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Amsterdam is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe. Famed for its picturesque canals, 17th-century architecture, and world-class museums, this cosmopolitan city in the Netherlands is not short on amazing attractions. Whether you wish to enjoy Amsterdam’s luscious parks, hop on a boat cruise, or rent a bike and see the city from a different angle, there is no shortage of attractions and activities here to keep you entertained for at least a week or two. To help you decide where to go and what to see, here is a list of the best attractions in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam’s most famous park, Vondelpark is located in the Old South district and attracts thousands of visitors each day. Perfect for long walks and picnics, this fabulous park serves as a gathering spot for both tourists and locals. Here, you can grab a herring sandwich, see a performance at the park’s open-air theatre, have a drink at one of the outdoor terraces, or enjoy recreational activities on the grass.
You will also find many restaurants and bars in the park including Café Vertigo, Vondelpark3, Blauwe Theehuis, and many others.
Van Gogh Museum
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without checking out the famous Van Gogh Museum. It houses some of the most famous Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings including masterpieces such as Potato Eaters and Sunflowers. Expect to see over 500 drawings and etchings, as well as 200 paintings and nearly 800 letters. Since the museum is the second most visited museum in the city, it is recommended to book ahead and visit the museum early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Besides Van Gogh’s pieces, visitors will come across works by the artist’s contemporaries including names like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin.
If you’re into culture travel, you may want to read this article on the top 5 museums in Amsterdam.
Situated on the Singel canal right between Muntplein and Koningsplein, Bloemenmarkt is a remarkable floating flower market located on several houseboats. Open seven days a week, the flower market is a perfect place to smell all the scents, admire a variety of fresh bulbs including tulips, narcissus, and daffodil, and visit a gift shop to purchase a souvenir or two. If you love flowers,
Bloemenmarkt should definitely be included on your list of places to visit in Amsterdam.
Canals of Amsterdam
To experience the city from a different angle, go on a canal tour in Amsterdam. Built during the 17th century, the canals were originally used to control the flow of the river. Nowadays, Amsterdam’s canals are one of the main attractions in the city and there are many canal tours to choose from. Whether you wish to go on a romantic candle-lit cruise, enjoy a special themed tour, or hop on a canal museum boat tour, there is something for everyone. A boat ride along the city’s amazing canals is one of the best ways for travelers to experience traditional Dutch architecture.
Located in the Museum Square, the Rijksmuseum was founded in the 19th century and houses the largest collection of antiquities and rare art in the Netherlands. This amazing art and history museum has more than 250 rooms and one million artifacts ranging from paintings, books, and manuscripts to medieval sculptures and traditional handicrafts.
The highlights of the museum are paintings by Johannes Vemeer, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt’s masterpiece Night Watch. There are dozens of English guided tours of the museum to choose from.
Red Light District
Also known as De Wallen, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is a very popular area for young people visiting the city. Home to numerous coffee shops, small museums, bars, and sex shops, this designated area for legalized prostitution is actually one of the oldest sections in the city with historical buildings such as the Gothic-style Oude Kerk church.
If architecture is not what you are after, grab a pint of beer at popular joints like Cafe Hill Straight Blues and the Old Sailor. Keep in mind that taking pictures of sex workers here is strictly forbidden.
To find some peace and quiet while visiting Amsterdam, I recommend paying a visit to Begijnhof. This inner-city spot was originally an enclosed courtyard where members of the sisterhood of Catholic Beguines used to live. Nowadays, the area is famous for its well-kept green lawns where visitors can enjoy a peaceful time and admire some of the oldest houses in the city.
Anne Frank House
No list of Amsterdam attractions would be complete without mentioning the famous Anne Frank House. Located along the Prinsengracht canal, this museum is the most visited attraction in Amsterdam and attracts thousands of tourists each and every day. It is dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, one of the best-known victims of the Holocaust in the world.
Travelers can view the rooms where little Anne lived and learn more about her life. The Anne Frank House is definitely more than a museum. It is a rather unique experience and a must-visit attraction while exploring the streets of Amsterdam.
Article author: David van Brakel, Expert Travel Writer
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