Amsterdam offers countless sights and attractions for all types of travelers. From world famous museums and monuments to iconic canals – there is a lot to see in Amsterdam. Explore below the 10 most famous sights in Amsterdam.
Below you’ll find the most famous sights in Amsterdam. If you get up early and plan your day well, you should be able to visit all of them on a weekend trip. If you’re staying for a longer period or returning to the city, make sure to check out our recommendations for things to do in Amsterdam (mainly outdoor activities).
The Anne Frank House is the most visited museum in the Netherlands and therefore, is rightly at the top of the list of what to see in Amsterdam. The museum is located at Prinsengracht 263, the location where Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl, hid from the Nazis and wrote her world famous diary, up until her arrest. You can still visit her former hiding place in the back of the house in its original state in the Anne Frank House.
To prevent long queues, tickets are no longer sold on site, so you must book online. You should plan 1 – 1.5 hours for a visit. To get a deeper understanding of Anne Frank’s life and the war history, make sure to book the Anne Frank Walking or Bike Tour. You’ll explore the Jewish cultural quarter with a professional guide (in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian).
What would Amsterdam be without its canals? Created in the 17th century, the canals have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. Built in a circle around the entire city, they aided in city water management, provided new transport options and served as a method of defense. Today, the canals are one of Amsterdam’s most famous landmarks, giving the city its unique character.
The most beautiful canal is the Prinsengracht, located in the area surrounding Central Station. In addition to well-known sights on the Prinsengracht, such as the Anne Frank House, this canal is itself a huge highlight. Numerous houseboats and historic, tasteful canal houses decorate the banks of the Prinsengracht and pay adage to the Golden Age of the Netherlands. In the evening hours especially, the canals provide a lovely backdrop for a leisurely stroll illuminated by canal houses and houseboats.
Our tip: Would you like to explore the canals up close? Then you should definitely take a canal tour! In addition to the popular daylight tours, you can see Amsterdam by night or just rent out your own boat to explore the canals at your own pace).
Amsterdam has many world famous museums that should not be missed. At the top of the list is the Rijksmuseum. Here you will find a collection of over 8,000 pieces of art and exhibits. World famous paintings such as The Night Watch of Rembrandt van Rijn, numerous artifacts, exhibitions and a collection of Asian art can be found in the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam.
Make sure to visit the Museumplein, one of the most visited squares in the city. In addition to the museums, you’ll find the popular I amsterdam sign here. In winter, the Museumplein is used for ice skating.
Rijksmuseum tickets are €21.00. If you’re planning to visit multiple museums in Amsterdam, it makes sense to purchase the I amsterdam City Card. It costs €65.00 and gives you free entry to over 20 museums in and around Amsterdam, a free canal cruise and free use of the GVB public transport in Amsterdam (metros, trams and buses in Amsterdam).
After taking in the city’s culture and history, continue the tour to Amsterdam’s legendary markets. The markets have a long tradition and attract not only the local inhabitants, but many visitors from all over the world. Whether it is an organic food market, vintage flea market or flower market – there is a lot to discover!
The Albert Cuyp Market, which has been in existence since 1905, is one of the largest markets in Europe and one of the most popular of its kind in Amsterdam. It is located in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, where you will find everything your heart desires. Fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, Dutch delicacies, souvenirs, sweets, flowers, fabrics, clothes and much more!
Looking for a special kind of market? Then don’t miss the only floating flower market in the world! It takes place at Singel in Amsterdam and offers beautiful flowers and bulbs all year round, so you can take a piece of Amsterdam with you and plant it in your garden. The perfect souvenir!
#5 Dam Square
Dam Square is the most famous square in Amsterdam. It is located in the middle of the medieval city center. Dam Square, with its historic buildings, is also the scene of cultural spectacles. Numerous street artists from all over the world use Dam Square for their street performance, whether it be song, dance or other skills, to enthuse the inhabitants and tourists. Dam Square is more than just a tourist attraction – it is a place full of history and culture.
From Dam Square you can see three of the city’s most important buildings. One is the Royal Palace, built in the 17th century. To its right is the Gothic Nieuwe Kerk, where weddings of the royal family and coronations of Dutch monarchs take place. Opposite the Royal Palace you can see the National Monument, built in 1956, which commemorates the victims of the German occupation in World War II.
Our tip: If you’d like to take pictures without crowds, make sure to visit the Dam Square in the early morning hours! Dam Square attracts countless visitors and street artists over day.
Want to visit more lively squares in Amsterdam? In the heart of the city you will also find Leidseplein, the ideal place to explore Amsterdam’s nightlife.
#6 Van Gogh Museum
Another museum definitely worth seeing in Amsterdam is the Van Gogh Museum. Today, there are about 200 paintings and over 400 drawings by Vincent Van Gogh on display. The majority of the painter’s letters and the weapon with which he committed suicide are also kept in the museum.
Van Gogh Museum tickets are €21.00. As mentioned above, the I amsterdam City Card is a good choice if you plan to visit a few other museums in Amsterdam. For €65.00, you’ll get access to over 20 museums, a free canal cruise, and free access to the GVB public transport network in Amsterdam (metros, trams and buses).
Our tip: Some people love art, others don’t. Besides the world renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum you will find numerous smaller museums in Amsterdam, like the Cheese Museum or the Tulip Museum, which represent important symbols of Holland. Please note however, that the Tulip Museum and the Cheese Museum are not included in the I amsterdam City Card and tickets must be purchased on site.
Amsterdam is home to canals, monuments and many beautiful parks. The most famous park is the Vondelpark, located between Leidseplein and Museumplein (where the Rijksmuseum is also located). Equipped with numerous walking paths, bridges, lakes and well-kept gardens, the Vondelpark is appreciated by Amsterdamers and visitors alike. During the summer months, (free) open air theaters are held there on weekends.
For those who prefer a quieter environment, the Amsterdamse Bos (on the southern outskirts of the city) offers the opportunity to walk and relax in the greenery. The Amsterdamse Bos is also ideal for those who are looking for a place to go inline skating or cycling. Here you will find miles of routes for cycling, jogging and walking.
The Heineken Experience is a special kind of sightseeing experience. Heineken is the best selling beer in the Netherlands and is also very popular in other countries, such as Germany and the U.S. The historic brewery from 1867 was the original Heineken brewery and has been used for over 100 years
Since 2008, the old brewery has been rebranded as the Heineken Experience, where visitors receive insight into the history of the beer and the brewing process. In addition to an interactive multimedia tour, visitors can enjoy two tastings in the museum’s café. Ideal for beer lovers!
Heineken Experience tickets are €21.00 (not included in the I amsterdam City Card).
Long a local favorite, the Jordaan district is increasingly featured on more and more top sights in Amsterdam lists. And rightly so – because despite numerous visitors it is still considered one of the most beautiful districts. A few streets away from the popular Anne-Frank-House, the Jordaan district is home to small cafés and shops where you can enjoy a bit of quiet and relaxation. The overall landscape is mainly quiet canals and beautiful houseboats. The banks are decorated with many colorful residential canal boats.
If you’re looking for a more quiet place, walk along the Keizergracht or Prinsengracht towards Magere Brug. You’ll see some beautiful canals and houseboats here and usually less tourists than in the popular Jordaan district.
#10 Red Light District
Half-naked women in red illuminated shop windows in the alleys of Amsterdam – aka Amsterdam’s red light district. The red light district, De Wallen not only attracts potential customers, it is also a real tourist magnet in the evening hours. In addition to prostitutes, sex shows and strip clubs, you will also find numerous bars and pubs in the red light district. Whether you are a man or woman, a walk through the Amsterdam red light district in the evening hours is definitely a must-do. You’ll also find a small Museum of Prostitution in the area, where you’ll be able to go behind the scenes (and windows).
Would you like to experience more activities beyond the tourist sights? Find out more about the best activities in Amsterdam.