is to promote their brands by educating visitors about the company tradition and at the same time to bring fun and interesting sights to your visit.
This old church with little houses clinging to its sides, remains a calm heaven at the heart of the freneric Red Light District. Its buildings, especially the Gothic-renaissance style octagonal bell tower, was used by sailors to get their bearings.
The Dam is the center of the city, and also the center of Amsterdam attractions. It has seen many historical dramas which are well documented in the Amsterdam Historical Museum. In contrast to its turbulent history, the square is now a peaceful place that is home to pigeons and tourists.
A narrow, vaulted passageway leads to one of the more poetic Amsterdam attractions. The houses in this courtyard were once occupied by devout celibate nuns and are still home to single women today. In the centre of the lawns is a medieval church and at No.34 stands the oldest house in Amsterdam. The entrance is on the Spui and is indicated by a carved sign. You can enter for free, but you must be quiet!
Used to be a working class district but has become popular as a place to live as well as one of Amsterdam tourist attractions. And is now inhabited by a colorful mixture of students, businessmen and creative professionals. Jordaan oozes atmosphere with its narrow streets, brown cafes, art galleries and unique shops. You can easily lose yourself in a pleasant stroll in through the these streets that connect the 3 main canals.
Rembrandtplein is lined with pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels and is thus a tourist magnet of attractions in Amsterdam. A popular centre for nightlife, it also includes traditional Dutch pubs which play real Dutch music. In summer, the terraces are packed with people enjoying a drink and watching the world go by. In the centre of the square is a small but pleasant park where you can relax or pay homage at the statue of Rembrandt. Around the area you’ll also find quality night clubs, gay venues, respectable diamond dealers and the inevitable tacky souvenir shops.
The Leidseplein or Leidse-square is one of the most popular centres for nightlife attractions in Amsterdam. With many restaurants, clubs, coffeeshops, cinemas and theatres in the area, the Leidseplein is vibrant and colourful. On warm summer evenings, tourists and locals alike take advantage of the pubs’ outdoor seating for a long, lazy drinks with friends. Street musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters and other performers liven up the square, often till the early hours.
Beer and party atmosphere, sex for sale, and limitless people-watching. The stores are full of hardcore videos, magazines and sex toys. The Red Light District is somewhat of a sexual amusement park and often not taken too seriously by the hordes of tourist who frequent it as other Amsterdam attractions. The famous red window lights are striking against the quaint, old canal houses and even the fairy lights that line the bridges at night are coloured red. Although it is generally considered to be a very safe area, care should still be taken when walking through the quieter streets of the area. There is a strict “no photography” policy.
There are a number of beautiful, quiet parks where you can relax during the busy day. These well maintained parks provide some nature to both locals and Amsterdam tourism. The largest of them - Vondelpark is in the very centre of the city. Other parks as Beatrixpark, Frankendael, Sarphatipark, Amstelpark, Westerpark are quiet, well-maintained community parks. An artificial forest just South of the city – Amsterdamse Bos is today a big nature reserve, with many Amsterdam attractions.
The city squares symbolize the whole areas of the city with their activity and the character. Big and open Dam square with the Palace of the King and the best department store has a central role in town and belongs to Amsterdam attractions. Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are entertainment and tourism centers while the Museumplein name speaks for itself. Nieuwmarkt, Westermarkt and Noordermarkt are old markets, which found today a new function, each of them different. Even a small square called het Spui has its own special character, making it a real fun to visit.
Of 1280 or so bridges in town, the Magere Brug, or “ Skinny Bridge” is the most famous of these Amsterdam attractions. It is a traditional double-leaf, Dutch draw-bridge connecting the banks of the river Amstel. Approximately every twenty minutes, the bridge opens to let boats through. The original bridge was built in 1670, but as the traffic on Amstel increased, a wider bridge was built to replace the narrow one.
The city has a number of the landmarks hotels, which stand out above the hundreds of buildings in the town. Not only for their function but also as sightseeing Amsterdam attractions. Among them there are the old and dignified historic hotels as Hotel Krasnapolsky and Amstel Hotel, and the modern, international hotels such as Hilton and Okura, along with several other excellent, five-star hotels.